Thursday, June 28, 2007
No bling, no ring-a-ding-ding
Today, SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States released their review of sexuality education and abstinence until marriage programs in the U.S.

I've had a chance to skim the sucker and here goes:

First off, I have to start with the fact that I have been raging against the wrong machine. I have no problem with abstinence. Confession here -- I am abstinent. It is my choice and a good one for me at that.

There are two key words missing from what I have been talking about in these previous posts and those are "until" and "marriage".

Problems I have with abstinence until marriage (AUM - ironic isn't it...):

1. Some of us aren't going to get married. The AUM groups believe that you should never have sex.

2. Some of us cannot legally get married. These are the sodomites and lesbos and perverted queers who are many of my favorite people, not to mention probably your hairdresser. And I'm speaking to you, Leslee Unruh - cute haircut.

3. Why be abstinent until marriage? Here's where (I think) it gets interesting.

All programs that receive AUM funds must adhere to the definition of abstinence education which specifies, in part, that “a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the expected standard of all human sexual activity” and that “sexual activity outside the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects.”

I would like to direct your attention to the part about "standard of all human sexual activity".

This statement indicates that homosexuality is abnormal and of all things, unexpected. (OMG, Johnny is queer!). Not only is it deviant, as our definition informs us, but it is also dangerous.

And here, I am going to agree. Sexuality is dangerous.
  • You might get your heart broken
  • You might get herpes
  • You might have a terrible time
  • You might get taken advantage of
But you might do these things in or out of the sacred bonds of marriage. Check your local rags. Britney, Jeri Ryan, Pam Anderson, Reese Witherspoon, your neighbors and friends and on and on and on and on.

Abstinence until marriage is not the panacea that Muffy and Bobby are being led to believe. Abstinence until marriage will not guarantee you the perfect life partner or a happy marriage or disease free life. Furthermore, daddy cannot protect his baby from any harm by having his daughter pledge her purity to him at a dance where you eat wedding cake while signing virginity pledges. Yet, the Abstinence Clearinghouse, a major resource for those receiving federal abstinence until marriage funding, distributes close to 700 “Purity Ball Planner” booklets a year and points out that the tips in the booklet include “printing out the vows on beautiful paper” and “serving wedding cake for dessert.

In 19 freakin' 48, Alfred Kinsey wrote:

"The world is not to be divided into sheep and goats. It is a fundamental of taxonomy that nature rarely deals with discrete categories... The living world is a continuum in each and every one of its aspects."

So, if we are not just sheep and goats, perhaps we are not all heterosexually oriented and doin' it in the missionary position starting exactly on the day we pledge our undying love and obedience to some idiot lovely individual we met 10 months ago at a purity ball. But that is not what the Bush administration and his gang of (neo) cons wants for their God-fearing America.

What they are not telling us is that 80% of them did it before the ring was firmly slammed shut onto their fingers. A recent Guttmacher Institute study showed that premarital sex has been universal for decades and that among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44. (Accessed 6/27/07).

Hypocrisy perhaps? Or just wanting better for their children than they had? Or perhaps they hear dollar bills falling like snow in Aspen.

Between 1996 and federal Fiscal Year 2006, Congress funneled over $1.5 billion dollars (through both federal and state matching funds) to abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. (SIECUS)

“All of a sudden, abstinence is a business,” Unruh told a reporter in 2002 as she noted that more than 900 new abstinence-only-until-marriage organizations emerged in the last decade. (accessed 6/27/07).

According to research done by SIECUS, a cadre of national abstinence-only-until-marriage speakers, charging anywhere from $1,000–$5,000 per presentation, are at the fingertips of school districts, local county health departments, faith-based organizations, and others who have hundreds of thousands of federal dollars to spend every year. Whether receiving federal funds themselves or not, many of these entrepreneurs advertise to federal grantees that their products, presentations, and novelty items meet the federal government’s requirements for use in abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Meanwhile - over here in reality-land, these people show a total disregard for sound public health practices and responsible spending. They are using the facade of public health to promote religion (most specifically, Christianity though not entirely), marriage with no other options presented, anti-gay bias, anti-choice politics and distortions about actual scientific public health issues.

SIECUS' analysis of the issues is incredibly thorough and I could go on and on but read the report for yourself. I highly recommend it.

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Blogger Laurie Ann said...

Does this mean that should a couple divorce, they aren't allowed to have sex again until they remarry? Because that would be sex outside the context of marriage. Or does this only apply to the first time.

Either way it's all bunk. Crimony, I can't imagine what it would be like to be a 42-year-old virgin.

Blogger Viva Scrapper! said...

I was a 22 year old virgin and I may as well been from another planet...

My 12 year old completed the 7th grade "Family Life" program at her middle school. It is an abstinence only program, because the school gets federal funding and I guess that's what they have to teach in order to keep it these days.

Do you even want to know what phrasing the teacher used to refer to the external male genitalia? Oh heck, I'll tell ya anyway. "Man Parts."

That's right, my daughter's teacher said "Man Parts." Because she was educating the children about, er, well. I'm not sure.

My 12 y/o's summation of her sex ed class: "If you have sex before you are married in a church in front of God, you will get pregnant from a scorching case of chlamydia and then you will DIE. The end."


Blogger Bing said...

Ha! These people!

Something that I've noticed (I have a special talent for noticing the obvious), is that the religious right wants to be damned sure that SEX HAS BAD CONSEQUENCES, not that people believe it, but in fact does lead to things like chlamidiuaya, er... crotch rot, pregnancy, humiliation, social ostracism, etc. I recently wrote something about this issue called: "Hi. I'm Bing. May I Smear Grape Jelly on Your Poozle?" It's pretty funny (not my blog, the wacky assertions of the "cut it off and bury it in the yard" constituency).

BAT, people! Yeeehaw! I'm having a great time!


Blogger Carrie Arnold said...

My best friend and college roomie was raised Catholic and is recovering from that experience. However, the advice her mom gave her about sex was this: "If you're going to be a sinner, be a smart sinner."

In essence, "I don't approve of you having sex before marriage, but if you're going to, that's no excuse not to use a condom or other form of birth control."

Quite sane and realistic viewpoint, all things considered.

Blogger BAC said...

One of my favorite quote is something I read on the web site of the documentary The Education of Shelby Knox. It's by Butch Hancock, of The Flatlanders Band, and he said: "Life in Lubbock, Texas taught me two things: one is that God loves you and you're going to burn in hell; the other is that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on Earth and you should save it for someone you love."


Blogger Marian said...

"all human sexual activity"?????

Like, all of it? Like no 1st, 2nd, 3rd base with your highschool boyfriend or girlfriend? No masterbation? No watching any movie starring Johnny Depp and thinking vaguely lecherous thoughts? No kissing? Where exactly does "all human sexual activity" begin? Maybe these AUM people are just talking about hetero coitus and everything else doesn't relly exist so we can just go on doing it?

Blogger sajidnizami said...

Gawd! I cannot think of being a 42 year old vigin! I am already going on 24 though!! .. lol

Come to think of it, every monothiest religion has been preaching this same thing. Odd isn't it, they say get married earlier in life and do not fornicate outside the bounds.

Nobody gives thought, because well, when everyone is having a jolly good time why would you think.

Blogger Susan said...

I agree, abstinence is a great choice if you're trying to avoid some of the negative side effects of sex (and I'm thinking even more of the broken heart type of side effects rather than the health side effects). I also think that abstinence taught in a vacuum does no good whatsoever.

Don't even get me started on this administration's complete disregard for scientific research- both medical and psychological. I can't tell you how much I want to shake the president every time he appoints some minister who's taken a biology class once to a scientific post. I guess if you think you can prevent pre-marital sex by teaching abstinence, you would also think that if you ignore science and nature, they'll just go away.

Blogger Batocchio said...

The AUM folks are all about social control, not health or safety. If you're allowed a choice, you might choose something they might not approve of!

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