Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Since politicians' personal lives are always far more interesting than their policies and values, Sarah Palin's daughter's pregnancy is Big News. Which makes sense as it was undoubtedly Palin's personal decision to get her daughter pregnant, right? Anyway, this whole thing has segued into a discussion of abstinence-only sex education.

The thing that amazes me about abstinence is not just that I would've been expected to be abstinent as a kid (which, in retrospect, might not have been the worst thing, although it didn't destroy me either), but that the expectation would be continued into now. I'm twenty-two, and you can't argue with a straight face that my tender immaturity makes me unprepared for all the big scary adult responsibilities of sex. (Well, you probably could if you knew me, but anyway.) And yet, since I'm not married, I'd ideally be a contraception-ignorant virgin now. This isn't just an issue of kids having sex. This is an issue of how people who are going to be adults are educated.

Or, if I weren't a virgin, maybe I would've married the first guy I wanted to have sex with. Dear God. Whatever emotional damage I might've theoretically sustained from fucking the wrong guy too young and with too many delusions of Eternal Wuv, it sure as hell wasn't as bad as if I'd married him.

Here's a pretty typical debate on the subject and the inspiration for this post. I'm amazed by the people saying things like "teaching contraception doesn't stop unwanted pregnancies" or "Imagine going into a classroom, and instead of assuming they're all a bunch of animals who can't control their urges and pushing condom use, you tell them sex is special."

Hmm. Sex is special. That's why you shouldn't have any for years! Too special for you! Only people who are in real magical special love get to have sex! And teenage couples are always very realistic about knowing they don't have that!

We are animals. We're animals who can control our urges, but not when we see no good reason not to. And in this case, well, there is no very good reason. Nothing about marriage makes "heartache, std's, unplanned pregnancy, etc." impossible and nothing about safe, respectful unmarried sex is wrong. Let's do it like they do on the Discovery Channel.


  1. Amen, sister.

    Abstinence is foolproof. Giving horny teenagers no option other than abstinence is anything but foolproof. I know a grand total of two people who were virgins when they graduated high school.

  2. I like to consider myself center-right (or really, just politically schizophrenic in a lot of ways), but either way it's far enough to that side to have gotten involved in several debates on the subject.

    With the best of them- that is, the most logical and intellectually and morally cogent- the point we finally reached was that they could not ethically accept what they saw as implicitly implying that underaged (not just premarital, we did come to agree that people who stick to that are quite rare) sex was okay, and that that was an unacceptable message for an authority figure to give.

    To which my response was that they are going to be adults and that if they're not bright enough to figure out the difference between knowledge and condoning they're kind of screwed anyway, but that's where we bowed out on.

    As a side observation, after watching the Palin-pregnancy brouhaha through both sides of the blogosphere and the mainstream media, it seems that hardcore Democrats have a much greater expectation that Republican women will remain chaste and in the nursery than hardcore Republicans do.

  3. I know what to do. I don't want my kids speeding, so I'll tear the seatbelts and airbags out of the car. That'll teach 'em.

    Aebhel, I know lots of people who were virgins through high school. A few (me included) didn't get laid until after college. I still don't agree with abstinence-only sex ed.

  4. Aebhel - Hey, I was a virgin when I graduated high school. (I was also fifteen, but hey.) However, once I'd graduated, I didn't abruptly become less fertile or more disease-resistant. This isn't just a high school issue; uneducated kids become uneducated adults.

    Labrat - That's funny, I was just this morning listening to a radio host talk about how much massively more popular the Republican party would be if they just dropped all their stances relating to sexuality. "The party that will get government off your back" and "the party that will use governmental power to tell you how to fuck" aren't concepts that go well together.

    And that side observation is painfully true. You see it now and you've seen it a couple times when Republican politicians were outed as gay. If Democrats want to be pro-gay, they shouldn't be so eager to make schoolyard-homophobic bathroom sex jokes at the first opportunity.

    (And excuses about "it's not the gay/pregnant kid thing we oppose, it's the hypocrisy" are, well, excuses, and cruddy ones. Oh, and saying "I won't bring my opponent's family into this" is probably better read as "I won't bring my opponent's family into this.")

    Bruno - Never mind speeding, I don't want my kids driving at all, since it can't be made 100% absolutely idiot-proof safe. Therefore I'll never teach them to drive at all. I'll leave my car in the driveway with the keys in it when I go out of town, but since my kids have been properly educated that driving is never safe, I don't forsee any problems.

  5. Is it fair to assume that abstinence-only sex education is preached in the Palin household?

    The kids could have been trying to prevent pregnancy -- and still the condom slipped or something.

    When I look back to high school, I can only think how very lucky she and I were...

    So I am inclined to cut them some slack here. I've seen unintentional pregnancies occur among "educated" teens too often.