Bait and Hitch: Abstinence-Only Programs Use Sex to Push Marriage


When my daughter’s pediatrician
handed me a prescription for an inhaler and told me I would have to administer
it to my three-year-old three times a day for the next week, I almost cried.
This kid does not like taking medicine and I, having recently lived through the
eye-drop battle of the century, knew I needed a plan.  

So on my way out of the pharmacy, I
picked up a big bag of M&Ms.  For some reason, my daughter thinks
these are the most special treat ever.  We don’t really restrict her candy
intake- the girl’s eaten a lot of jelly beans, gummy worms, and lollipops in
her short life-but, if that’s what she thinks, I’m not above using it.  I
dangled that bag of colorful, candy-coated chocolate in front of her eyes, and said,
"Three of these are all yours as soon as you take your medicine."  

My reward system is working so well
that in the coming weeks I’m planning on using it for potty training and
getting her to sleep in her own bed too.  The trick, as any good briber
knows, however, is to make sure the treat stays a treat. She can’t have too
many M&Ms and she can only have them as a reward for good behavior – if they
become too easily available, my plan will fail.

After reading the recent USA Today article "Wait
for sex and marriage? Evangelicals conflicted
," it occurred to me that that
the Far Right has been using the same ploy for years when it comes to marriage
and sex. They want us all to marry (as long as we’re heterosexual, of course),
and like a desperate parent fighting a toddler, posit sex as the ultimate reward
- as if to say, "We know you want this and there is only one way you can have
it."

Where their plan may be backfiring,
according to the article, however, is that those young people who are taking
this message to heart, notably young Evangelicals, are torn between the "don’t
have sex until you’re married" message they hear from their church and the
"don’t get married until you’re in your thirties" message they hear from, well,
pretty much everyone else.  Some Evangelical leaders admit that this added
decade or so of celibacy may be unrealistic. One even suggested that doing so
was "battling our creator’s reproductive designs."

So, what are some religious leaders
recommending?  Well, they’re not backing off of the prohibition on
premarital sex (that would be like allowing M&Ms on any old Thursday), leaving
them only one choice: promoting young marriage.

As horrified as I was at the
suggestion that it is preferable for twenty-somethings to commit to a life-long
relationship with someone they may not know well than to have sex outside of
marriage with that same person, I was relieved that abstinence-only champions were
finally admitting that the abstinence-only-until-marriage movement is, in fact,
about marriage. For years the leaders of this movement tried to convince
parents, reporters, and politicians that it wasn’t about marriage and it wasn’t
about religion, it was about public health and prevention. 

But, after ten years of reading
these curricula, I can tell you that the real goal of abstinence-only programs
is not to prevent teen pregnancies or STDs and it’s not even to prevent
premarital sex – it’s to make sure that all people get married. Sex is pretty
much just the M&M. Of course, just in case bribery doesn’t work, these
programs also present sex as the scary tiger in the corner that may eat you if
you misbehave-a tactic that I just can’t bring myself to use with my
preschooler.

One curriculum, branded under the
name of A. C. Green, an NBA player who famously remained a virgin until he
married in his thirties, refers to marriage as the finish line.  Another
asks eighth graders to imagine their wedding and write a letter to their future
spouse with descriptions of the bride’s dress, the groom’s tux, the friends who
will stand up as members of the wedding party, and the color of the flowers.
(Reading this one, I did wonder how it is that thirteen year olds are too young
to learn about basic reproduction but the perfect age to become wedding
planners.)  Another, Aspire. Live Your Life. Be Free, asks young people
which future choice is the most important-college, career, or marriage. The right
answer: marriage because "College is for a few years, and you may have a number
of careers. But marriage is for life."  

Others compare sex to fire and have
teachers lead students through elaborate visualizations of lighting a fire on a
cold rainy day in the middle of your living room, instead of the obvious safer
choice, which would be to light it in your fire place – as you guessed, the
fire is a metaphor for sex. The goal is to show how safe and happy the confines
of marriage really are-marriage, according to these programs, is the panacea.

Married people, students are told,
live longer, stay happier, and have better sex.  They never have to worry
about STDs or unintended pregnancy.  And, they certainly raise happier
children, a statement which the curricula "prove" by laying out lists of just
what is wrong with the children of divorced or single parents.  In
contrast, unmarried people are said to be selfish and lacking the character
traits necessary to be a good citizen.  One curriculum even points out
that unmarried people are far more likely to go to jail.

There are many problems with this approach. Let’s put aside for a moment that
as many as half of the students in these classes probably come from single or
divorced parents. Let’s even put aside the fact that this focus on marriage
discounts and discriminates against lesbian and gay students as well as
students whose parents are lesbian or gay. The fundamental issue is a simple
one; unlike getting a kid to take medicine or use a toilet, marriage is not the
only acceptable behavior.  It is one of many relationship options that are
and should be available to adults.

Whether these programs are promoting early marriage or just promoting marriage
early is up for debate, but either way, mandating one lifestyle for all is
inappropriate.

For many, including young people
interviewed in the USA Today article, the call to marriage and the prohibition
on premarital sex are deeply held religious beliefs and I respect that. 
The problem, however, is that the conundrum discussed in the article is not
unique to young Evangelicals.  The abstinence-only-until-marriage industry
has spent billions of dollars, most of them courtesy of Uncle Sam, giving the
exact same message to all young people whether they believe in God, organized
religion, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. 

As one young bride explained the
mixed message of waiting until you’re married to have sex and waiting until
you’re settled to get married is unreasonable: " ‘I think that’s just inviting
people to have sex and feel like they’re bad people for doing it.’ " Is this
kind of a guilt trip really the best we can do for our young people?

It’s time to stop using sex as an
incentive for marriage and it’s definitely time to stop using it as a scare
tactic.  Instead, we should find all possible teachable moments and
opportunities to help young people really think about and understand sexuality
and relationships, whether they choose to get married at 20, 50, or never, and
regardless of when they first have sex. 

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Follow Martha Kempner on Twitter: @MarthaKempner

To schedule an interview with Martha Kempner please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    “Some Evangelical leaders admit that this added decade or so of celibacy may be unrealistic.” “May” be unrealistic? LOL! “One even suggested that doing so was “battling our creator’s reproductive designs” (yes, it’s ungodly). I agree with that 100%. Thanks for the great article Martha. I’ve pointed out to a couple people on this website that Mary, mother of Jesus, was likely 13 when she gave birth to Jesus. The average marital age today is around 26 or 27. Applying this marital/sex custom from Biblical times to today is simply absurd. It’s unnatural and unGodly IMO. I once knew a 27 year-old man who married a woman he hardly knew just so he could have sex. He was so brainwashed he actually believed this was a decent option. Yes, the only option for these “sex only in marriage” people is early marriage. I know this might sound like a crack-pot idea to you but I’ve often thought the church could marry young couples (even in their teens) that are considering sex. That way the “newlyweds” could have sex as a part of their relationship and, you know, “not go to hell”. I’m not talking about civil marriage here – just a simple ceremony which could be undone by either person and the church. I think this would satisfy everyone’s “desires” and is a much better option than torturing young people.

  • invalid-0

    Martha,

    You make some good points, and I think there is a lot of common sense written in this post. However, we can’t ignore what science does tell us: that sex between monogamous, faithful partners that do not have multiple sexual relationships prior to their union, is associated with lower divorce and infidelity. Additionally, married persons have better overall health and a better sense of well-being. Marriage is something to be desired and is envied by heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. If marriage wasn’t something special, why are homosexuals striving for it in our society?

    Finally, it’s no big secret or revelation that some abstinence programs hold marriage as the highest ideal for their students. However, to assume that all programs do this, or that marriage is more important than the public health principles on which these curiculum’s stand, is unwise. There is more to abstinence than just waiting for sex. It’s about healthy relationships, self-worth, goal-setting, and much more. Early sex often stands in the way of their goals (one of which COULD be marriage and a family). Giving these kids a condom and telling them to go wild is not going to help them, it just puts them in harm’s way, because their brains are wired for risk-taking behaviors, not reasoned, rational decisions. That’s the reality.

  • invalid-0

    “However, to assume that all programs do this, or that marriage is more important than the public health principles on which these curiculum’s stand, is unwise.”

    First – it’s not an assumption. I’ve read most of them. Every single one of them do this. Second – public health principles?!?!?! HA!

    Anyway, nice job Martha.

  • invalid-0

    My sister and her husband chose the remain celebate until marriage. When they married, she was 28 and he was 23. While he was domineering and verbally abusive, my sister was determined to remain married to him because she believed it was God’s design for her, and they had a 7 year old daughter.
    Well, about the time my brother-in-law turned 40, he started to get restless. Apparently he was tired of having the same old sex with the same old woman. He came to regret the fact that when his college roomates were playing the field, he was saving himself for marriage. He told my sister he had heard of something called “multiple orgasms” that he wanted to experience. She had no idea what he was talking about. Of course not. Neither one of them knew any more about sex than the other one did. Eventually he began an affair with a woman he met while gaming on line. She was also married at the time. My brother-in-law decided unilaterally that it was time for him and my sister to get a no-fault divorce. (No fault, so as to minimize child support and alimony). He decided that my sister, who had not worked in 7 years, and who had never lived on her own or paid her own bills, should get a job and begin supporting herself and her daughter.
    My sister was absolutely devastated. Not only was she facing loneliness, poverty and destitution, she also felt great guilt, shame and anger to discover that the marriage she thought God had set up for her was a sham.
    A year and a half later, my sister is still struggling with issues of her identity. She would like to meet someone else and marry again, but has no idea how to date or even talk to single men. She bought a silver ring with a cross on it and wears it on her left ring finger. She told me that she had considered getting a “purity” ring, to symbolize she had remained “pure” until and during her marriage. I told her that was absurd and that the ring with the cross will make potential dates think she is still married.
    I have been married for 12 years and happily so. Both my husband and I were in our 30′s and had had dated extensively by the time we met. I am now so glad I didn’t remain celebate until marriage and didn’t marry a man who had never had a normal sexual relationship with a woman. It’s possible that my loser brother-in-law will be the only man my poor sister ever has sex with. And that is a sad, sad statement, because he was a selfish pig.
    Sign me: Glad to have played the field when I was young and able to get dates

  • invalid-0

    “There is more to abstinence than just waiting for sex.” Are you kidding? It’s all about the sex. More exactly it’s about people like you wanting to control the sex lives of young people. As if people can’t have “healthy” relationships or have positive “self-worth” WITH sex. Please stop! People make great scientific discoveries, run global corporations, and create beautiful works of art, all while having sex in their lives. But according to you sex “stands in the way” of a young person’s “goals”. Just the same old fear, guilt, and shame from people like you. “Giving these kids a condom and telling them to go wild…” OK. Now you’ve pissed me off. I’ve NEVER heard anyone who promotes comprehensive sex education suggest that young people should go “wild”. Stop making stuff up. I suggest you become a regular reader of Heather Corinna at Scarleteen or this site to see how sex educators are helping young people. And BTW, people in marriages are not happier because they’re in a marriage. People in marriages tend to be more beautiful, inteligent, athletic, etc. These people would be happier regardless of their marital status. You know what they say – statistics don’t lie, people do.

  • invalid-0

    I don’t blame you for being angry with your former b-i-l, but let’s put the blame where it really belongs. Your sister had (still has) a completely unrealistic view and expectation of marriage. It’s not her fault. She was clearly impacted (ie brainwashed) by church leaders or her parents and they set her up for this disappointment. BTW (and frankly) the fact that she was left completely unprepared to take care of herself IS her own fault. I’m geussing she’ll be mooching off her ex-husband for at least a few years through “rehabilitative” alimony. Most women in your sister’s situation are granted lifetime alimony, which amounts to lifetime slavery for ex-husbands if you ask me.

  • invalid-0

    I know this might sound like a crack-pot idea to you but I’ve often thought the church could marry young couples (even in their teens) that are considering sex. That way the “newlyweds” could have sex as a part of their relationship and, you know, “not go to hell”. I’m not talking about civil marriage here – just a simple ceremony which could be undone by either person and the church.

    It’s funny you should mention this—this is already being talked up in Iran (and I believe is already in practice elsewhere in the Islamic world).

  • http://www.vaginapagina.com invalid-0

    … that sex between monogamous, faithful partners that do not have multiple sexual relationships prior to their union, is associated with lower divorce and infidelity…

    I’ve actually never read this before. Can you link me to a source for this statement?

  • crowepps

    I’m geussing she’ll be mooching off her ex-husband for at least a few years through "rehabilitative" alimony. Most women in your sister’s situation are granted lifetime alimony, which amounts to lifetime slavery for ex-husbands if you ask me.

     

    There are very, very few courts who ever grant lifetime alimony, and that is usually in a case where the person receiving the alimony is disabled or seriously ill.

     

    Rehabilitative alimony is a recognition of the fact that having quit school and/or stopped working in order to "make a home" and raise the kids, the woman has a serious disadvantage in reentering the workforce.  And, yes, lots of men still insist that "I don’t want people to think my wife has to work" and "I don’t want my kids raised by daycare".

  • invalid-0

    While both my sister and brother-in-law are victims of the “purity” movement and the unrealistic image of marriage it promotes, I resent your assertion that my sister will be “mooching” off her ex. Throughout their marriage, he intentionally and maliciously tore down her self-esteem and sabotaged her every attempt to be independent. When her daughter was a toddler, my sister wanted to go back to college to learn a useful trade and become a dental assistant, but he refused to allow her to do it. He prefered to keep her dependent on him until it was no longer convenient for him because he had found someone else. Then he refused to allow her to get her own divorce attorney to represent her interests. She was so depressed and cowed that she almost agreed to a settlement that would have left him with everything, including custody of their child. It took me and my mother and actually the ex’s parents (yes, he even alienated his own parents) months to talk her into getting an attorney to negotiate a fairer deal. Now he will have to pay her alimony until he’s 65, and he can afford it because he makes over $100,000 a year while she makes $9 an hour working at a preschool. I only wish he had to pay her more and for the rest of his life, because he deserves much worse than that for what he did to my sister. I hope he enjoys those multiple orgasms with his new wife, because he will certainly be paying enough for them.

  • invalid-0

    Your sister’s ex is the victim of modern-day slavery. Your mooching sister disgusts me. If she was a decent person she would refuse her alimony and free him from bondage. I’m geussing a sense of lifetime entitlement from a working man runs in the family so I don’t expect you to understand. “He prefered to keep her dependent on him until it was no longer convenient for him because he had found someone else.” This is a ridiculous assertion. Pretty much every married man with kids knows he has NO power in “family” court and that a dependent wife is a sure-fire lifetime ball-and-chain. I have rarely met a woman who couldn’t wait to get married, pop out a baby, and be a stay-at-home mooch. And there isn’t one of them who doesn’t claim she “gave up her career” or “he made me do it”. Save your lies for the ignorant.

  • invalid-0

    First of all, Anon’s sister is getting alimony until her ex turns 65. No. That’s not “lifetime” alimony, but Jesus Christ he’ll have to spend his entire working life + (as if he’ll be able to retire at 65 with the ball-and-chain) buying his freedom. And here’s a news flash for you crowepps… Most men who look at their state’s divorce laws and discover they’re subject to “permanent”, “lifetime” or some other onnerous length of alimony simply decide to stay married as miserable as that might be. There is simply no good option for a working man with a dependent wife. Better to live in YOUR house, have access to YOUR hard-earned money, and see YOUR kids than live in a small apartment with NOTHING while your slavemaster lives it up. The divorce rate would be unbelievably high if the post-marital slavery laws were abolished. Did you think you were responding to the village idiot, unable to comprehend what’s going on around him? I LOVE the internet. The truth and the internet shall set us free some day.

  • invalid-0

    Admit it, you just hate women. Not all women are looking for a man to provide for them, and not all men are helpless victims of the fairer sex.

    BTW, my MIL still can’t make ends meet without the money she’s gotten from him, and he basically went into early retirement (not that he lived long enough to see the end of his ten years of paying alimony anyways). If you think she was the one ‘living it up’ in that situation, you’re deluded.

  • invalid-0

    Call someone who lives off of someone else a “mooch” (which is the definition of “mooch”, is it not) and you get your post flagged. Call the legal control of one person by another (which requires the buying of one’s freedom and is subject to prison time for not complying with the court’s orders) “slavery” (which is the definition of “slavery”, is it not) and you get your post flagged. Stop trying to cover up the truth. Abolish alimony. Abolish slavery.

  • invalid-0

    Clearly you just want to get on your soapbox about alimony and child support that you think “enslaves” men. But remember, the ex asked my sister to marry him, not the other way around. They had a “covenent” marriage, with the blessing of their conservative Baptist church. You know the old-fashioned kind of marriage in which the wife “submits” to the husband (really, it’s one of the marriage vows). In return, the husband is supposed to “provide” for her and her children for the rest of his life, for better or worse. Imagine how betrayed my sister felt when he unilaterally decided to change the terms of the contract, and–don’t forget–cheated on her with another woman.
    If you don’t want any responsibility to anyone else, don’t get married, you a-hole. But don’t be surprised if you grow old alone with nothing better to do than post vitriolic comments on websites.

  • crowepps

    Did you think you were responding to the village idiot, unable to comprehend what’s going on around him?

    If I had thought you were an idiot, I wouldn’t have responded at all. I thought you were misinformed. Now I see that you are one of those WILLFULLY misinformed males who feel entitled to sex, housekeeping and kids without any obligations whatsoever for a return contribution to the woman providing all those things. No wonder women are giving marriage a pass these days.

  • invalid-0
  • jodi-jacobson

    How does that work, exactly?

    In fact the data show the majority of women are less-well off after divorce than when they are married.

    Facts are always helpful.

    Just sayin’.

    Jodi Jacobson

  • paul-bradford

    For many, including young people interviewed in the USA Today article, the call to marriage and the prohibition on premarital sex are deeply held religious beliefs and I respect that.

     

    Am I the only one who has a problem with the arrangement where I say, "I’ll do as my religion teaches" and you say, "I’ll do as my religion teaches" and somebody else tries to do as her religion teaches and a fourth person claims not to believe in anything so he does whatever he feels like doing?  

     

    We pride ourselves on religious pluralism, but is there a limit to how much pluralism we can endure?  If they sing different hymns at your church than they do at mine that’s fine; but if you and I have fundamental differences about right and wrong we’re going to have serious trouble getting along.

     

    It’s simply wrong to say that marriage is the desired state for everyone.  I’m not satisfied to say to you, "OK, if that’s what your religion teaches it’s fine for you."  I need to say, "If you’re going to live in this society you’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that there is as much dignity in the single state as there is in the married state."

     

    I’m not satisfied to say to you, "Well, I treat gays as my equals but if your religion teaches you that gays are inferior you’re free to discriminate against them all you want."  I need to say, "You’re going to give homosexuals their human rights and you’re going to like it.  No two ways about it." 

     

    We’ve gone through a sea-change in attitudes about sex over the past fifty years or so, and we didn’t do it because everybody changed her/his religious affiliation.  Today, we don’t wait for marriage to have sex, and we don’t wait for marriage to reproduce.  That’s the norm.  Sexual mores aren’t ‘personal decisions’, they’re societal expectations.  You can’t teach abstinence in the classroom.  You teach sexual morality by demonstrating what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t. 

     

    We’re going to have to come to a consensus on these issues because it’s simply not going to work for everyone to believe different things.

     

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • amanda-marcotte

    The school of Just Made It Up University?  Because that’s what you did.  95% of Americans have premarital sex.  The ones that are left are such a tiny, strange group that comparing them to the rest of the country is going to be statistically meaningless.  Which is why no one has tried.  Don’t just show up and make stuff up and then wax on about "science".  Science is about research and evidence, not just making stuff up and then wishing it were true.

  • paul-bradford

    95% of Americans have premarital sex.

     

    Amanda,

     

    I’m more than willing to believe that only 5% of Americans who married in 2009 were virgins (although I was looking for a report to back that number up and I was unable to find it); but I suspect that the majority of American men and the overwhelming majority of American women who married in 1950 were virgins.

     

    This is my thesis:  People don’t ‘do their own thing’ when it comes to sex.  They do what they’re told.  In 1950 people were listening to what their religious leaders were telling them about sex.  In 2009 they are relying on other sources to guide their sexual behavior.

     

    If you can become the trusted source of information about sex, you will wield a great deal of power. 

     

    Paul Bradford

    Pro-Life Catholics for Choice

  • therealistmom

    I’m still digging up sources, and it is very difficult to get exact numbers on a phenomena such as premarital sex when people obviously didn’t talk about it back in "the day", but the 1950′s was no wonderland of sexual purity. Nor has any OTHER era been. Human beings have sexual drives and religions that have made an artificial construct of making people refrain have never been successful in doing anything but making people feel guilty about doing it. But they still did it.

     

    The 1950′s had a high rate of teenagers giving birth- they simply were forced into marriage at a much higher rate so they did not show as "out of wedlock" birth. Those who didn’t get forced into marriages were forced into giving up their babies. However- they were obviously having sex before marriage! The teen birthrate has actually declined a great deal since then with the advent of birth control and the availability of abortion.

     

    From guttmacher.org:

     <quote>

     

    Childbearing. The rate of teen childbearing in the United States
    has fallen steeply since the late 1950s, from an all time high of 96
    births per 1,000 women aged 15-19 in 1957 to an all time low of 49 in
    2000 (see chart below). Birthrates fell steadily throughout the 1960s
    and 1970s; they were fairly steady in the early 1980s and then rose
    sharply between 1988 and 1991 before declining throughout the 1990s. In
    recent years, this downward trend has occurred among teens of all ages
    and races.</quote>

     While the number of births isn’t an accurate descriptor of the percentage of people who have premarital sex, it DOES show that back before reliable birth control methods unmarried people were having lots of sex.The decades before that were no different. Our pioneer men and women were sneaking off behind the barn. The idea of virginity being an ideal is a fairly recent phenomenon- and has never really caught hold, religion or no religion.

     

  • therealistmom

    I mean, after 17 years of marriage and all, being the stay at home parent, having no education or recent work experience I’m WAY better off financially being divorced. That $2300 a month in alimony + child support for three kids is amazing! Hell, I’m going to buy a couple of Escalades next month.

     [/snark]

  • jodi-jacobson

    Paul writes:

    We’re going to have to come to a consensus on these issues because it’s simply not going to work for everyone to believe different things.

    Why not?  Isn’t the definition of tolerance that you understand, celebrate and accept differences in people and their religious beliefs, as long as you are not forced to accept these yourself?

    What is the problem with people believing different things about sex and marriage?  As long as you don’t seek to impose your beliefs on me, and I don’t impose mine on you ….what is the problem?  Lack of control of everyone else?

  • grayduck

    "I once knew a 27 year-old man who married a woman he hardly knew just so he could have sex."

     

    Why is that a problem? I think it is great that such people choose marriage rather than sex without marriage. I think society would be much better off if it was more common and if the laws against adultery and fornication were enforced.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • grayduck

    Where do those web sites say that single people are "much more happier and healthier?"

     

    The first site does not seem to make any claim remotely like that statement, and the second has the following quote. "There are definitely way more advantages on (the married) side of the fence."

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • grayduck

    Why is the author so hostile toward marriage? I am not married, but I think it is a valuable social institution that can be improved by enforcing the adultery and fornication laws. If adultery and fornication were treated like rape, stranger and acquaintance rapists would not be able to defeat criminal rape charges by claiming that the victim consented to the sex act without admitting to an equally serious sex crime. As a result, rape would be much less common. Marriage also promotes close relationships between men and women, which means that married women are more likely to have added protection from rape. Rapists are far less likely to attack a woman if she is next to a man. My point is that rape is a valuable social institution because it helps to suppress rape.
    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • frolicnaked

    If adultery and fornication were treated like rape, stranger and
    acquaintance rapists would not be able to defeat criminal rape charges
    by claiming that the victim consented to the sex act without admitting
    to an equally serious sex crime.

     

    This is a hugely offensive argument.

     

    With adultery and fornication, there’s consent involved by the people committing the acts. Criminalization of consensual sex involves someone besides the two (or however many) people involved in the act declaring what can and can’t happen. In essence, it removes some of that consent. (Never mind that anyone who chose to have anything other than heterosexual sex would be forever committing illegal acts.)

    With rape, it’s criminal because it involves the lack of consent and therefore the violation of somone’s bodily autonomy. That inherently cannot happen with consensual sex. 

     

     

    Marriage also promotes close relationships between men and women, which
    means that married women are more likely to have added protection from
    rape.

     

    Unless, of course, a woman’s husband is the one raping her — not at all improbable since 28% of rapists are intimately known to their victims.

     

     

     Rapists are far less likely to attack a woman if she is next to a man.

     

    Then you know what? The way to change this is by changing rapists (or would-be rapists), not by limiting women’s options. 

     

  • colleen

    My point is that rape is a valuable social institution because it helps to suppress rape.

    Freud would be delighted.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • therealistmom

    was that marriage is a good social institution because it suppresses rape.

     Which is incredibly WRONG.

     

    Getting sex doesn’t have shit to do with rape. If anything, having a sense of entitlement (I married her, that means I get sex) increases the chance of marital rape… which is JUST AS MUCH RAPE as a stranger jumping out of the bushes.

     A large number of serial rapists are MARRIED. Because rape is not about sex, it is about hatred for women, it’s about having power over someone, it’s about teaching the victim a lesson, or its about seeing women as less than human.  Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, was married. He sought out prostitutes, raped them, and killed them. It had NOTHING to do with sex. He even had sex with his wife. The rape and murder was about power and hate.

     I cannot believe the ignorance here. The same poster saying it is a good thing for two strangers to marry because they have sex? What the hell is marriage to you? It’s supposed to be a partnership and commitment between two loving people. You don’t even have to  have sex for that, though it certainly can be a mechanism for bonding and intimacy. Marriage is an artificial institution- it can be a good one, but it is still a societal construct. Sex on the other hand is an innate need and desire. One is not the same as the other.

  • crowepps

    Am I the only one who has a problem with the arrangement where I say, “I’ll do as my religion teaches” and you say, “I’ll do as my religion teaches” and somebody else tries to do as her religion teaches and a fourth person claims not to believe in anything so he does whatever he feels like doing?

    Not the only one at all, LOTS of other people want to force their neighbors to live in accordance with their own personal beliefs. That’s why there’s a specific statement in the Bill of Rights making it clear that in America people have freedom on conscience and religion.

    We pride ourselves on religious pluralism, but is there a limit to how much pluralism we can endure? If they sing different hymns at your church than they do at mine that’s fine; but if you and I have fundamental differences about right and wrong we’re going to have serious trouble getting along.

    That depends on whether you’re talking about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in the public or private sphere. If that neighbor loathes modern medicine and believes you are ‘wrong’ to go to the doctor you can ignore his opinion. If he makes efforts to get the local hospital closed, he has invaded the public sphere in which the ‘differences about right and wrong’ invade the rights of others.

    We’re going to have to come to a consensus on these issues because it’s simply not going to work for everyone to believe different things.

    Actually, it works just fine for everyone to believe different things so long as government and civil law are absolutely neutral on ‘belief’ issues and public spaces and accomodations are required to be neutral and nondiscriminatory so that everyone’s rights are protected.

    You can’t teach abstinence in the classroom. You teach sexual morality by demonstrating what’s acceptable behavior and what isn’t.

    Certainly the CONCEPT of abstinence can be taught in the schools, together with all the other information useful to the students in the future. But “acceptable behavior” to whom? Sexual morality is a matter of individual ethics and extremely diverse. Public schools should NOT be teaching children religious ‘beliefs’ of any kind but instead actual scientific facts. Parents have the right to teach their OWN children their OWN beliefs, but should never have the right to insist that their beliefs be taught to other people’s children.

  • crowepps

    Suppressing rape is even easier if the woman is restricted to a home where the windows are painted over, forbidden to leave unless accompanied by a male relative and forced to wear a burka.

     

    It would be equally true to say that rape is a valuable social institution because it forces women to turn to men for protection and tolerate their individual abuse in order to avoid the abuse of men in general.

  • colleen

    I agree that’s what he intended to say, RM, but I believe that he is trying to sell the notion that we women need husbands to protect ourselves from rapists. Hilarious.

    The same poster saying it is a good thing for two strangers to marry because they have sex?

    Even worse, he implied that a man marrying for the sole reason of (finally) being able to have sex was a reasonable choice. The sexuality of conservative males is very creepy. I once watched a 50+ year old Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints male explain that they don’t take those 13 year old girls as wives because the sex would be good, they just want all the babies. It apparently had never occurred to him that this attitude was just as reprehensible and cruel as that of any other child rapist.

    The only difference between the American anti-abortion movement and the Taliban is about 8,000 miles.

    Dr Warren Hern, MD

  • crowepps

    This is my thesis: People don’t ‘do their own thing’ when it comes to sex. They do what they’re told.

    You leave out completely the biological drive to have sex. I disagree that people “do what they’re told”. I think they do what feels good.

    In 1950 people were listening to what their religious leaders were telling them about sex. In 2009 they are relying on other sources to guide their sexual behavior.

    I was around in the 1950′s and religious leaders were then (as now) actually pretty irrelevant to decisions on sex. What people responded to instead was the social consensus stigmatizing girls who had sex as ‘bad’ and punishing unwed pregnancy and ‘bastards’. Most women who got married in the 1950′s weren’t virgins, but instead had sex before marriage and then married. There is a longitudinal study available here:

    http://www.publichealthreports.org/userfiles/122_1/12_PHR122-1_73-78.pdf

  • crowepps

    Even worse, he implied that a man marrying for the sole reason of (finally) being able to have sex was a reasonable choice.

    Why don’t they just change the law so a man can ‘marry’ an anatomically correct plastic blow-up doll.  To me, it sure trivializes marriage to assert that men are marrying women’s sex organs instead of their whole persons.  I may be a bleeding-heart liberal but to me marriage should mean more than the equivalent of a long-term contract of prostitution.

  • anonymous99

    This was not a "great" moment in this man’s life.  He was DEEPLY conflicted.  This marriage was an act of desperation not an act of love. His only purpose was to get his penis inside of any vagina he could find.  When I indicated that he thought this was a viable option I didn’t mean that in a good way.  There was no celebration with family and friends.  It was more like a funeral. 

  • anonymous99

    Paul, you are incredibly out-to-lunch on this whole topic.  You’re simply parrotting the same lies you were told about sex.  For your own sake, do some historical research and discover for yourself the truth about sex.  "In 1950 people were listening to what their religious leaders were telling them about sex."  You might want to start with the Kinsey report Paul.  That fits nicely with the generation you appear to hold in such high regard.  This generation is no more sexually "depraved" than any other.  Get over it.

  • grayduck

    So are you saying there would have been a celebration if the sex had happened but without the marriage?

  • jayn

    I think s/he’s saying that a wedding should be a celebration.  I know mine was.

  • grayduck

    "Criminalization of consensual sex involves…declaring what can and can’t happen."

     

    The restrictions imposed by the adultery and fornication laws are very limited. They merely require that the man and woman obtain a marriage license for a reasonable fee, wait five days, and undergo a solemnization ceremony. We have similar requirements to practice sports and occupations like fishing, barbering, accounting, and driving.

     

    "Never mind that anyone who chose to have anything other than heterosexual sex would be forever committing illegal acts."

     

    Not true. Minnesota’s adultery and fornication laws do not apply to homosexual acts.

     

    "That inherently cannot happen with consensual sex."

     

    How does this point apply to my argument?

     

    "Unless, of course, a woman’s husband is the one raping her — not at all improbable since 28 percent of rapists are intimately known to their victims."

     

    The data clearly show that both stranger rape and acquaintance rape are rampant in the United States and other English-speaking countries.

     

    "The way to change this is by changing rapists (or would-be rapists)…"

     

    Exactly; rapists can be stopped by imprisoning them. But they can only be imprisoned if prosecutors can prove that the sex acts are non-consensual. Enforcing the adultery and fornication laws would help prosecutors do so.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • grayduck

    "Getting sex doesn’t have shit to do with rape. If anything, having a
    sense of entitlement (I married her, that means I get sex) increases
    the chance of marital rape… which is JUST AS MUCH RAPE as a stranger
    jumping out of the bushes. A large number of serial rapists are MARRIED. Because rape is not about
    sex, it is about hatred for women, it’s about having power over
    someone, it’s about teaching the victim a lesson, or its about seeing
    women as less than human.  Gary Ridgeway, the Green River Killer, was
    married. He sought out prostitutes, raped them, and killed them. It had
    NOTHING to do with sex. He even had sex with his wife. The rape and
    murder was about power and hate.
    "

     

    What do any of these claims have to do with whether the enforcement of adultery and fornication laws could help to suppress the number of rapes? Or, to return to my original question, why the author of the piece is so hostile to marriage?

     

    "One is not the same as the other."

     

    What is your point?

     

     

     

  • grayduck

    "I believe that he is trying to sell the notion that we women need husbands to protect ourselves from rapists."

     

    Very perceptive. It is all part of my plan to impel one of you ladies to become my submissive wife.

     

     

  • grayduck

    "To me, it sure trivializes marriage to assert that men are marrying women’s sex organs instead of their whole persons."

     

    But I thought marriage was bad. That was the point of the article and the basis for my original question.

  • grayduck

    "I think s/he’s saying that a wedding should be a celebration.  I know mine was."

     

    So no marriage at all is always preferable to an imperfect one?

  • jayn

    Marriage is a huge commitment.  I’d hope people would save such a large step in their lives for something more important than getting laid.

  • grayduck

    "Marriage is a huge commitment."

     

    What provision of the law requires marriage to be a huge commitment?

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • ahunt

    *Snerk* Jackass.

  • anonymous99

    Calling this marriage imperfect is like calling WW II a backyard fight.  Imperfect?  Really? 

  • anonymous99

    "But I thought marriage was bad. That was the point of the article …"  No it wasn’t and YOU know it wasn’t.  Why are you playing these games?  I’m quite conservative myself and I disagree with many of the people on here regularly.  I can tell you first-hand they don’t mind serious, knock-down, tough debates and they can spot a weak, lame-brained post in a brief moment.  Get with the program.

  • therealistmom

    The enforcement of "adultery and fornication" laws would have NO impact on rape, because adultery and fornication are consentual acts. Having sex. Two (or more) people consenting to participate in sexual activity. Add to that that sexuality is a personal decision and we have no right to legislate that to begin with- not when it involves consenting adults (or even teens who are of an age to consent with each other).

     People who cheat on a partner, or have sex outside the artificial construct of marriage, are NOT rapists! 

     Rape has NOTHING to do with sex!

     Pretty simple, is it not?

     And apparently your reading comprehension is minimal if you read the original piece as being hostile to marriage. It is hostile to marrying for the wrong reasons- ie, just to have sex. It is hostile to forcing people into one narrow worldview that you must have a piece of paper signed by the state or sex is "wrong". It is hostile to not equipping young people with real information to make informed choices.

     Marriage can be a good thing, when two people decide they wish to make a legal and loving commitment to each other and formalize it to take advantage of the societal benefits that come along with marriage. It is not the be-all end-all of existence, nor should it be bandied about as a "cure" for being horny.

     

     

  • liama

    You should cut down on the candies. It will ruin her health. Same goes with sex and marriage, if sex is used as bait, the marriage will collapse. Marriage should be a union that occurs because both love each other and not so that they can have sex.

  • the-watcher

    "Rapists can be stopped by imprisoning them. But they can only be
    imprisoned if prosecutors can prove that the sex acts are
    non-consensual. Enforcing the adultery and fornication laws would help
    prosecutors do so."

     

    You want to reclassify things that are not rape as rape to make it easier to imprison people?

  • anonymous99

    "No wonder women are giving marriage a pass these days."  Let’s be honest here.  It’s not the would-be stay-at-home-moms, fresh out of college with their Mrs. degrees, who are passing on marriage.  It’s independent working women who have as much to lose as working men who are passing on marriage.

  • grayduck

    Nobody has yet explained how he would have been any worse off if he had not married and yet still had sexual intercourse with the woman.

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • grayduck

    "You want to reclassify things that are not rape as rape to make it easier to imprison people?"

     

    No; I want to enforce the adultery and fornication laws to make it easier for courts to distinguish between consensual acts of sexual intercourse and non-consensual acts of sexual intercourse and, therefore, make it easier to imprison rapists.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • davel

    One curriculum, branded under the name of A. C. Green, an NBA player who famously remained a virgin until he married in his thirties, refers to marriage as the finish line.

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cringe at this. One can’t help but imagine a mob of atheletes waiting around at the finish line for the rest of their lives.