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Essay by   •  December 22, 2010  •  1,233 Words (5 Pages)  •  789 Views

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What is the best way to get a teenager to do what you want him or her to do? Tell them what not to do. Children and teenagers are remarkable at defying authority and doing their own thing. When a teacher or parent begins to tout the praises of being a doctor the kid says he wants to be a police officer. A parent speaks on the value of going to college, the kid responses with his goal of starting his own band. The debates and arguments continue as they have for centuries. Moreover, when students are taught that the only way to live a good life is to maintain virginity until marriage, the kids often seek ways of disobeying that, too. Abstinence only programs often cause more defiance and are potentially more harmful than a well-rounded teen sex program. It is better for students to know the impending harm of premarital sex and how to prevent pregnancies and the transmission of diseases then to give a one-sided opinion on teens and sex.

Abstinence only programs are awesome for parents. Many parents equate abstinence education with purity. Parents want the school to tell the students what should happen, thus removing that parental responsibility. The whole idea is that there is to be no sexual contact until marriage. This does sound great however; it is just a fantasy that this would actually happen in the 21st century. In order for young people to even entertain the idea of waiting, there needs to be a serious change in the culture they are being raised in.

For example, the music, advertising, movies, television shows and all will need to be revamped. There is even a shampoo commercial that features a woman who is seemingly sexually aroused by the smell of her own shampoo. Then there are the male enhancing commercials. What is the message to the young people? No matter what the age, sex is extremely important. All of the people in these venues are beautiful, successful, and sexy. Adults are capable of separating fact from fiction, but the teenage brain cannot. Perhaps the advocates of abstinence-only education is not aware of the psychological molestation that takes place each time children and teenagers turn on the television or listen to some of the popular artists. Even if youth are abstaining from actual intercourse, they are not being taught to be pure.

Teens need to be taught to respect themselves and others. This respect is not limited to their bodies, minds, and possessions. Abstaining from intercourse does not mean one is self-respecting. It is a better idea to teach students of the dangers of premarital sex and the not-so-good consequences of unprotected intercourse. Teens need to realize that all forms of sexual contact can be detrimental. Kids need to know that if they have premarital sex that there are people they can turn to who will not condemn them for their actions. Of course, abstinence needs to be taught, but not exclusively.

There will always be young people who feel like they are in love, or just really want to have sex. The best abstinence only program will not stop such a teen from having sex. If all he or she has had is abstinence only education, he or she might not know how to prevent a pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease. Many of the abstinence only literature will link teen pregnancy and the rise of STD’s among teens with the teaching of “safe sex”, (Maher & Watkins 2005). Abstinence is not the answer for all students.

Those who push abstinence-only education are often seen as hypocrites by teenagers. Adults who want kids to only know about abstinence would have balked at that kind of information when they were younger. It is difficult for teens to take advice from adults they have labeled as contradictory. This is why adults and educators should always present more than one side of the argument when it comes to premarital sex. A balanced approach to this touchy subject will foster a sense of mutual respect, honesty, and accountability.

Politically, being a proponent of abstinence-only education seems to be a safe bet. However, these well-meaning-do-gooders often negate the emotional toll such a curriculum will have a child who has already been sexually active either voluntarily or involuntarily. If a young person has been raped or is the victim of incest, he or she might feel dirty or unworthy as abstinence is hailed as the only way. It would be much better for



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