Monday, April 16, 2007

Let's Talk About Sex

I hope all those folks who got pissy about the $25 Million sugar beet funding (for renewable energy studies) will feel at least marginally pissy about the $1.5 Billion failure that's gone toward funding teenage abstinence programs.

Only the most delusional of humans could have believed this was a program worth funding. In fact, I imagine that the main supporters were either Christainists or that special group of people who long for the fictional golden era of 1950's non-sex.

The joke behind abstinence programs is that they're launched from the moral view that sex outside of marriage is bad and must be stopped. Anyone capable of mouthing the question "why?" isn't going to buy that argument. I mean, it's absurd from every angle. In fact, I chuckle when I think of the abstinence program extension aimed at 20-29 year olds. It's not that we all need to run around like animals in heat, but sex is an undeniable part of the human condition and experience. Pretending it's a forbidden fruit is just silly. It's also just as silly to think we should go back to marrying off 18 year olds so they can have sex under 'moral' conditions.

What we should be preaching to teens is that sex is surprisingly complex. There are biological consequences that include pregnancy and STDs, as well as psychological and emotional consequences. As with any other decision a person makes, one needs to be in a position to understand and mitigate the risks before taking action so that the right action can be taken. Maybe the right action is abstinence or maybe it's some other form of mitigation. The point is, there is more than one way to prevent pregnancy and STDs... it doesn't have to be abstinence. On the flip side, condoms won't prevent the emotional impact of sex on the emotionally unprepared. If morality has a role to play, it's really just a part of all that. It shouldn't be the whole of the discussion.

The best we can do for our kids is to educate them properly so they can make the choices that are best for them. It's called critical thinking, and yes -- that is a program that actually works.

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