Friday, October 28, 2011

Abstinence-only Sex Education

To all those card-carrying abstinence-only sex education supporters out there, hopefully you're doing some major damage control at the dinner table. (That is, if you’re even having dinner as a family these days[1].)

Abstinence-only sex education in schools is an interesting idea. But…how realistic is it in today’s society where there is literally access to information and influence everywhere? For example, assume the main character in any teen’s favorite prime time television series is probably not abstinent. Add a few hundred online/tv interviews with sexy celebrities (or their pregnant siblings) and the lyrics of most any song on the radio/top 100 list and you have a pre-existing after school sex education program that you (the parents) probably pay for (meaning the cable, ipod, movie tickets, laptop and that HD flatscreen television you bought).

Yep, abstinence-only sex education or not, your kid is exposed to sexuality and the choices other people their age make about sex every minute of every day. Advocating abstinence-only sex education - when documentaries, online quizzes, made for tv movies, Oprah Winfrey and Tyra Banks are covering everything from vibrators and viruses to whether or not oral sex is in fact sex - is probably not the best choice.

But, not having the uncomfortable conversations with your own children on top of your kids not learning about sex at school is really nuts. Some parents are afraid to ask or just naïve about what their teenagers knowledge of sexual health and healthy sexual activity but, waiting until your teen comes home pregnant or infected seems a little hands-off.


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