The Real Problem with Abstinence Education

August 13, 2007

Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

Opponents of abstinence education have spent the past ten years denouncing these important health education programs.  Their attacks are relentless.

Opponents are not content with allowing abstinence programs to serve students, schools and families that want this education.  They are not content to let abstinence education exist as an alternative to other programs promoting use of birth control as a “saferrrrr sex” message for minors.

Opponents want to kill abstinence education.  Completely. They work tirelessly to strip every penny of funding support for abstinence programs that encourage and support students who make a personal commitment to remain sexually abstinent.

One has to wonder what the real problem with abstinence education is.  Why is it so terrible to teach our youth the importance of remaining sexually abstinent?

Opponents would have us believe that medically accurate information supports encouraging teens to engage in “saferrrrr sex.”  It doesn’t.  Opponents would have us believe that abstinence education doesn’t work.  It does.

These two battles are actually smoke screens.  Diversions.  They hide what we are not supposed to see.  What opponents of abstinence education would like to bury in the sand is their real reason for opposing sexual abstinence education for teens.

Abstinence education is about revealing truths its opponents would rather ignore.  Abstinence education does not suggest that outercourse, petting, or naked showers together are several of many healthy and satisfying options to abstinence that teens can choose from when they “are ready.”

Abstinence education shines a light on the problems inherent in promoting sex as entertainment without rules, seeking gratification for one’s own pleasure without concern for those we impact as a result.  Abstinence educators are not afraid of acknowledging the life in the womb created by the union of egg and sperm.

It restores a line in the sand.  It dares to stand up for true medical accuracy.  It is supported by a growing body of research about the foundational needs of humans.  It embraces the impact of sex on the welfare of a human being in holistic terms, not only just physically, but emotionally, socially, financially and spiritually.

Studies confirm what abstinence teachers around the country see in their classes.  These truths resonate with young people who have not been corrupted by years of liberal dogma.  They know when their hearts are broken and when they have been exploited by someone who professed “love” only to get the sex they were after.

Teens want love, honor, fidelity.  They look to adults, the role models who are in charge of demonstrating higher goals, only to find these “role models” either wallowing in the mud…or more often…confused about the role of sex in their own lives.

American media, entertainment and marketing industries have capitalized on this confusion, exploiting the natural human tendency to want to satisfy our appetites while ignoring the consequences.  We buy their products, and cultural “rules of engagement” allow them to market this message to children just entering kindergarten:

  • Supreme Court justices in 2004, preserved the right of pornographers to use the Internet unrestrained in their promotion of material harmful to children.
  • Girls of the Playboy Mansion, a television “reality” show, builds destructive fantasies of three twenty-something girls sharing the bed with an 81-year-old leering millionaire.
  • Abercrombie and Fitch glamorize teen group sex in wall-size murals greeting our youth and their younger siblings as they enter the store at the mall.
  • College health centers serve as a pass-through to local abortion agencies with little or no mention of adoption.
  • Leaders in the most visible health crisis of the century, when challenged by a physician at an HIV conference, refuse to set sexual abstinence as the expected standard for children at any age.
  • Hollywood adultery is considered a harmless transitional stage between marriages, and this has been adopted by mainstream politicians hoping to lead our country as President.
  • Magazines like Redbook and Seventeen that used to offer wholesome articles now sell promiscuity and risky sex behaviors on every page.

For nearly forty years, we have been “educated” that the problems encountered with sex can be cured by buying a pack of pills and a “medical procedure.”   This education is only possible if we are willing to ignore medically-accurate truths.  This is the very education that opponents of abstinence hope to force on every child in America.

People who oppose abstinence education oppose it for one simple reason. They don’t want their culture to be challenged and reined in by limits to sexual behavior…of any kind …at any age.  And that’s no good reason at all.