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Author Topic: Obama's budget kills funding for abstinence-only sex ed
Chris Bridges
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If this goes through, this may have been worth voting him in all by itself.

quote:
The 2010 Budget proposes a new Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative to support community-based and faith-based efforts to reduce teen pregnancy using evidence-based and promising models. In addition, a new Strengthening Communities Fund will help build the capacity of non-profit organizations and State, Local and Tribal entities to better serve low-income and disadvantaged populations. This Budget also proposes funding for (1) a new child welfare initiative, and (2) a human services case management system for Federally-declared disasters. This Budget eliminates funding for Community-Based Abstinence Education, the mandatory Title V Abstinence Education program, the Compassion Capital Fund, and Rural Community Facilities.
That funding is replaced with an eye towards comprehensive eduction that includes abstinence as a goal.

Interestingly enough, while Bristol Palin is now the poster girl for abstinence-only sex ed, Meghan McCain supports comprehensive sex ed and wonders why other Republicans don't do the same.

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Synesthesia
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Exactly how much money does a program need to walk in and say, "Don't have sex." and walk out?

Meghan McCain is a sensible young woman. Perhaps she should run for office one day because at least her ideas make some sort of sense.

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Samprimary
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YES


YES YES YES YES YES

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Lalo
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I honestly wonder how this flew all these years. Did Republicans really think abstinence-only worked, or was it all just posturing about sticking it to the Democrats?
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scifibum
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quote:
Did Republicans really think abstinence-only worked, or was it all just posturing about sticking it to the Democrats?
For some, I'm sure, it wasn't about what prevented teen pregnancy but what was right (and that could have been intended to take into account lifelong or eternal consequences, not just pregnancy). I think the government's interest here is limited to preventing too-early pregnancy, though, so I'm cheering that ineffective AO programs will not be funded.
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Chris Bridges
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Because for some people, all issues are either-or. If we're not advocating total abstinence, we must therefore be promoting wanton promiscuity.

Also, why is this always focused on teen pregnancy? What happens when uneducated teens get older, marry, and then have unprotected sex when they shouldn't? Not all abortions are from single moms, and early birth control education would help avoid those as well.

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Christine
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I've known a lot of people to get pregnant accidentally, in and out of marriage. The two most recent accidents were in marriage and though they had the babies, I had to wonder if nobody had ever sat them down and explained how this stuff works. The answer, sadly, is often no. I don't know how many people have told me that they weren't trying to get pregnant, they just weren't not trying to get pregnant. The way I figure it is if you're having sex without using some kind of birth control, you're trying to get pregnant.

Abstinence is an ideal, not a birth control method. If has a huge failure rate. If parents want to teach that ideal, that's their prerogative, but the government isn't in the business of promoting ideals.

SO basically, go democrats! [Smile]

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scifibum
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My wife and I are fully aware of how birth control works, were trying NOT to get pregnant, and still did. Hello 99.5%, we're the .5% who got pregnant.
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katharina
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Sex leads to pregnancy. It is supposed to. It's a predictable consequence of it.

No matter what precautions you take, it can happen - life often finds a way. If you couldn't handle becoming a parent with your sweetheart, then you shouldn't have sex.

-------

I am absolutely supportive of all possible education concerning the function of our bodies and what we know and can do about it. Besides - there's a reason the naive virgin is a sexual trope. If you are too ignorant to know what's happening physically in and to your bodies, it means you are weaker and you are a target. Knowledge is power. If someone knows what's happening and what the choices and likely consequences are, they are in a much better position to stay abstinent in the first place.

The apple's been eaten, people! Eden has fallen! Your children can't stay in the garden anyway - please tell them how to deal with the world they are entering.

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Belle
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*raises hand* I am another .5% who was taking birth control as directed and still got pregnant. I knew how things worked and I was definitely NOT trying to get pregnant and still did.

I am not an abstinence-only advocate...but I still think we should always emphasize that abstinence is the only way to have 100% disease and pregnancy prevention.

I prefer comprehensive education that covers the reproductive system, how pregnancy occurs, how one gets STD's, what those STD's can do to you, and how best to prevent them with a consistent emphasis that only abstinence prevents them completely. I certainly don't mind covering birth control...but the pill may be really effective against pregnancy but does not prevent STD's. Kids need to know that. They need to know how their bodies work and what the risks of sex are.

In my opinion, the best way to approach this would be through a mandatory health class in middle school. I know the 7th graders at the school where I student taught all get several weeks of human anatomy of the reproductive system, and the counselors have sex ed that is taught toward the end of the year. Sadly, though, 7th grade may be too late. However, many parents I think would object to teaching it in the elementary schools.

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Christine
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All life is a game of odds. You're willing to take the risk or you aren't.

I do know for a fact that at least 3 of the people I was referring to did not give themselves the 99.5% chance and claimed to "not be trying to get pregnant, just not trying to avoid pregnancy." I'm not even sure what that means. [Smile]

It would be nice to have a very comprehensive sex education class that talks about how our bodies work. I only really learned about how my body works when I read some books on natural family planning a couple of years ago...I'm not currently using that as a birth control method but I'm so glad I learned it because it went into great detail about when and how a woman gets pregnant and the changes your body undergoes with the cycle of fertility.

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aspectre
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Nah, haven't ya ever wondered why BibleBelters (who mostly can't keep their pants zipped up when walking past a knothole) are the main proponents?

It's always been about family values.
And sugah daddies can save a LOT of money when sweet young thangs* get a kid before they get an education.
As for his wifey, well, she doesn't hafta put up with his fumbling incompetence.....and can go shopping with the money he's saved.
And their preachers get both: "saving the sinner" from men (other than themselves), and the money they raise by attacking the "sinners" who refuse such "saving" from the pulpit.

* Who'd normally be repulsed by such old&ugly "men" even if they weren't also near-pedophiles.

[ May 07, 2009, 06:27 PM: Message edited by: aspectre ]

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Blayne Bradley
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Who wants to bet how long itll take before someone waltz's in and says how this is another nail in the coffin of the USA's morality core?
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King of Men
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quote:
I am not an abstinence-only advocate...but I still think we should always emphasize that abstinence is the only way to have 100% disease and pregnancy prevention.
Point of order: Although it is better than 99.5%, it is not 100%, because of rape. And, of course, because teenagers are horny little devils who generally cannot use abstinence as directed, any more than they use condoms as directed.
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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Blayne Bradley:
Who wants to bet how long itll take before someone waltz's in and says how this is another nail in the coffin of the USA's morality core?

Is it fun to preempt outrage in your opposition by being obnoxiously apathetic?

I don't support abstinence only education, in the interest of full disclosure.

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TomDavidson
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Does anyone know if the budget actually eliminates the Title V program, or just eliminates funding for the program?
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swbarnes2
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
It would be nice to have a very comprehensive sex education class that talks about how our bodies work. I only really learned about how my body works when I read some books on natural family planning a couple of years ago...I'm not currently using that as a birth control method but I'm so glad I learned it because it went into great detail about when and how a woman gets pregnant and the changes your body undergoes with the cycle of fertility.

I always wondered why the Catholic church doesn't teach all students in their schools NFP. They must figure that most of the girls will get married some day, and the church will want them to know it then. If you taught it to young girls, then lots of them would know it before they even started having sex, and they'd be more likely to use it when they were married.

I guess the answer is pretty clear...that teaching girls to have some knowledge of their fertility might encourage them to have sex, thinking they knew how to avoid pregnancy. I suspect that the deeper reason is that the church thinks that sexuality should just be invisible and unexamined until marriage. That women should be ignorant of what the church claims is a really good tool for understanding themselves until they are delivered into the arms of their husbands.

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Darth_Mauve
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Two weeks ago I met a young woman from a well to-do part of town who had had success with her "Abstinence Only" teen pregnancy program at her local church. She was starting on the quest to make it a viable program. She had tons of energy and hope and youth, and enough intelligence to start by seeking grant funding. She was pretty and a bit hauty...noble in her pursuit to "simply tell the girls that its OK to say no."

Today I met an older woman who was in charge of the regional Teen Pregnancy Crisis Center. She didn't speak to me about funding or about morality or about sex. She spoke about Abstinence as a great part of a complete anti-teen pregnancy program. She spoke about the girls with baby girls and the proven ways to stop the cycle of poverty and pregnancy.

She smiled more.

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Christine
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The Catholic Church teaches NFP to couples who are planning to get married, in brief, and you can take a more comprehensive course as a married couple.

As to the rest, yeah, a lot of religious institutions seem to want to keep sex invisible, which is bad on so many levels it's hard to separate them.

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Belle
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My daughter took a class at our church that examined sexuality. We certainly don't try to keep sex invisible.
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Samprimary
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We have been needing to get here for a long time.

Abstinence-Only sex education is so ineffectual, that when they studied it versus comprehensive sex education, the abstinence-only group of teens had rates of STD transmission and accidental teenage pregnancy exactly as high as the control group that wasn't given any sex education at all.

It does not work. It is throwing money down a hole for the benefit of a bunch of wrongheaded moral initiatives. We have known this for a decade now.

This is the perfect way for it to die: stripped of funding by those who desire better policy informed by science, while the newly abandoned teenaged mom Bristol Palin stows away baby Tripp to act as a last-inning cheerleader for an ideology that, ultimately, failed her.

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Chris Bridges
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quote:
I am not an abstinence-only advocate...but I still think we should always emphasize that abstinence is the only way to have 100% disease and pregnancy prevention.
Absolutely. Plus the other reasons for abstinence are still very much there: the importance of learning self-control, of learning how to pick and choose instead of letting peer pressure determine your sex life, of knowing that you can resist the pressures of your body when it makes sense to do so.

But abstinence-only sex ed is flat-out ridiculous.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
...while the newly abandoned teenaged mom Bristol Palin stows away baby Tripp to act as a last-inning cheerleader for an ideology that, ultimately, failed her.
Wow. That's pretty damn crass, man.

That said, I'm delighted at the real possibility abstinence-only 'education' might be getting the boot. It's an embarrassment on a variety of levels.

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Tatiana
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quote:
Originally posted by katharina:
The apple's been eaten, people! Eden has fallen! Your children can't stay in the garden anyway - please tell them how to deal with the world they are entering.

Hear, hear!
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Samprimary
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By their own metrics, Bristol's tale is exactly what abstinence only education is most trying to avoid: babies without daddies. This was bad right down to the shotgun marriage pressures that were based more on political damage control needs than on mommy & daddy's long-term compatibility, making this a textbook example, more than anything, of why Bristol should not be listened to, and Meghan McCain should be the voice of reason.
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Nick
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I'm really glad to see this. I was educated properly in school. I'm glad I knew about STDs and pregnancy because honestly, that's what put fear in me to make the responsible sex decisions that I made in my life. When I was younger, I would rarely refrain from something because adults said "It's bad, don't do it!"
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Samprimary
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crosspostin' a friends post

quote:
ON THE SUBJECT OF BOGUS AO SEX ED, PRODUCTS OF

In my stats class we're developing a survey - as a whole class - to administer to random students we pin down on campus. We've decided to ask them about healthy behavior, including sexual behavior. It's cool, and I like stats.

One girl mentioned that she thought you could get STIs from toilet seats - and while I was quietly(ish) explaining why this was very wrong another complained that our question asking about safe sex was badly worded "because oral sex is safe."

At which point I started talking louder (the two girls I was talking to were not sitting next to me, so I was talking to them across the room), and the whole conversation became a sex ed lecture

Which led to more questions about basic sex ed from other people ("What's a dental dam?")

The teacher was laughing too hard to stop me, or didn't care, so I kept answering until she decided we'd gone on long enough (maybe 10 minutes, total).

These are mother******* college students. We have seriously failed them.


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Christine
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Wow, and I thought I pretty much had this stuf down, but I'd never heard of a dental dam before. (Wikipedia has enlightened me.)

quote:

I'm really glad to see this. I was educated properly in school. I'm glad I knew about STDs and pregnancy because honestly, that's what put fear in me to make the responsible sex decisions that I made in my life. When I was younger, I would rarely refrain from something because adults said "It's bad, don't do it!"

I've never found that lack of information about the possible consequences is the problem. Even in abstinence-only "education," I'm pretty sure they go over the fact that you could get pregnant or get an STD. Putting the fear in kids is only half the battle. Giving them tools to make responsible choices is the other half...and that's knowledge.
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MightyCow
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If you trust your kids to make the right choices about sex, you should trust them enough to educate them about the choices.

Trying to enforce rules with ignorance only results in people being unable to make correct choices on their own.

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Tresopax
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quote:
By their own metrics, Bristol's tale is exactly what abstinence only education is most trying to avoid: babies without daddies.
That's not the only thing its trying to avoid, though. More generally, it's trying to prevent students from adopting unhealthy and unethical attitudes about sex. Teen pregnancy is the tip of that iceberg.
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scifibum
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"More generally, it's trying to prevent students from adopting unhealthy and unethical attitudes about sex."

Isn't it actually trying to prevent students from adopting sex? Or rather, isn't the point of view that the only healthy, ethical attitude toward sex for teenagers is "don't do it"?

I kind of agree...I think it'd be better if teens weren't doing it (or maybe it's that if I didn't get to do it, no one should).

But it kind of sucks to end up with more pregnant kids in the attempt. If the algebra abstinence-only advocates employ simply weighs STDs and pregnancies against other factors, and they get outweighed, then they should be a little more up front about it. I mean, if there's a way these programs have not been failing, then there seems to be a lack of explanation of what that is.

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
By their own metrics, Bristol's tale is exactly what abstinence only education is most trying to avoid: babies without daddies.
That's not the only thing its trying to avoid, though. More generally, it's trying to prevent students from adopting unhealthy and unethical attitudes about sex. Teen pregnancy is the tip of that iceberg.
He didn't say only, he said most. And as far as I can tell, abstinence only education pretty much fails at all of its goals. If there's one it succeeds at, I'd love to hear about it.
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Tresopax
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quote:
Isn't it actually trying to prevent students from adopting sex? Or rather, isn't the point of view that the only healthy, ethical attitude toward sex for teenagers is "don't do it"?
Yes - but I think the goal is not just to tell them that, but also to make sure they end up with healthy attitudes about sex that they can carry forward throughout the rest of their life. It's about future adult behavior just as much as current teen behavior.

But beyond even that, I think it's really about influencing the future course of our culture. The reason for taking the "abstinence only" stand seems to be not so much that it is more effective at changing the behavior of individual studets directly (since studies dispute that), but more that there is a hope that by making it the policy in schools we can set abstinence as the cultural norm. I think it's about making a statement, in the hopes that it will change cultural attitudes about sex in the long run, and end up promoting healthier attitudes about sex.

Having said that, I am skeptical of the ability of government programs to influence things like that. It strikes me as similar to the notion of the government thinking it can control what is considered cool simply by declaring certain things cool or uncool. The government usually lacks that power.

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kmbboots
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I am skeptical that abstinence as a cultural norm for adults is necessarily a healthier attitude.
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Tresopax
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Abstaining until the right time, however one defines it, would be the healthier attitude for adults for the same reasons it is the healthier attitude for teenagers - because many adults lack acommitted long-term relationship, lack preparedness for the potential consequences, etc. Simply turning 18 doesn't change much.
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Tarrsk
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As usual, kmbboots took the words right out of my mouth.

Anecdotally, the people in my life who have had access to modern sex education are generally much happier, emotionally healthier, and generally more mature than similarly-aged friends who've only gone through abstinence-only education. Less repression, a sense of self-respect that comes from their elders' willingness to let them reach decisions on their own, the simple ability to talk about sexual topics without feeling guilty - these are all good, healthy things.

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kmbboots
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Tresopax, if "abstaining until the right time" means nothing more than making good judgements for yourself about when and when not to have sex then I would agree. If you mean something else, I don't.

"Abstinence as a cultural norm" does not give that impression. And I don't think that abstinence only sex ed prepares teenagers to use their judgement about when and when not to have sex.

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Belle
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quote:
Less repression, a sense of self-respect that comes from their elders' willingness to let them reach decisions on their own, the simple ability to talk about sexual topics without feeling guilty - these are all good, healthy things.
You can get those good, healthy things while still holding up abstinence until marriage as a laudable goal, however. I mean, I focus on empowering my daughters with knowledge and with self-esteem - I never want them to think they need a boyfriend to define themselves, or that sex is the only way to demonstrate love for someone. I beleve in education and knowledge - I taught my teen exactly how her body works (we sat down with a college anatomy book). I've covered the fertility cycle, and the risks of sexual activity.

But more than the mechanics or the consequences of sex, I've talked to her about what it means to date and spend time with someone - how to respond if she ever feels pressured to have sex, or how to talk to her boyfriend (when she ever gets one!) about her expectations for their relationship. Sex education is more than just "this is what sex is, this is what can happen, and this is what contraception is." At least, it is to me.

I don't expect schools or government programs to cover all that, obviously different people have different views on the moral or religious aspects of sexuality. So, that makes this a very controversial issue, because everyone has different ideas about what is appropriate. The best role the schools or govt programs can fill is the education one - making sure kids understand how their own reproductive systems work, how one gets pregnant, what the risks of sexual activity are, and how to make informed choices.

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Tresopax
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By "abstaining until the right time" I mean until one is prepared for the consequences, including prepared to have a baby if that ends up happening, and until one is in a committed, long-term relationship. For some this might mean "marriage"; for others it might just mean being a responsible adult and having a boyfriend/girlfriend. But it doesn't mean one night stands, or whenever a person wants, or as soon as the law declares a person an adult.

This should be the goal, in my view. The evidence seems to suggest Abstinence-only education does little-to-nothing to advance it though. I'd generally believe more information, more openness is better. And I'd think the best option is probably one best decided upon by the community, not the national goverment - since communities differ greatly in their attitudes.

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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by Christine:
Wow, and I thought I pretty much had this stuf down, but I'd never heard of a dental dam before. (Wikipedia has enlightened me.)

Wow... Really?

Sometimes I forget what a wide cultural gap there is between the sexual preferences... Where you taught abstinence only? Did they figure no one in your class would indulge in cunnilingus? Are you old like me and were edumacated before the "Safe Sex" revolution?

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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I am skeptical that abstinence as a cultural norm for adults is necessarily a healthier attitude.

Exactly.

In fact, it is my perception that many of the ways in which we repress sexuality or make it something dirty or to be feared, including abstinence-only programs, create long-term problems for healthy sexual behavior WITHIN long-term committed relationships (ie marriage).

We do this in subtle and overt ways, starting as soon as our children our born. Even naming the parts of the body associated with sexuality is something that parents have problems with.

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scifibum
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I've certainly heard of dental dams, but what I haven't heard is anyone say they've actually used one. Not that I've done any surveys on the topic.
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Puppy
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quote:
In fact, it is my perception that many of the ways in which we repress sexuality or make it something dirty or to be feared, including abstinence-only programs, create long-term problems for healthy sexual behavior WITHIN long-term committed relationships (ie marriage).
It is possible to treat a subject with caution and respect without creating fear or repression. I think for most of us here on the pro-abstinence side, that's the goal. Not to repress people, but to teach them responsibility, including the very difficult skill of giving up something you want now to avoid a potential risk in the future.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
quote:
In fact, it is my perception that many of the ways in which we repress sexuality or make it something dirty or to be feared, including abstinence-only programs, create long-term problems for healthy sexual behavior WITHIN long-term committed relationships (ie marriage).
It is possible to treat a subject with caution and respect without creating fear or repression. I think for most of us here on the pro-abstinence side, that's the goal. Not to repress people, but to teach them responsibility, including the very difficult skill of giving up something you want now to avoid a potential risk in the future.
When trying to teach responsibility and prudence is done through withholding information, it is almost by definition neither responsible nor prudent.
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scifibum
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It might be prudent here to clarify that "abstinence only" education does indeed involve withholding various information, such as methods of birth control and disease prevention other than abstinence. I'm personally fine with advocating for abstinence as long as the other information is provided as well.
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Javert
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quote:
Originally posted by Puppy:
I think for most of us here on the pro-abstinence side

I think we should be clear that there's a difference, potentially a large one, between those who are "pro-abstinence" and those who are "pro-abstinence only education". There's nothing wrong with promoting abstinence. But teaching abstinence only has been shown to do far more harm than good.
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The Pixiest
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I've certainly heard of dental dams, but what I haven't heard is anyone say they've actually used one. Not that I've done any surveys on the topic.

And people are generally reluctant to talk about their sexual practices. At least with people who probably don't share them.
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Darth_Mauve:
Two weeks ago I met a young woman from a well to-do part of town who had had success with her "Abstinence Only" teen pregnancy program at her local church. She was starting on the quest to make it a viable program. She had tons of energy and hope and youth, and enough intelligence to start by seeking grant funding. She was pretty and a bit hauty...noble in her pursuit to "simply tell the girls that its OK to say no."

Today I met an older woman who was in charge of the regional Teen Pregnancy Crisis Center. She didn't speak to me about funding or about morality or about sex. She spoke about Abstinence as a great part of a complete anti-teen pregnancy program. She spoke about the girls with baby girls and the proven ways to stop the cycle of poverty and pregnancy.

She smiled more.

[Smile]

quote:
I think we should be clear that there's a difference, potentially a large one, between those who are "pro-abstinence" and those who are "pro-abstinence only education".
Excellent distinction.
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theamazeeaz
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In every sex-ed class, abstinence is always touted at the only 100% way. Even the ones that tell you what dental dams are.
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Christine
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
It might be prudent here to clarify that "abstinence only" education does indeed involve withholding various information, such as methods of birth control and disease prevention other than abstinence. I'm personally fine with advocating for abstinence as long as the other information is provided as well.

That is an important clarification, thanks.

Although as it happens, I am neither pro-abstinence only education nor pro-abstinence, at least if we're defining the pro-abstinence stand as no sex until marriage.

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