|UCH HAS BEEN said about fear-based sex education in the past few years. And I finally think I have figured out what they're talking about.|
Yes, there is a lot of fear out there in the world of sex education. It literally leaps off the pages of newspapers as editors willingly print the sound bites fed to them by people who are afraid of abstinence education. One gigantic fear, built on lots of big, big fears:
Fear of admitting to differences between men and women ... hormonal, physical, and emotional differences. Any hint that men and women see sex and relationships from different perspectives is denounced as stereotyping the sexes.
Fear about medically accurate information on fetal development. Any hint that students might think the "blob" inside the womb is a baby ... this is denounced as teaching a moral value.
Fear about medically accurate information on failure rates of condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. This is denounced as too much information. Fear-mongers prefer to wrap up all this information into one vague promise called "protected sex."
Fear of typical use rates about the real failure rates of condoms and contraception. This is denounced as the wrong type of information. Fear-mongers prefer teaching the laboratory rates of failure which occur when a stainless steel machine wears a condom installed carefully by a dispassionate lab tech under bright lights.
Fear of defining sex as absolutely inappropriate for youth. Instead, fearing to set a line in the sand, these "sexperts" have decided to let children decide for themselves when they are ready for sex: "Are you ready to have sex, dear? Go ahead and think about it. You decide. Don't ask me. Are you mature enough? You are mature enough when you think you are mature enough. Don't ask me."
Fear of scrutiny on sex education lessons such as those that promote mutual masturbation, redefined as "outercourse" (as opposed to intercourse) ... fear of parents and medical experts exposing this type of "education" as a violation of sound judgment and medically accurate truths about its high-risk nature.
Fear of concrete language which sets unambiguous standards based on unambiguous information about healthy sexual behaviors. Instead, fearing fear itself, they prefer to hide behind vague, undefined terms such as saf-er-er-er-er sex ... and "protected sex" ... and the all-important "responsible sex" -- terms that children, once again, are left to define for themselves.
Fear of letting parents have control of the health and well-being of their own children, these advocates of saf-er-er-er-er sex prefer to hide behind "confidentiality." This conveniently allows them to provide STD testing and abortions to students, without the knowledge of parents, never having to deal truthfully with what happens when saf-er-er-er-er sex is not saf-er-er-er-er sex.
And finally ... when all else fails ... the champions of fear can scrape all the way down to the bottom of the barrel of their fears and dredge up fear of religion. They make sexual intercourse into a religious value. They make marriage a religious issue. They make everything a religious issue. And not just any religion.
Tapping into the deepest fear of Americans, these fear-mongers promote the idea that supporters of abstinence education are members of a draconian conspiracy conceived by Catholics and adopted by Protestants to teach religion, to have kids genuflecting before they graduate.
Yes, fear is rampant in public discourse about sex education. Afraid that their version of liberated sex will be revealed by medically accurate information as a threat to the health and well-being of young people, fear is the major tool used by those who spend every waking and sleeping moment figuring out ways to derail, disembowel, and disenfranchise those who support abstinence education programs.
The greatest fear of those who promote fear-based sex education is that the truth will get out. Waving their arms, like scoundrels crying "fire" in a crowded theater, they are hoping parents and legislators will close their eyes and run away from abstinence education, in a mindless panic. But, in the light of thoughtful discourse, truth will endure. It always does.
Abstinence education promotes healthy attitudes about sex for young people, attitudes and behaviors founded on medically accurate information about sex and healthy relationships. Abstinence education advocates that sex be reserved for a time in life when it will produce the healthiest outcomes for our children ... and their children ... sex at the right time, for the right reasons, with the right person.
If this is a message that generates fear, then you have to wonder if these fearful "sexperts" deserve the right to teach our children.
A former elementary school teacher, Jane Jimenez (firstname.lastname@example.org) is now a freelance writer dedicated to issues of importance to women and the family. She writes a regular column titled "From the Home Front." Her work has appeared in both Christian and secular publications. Jane and her husband Victor live in Phoenix and have two children.
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