Fatty Foods, Cigarettes and Abstinence

This past week the House Education Subcommittee recommended for passage a bill dealing with sex education.  The bill, which requires that any sex education courses promote abstinence, certainly is controversial to the liberals who promote sex with no boundaries and encourage promiscuity.  But why is promoting abstinence such a controversial public health policy?  That is what we’re talking about – a person’s health.  I couldn’t frame the issue better than the author of Unprotected whose words everyone should read.

Look at how different health decisions are valued. When Stacey [a college student treated by the author] avoids fatty foods, she is being health-conscious. When she turns down a cigarette, she’s taking care of herself. When she stays away from alcohol, she is being responsible and resisting her impulses. For all these, she is endorsed for keeping long-term goals in mind instead of giving in to peer pressure and immediate gratification. But if she makes a conscious decision to delay sexual activity, she’s simply “not sexually active” – given no praise or endorsement for her wise decision.

Sexual health information will typically have one-liners such as “abstaining from sexual contact is the surest way to avoid infection,” or “for all STDs, abstinence is the best protection.” But they are like postscripts or disclaimers.  Information is not presented as a viable alternative with considerable rewards; this would be moralizing and unrealistic.  But forget right and wrong – with fifteen million new cases of STDs a year, delaying intercourse is sound medical advice. (emphasis in the original)  And if it’s unrealistic to believe that our youth are smart  and mature enough to make wise choices – not all of them all the time, but many of them much of the time – then the future is grim indeed. …

I submit that “safer sex” is a delusion, one that especially imperils young women on campus. We need to come clean, and fully disclose to our youth the dreadful consequences of behavior encouraged by our culture, so they can make fully informed decision.  The only people who are completely safe are those who, along with their spouses, waited for marriage, and once married, remain faithful. The ones who are “safer” delay sexual behavior, discriminate carefully in their choice, and understand the weight of their decisions. We don’t hesitate, in other areas of health, to strive toward an ideal. Why, with Stacey and millions of others, do we settle for so much less? (pp. 29 – 30)

Why indeed?