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  Abstinence taught in more U.S. sex-education classes Screws Up our Youth

This is an example of how the religious right that is more and more in control of our schools, is teaching ignorance to our children and leaving them totally unprepared to deal with the natural desires and need to express sexuality in a wholesome way. 

Instead of repression and pretending teenagers aren't suppose to have sex, perhaps teaching intimacy skills, respect and of course basic STD prevention and contraception would be far wiser.  It is both emotionally and medically unhealthy to ignore our natural sexual physical needs.  Wet dreams, for example are nature's way of taking care of the body if abused by not having sexual release.  Physical problems such as painful prostate blockage if another result of this unhealthy, unnatural, abstinence teaching.

From the London Times Thursday Dec. 16, 1999

HEADLINE: "Abstinence taught in more U.S. sex-education classes" by Damian Whitworth,

WASHINGTON -- One in three U.S. schools teaches that abstaining from sexual intercourse is the only appropriate way to behave, as lessons on birth control are increasingly outlawed in the education system.

Teachings that were once the preserve of the religious right and conservative groups are fast becoming the norm, according to the first studies of the extent of "abstinence only" policies.

A survey of principals found that 34% of schools taught not only that abstinence was preferred, but also that it was the only proper form of behaviour. A second study of superintendents of school districts found that 35% had policies that dictated that abstinence should be taught as the only option for teenagers.

The majority of schools that do not teach "abstinence-only" advocate "abstinence-plus". Contraception is explained, but avoiding sex altogether is urged. In 15 of the 50 states, schools are required to teach abstinence until marriage and 13 require contraception to be mentioned. Some require discussion of both subjects.

Few than half of the principals-45% --said that pupils were told where they could obtain contraception and 39% told children how to use a condom, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation study.

Abortion was mentioned in only 37% of lessons and sexual orientation in 36%. AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases were mentioned in 95% of classes.

Researchers also found dramatic regional differences. In the "Bible belt" of the South, 55% of school districts had "abstinence-only" policies while the northeast insisted on such curriculum in just 20% of districts.

The abstinence-only message has been pushed hard by conservatives who believe that teaching children about contraception suggests that sex before marriage is acceptable. They have been backed by Congress and in 1996 legislation made available $250 million for teaching abstinence.

"Ten years ago, abstinence was not even considered, it was laughed at," a spokesman for the National Coalition for Abstinence Education said. "A lot of avenues have opened up for kids to hear this message. That is a good thing."

A response on the mailing list
that says it all:
I have worked in both London and the US. Frankly I'm not surprised. The US polity was set up by puritans and this kind of interfering attitude seems to remain, not just on sex but on drinking, teaching evolution, left-wing political activity etc. I would suggest that Americans shouldn't be so quick to assume that they are 'free', most of the developed world has democracy, but WITHOUT the kind of pressures to 'knuckle under' to prescriptive social norms. I find the far east and Europe to have a much wider attitude of 'live and let live'. 

Related articles:

Good Sex Is Learned - Not Natural

Sexual Dysfunction discussion and Survey Stuns & Dave's Comments 

The Healing Powers of Sex

A Mother Supports Child Sex Education
And Many Other Articles About Sex Education in U.S. vs. Europe

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