Abstinence-only education benefits nobody, so why are we still debating it?

According to some concerned citizens of the United States of ‘Merica, fornication among youth is the downfall of today’s society – even more so than gun violence, systemic oppression or the depletion of Earth’s resources.

Across the nation, these noble individuals have taken to middle and high school classrooms in the South and elsewhere, armed with Peppermint Patties and words of condemnation, in their quest to squash the ever-present threat of budding sexuality among these poor, defenseless children. And they honestly believe they’re achieving good in the world.

Because really, what’s better than raising young people to believe that sex – the very thing that put them here – will turn their bodies into dirty pieces of candy or chewed-up gum? Or better yet, implying that a child born out of wedlock is the worst thing that can ever happen?

There’s plenty of evidence that suggests fact-based, comprehensive sex education and improved access to contraception can lower pregnancy and STI rates among teens and young people, while abstinence-only education provides less information and more scare tactics. But who really needs facts when the Bible and Hershey’s chocolate are all you need to combat the evils of puberty and libido?

I mean, just look at nearly every state in the South, still fighting the good fight, with their feet firmly planted in the 1950s. Ah, the golden years when everyone was straight, white was right and there was no such thing as a woman who wasn’t a virgin unless she charged for her services. When did it all go wrong?

It’s to the point now where school nurses and guidance counselors are compelled to actually do their jobs and allow their students to make healthy, informed choices. Heaven forbid. Messing with the precious structure put in place by the good Christian people of this nation is just exploiting these precocious minds that so clearly want this information.

Needless to say, abstinence-only education isn’t working. You don’t need to be a scientist to figure it out – the numbers are available everywhere, from studies by the University of California, San Francisco and Columbia University to the Huffington Post. Young people are going to have sex, and the more you treat the act as a negative thing, the more they will want to rebel. And they will rebel using the most reckless methods possible.

So provide information, not inaccuracy. Look at statistics, not Scriptures. (Though it’s possible to believe in both.) Focus on giving young people access to as much protection and communication as is necessary for numbers to keep trending in the right direction. And for heaven’s sake, stop acting like “sex” is a dirty word.


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Twitter: @A_Rodriguez39