Monday, November 09, 2015

I Told You So. Abstinence-Only Education Doesn't Work.

I did tell you so, on this blog, many years ago.  It doesn't work to stop young people from having sex to tell them that sex is icky and disgusting and frightening and that you should save it for the people you love the most.  Indeed, given how teenagers think it's like telling them about something really fun they should try.

Abstinence has never been a policy that works for the majority of human beings.  We could learn that from this awesome thing called "history," but conservatives are very weird about history, so they decided to reinvent an L-shaped wheel again.*

Well, there was also the money motive.  A lot of abstinence-only educators got wealthy from the various governmental blessings of their creed.

In any case, one school using nothing but abstinence-only education for sex has an epidemic of chlamydia, and now the headmaster is trying to rethink this L-shaped wheel:

The superintendent of schools in Crane, Texas is rethinking the districts sexual education curriculum, after learning that 20 of the high schools 300 students have tested positive for chlamydia.
Jim Rummage told television station KFOR, "We do have an abstinence curriculum, and that evidently ain’t working. We need to do all we can, although it’s the parents’ responsibility to educate their kids on sexual education.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention isn't mincing any words, calling the outbreak a health issue of epidemic proportions.

What troubles me about some of the debate of these issues is that there are people who privilege the abstinence-only education over its likely negative consequences.  It's good enough for them that children were told to keep those pants zipped up.  What happens if the command fails might even satisfy those individuals, because the proper punishment for illicit sex is doled out.

*Reinventing the wheel can make a difference when something essential changes, such as the introduction of brand new materials.  But this is not the case with the abstinence-only education.  If anything, the old reasons for abstinence are weaker today, because there is contraception.