Sex Ed and the Religious Right

Where traditional sex ed programs attempted to give teenagers the knowledge to protect themselves in sexual encounters, Dagmar Herzog writes in her new book Sex in Crisis, "new abstinence advocates use the fear of disease to frighten kids away from sex entirely."

Consider this classroom exercise: "Boys and girls are invited to chew cheese-flavored snacks and then sip some water, after which they are to spit the resulting 'bodily fluids' into a cup. After a game in which the fluids are combined with those of other students, ultimately all cups are poured into a pitcher labeled 'multiple partners' sitting adjacent to a pitcher of fresh water labeled 'pure fluids.' In the final segment, each boy and girl is asked to fill a cup labeled either 'future husband' or 'future wife' with the contents from one of the pitchers."

The Georgia-based program behind all this expectoration received more than half a million dollars in taxpayer dollars, and it is by no means the only such program to benefit. At every turn, the abstinence-only movement has been abetted and advanced by the Bush administration. As recently as 2006, the Department of Health and Human Services was offering grants for programs that teach "the potential psychological side effects (e.g., depression and suicide) associated with adolescent sexual activity" and that instruct students that "non-marital sex in teen years may reduce the probability of a stable, happy marriage as an adult."

Doesn't it give you warm fuzzy feelings to know your tax dollars are being spent this way?


Anonymous said…
While I look at abstinence as a almost unrealistic goal, I do believe that it does have it's place. The fact is that there are studies done that prove that people who have had sex at a young age have experienced dopamine changes in their brain. You and I are about the same age and I have to be honest, Aids changed the way I looked at sex. Unfortunately, teenagers are dumb as rocks and think that nothing bad will happen to them,look at the number of teens with Hiv and the girls in Massachusetts who had a pregnancy pact because of Brittany Spears' sister,(like how I worked her into the discussion). By the way, while I don't always agree with everything he has done, President Bush has placed more gays and minorities in positions of power than any other President, Republican or Democratic as well as spending 3 billion dollars in Aids research and prevention(six times more than President Clinton). I'm not a Republican or a Democrat but believe in giving credit where credit is do.
toddx said…
I don't think anyone in his right mind would dispute that abstinence has its place in one's sexual life. I, too, grew up in a time when AIDS was the great bogeyman and both silence AND sex seemed to equal death. However, the studies are clear: abstinence-only education programs do not work. The failure rate of "purity pledges" is over 80%, and these programs merely lead to undereducated sexual beings who don't know how to protect themselves against the reality of sexual consequences.

As for Bush, I simply cannot defend any action taken by his administration. If some gays and minorities have been promoted into positions of influence, I have to believe he had nothing to do with. Or I have to believe they are far from representative of the groups that you believe Bush is supporting.
Anonymous said…
I agree with you about abstinence only as being a failure, but you must admit that sexual education alone is also a failure. If it were a success Hiv and other diseases would be decreasing instead of increasing among teens. I think that the rules for teens is very different than for adults, and that's important to remember.
As far as Bush is concerned, almost all the most influential cabinet members from Secretary of state, education, defense, employment and and various tsars have been gay, minorities or women. Even if it wasn't his idea, he still appointed them.

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