Abstinence-Only Education is Negligent Parenting

When you become a parent, one of the biggest parts of your new job is protecting your child. You’d never let your child sleep with a plastic bag in the crib; you’d never let him or her ride a bike for the first time without a helmet; and you would never just toss your child the keys to the car without teaching them how to drive it first. So why, then, are so many parents failing at protecting their children from the lies, misinformation, and danger of abstinence-only sex education?

The rate of teen pregnancy in the US has dropped once again, but the 37 states that require abstinence-only or abstinence-focused education still have the highest rates of teen pregnancy. These same teens are having sex at the same rate and ages as their counterparts who have a more comprehensive sexual education, but they are less likely to use contraception, and more likely to get pregnant or contract an STI. Conversely, in New Hampshire, where a comprehensive sexual education is mandatory, they have the lowest number of teen pregnancies.

Abstinence-only education harms teens further. As I’ve discussed before, it propagates the virgin/whore dichotomy, and has created the rapist/white knight dichotomy for men. How is shaming teenagers for being curious about their natural urges a good thing? Teaching kids that having sex means that they are “used up” or “dirty” (as was the case recently in a classroom in Boulder, CO), is horrific and could contribute to serious self-esteem issues. A recent overview of the 13 textbooks that are most commonly used in these programs showed that at least 11 of the texts had misleading or incorrect information.  Citations for all of these statistics can be found here and here.

If all a 16 year old knows is “this feels good, but I should feel bad about it”, it is a recipe for disaster. Information is power, and helps young men and women make safer decisions for their own sexual health.  If you love and want to protect your child, why would you allow his or her mind to be poisoned by abstinence-only education?

I would like to take this opportunity to announce my new project. I have decided to take matters into my own hands, and have started writing a comprehensive sexual education book, geared towards young women. You, my readers, will have the first glance at what I hope will be a significant tool in combating this pervasive culture of ignorance. I look forward to your support.

Posted on April 20, 2012, in Abstinence Education, Sex Positive and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. if you’d like a midwife’s perspective for your book please let me know and i’ll get you in contact with my mother.

  2. Can’t wait to read it! 🙂

  3. Parents fear that talking about sex will get kids sexually interested. Really, not talking just increases pregnancy and STDs

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