Cyber Swing/Polyamory Resource Center
Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality
The Hidden Danger Behind
Santa Barbara, CA (PRWEB) October 6, 2004 -- No one would ask President Bush if he was a virgin when he got married. Yet the administration is fine with advocating exactly that behavior for young people today. This position has been supported with $900 Million in funding during the past five years. And funding for abstinence-only sex education, which advocates virginity until marriage as the only 100% safe method of birth control, will likely double in the coming year.
Recent research by Advocates for Youth has shown abstinence-only sex education programs to be a dismal failure both in terms of not decreasing sexual activity and in terms of increased risk for teenagers who later do decide to become sexual. But the biggest risk of abstinence-only sex education may be the subtext in many of their programs. Tamara Krenin, president and chief executive of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS) confirms; "…abstinence-only education is often fear- based..." The message is that sexuality is to be feared and fought against; it is dangerous, embarrassing, risky and emotionally painful. Not the healthiest of messages for young people first entering the realm of relationships.
A review of a number of abstinence-only sex education programs confirms the use of a fear-based approach. In these abstinence-only curriculums words equated with sexual activity are; low self-esteem, guilt, scared, ruined relationships, broken emotional bond, trashing of a person's reputation, and suicide. Not a very positive or well balanced message. They're telling teenagers that what they are feeling is wrong and needs to be avoided.
"These programs are saying; pleasure is pain, its twisting teenage sexuality into something that is ugly and dangerous. Nowhere is there a message that sexual feelings are positive and natural," says Howard B. Schiffer, parenting and teen sexuality expert and author of `How To Be The Best Lover – A Guide For Teenage Boys'. "Abstinence-only programs are taking something that our bodies are supposed to experience and casting it in a negative light by using fear to try to push their own agenda" says Schiffer. He continues; "Many of these programs have never been proven effective in reducing the onset of teen sexuality or increasing teen's safety and they are a contradiction to everything teens are feeling."
Schiffer advocates giving teens real information so they can make smart decisions when confronted with sexual situations. He says; "The hidden danger behind abstinence-only programs is that they seem to be based on an inherent distrust of teenagers; that you have to scare or coerce them to get them to act responsibly. But I've seen the opposite - teenagers are smart, they're the ones who have to deal with the consequences of their actions and they deserve complete, honest and unbiased information so they can make wise decisions."
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