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Friday, June 10, 2005

How sex education works

There is a right way:

Sex and birth control were things that were talked about in my house as openly as the basketball scores. And yet to my knowledge, none of my friends - nor myself, nor either of my two brothers - ever experienced an unwanted pregnancy, nor a brush with an STD. I am convinced this was thanks to my mother's drumming into our heads the fact that, while she'd prefer us not to have premarital sex at all, if we were going to do it, we were going to respect ourselves and our partners by being safe about it.

and a wrong way:

I watched the American TV news show 60 Minutes last week as Denny Pattyn, a Christian youth minister and founder of a multi-million-dollar government abstinence-only program called the Silver Ring Thing, now making inroads in the UK, bragged to the 60 Minutes reporter Ed Bradlee that, if his daughter ever told him she was planning on having premarital sex, he would advise her not to use a condom: "I don't think it'll protect her. It won't protect her heart. It won't protect her emotional life."
What kind of father would rather see his daughter dead than having safe sex? Perhaps the kind of father who considers the 88 per cent failure rate of his program (the percentage of students who, after taking "the pledge," go on to have vaginal sex, usually unprotected, within one year) good odds, and who turns a blind eye to the fact that sexually transmitted diseases are up 30 per cent, because they are being transmitted orally and anally by kids who have taken "the pledge" but continue to have sex - just not vaginally.