Alex Blaze

You should hate yourself for being human

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 07, 2009 12:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: abstinence only education, comprehensive sex education, education policy, school, sexuality education

This week, I put together a series of posts unpacking the findings of the new Wiley and Wilson study on Texas abstinence-only education. While legislatures talk from on high about what should and shouldn't be going on in the classroom, this is one of the first and largest studies that actually found out what teachers are doing.

If you're looking for some weekend reading, here's the topics that were covered:

What's interesting about this study is finding out what's really being taught means finding out what these folks' real goals are.

Often, on the left, we're so far removed from either education or locations where abstinence-only education has proliferated that we caricature it as just someone standing in front of a classroom, waving her finger, saying "Just say no." Nothing could be further from the truth - in reality, these programs are about building up the next generation of people who hate sex, think women are property, are homophobic, think conservative Protestant Christianity is everyone's default religion, and are willing to listen to Rush Limbaugh and read Ann Coulter and watch Bill O'Reilly and rail against the liberal elites and how America's culture has turned to shit.

Their plans for this sort of education are much more than the junk science claim that just telling kids to say no to sex means that they won't get STD's or get pregnant before they're ready. It's about an entire way of life, where one complains about other people's sexual immorality while having all the premarital sex one wants, with the proper amount of shame, of course.

Because kids who go through this kind of education are still having sex. And if Texas is representative of other areas that have invested in abstinence-only education, then their well-above-average pregnancy rates and sexual risk-taking shows that they're doing it more than everyone else.

No, this education is about how to feel about having sex, not to stop having it. Sex, for these folks, is a problem to be solved. Bodily urges, the same ones responsible for putting six billion people on this planet, are sources of shame and, while they will be acted upon, should be kept secret.

Instead, your family should look like a Norman Rockwell painting: a stay-at-home mom, a working dad, and children born within wedlock.

If you don't live up to that, which these students most likely won't, then it's their failure and no one else's. They were the ones who didn't solve the problem of overcoming their own sexual and emotional needs, they were the ones who didn't follow the manual given to them in abstinence-only education for the one, best way to live, and they're the ones who deserve to pay the price for it, whether it be a lack of material means to raise children or loss of social esteem.

It is, fundamentally, an all encompassing way of looking at the world that answers all questions and places the blame for all problems on people without "good character."

It is, at its base, anti-liberal, in that it's about people not thinking about problems and not trying to solve them. It's less about getting people to improve their social position through postponing family-making, and more about getting them to accept their lot in life without blaming it on anyone but themselves.

And that's why comprehensive sex ed is really so scary: it empowers people to choose how they want to live for themselves.

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Kathy Padilla | March 7, 2009 1:07 PM

So - this means that Rush is celibate & Ann's a virgin?

Then - What's with all the viagra?

A great post. So often, people forget to consider just what is imparted to young people under the sigil of "Abstinence only;" it is entire religious, philosphical and political set of beliefs...and dangerous ones, ones that endanger not only the children subjected to it, but that endanger out own freedom in the long haul..

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | March 7, 2009 8:52 PM

Shame, fear, appearance, snitching and hypocrisy are universals of humanity and they are cross cultural. There is a natural tendency to rebel and the greatest "sinners" I have known were sons of ministers.

It is an old habit to demonize the victim. Before cancer was understood it was viewed as the inevitable result of a dissolute life. In the "good old days" of pre Aids I called out a doctor giving a seminar for his attitude that "promiscuous people get VD." Not all promiscuous people get STD's nor do all nearly celibate people avoid it.

Children are smarter than adults think and learn early on that they are being fed junk. They become skeptics early and question everything. The internet has made their lives immeasurably easier and more complicated. :)

I'm with you Alex, but this part stands out to me:

Sex, for these folks, is a problem to be solved.

As the parent of a teenage girl, I can say that sex does become the problem that needs to be solved. By the time she was 11 or 12, she had neighbor boys wanting to "get with" her. By 13 she was on birth control. Was that our utmost goal? Hell, no.

Even at 13, she's still likely to do something stupid - like have sex without a condom or forget to take her birth control. Do we really want her being put in that situation? Nope. But the most we can do is give her a pistol before we send her out to the front lines. It really is a culture war (us trying to keep Paige safe while friends/classmates, etc try to get her to step outside of safety boundaries), but this stupid "abstinence only" crap is worthless - or she wouldn't be on birth control.

Yeah totally. But you prefaced it with things like "at her age," etc, and what I meant was that for these folks, sex is always always always a problem that needs to be solved.

From a Terxas sex education manual:

"Each time you have sex, and don't make a child, the baby Jesus cries.

Now do You want to be responsible for making him cry?"

I say let's have an orgy and keep him in tears for days.

I'll bring the lube.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | March 9, 2009 11:37 PM

No, this education is about how to feel about having sex, not to stop having it.

Very insightful!!!

And, Bil, when my daughter was a teenager I never told her I didn't want her to have sex. When we spoke about it, I told her I wanted her to have sex only on HER terms: when she was ready, with someone she wanted to be with, and only if she felt good about herself and her decision. I told her my primary concerns were for her safety--emotional and physical--and tried to focus on the information and skills she needed to stay safe, whether that meant coaching her how to stand up for herself and say "No," or how to properly use condoms.

It wasn't foolproof, but she seems to have come through her teens pretty well.