They’re Baaaaaack: Abstinence-Only Programs Rely on Scare Tactics and Humiliation to Spread Misinformation


Throughout October 2009, young people and their allies are engaging in advocacy efforts in communities across the country to raise awareness for the need for REAL sex education. The Sex Ed Month of Action will engage young people and their allies across the United States in showing their support for comprehensive sex education.

On October 15th, 2009, SIECUS – the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States – held our seventh annual Back to School briefing on Capitol Hill.  Each year, we review some of the more popular abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula and use this briefing to share our findings with policymakers. 

We use this moment to remind policymakers that a “just say no” approach is failing our kids.  After all, 47% of all high school students have had sex and when you look at it by grade that number goes up each year, meaning over 60% of seniors have had sex.  Our efforts to bury our heads in the sand may be in part responsible for the negative trends in sexual health that we’ve seen over the last few years.   After years of decline, the teen birth rate is rising and an especially disturbing report from the CDC found that 1 in 4 teen girls has had a sexually transmitted disease.  This is less of a surprise when you look at data on condom use – after years of progress condom use among sexually active teens has gone down in recent years.  For seven years now, we have  presented worse and worse statistics and argued vehemently that a change away from these ineffective programs is needed.    

Thankfully, this year’s briefing felt a little different.  The fall of the abstinence-only-until-marriage movement seems imminent (unless it has actually already occurred).  Whereas in years past it seemed we were screaming into the wind, this year everything – from funding to policies to public opinion – is trending toward a more comprehensive approach. 

And while others at the briefing were able to talk about how this
approach will work, I was there, as always, to provide a word of caution. Unfortunately, despite all of these
positive trends, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are not going
away.

These programs were being taught in public schools long before the
influx of federal money turned the mom and pop abstinence-only-until-marriage
organizations into a billion dollar industry and they will be around once that
money dries up.

This industry is remarkably adaptable and will continue to re-market
and re-brand its merchandise to fit the popular thinking and the available
federal funding. They have done it
before – by taking away blatantly religious message (like the suggestion that
young people take Jesus Christ on their dates for protection) and ridiculous
medical information (like the idea that young people who have had sex should
wash their genitals with Lysol to prevent STDs) – and they’re doing it again.

Today, the industry is scrambling to stay relevant and, in doing so, is
describing its programs as holistic and even comprehensive. But if you really read them (we
reviewed the entire Choosing the Best series and a new supplemental curriculum
from Wait Training) they are no different. They are the same fear- and shame- based programs they have
always been.

Premarital sex is bad. The
messages in these curricula are pretty much as simple as that. There are inevitable physical and
emotional consequences.
Worse though, the message is clear that people who have had premarital
sex are also bad. These curricula set
up a dichotomy between abstinent young people who are portrayed as honest, hard
working, and likely to succeed and their sexually active peers who, well, are
not.

To prove this, the curricula turn to some experiential activities and
some props. Let’s start with a
peppermint patty

If we were to do the “Mint for Marriage” exercise which appears in Choosing the Best PATH, I would pass
around this peppermint patty and ask you each to hold it, examine it, maybe
smell it, and then pass it to your neighbor. Then when it made its way around the room and came back up
to me, I would offer it to you and see if anyone in the class wanted it. You would undoubtedly say no because it
would be gross and I would ask:
“Why is this patty no longer appealing?”

The answer: “No one wants food that has been passed around and
neither would you want your future husband or wife to have been passed around”

Or we could use a rose.

This one, also
from Choosing the Best PATH, is
called “A Rose with No Petals.” If we were a class doing this one, I would hold
it up, say how beautiful it is, pass it around and have each of you pull a
petal of it until it comes back to me with nothing but a stem.

Then I would
ask: “How much value does the rose have now?”

The curriculum
suggests that the teacher, “Share that the rose represents someone who
participates in casual sex. Each time a sexually active person gives that most
personal part of himself or herself away, that person can lose a sense of
personal value and worth. It all comes down to self-respect.”

The spit game
(that’s what we call it) from WAIT Training actually has as its purpose showing
teens how STDs are spread. This
game has a row of boys stand opposite a row of girls holding cups of water. They put some water in their mouths,
swoosh it around a little bit (possibly after eating cheese doodles), and then
spit it back into their cup. Then
they go through a process of pouring water into each other’s cups. Some of the
cups are labeled with names of STDs.

The messages of
shame come in at the end of exercise when the students pour their spit-water
into one pitcher. The teacher then
puts a pitcher of clean water next to it and asks students which pitcher they
would rather pick their future spouse from.

So we’re getting
the idea right, kids who have had sex – which by the way is 47% of all high
school students or 63% of high school seniors – are the equivalent of used
candy, a petal-less rose, or spit.
They’re no longer appealing, they lack value.

For years we
have been criticizing these curricula for lessons like these. It is wholly inappropriate to tell
students who are or who become sexually active that they are worth less than
their abstinent peers.

Lest we think no
one pays attention to our critiques, WAIT Training made an interesting change
to its lesson. Instead of a rose, the lesson called, “How Valuable is This?” uses
a crisp, new $20 bill. The teacher offers it to students. Then she is supposed to wad the bill up
and stomp on it and ask again if anyone wants it. Then, she is supposed to accidentally spill soup or soda on
it and ask again. Finally, the
teacher is supposed to pretend to sneeze into the bill and ask once more if any
students want it.

The curriculum
tells the teacher to “discuss how just because it has been treated poorly,
abused and worked over, it hasn’t lost its value. Twenty dollars is still $20, even though it’s ‘been around’”

This is a feeble
attempt to fix the horrific messages in these exercises. Young people who have had sex are not
the equivalent of a battered, stepped on, sneezed on, twenty dollar bill and
suggesting they are is not any better than suggesting they are spit.

Such messages of
shame, though designed to make young people avoid premarital sex, seemed
destined to simply make them feel bad.
We have to remember that the prohibition on premarital sex is not a
universally held value – in fact most adults have had sex at some time before
they marry. But, even if young
people wait until marriage to have sex, how can it possibly be good to
associate sex with guilt and shame?

This blog is the
first in a series in which we will also explore how these programs perpetuate
age-old gender stereotypes and promote marriage.

We have a lot to
be thankful for as the paradigm in sex education shifts away from these fear-
and shame-based programs. Still,
we cannot let our guard down or let ourselves be fooled by new marketing
schemes.
Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs still exist and they still
provide young people with damaging messages.

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  • juliesunday

    thanks for shedding light on the Absinence-Industrial Complex, Martha–if one reads the 1099s or the fine print on the websites of many abstinence curricula manufacturers, the connections between the ‘secular’ curricula makers and crisis pregnancy centers and other nutty anti-sex organizations are clear. here in texas, austin life guard (which was recently kicked out of austin public schools because, duh, it does not work) is directly affiliated with the medical institute for sexual health and austin lifecare, a big crisis pregnancy center that gets tons of funding from the state of texas. the medical institute has a new tool called the ‘std wizard’ funded by the cdc.

  • princess-rot

    It’s also wrong to tell abstinent students that their only inherent worth as people lies in keeping their legs crossed and treating the rest of humanity as unclean freaks if they don’t keep their legs crossed. Its sociopathic. This twisted message is also going to collide with existing rape culture and strengthen the sexual double standard held against women.

  • joneen-mackenzie-rn

    Joneen Mackenzie RN The description of fear and shame teaching for the WAIT (Why Am I Tempted) Curriculum is totally innaccurate. We have no "pitcher" activity anywhere. If you going to talk about us please be accurate. Maybe we are succesful because all the students have heard over the years is about condoms and contraceptives. What they really like is learning about themselves, how to date creatively; how to care for their heart, their love language, the steps of intimacy, partner selection strategies, stages of attachment and committment among the many other skills it takes to love well. You continue doing what you are doing, and we will continue to do what we are doing and let’s see who wins the hearts and minds of the youth and their parents.

  • jayn

    Why can’t you ALSO teach contraceptives?  I think the main difference between ab-only and comprehensive sex ed is "wait until you’re married" versus "wait until you’re ready".  The first one is absolute, to be either accepted or rejected, and we all know how well THAT kind of message tends to go over with teens.  The second encourages teens to think about WHY they want to have sex, and lets them decide what values make sense to them.  It’s a more personal message, telling them not "this is what you should do" but "this is what you should think about".

  • crowepps

    I was curious so I looked up your curriculum.  The ‘expected standard’ of WAIT training is sex only within marriage.  That is a minority and religiously based standard and not one shared by the majority of the American public.  Why should public tax monies be used to promote your view when it is not the majority view?

    http://www.waittraining.org/WAIT_Training_Curriculum_Description_CBAE2008.pdf

     

    "Americans are more accepting of sex outside marriage, according to a Gallup poll released last week. While in 1969 Gallup found that 68 percent of Americans viewed pre-marital sex as wrong, the new survey found that only 38 percent now feel that way."

    http://www.cwfa.org/articles/34/CFI/cfreport/index.htm

  • emmaleigh2009

    What really cracks me up about all the opposers of abstinence education is the fact that they first:

    -Don’t have a clue about what it entails.

    -Secondly they believe the big fat lie of the media that says it doesn’t work.

    Well can I educate you on something–THERE IS NO RESEARCH THAT SAYS comprehensive SEX WORKS EITHER. So if we throw out stuff that isn’t clearly proven by research. Lets throw the BILLIONS Of dollars given to planned parenthood to teach kids about contraception–cause after all–it isn’t proven it works.  I challenge all the critics. CITE ME ONE RELIABLE STUDY (other than those funded by Planned parenthood and Siecus) that demonstrates clearly that comprehensive sex ed works.  THERE ISN’T ONE! 

    What research has been done on CSE has shown little or no effect on teen behavior. Giving out condoms and educating youth on birth control has had little affect on their behavior in whether or not they use condoms in future encounters.

     

    So, tell me. If primary prevention (abstinence) is a bad idea, then why don’t we give up on all the other health issues that teach primary prevention?

    For example:

    Primary Prevention for obesity is educating people how to eat healthy and exercise–BEFORE THEY BECOME FAT–

    Secondary Prevention-For those that are already struggling with their weight, this type of prevention is used and the hope is they return to a healthy lifestyle.

    Tertiary Prevention–This is an intervention such as bariatric surgery, lap band, etc for those already affected with "disease"

     

    Just about every health issue known to man uses the three levels of prevention methodology.

    -Substance abuse

    -Tobacco

    -Violence Prevention

    -Heart Disease

    -Cancer Prevention

    -Diabetes

    -Domestic Abuse

    etc..

     

    Why should trying to reduce teen pregnancy and STD’s be any different? Just because people have innate sexual desires?

    I mean after all DON"T ALL PEOPLE HAVE THE INHERENT DESIRE TO EAT–A PHYSICAL NECESSITY TO LIVE. We dont’ stop teaching them how to do it in a healthy way.  We don’t tell them–eat whatever you want, after all, you have to have food, its required for life, its innate, so knock yourself eat however, whenever, and how much you want…That would be insane and irresponsible?  Just because we know that many people won’t listen to what we say about healthy eating…we still show people and educate them on how to live the healthiest lifestyle and enjoy optimum health through primary prevention.  So why do we do it with sex?

     

    Yes humans have sexual desires but one does not DIE if they do not have sex until marriage.  Can I tell you a secret?  SHHH don’t tell anyone! There are actually people living, walking and breathing on this earth who have NEVER had sex and LIVED?  I MEAN REALLY–they are ALIVE! 

    Now, lets try primary prevention with sexual behavior or an abstinence program: Hmm.

    Primary Prevention-Encourage abstinence until marriage because SOCIAL SCIENCE RESEARCH SAYS that children born to TWO Married parents have the greatest chance at life to be healthy, happy, etc. It isn’t just about the two people wanting to have sex–its about the children they bring into the world unplanned and as teenagers that have much worse outcomes such as increased liklihood to engage in risky behavior, drop out of school, engage in juvenile deliquency, etc. So Primary Prevention encourages teens to save sex for marriage–the healthiest option. (socially, mentally, physically and emotionally).

    OK, lets talk about Secondary Prevention: For those students who are not abstinent, the benefits of returning to abstinence (such as reducing the chance at getting an STD, getting pregnant, and having fewer lifelong problems because it is a FACT that those that are sexually promiscuous and have more partners have greater likelihood to have many diseases including HIV/AIDS, cervical cancer, etc. Sure we know not every kid will be abstinent but what is wrong with telling them the benefits. Just like we know people will eat at McDonalds and get fat, but we still tell people to eat healthy–cause its good for them. They make their own choice ultimately–whats wrong with giving them the facts–the benefits of the healthiest choice…

    Tertiary Prevention in abstinence programs–what does this mean?–these are programs that work with kids who are already a teen mom or father and teach them life skills, and how to avoid a repeat pregnancy and still highlight the benefits of abstinence.

     

    I really don’t have a problem with people who disagree with abstinence–let them have all the sex they want til their genitals fall off. But I do have a problem with these same folks telling kids that they can have all the sex they want with who they want, whenever they want and hey–there are no risks, just put this piece of latex on and you are good to go…This is what Comprehensive sex ed programs DO. They give kids the false sense of security with birth control and condoms.  Do you know how many married people I know who have kids who use birth control and or condoms?  People prepared to bring children into the world and used condoms but it didn’t work?  If sperm can pass through, then so can disease…and we all know that kids don’t exactly follow all the steps in using a condom to ensure that it works correctly.  And even if they did–they still are not 100% like abstinence is.

    I have a question for all you abstinence haters out there.  Lets fill a room with 50 people.  Lets say that 25% of them have an STD–they KNOW they have it.  Now, go around the room and pick a sex partner.  Go ahead.  Take a chance.  The reality is that 1 out of every 4 teens HAS an STD and most don’t even know it.  How many of the abstinence haters would take a chance if 12 of the people in the room had HIV?  If you are so confident in your condom message, well go have sex with someone who has HIV.  Come on go ahead.  YOU WOULDN"T cause you don’t trust them that they will work every time.  Its like playing roulette with your life and health. 

    It is a crazy, stupid idea to stop teaching primary prevention. THERE is already plenty of people out there teaching SECONDARY prevention–throwing condoms at kids. But what is wrong with giving kids an option. Don’t sit here and tell me kids don’t know how to get birth control, that is a crock. They can get the morning after pill online. They can go into any gas station at any age and buy a condom. They can get an abortion or the pill in most states. What is the big deal of giving kids a healthy option and letting them decide. The problem is all those people who cannot show any level of self control want an excuse for their irresponsible behavior and saying that sex is innate and uncontrollable gives them vindication that how they live their lives is just fine..even if it means bringing children into the world unplanned, aborted, or unwanted. Get your research straight. Then blog about it. Instead of believing and regurgitating garbage.

    Oh and by the way, for those of you who don’t know–one of the leading indicators and causes of poverty and welfare is out of wedlock pregnancy–so even if abstinence programs prevent pregnancy of only 5% of the youth they reach–that would be a success because the MILLIONS Of dollars a teen mom cost tax payers is far more than the little 100 million dollar pot of money that a teen pregnancy costs.  In fact there are 1 million teen pregnancies a year.  So if we spend 100 million on abstinence programs, we are spending 10 bucks on trying to prevent one pregnancy.  Sure puts things into perspective…

  • ahunt

    I really…do not know…where to begin.

    Well can I educate you on something–THERE IS NO RESEARCH THAT SAYS comprehensive SEX WORKS EITHER. So if we throw out stuff that isn’t clearly proven by research. Lets throw the BILLIONS Of dollars given to planned parenthood to teach kids about contraception–cause after all–it isn’t proven it works. I challenge all the critics. CITE ME ONE RELIABLE STUDY (other than those funded by Planned parenthood and Siecus) that demonstrates clearly that comprehensive sex ed works. THERE ISN’T ONE!

    What about we throw out things that are disproven by research? Starting with “abstinence only”?

  • emma

    It was kind of painful reading a wall of text interspersed with RANDOM CAPS.
    See, this is the thing. If people want to be abstinent, that is fine. It’s as valid to choose to be abstinent as it is to choose to have sex. The ‘abstinence haters’ comment is rubbish. There’s nothing wrong with abstinence, but you know what? There’s nothing wrong with having sex, either. And having sex doesn’t make one’s genitals fall off. Just in case you didn’t know. :)

     

    What I do object to is the shaming inherent in the stuff you’re saying. Stuff about people who have sex outside of married being diseased and promiscuous and all of that. Teaching abstinence is fine, but why not teach kids what a condom is and what they’re for and what the pill is and why people take it, and that sexual relationships can be healthy, and how to be less likely to end up with an STI or an unwanted pregnancy? When contraception fails, it’s more often than not due to incorrect use. Why withhold information about STI and pregnancy prevention? Can you not do that as well as encourage abstinence?

     

    Bloody hell. I went to a nice elite Anglican girls’ school, and we had comprehensive sex ed. We put condoms on carrots, and we had someone with HIV come in and talk to us, as well as someone from a gay rights group. We did that as well as studying Blake and Pinter and Shakespeare and going to chapel every week and wearing our bloody school hats outside the school with our summer uniforms. In other words, balance is possible, you know. I was taught comprehensive sex ed, I learned why HIV was something I’d prefer not to contract. I don’t fuck everything that moves, and I’ve never had an STI or an unwanted pregnancy. Part of that’s luck, and part of it is knowledge about safe sex.

     

    That’s my anecdata, anyway. :)

     

    Also. What about those of us who feel that marriage is a patriarchal anachronism and have no desire to participate in it? What about those of us who manage to have long term, healthy relationships without a wedding ceremony or a piece of paper saying we’re married? Why is this a problem? What about those who are gay and live in places where they can’t legally marry?

     

    Plus…my parents weren’t married. My father didn’t (past tense as he’s dead, and from cancer, not from sex outside marriage) and my mother doesn’t believe in marriage. You do know that insulting my parents’ choices and my own is a little alienating, yeah? Is that really necessary?

  • crowepps

    What I do object to is the shaming inherent in the stuff you’re saying. Stuff about people who have sex outside of married being diseased and promiscuous and all of that.

    It’s inherent in the worldview.  The sexual organs of humans are filthy and digusting.  Combining two sets of them makes them even MORE filthy and disgusting.  Feeling pleasure when doing so is perverse and degraded.  The only PURE people are those who ‘sanctify’ sex, have sex only for a ‘higher purpose’ (like children), and who don’t feel pleasure in doing so.  This point of view has to be sternly impressed on little children so that they will feel the appropriate ‘shame’ that their bodies were created with ‘down there’ included.

  • jayn

    "

    What really cracks me up about all the opposers of abstinence education is the fact that they first:

    -Don’t have a clue about what it entails."

     

    Pot, meet kettle.  You obviously don’t know much about comprehenssive sex ed, or you’d know that it INCLUDES ABSTINENCE.  Yeesh, why do ab-only people always insinuate that we’re trying to get kids to have sex?  I also went through a comprehensive program, and it was always, always, ALWAYS stressed that no contraceptive method is as good at avoiding disease and pregnancy as abstinence is.  That didn’t stop them from also teaching us

    –how to put on a condom

    –the ups and downs of various contraceptive methods

    –the success rates of various contraceptive methods

     

    It’s not an either/or equation here.

  • grayduck

    Jayn on October 30, 2009 – 3:40pm: "I also went through a comprehensive program, and it was always, always, ALWAYS stressed that no contraceptive method is as good at avoiding disease and pregnancy as abstinence is."

     

    Ironically, this is the sort of sloppy scholarship that shows that so-called comprehensive sexuality education curricula are based on pseudo-science. No study that I have ever seen has comprehensively compared the effectiveness of abstinence as a contraceptive method with other methods. Certainly it is not one-hundred percent effective by any reasonable standard, as practitioners can be impregnated from rape. In practice, abstinence may be quite mediocre as a strategy for avoiding pregnancy. After analyzing the study below, while realizing that the study treated abstinence differently from other contraceptive methods, I drew the conclusion that abstinence is about as effective as oral contraceptives in preventing pregnancy. Thus, it is better than barrier methods but substantially worse than long-acting methods like Implanon.

     

    http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/3429402.html

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • jayn

    …Are you seriously suggesting that women should put extra horomones into their bodies (which they may not react well to) on the offchance they get raped?

     

    Talking about consentual sex, yes abstinence is going to be 100% effective.  Rape is a different issue altogether, and telling women they should pre-emptively play victim is just fucked up.

  • crowepps

    I recall clearly a news report wherein a young man said that he and his girlfriend used abstinence "most of the time".  Perhaps, considering the general dumbing down of our school attendees, it would be a lot clearer to them if you ditched the euphemism ‘abstinence’ and just said in clear language "the standard is that none of you ever get to have any kind of sex at all for the next ten years – you have to get married first".  Of course, then you’d have to say the word <i>*sex*</i> and probably your lips would instantly rot off —

  • grayduck

    Jayn on October 31, 2009 – 9:38am: "Are you seriously suggesting that women should put extra horomones into their bodies (which they may not react well to) on the offchance they get raped?"

     

    That was not my point. If you review the study that I cited, you will find that about one-eighth of the women obtaining abortions had been impregnated from unexpected or unwanted sex. So, in a practical sense, those women relied on abstinence as a method of contraception but it failed.

     

    http://www.guttmacher.org/tables/3429402t.html#t3

     

    Interestingly, the study also determined that only about eight percent of the women obtaining abortions had never used a method of contraception. As such, very few unintended pregnancies can be prevented by encouraging minor girls who have never used contraception to start doing so.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

  • grayduck

    Emma on October 29, 2009 – 11:53pm: "What about those of us who feel that marriage is a patriarchal anachronism and have no desire to participate in it? What about those of us who manage to have long term, healthy relationships without a wedding ceremony or a piece of paper saying we’re married? Why is this a problem?"

     

    A marriage license and solemnization procedure provides assurance that sexual intercourse and child-bearing occur within a consensual relationship. A waiting period applies- at least here in Minnesota-, so marriage provides assurance that sex was not entered into without time for reflection.

     

    Large, elaborate marriage ceremonies are not required. I think people see royal weddings and assume that they all must be done that way.

     

    http://www.abortiondiscussion.com

    • equalist

      This particular view makes me ill.  You’d think people had never heard of marital rape.  Just as not all extramarital sex is concentual, neither is all sex within all marriages concentual.  Then there’s the matter of people (usually girls) who are forced into marriage for a wide variety of reasons, coersion because a guy wants to have sex with them and knows they won’t put out until they’re married being one of those.  The idea of marriage as concent ignores the important factor of domestic violence, which is a huge problem in this country.

       

      Equal rights, equal responsibilities.

  • crowepps

    Interestingly, the study also determined that only about eight percent of the women obtaining abortions had never used a method of contraception. As such, very few unintended pregnancies can be prevented by encouraging minor girls who have never used contraception to start doing so.

    A great many, however, could be prevented by teaching minor girls who DO use contraceptives to use them CORRECTLY.

  • crowepps

    Do you know how many married people I know who have kids who use birth control and or condoms? People prepared to bring children into the world and used condoms but it didn’t work? If sperm can pass through, then so can disease…and we all know that kids don’t exactly follow all the steps in using a condom to ensure that it works correctly.

    As I understand the failure rates of condoms, it is not because ‘sperm can pass through’ but instead because in less than perfect use condoms are not used EVERY TIME. If kids don’t exactly follow all the steps in using a condom then it would seem to me to make more sense to teach them what the steps ARE than to tell them there’s no point in using birth control at all.

  • joneen-mackenzie-rn

    Joneen Mackenzie RN
    I love this robust dialog about this issue. Let’s keep talking! Let me help those who read this blog understand that the “marriage” word in the abstinence education legislation came from the Bill Clinton 1996 Welfare Reform and Social Responsibility Act which created TANF (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families). In the TANF legislation three out of the four TANF requirements have something to do with marriage.
    1. Provide assistance to needy families
    2. End dependence of needy families on government benefits by promoting job preparation work and marriage
    3. Prevent and reduce non marital pregnancy rates
    4. Encourage the formation and maintenance of healthy two-parent families for healthy outcomes for youth
    And…if all this wasn’t enough this huge piece of legislation also created the Title V Abstinence education funding which SIECUS and so many others are whining about.
    To add even more instructive statements to schools, the Centers for Disease Control, Division of Adolescent and School Health (CDC-DASH) has their Sexual Health Guidelines that state “School systems should make programs available that will enable and encourage young people who have not engaged in sexual intercourse to abstain from sexual intercourse until they are ready to establish a mutually monogamous relationship within the context of marriage.
    For young people who have engaged in sexual intercourse, school programs should enable and encourage them to stop engaging in sexual intercourse until they are ready to establish a mutually monogamous relationship within the context of marriage.”

    They go on to state,”Any health information developed by the Federal Government that will be used for education should encourage responsible sexual behavior–based on fidelity, commitment, and maturity, placing sexuality within the context of marriage…and should teach that children should not engage in sex and should be used with the consent and involvement of parents.”
    All we at WAIT ( Why Am I Tempted) Training are trying to do is to educate, equip and empower young people to learn the science of healthy relationship skills which is a new body of literature and science. They cannot get enough of these love lessons. We help them learn about themselves and live intentionally so they decide rather than slide into relationships whether they are gay or straight, short or tall, black or white. In fact our gay friends are the only ones in this country who seem to value marriage so much so that they are willing to fight for it. As a public health nurse, information alone does not change behavior. If that were the case, we would all be skinny, What does change behavior is: inspiration, captivation and motivation as we speak to the heart of a child. Now would somebody tell me why SIECUS, Planned Parenthood , Advocates for Youth and the ACLU are so wigged out about that?

  • heather-corinna

    We help them learn about themselves and live intentionally so they
    decide rather than slide into relationships whether they are gay or
    straight, short or tall, black or white. In fact our gay friends are
    the only ones in this country who seem to value marriage so much so
    that they are willing to fight for it.

     

    So the WAIT program is fully inclusive as far as gender identity and sexual orientation goes, including the reality that "your gay friends" cannot GET married in most areas?

     

    If it is, I’d personally love to see some of that inclusive content and messaging. I have not seen anything from your curricula which suggests it has the kind of inclusivity it seems you’re saying it does.

  • ahunt

    Not a political scientist, but I imagine the horsetrading that went on in getting welfare reform through the process answers your implicit question. Your direct question… Now would somebody tell me why SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth and the ACLU are so wigged out about that?

    Happy to oblige: the issue is not abstinence…but rather “abstinence only.”

  • joneen-mackenzie-rn

    Joneen Mackenzie RN

    In regard to inclusivity, the WAIT (Why Am I Tempted) Cirriculum has been screened by the American Pyschological Association for language which is inclusive to GLBTQ youth. We were asked to change a few things and we did.

    In regard to the comment about abstinence only… we have a supplemental curriculum that is used outlining healthy family planning and imparts information about condoms and contraceptives. We just don’t start there! Additionally, we train medical professionals and clinic personnel in the WAIT Training Medical Cessation Intervention for Sexually Active Youth actually training them one on one how to use risk reducers like condoms and contraceptives telling them how important it is to use these products with fidelity. We also then talk with them, ask them caring questions about their relationships and gently guide them back to a healthier choice should they desire to be coached and mentored. This project is based on the research based smoking cessation programs throughout the country. Many of these young people do not know they have the option of not having sex once they have started.

  • heather-corinna

    I’ll have to take a look at some point, then.  But my guess is if the APA asked for changes, it involved you removing anti-homosexual statements, rather than asking for inclusive approaches. However…

     

    In regard to inclusivity, the WAIT (Why Am I Tempted) Cirriculum has
    been screened by the American Pyschological Association for language
    which is inclusive to GLBTQ youth. We were asked to change a few things
    and we did.

     

    Yet you make very clear WAIT training is about saving sex for marriage.  So, I’m not sure I understand how that is inclusive when so many GLBTQ youth will be unable to marry.  How is it still inclusive when your youth who are opposite-sex attracted will only basically need to "wait" for sex until they are of legal age to marry, while the queer youth may need to wait until hell freezes over, and may be waiting the whole of their lifetimes and still be unable to marry?

     

    And that "T" in there is going to be a particular issue when you talk about gender in your programs.  The gender roles and statements WAIT training utilizes about gender I have seen, like:

     

    "Men sexually are like microwaves and women sexually are like
    crockpots…a woman is stimulated more by touch and romantic words. She
    is far more attracted by a man’s personality while a man is stimulated
    by sight. A man is usually less discriminating about those to whom he
    is physically attracted."

     

    or

    “How do guys carry their books without a backpack? (Show books tucked
    under arm.) Now, when you went off to school, did your mother say,
    Honey, carry your books like this so people won’t think you’re a
    weenie. No, it’s innate behavior. Nobody had to teach you to do this.
    Now girls, how do you carry your books without a backpack? You nurture
    your books to your breast like with a baby.”

     

    and using John Gray’s theories as you do certainly are not at all inclusive of trans youth, or even cisgender youth who don’t fit those traditional gender roles.

  • joneen-mackenzie-rn

    Heather,
    If you are saying in your comments that there are no differences between men and women, who is radical here?
    To once again address the marriage issue, our gay friends are fighting for the right to be married. If your argument about the marriage issue is valid, WAIT Training would be embraced and allowed in schools in Massachusetts. It is not.
    Keep the objections coming. We have heard them all!!
    Joneen Mackenzie RN

  • heather-corinna

    In your first comment, you asked us to tell you why we were upset about programs like yours and had objections: if you’ve heard them all, and/or if you don’t care that we have them, why ask?

     

    I’m saying, in my last comment, that you said you are GLBTQ-inclusive.  However, one cannot be inclusive of transgender, intersex, or genderqueer youth — or even those who just "carry their books like a weenie" — if you make essentialist statements and suppositions about gender as a part of your program. I am, indeed, plenty radical in many ways, but it’s not radical, for instance, to support science in stating that there are more than 2 karyotypes that exist among people and social science in stating that traditional gender sterotypes or roles do not fit everyone. It’s merely observant.

     

    (Just for the record?  I AM "your queer friends."  Please stop talking about us as if we are not right here.)

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  • katwa

    If you are so confident in your condom message, well go have sex with someone who has HIV. Come on go ahead. YOU WOULDN”T cause you don’t trust them that they will work every time.

    Actually, I WOULD have sex with my partner if he had HIV, and I definitely would use a condom. Because he doesn’t have HIV, though, we only have to worry about pregnancy, so birth control is enough for us.

    I know a gay couple where one partner is HIV positive and the other is negative and they have been together over 30 years. They use condoms, and that is why one partner is still HIV negative! They do actually work VERY WELL if used correctly and used every time.

    If you think “sperm can pass through” YOU are in need of some comprehensive sex education!! That is the kind of lies ab-only teaches and it’s complete bullshit!

    There are actually people living, walking and breathing on this earth who have NEVER had sex and LIVED? I MEAN REALLY–they are ALIVE!

    Interestingly enough, there are even MORE people on this earth who HAVE had sex and lived! Really, we’re all alive and doing fine! I am not “diseased” or otherwise having any repercussions from it, either.