Comprehensive sex ed: Because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but kids are entitled to the facts.

26 Feb 2009 07:20 pm
Posted by: Donna

No reason for this photo, other than it's Shelley Toue from Never Been Thawed, which is the bestest and funniest movie based in AZ ever and there's an abstinence subplot in it

Abstinence-only sex ed is a pitch-perfect example of how conservatives take a worthy idea – “young people should probably wait until they are old enough to handle the physical and emotional consequences of sex” – and distort it into – “premarital sex is dirty, dangerous, and nasty and girls people who engage in it are ruined and disgusting.” If you think I’m exaggerating, I’m not, and yes, there’s gobs of gender stereotyping and girl-shaming going on in much of the curricula of the abstinence-only pushers. One really odius program in Ohio brought blame-the-victim rape politics into the mix:

The Ohio program is Abstinence ‘Till Marriage, which started receiving annual CBAE grants of $600,000 in 2006 (set to run until 2011). On their “Miss the Mess” website, you can enter the “Party Room”, where you learn the story of Rochelle, Jason, Monica and Tanner. Each person tells their perspective about what happens during and after a party one night.

Rochelle tells how she drove her drunken friend Jason home after the party, and then is raped by him. Jason denies that the rape happened, saying their sex was consensual. Monica and Tanner observe that Jason was being a drunken idiot the entire night, with Monica (Jason’s ex) adding her opinion that Rochelle has a reputation for “putting out” and being a “slut”.

The site then asks the question: “Based on all accounts, whose story sounds the least credible?”

Guess who is the “correct” answer? Rochelle.

Nice. In addition to the overt sexism and occasional rape apologia, it seems that the abstinence-only crowd desperately wants to believe that they can hector and lie young people into adopting the values of the 50s. Not the real 50s of the shotgun weddings and back alley abortions, but the sepia-toned TV Land 50s where father knew best and mom happily made meatloaf while wearing pearls and your high school sweetheart was the person you were meant to be with for life. They are perfectly welcome to their delusions, and if they want to delude their own kids I suppose no one can stop them, but must they get millions in federal funding to lie to everyone else’s kids?

Um, no.

Governor Napolitano opted out of federal abstinence-only dollars in 2008, but many Arizona schools still use these dumb and dishonest programs.  It’s time to acknowledge the failure of these programs and provide truthful and medically accurate sex ed in the schools.  HB2544 would do just that.  Planned Parenthood has a great fact sheet about why it’s important.

Please support this bill, in the interest of helping kids to make healthy choices, and also because no child should ever be subjected to an abstinence clown.   

P.S.:  A couple of my links mention the Zero Out Abstinence funding petition to President Obama.  Be sure to sign on if you haven’t already.


  1. Comment by Andy on February 26, 2009 11:03 pm

    Completely off topic, but I’m glad to meet a fellow NBT fan. A woman I work with in Scottsdale is good friends with the director and has a cameo in the film.

  2. Comment by native on February 27, 2009 3:17 pm

    Darn it, Andy, you beat me to the punch! For those who don’t know, “NBT” is short for “Never Been Thawed,” a very funny indie film made right here in the Phoenix area few years ago. The picture above is of one of the characters at one of the movie’s locations.
    Oh, and BTW, comprehensive sex ed beats guilt and superstition any day.

  3. Comment by Eli_Blake on March 2, 2009 11:22 am

    Nobody, even the few who are virgins when they are married, is a complete ignoramus about sex.

    So they will learn one of three places: 1. at home (kudos to responsible parents who talk to their kids about sex, but the most at-risk kids often don’t have parents who will tell them anything); 2. at school from a sex education specialist, or 3. on the street from ???

    For kids who don’t fall into the first category (though mine do), which of the other two would you prefer?

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