Sunday, January 02, 2005


Picture of fireworks

That word really doesn’t fit in with this time of year, does it? I’m prepared to allow a bit of abstemious thought on New Year’s Day itself (any my god, did you see the fireworks in London at midnight?! wow!) but now all those resolutions have been abandoned, abstinence just feels wrong, doesn’t it?

Not to some American kids, it doesn’t — and I am of course talking about Bush’s drive to indoctrinate teenagers in sexual abstention instead of giving them sex education, or even safe sex education, come to that!

At Shoemaker High School they use an abstinence-only course popular across Texas called Worth the Wait — a trademarked brand.

Koehler continued her lesson by listing the sexual activity that fell in the ‘danger’ category. ‘Regular intercourse; anal intercourse; oral intercourse; skin–to–skin under clothes; genital contact; and there are some problems with deep passionate kissing — these are risky behaviours.’

Holding hands, hugging with clothes on and ‘light kissing’ were OK, the teens were told. Koehler then ran through the gamut of sexual diseases. ‘How are you going to keep yourself safe?’ she asked the class. ‘Abstinence,’ they chorused.

‘What do you also hear will keep you safe?’ she asked. ‘Condoms,’ they answered.

‘Do they keep you safe?’ she asked. ‘No,’ they chorused.

Koehler believes young people are unreliable in their use of contraception. She is banned by law from promoting the benefits of correctly used condoms.

It is not simply appalling that such brainwashing occurs in schools in a highly–educated and scientifically advanced western country. It is not simply cringeworthy to watch young people’s very bodily freedom be dictated to by such a behind–backs religious and sexually trappist agenda.

It is, quite obviously to me at least, bloody dangerous (psychologically, ethically and sexually) to teach teenagers that sex is hazardous outside marriage, blissful in marriage, and that the only correct thing about contraception is that it shouldn’t be used. Because quite apart from the harm this crackpot scheme would do to the sex lives of these teenagers if it actually caught on, it’s worth remembering that they will — oh, yes they will — have kids some day, and will talk to their kids about sex.

A thoughtlessly abstemious attitude like this one is irresponsible and I hope that ultimately American kids will treat it with the contempt it deserves and feel free to have safe, responsible, mindblowing sex whenever the hell they freely choose to.

And on that note, Happy 2005! :o)

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