Free Email

COTIE: Citizen Of The Infernal Empire

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Sex Is Dirty - Save It For Someone You Love

Federally funded abstinence education programs that are used in 25 states contain false and misleading information about contraception, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases, said Rep. Henry Waxman.
.
.
.
The Why kNOw curriculum teaches: "Women gauge their happiness and judge their success by their relationships. Men's happiness and success hinge on their accomplishments."

Of course abstinence education contains false or misleading information - if teachers told the truth, they couldn't scare the pants on all the boys and girls. There would be rampant sexual activity in the school hallways. Young girls would turn to drugs and alcohol and prostitution, and would wind up pregnant, diseased and alone.

There is conflicting information available regarding the incidence rate of unwanted teen pregnancies. As is usual, the numbers, no matter who provides them, are presented in such a way as to favor the presenter. The raw data are not available (that I have found), so independent verification of the claims of either side of the debate is a hopeless task.

So I'll stick to what I'm good, or at least better, at: forming opinions based on observation and common sense.

Says The Heritage Foundation in "The Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual Activity Among Youth" by Robert E. Rector:
Early sexual activity has multiple negative consequences for young people. Research shows that young people who become sexually active are not only vulnerable to STDs, but also likely to experience emotional and psychological injuries, subsequent marital difficulties, and involvement in other high-risk behaviors.
Significantly, research shows that condom use offers relatively little protection (from "zero" to "some") for herpes and no protection from the deadly HPV.
Let's break down the above into smaller chunks.


"Early sexual activity has multiple negative consequences for young people."

It is certainly possible that young people may experience negative consequences, as do many adults, but this is not a proven, scientifically reproducable outcome. Many people, young and old alike, make poor relationship decisions. Others have very gratifying relationships. Poor decision making skills is not the sole domain of the young.


Research shows that young people who become sexually active are not only vulnerable to STDs...

Sexually active persons, regardless of age, are vulnerable to STDs. STDs do not discriminate based on age.


[A]lso likely to experience emotional and psychological injuries, subsequent marital difficulties, and involvement in other high-risk behaviors.

There is no direct scientific link between sex and psychological "injuries." There is, however, a direct scientific (well, psychological) link between fear/guilt and psychological "injuries."

Imagine that you are told from an early age that you will die if you jump up-and-down on your left foot, with your right middle finger in your left ear, while both eyes are closed. If you are warned enough about it, and shown disturbing images of people who died from doing it, I'd be willing to bet you either would be too scared to do it, or would live in a state of panic for weeks or months afterwards.

Can such an activity be fatal? Sure it can. If you're standing on the edge of cliff, or next to a busy roadway, or are located anywhere near a hazardous situation where losing your balance will surely kill you.


Significantly, research shows that condom use offers relatively little protection (from "zero" to "some") for herpes and no protection from the deadly HPV.

The deadly HPV. Not the potentially deadly HPV. Not the sometimes deadly HPV. The deadly HPV.

You know what HPV is? Genital warts. And yes, some strains can cause, or at least speed up the development of, various cancers. HPV by itself is not deadly (at least not that I read).

Let's take a look at the mission statement published by The Heritage Foundation:
Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institute - a think tank - whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense.
It all comes down to "conservative" "traditional American values." Marriage. Only in marriage is sexual activity emotionally and physically safe, and free from the otherwise horrible consequences. Take the following statements (emphasis mine):
A series of broken intimate relationships can undermine an individual's capacity to enter into a committed, loving marital relationship.

Marital relationships that follow early sexual activity can also suffer from the emotional impact of infertility resulting from an STD infection, ranging from a sense of guilt to depression.
"A series of broken intimate relationships can" also have little or no impact on "an individual's capacity to enter into a committed, loving marital relationship."

"Marital relationships that follow " any "sexual activity can also suffer from the emotional impact of infertility resulting from an STD infection" if an STD was contracted either prior to or during the marriage, whether that sexual activity, and resulting infection occured in youth or in a previous "committed, loving marital relationship."

It's all about using fear and guilt to influence others. It all sounds reasonable until you start picking it apart. And fear and guilt are the favored tools of the "American values" pushers. They believe in certain ideals, and in order to establish the society that they believe is best, need everyone to conform. Fear and guilt are useful tools to this end.
Many young girls report experiencing regret or guilt after their initial sexual experience. In the words of one psychiatrist who recalls the effects of her own sexual experimentation in her teens, "The longest-standing, deepest wound I gave myself was heartfelt; that sick, used feeling of having given a precious part of myself--my soul--to so many and for nothing, still aches. I never imagined I'd pay so dearly and for so long.

I have talked to many women who do indeed regret, and feel guilty about, early sexual experimentation. But upon further questioning, those women admitted that their guilt is the result of fear of being branded a slut, and their regret stems from not having had the skills required for making responsible relationship decisions. That seems to support the idea that young people do not have the capacity for engaging in responsible sexual relationships. But maturity and responsibility is learned; not suddenly received by revelation. There is no government van that pulls up outside your home in the pre-dawn hours of your eighteenth birthday or wedding day (which ever comes first), and instills in you maturity and responsibility.

A study reported in Pediatrics magazine found that sexually active boys aged 12 through 16 are four times more likely to smoke and six times more likely to use alcohol than are those who describe themselves as virgins. Among girls in this same age cohort, those who are sexually active are seven times more likely to smoke and 10 times more likely to use marijuana than are those who are virgins.

According to the bibliography for this entry, this study was conducted by "D. P. Orr, M. Beiter, and G. Ingersoll." I found next to nothing on the Internet regarding these people except for this single report. Also mentioned in the same entry is "The Institute for Youth Development," which includes in its mission statement (emphasis mine):
IYD is a non-partisan, non-profit organization that promotes a comprehensive message to youth in the U.S. and around the world to avoid five harmful risk behaviors that are inextricably linked: alcohol, drugs, sex, tobacco and violence.
Inextricably linked?

According to Dictionary.com, the term "inextricable" has the following definitions:
  • So intricate or entangled as to make escape impossible
  • Difficult or impossible to disentangle or untie
  • Too involved or complicated to solve
  • Unavoidable; inescapable
In order for the above quote to be true, everyone who engages in any one of the listed behaviors, must engage in all of the others. I think we all know that simply isn't the case.

I have not discovered who commissioned the study. However, it is important to remember that "studies" are often skewed to "prove" a theory (on both sides of the debate). If an organisation has a particular bias, they are going to pay someone to "prove" their argument.

In closing, and I know I didn't scrutinise this subject as closely as I could have, but I have other more imporatnt things to do, don't believe everything you read or hear, and certainly make certain that when someone tells you something, make sure that you understand what their goal is for telling you.


Free EmailClick here to get your PGP compatible secure free email with Hushmail!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home