Abstinence

Recent posts

When Abstinence-Only Sex Education Is Against Your Religion

This Patheos blog post by Sunweaver discusses an uncommon dilemma: we’re very accustomed to people objecting to sex education because they say it’s against their religion, but what about people who object to abstinence-only sex education citing the same reason? She points out that “to use fear and shame to intimidate children into avoiding sex until marriage is to vilify something I see as sacred.” Further, she cites studies of abstinence-only education demonstrating that it is based upon religious belief, leading to this problem: “Abstinence-only is a religious teaching and it isn’t my religion they’re teaching.” We know it’s impossible to please everyone, but this is yet one more reason to embrace a fact-based approach to sex education. In an ideal world, at least, it’d be harder to alienate people with facts, but especially with sex, it can be (unfortunately) difficult to disentangle fact from belief. Continue Reading →

Wedding Season Reflection Part II: Giving Wedding Night Advice

StrangeWedding

After the fabulous affirmation of the power vested in us to support same-sex marriage, I went to the wedding of a good friend of mine who was doing an unusual thing for my particular friend group to do: she was waiting until she was married to do anything sexual with her partner. I thought this was unusual for most of my friends but apropos for her hip Christian outlook on life. I found her decision so fascinating that I asked her to come into the sex ed class that I teach during our session on “Abstinence” and talk about why she was choosing to wait until she was married. Of course, I also brought in another one of my friends who had consciously chosen NOT to wait until marriage, and had them each present their points why they were choosing abstinence or not and then had the students ask questions. It was one of the best classes I ever observed, and my abstinent friend was a big part of that. Continue Reading →

Why Good Sex Ed Is Important: A Reminder

Not surprisingly, disclosing that I’m a sex educator often elicits questions, wide-eyed stares, and/or giggles. Recently, after telling someone what I do for a living, I was asked, “what do you think about abstinence-only education?” I replied (with a smile), “That’s like asking an evolutionary biologist what they think of Intelligent Design” and went on to discuss a few of the problems with America’s notorious (lack of) sex ed. While it’s not news to anyone who works in sexual health that comprehensive sex ed is a good thing and that abstinence-only sex ed doesn’t work, sometime it’s nice to be reminded why the work we do is important. Recently, I came across an article on Twitter (thanks @jezRSH) that describes some of the more noteworthy and atrocious “lessons” in New York State’s sex ed curricula that have been uncovered in a recent study by the New York Civil Liberties Union. Continue Reading →

Thanks, Tennessee Legislature!

Dear Tennessee Governor Haslem and the Tennessee legislature,

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you.  Due to your hard work at drafting and passing the HB 3621 and SB 3310 law, my sex therapy practice will continue to be profitable for years.  While your law outlawing the teaching of  ”gateway sexual activity” and “non-coital sexual activity” is on the books, thousands of Tennessee teens will be taught that their sexual feelings are bad and that they need to refrain from any kind of affectionate touching until their relationship is recognized by the state, and the only way to be sexual with someone is through coitus in marriage.  And my fellow sex educators in your state have their hands tied in terms of giving these confused teens options and speaking frankly about things they could do to deal with these sexual feelings in a way that lower their risks of making their partner or themselves pregnant or contracting STIs. So, thank you, because as a sex therapist, I will reap the benefits of this law for many years.  People will come to me confused as to why the sex in their marriage has fallen apart, or asking how they can stop being attracted to their same gender because they were never taught that same gender attraction was possible, or that any kind of sex exists besides coitus in the context of marriage. Perhaps I’ll even get a chance to meet with a young man who is diagnosed with HIV because his school didn’t address the type of sex he was having, and the risks involved with that. In short, your legislation will allow many more people to be undereducated about sex and relationships, which will lead to problems down the road, even in their state-approved marriages.  They will come to my sex therapy practice to talk about their deep dissatisfaction with their sex lives which may have been prevented were it not for your legislation. Thanks also for helping people think that sex should be painful and scary, and not the pleasurable, wonderful thing that it can and should be.  Those people will need counseling in the future when they don’t want to have sex because they simply don’t like it, or because their head is so filled with sex-negative messages that even when they want to enjoy sex, they can’t get to the point where it feels good. Continue Reading →

Abstinence-Only Education Vs. Comprehensive Sex Education

A report released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) revealed a correlation between states that endorse abstinence-only sex education and high teen pregnancy rates, while states that offer comprehensive, accurate, and evidence-based sex education tend to have lower teen pregnancy rates. Quotes from representatives of Planned Parenthood and other women’s health organizations are cautiously optimistic about how these results will affect official funding and endorsement of sex education. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →