Jane Jimenez

Jane Jimenez

August 13, 2004

Abstinence only?

So what comes to mind when you hear abstinence only?  Do you see fields of ostriches all with their fluffy feather fannies in the air and their heads burrowed deep into desert sand?  If so, you have bought the big lie…the lie that says abstinence “only” is about ignorance.

Only abstinence?  Fanning the flames of fear, opponents of abstinence education paint a picture of repressed prudes pointing fingers…wagging fingers…and saying over and over again, “No, no, no, don’t do it…abstain, abstain, abstain.”

Oh, the power of a four-letter word.  ONLY.  This is the thing.  ONLY.  This four letter word is at the heart of a vast fear-based campaign against abstinence education.

Should parents be afraid of abstinence-only sex education?  Well…only if they don’t know what only means when someone says abstinence only.

Abstinence educators teach that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, STDs.  Did you year it?  ONLY?

If not, it’s worth repeating: Abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of preventing pregnancy and STDs.

Even the condom companies print this warning on their condom packages.  Condoms fail.  Manufacturers offer no money-back guarantees to anyone who puts their fate in their candy-flavored, color-coded condoms.

Abstinence educators know this.  For this reason they believe in reinforcing this truth with information about sex…yes, sex.  Abstinence educators talk about sex.  All the time.

In a reality-based approach, these educators help parents by delivering the truth to our children about the risks of sex.  And the joy of sex.

Yes, abstinence educators talk about the joy of sex that comes when students save sex for a committed marriage.  They tell our children that they don’t have to be one of the statistics.  If only young people will commit to abstinence before marriage, they will not be sentenced to a life of genital herpes…like the one in five of Americans over the age of twelve who are currently infected.

They point out that genital herpes is only one of over 25 sexually transmitted diseases that are part of the current epidemic of STDs.  This is not “fear-based” information.  This is the medically accurate information teens and parents need to have in order to consider intelligent choices about sex.

Abstinence educators aren’t embarrassed or afraid to talk about the value of sex.  Yes, they tell our children, sex has value for your life.  It is not a recreation designed to cure boredom or to boost your popularity.

Abstinence educators talk about the beautiful freedom of having sex with a husband or wife who will be there in a committed relationship.  They discuss the common sense notion that marriage is the first step of family planning, when pregnancy can be celebrated and enjoyed.

They care enough about our children to analyze the lies and distortions of everyday television hits like Friends where a cast of six men and women engage in nine years of casual sex and never get an abortion or an STD.  Amazing!  If ONLY it were true!

Are these facts you want your children to understand?  If so, abstinence educators are your best friends.  This is not only an opinion.  It is supported by research.

Research proves that the single most effective force for helping children remain sexually abstinent is parents.  You!  The parent!  This matters a lot to abstinence educators.  They take your values seriously and work hard to reinforce your values with information and truth.

Abstinence education.  It is not only a message to abstain.  It is a comprehensive message based on medically accurate information about the beauty of sex and planning your life to enjoy sex to the fullest…free from worries about pregnancy and disease.

The next time someone comes at you waving a flock of ostrich feathers and shrieking “ONLY abstinence”, remember what the “only” means.  If you want your children to avoid pregnancy and STDs before meeting and marrying the love of their life…abstinence is the only guarantee.

Yes…the ONLY guarantee!


More on abstinence:

March 26, 2004:    Abstinence the Real Deal

April 2, 2004:  Sex Education: Spinning the Truth

See Archives for past editorials.