Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jamie Lynn Spears: Poster Child for "Abstinence Only" Education

Remember a few years ago when famous teen pop star Britney Spears made a big deal that she was going to be a virgin until she got married?

Well, apparently she didn't, but at least she managed to delay a first pregnancy until she was married.

Her younger sister wasn't quite that "smart." I know, I know, putting the phrase "Britney Spears" and "smart" in the same essay seems a tad incongruous. But why are many teens so stupid when it comes to sex?

Currently, the stupidity is caused by a combination of strong hormones and the gutting of sex education programs at the federal level.

Granted, teens have been stupid about sex for a long time. Teen pregnancy isn't anything new. It was a little more common when I was a teenager. But, at least in the '70s, many school systems had at least something approaching sex education. And, between more factual sex education, more girls asserting their right to not have sex before they were ready, and more availability of contraception, teen pregnancy rates gradually started to decline.

However, during the reign of the Bushies, reality-based sex education been systematically removed in favor of the fantasy of abstinence-only education.

It doesn't work. The teen pregnancy rate is starting to increase again, partially due to the federal government's refusal to approach teen sexuality in anything approaching a realistic manner. The teen girls who are having sex without proper education or protection are only living out the fantasy of "waiting until marriage" that the federal government and many religious organizations like to push.

Don't get me wrong - I don't think most teens should have sex. Having a good sex life as an adult is very important. I can only imagine how many teen girl's feelings about her sexuality have been mangled by a teen boy's feelings about his. While I don't advocate waiting until marriage to have sex, I do advocate waiting until you have a potential lover with whom you can discuss sex and birth control before you engage in having sex. If you aren't adult enough to have the birth control talk, you aren't adult enough to have sex either.

Claiming that sex education leads to irresponsible sex is like claiming that driver education leads to car accidents.

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