Q: Dear Vivian,
Do you think abstinence is an effective way to teach teens about sex?
— Doing the Safety Dance
A: I don’t know about you, but the one thing that I would have liked to have been taught about in sex education is safe sex. Abstinence was the primary focus of the curriculum in my school, with only a brief, “Hey, look! These things called condoms exist. But, since you won’t be having sex, we aren’t going to talk about it.” Abstinence is good to teach teens, but it is far from the only thing that we should be teaching our children about rolling in the hay. It’s irresponsible to teach teens to abstain from sex and to make it out as a dirty, taboo subject, when their hormones are raging and they are becoming more and more interested in exploring their sexuality.
It seems that I wasn’t alone in receiving a lackluster sex education. According to Damian Whitworth of the London Times:
• 34% of schools teach not only that abstinence is preferred, but that it is the only proper form of behavior.
• 35% of school districts have policies dictating that abstinence be taught as the only option.
• In 15 of 50 states, schools are required to teach abstinence until marriage, and 13 require contraception to be mentioned.
I would like to see schools teach more in-depth, comprehensive methods of safe sex. Condoms, diaphragms, the various forms of hormonal contraceptives: this information should be made available to the youth of today so they can make their own informed decisions.
And parents, let’s face it: since you’re most likely not going to be involved when your child decides to do the horizontal tango, shouldn’t you at least make sure that they have the knowledge on how to be safe?
Questions? Comments? Contact me at Vivibailey69[at]gmail[dot]com