Safe Sex

I stumbled across this blog post via a facebook friend:

It’s basically a rant in favor of abstinence only sex-education. Here are some choice passages and my responses:

“In this nation, we are concerned about the integrity of our produce and our peanut butter, so we only buy them if they have words like ‘organic’ and ‘raw’ on the packaging. But, when it comes to human sexuality, we’ll sip whatever chemicals we need in order to stave off the natural emotional and physical consequences of our behavior. Imagine the college students who have to chug 6 rum cocktails and 8 Natty Lights between them before they can anonymously copulate in someone’s dorm room. But they require more than booze; they also need pills and condoms and explanations the morning after about how this was all just for fun and it didn’t mean anything.”

What does this mean? So regular, non-drugged sex is like organic peanut butter I guess, and so sex with birth control is like processed peanut butter? In that…. it involves adding things?

“Why do we say that these people enjoy sex? The man who makes love to his wife of 20 years enjoys sex; these people only enjoy certain physical sensations. They enjoy masturbating with assistance — but sex is precisely what they’re trying desperately to avoid.”

So ‘these people’ are enjoying something, but it’s not sex, that’s only between married couples. Instead sex outside of marriage is ‘masturbating with assistance.’ I would be interested in hearing what the actual cutoff is between these two categories, but I can’t imagine someone dumb enough to think them up would have also thought them through.

“Nameless, random, uncommitted sex is never safe. Not emotionally, not spiritually, not physically. In fact, no sex is safe. Sex is not supposed to be safe. Sex isn’t supposed to be physically perilous like it often is these days — thanks, mostly, to years of ‘safe sex’ education — but it is supposed to be an act of great depth and consequence. Sex is meant to be open and exposed. It’s meant to bring out scary and mysterious feelings of desire and devotion.”

Well first let me just say thank god that I’ve just been masturbating with assistance this whole time, because that sure does sound scary. Also, how exactly is safe sex education making sex more dangerous? My only thought is this: divide sex into within-wedlock and out-of-wedlock. The out-of-wedlock category riskier than within-wedlock, but is made safer by sex-ed classes. However, if these classes convince enough people that out-of-wedlock sex is safe, we might see an increase in it compared to within-wedlock sex, thus making the average sex-act more dangerous, even as unmarried sex havers see nothing but safety improvements. Sort of like how car accident fatalities are surprisingly unchanged by safety improvements, because people just feel safer and drive more recklessly. Of course in that scenario having a giant spike coming out of the steering wheel is the reducto ad absurdum of the trend, while getting rid of the available protections is actually what this post recommends.

“This is like planting a seed in the ground and calling it a mistake when a tree begins to sprout because you thought the soil was infertile. You may have believed this, but still the seed is doing exactly what seeds are supposed to do, and you did exactly what a person is supposed to do if they want to make a tree grow. You may be a fool, but this was no accident.”

Wouldn’t just planting the seed and walking off be equivalent to unprotected sex? Let’s say planting seeds was really fun, but for some reason we didn’t want more trees to go. How about planting the seed inside a little plastic case, so it wouldn’t grow? Or just removing it right after? And plus, then if you take these precautions, you’re more justified describing any tree that grows as an accident, since you were obviously trying to avoid that eventuality. Of course some environmental groups might get mad at how you’re killing the seeds, but really even tree-huggers know the difference between a seed and tree.

“sex is an expression of love. This is the primary thing that separates human sex from sex between beasts. It is a profound good, but, like any good, it can be perverted and turned into a very dark evil.”

Animals feel love don’t they? Their minds are simpler of course, but I’d say what a mother bear feels towards its cubs or what two mated-for-life swans feel for each other is pretty analogous to love. Or maybe not! Either way, it’s an interesting question that shouldn’t have on answer glibly passed on as supposed wisdom.

“The abstinence-before-marriage plan paints an affirmative and uplifting picture. It says, “this is something so good and so important and so joyful that you should leave it be until you grow up and find one special person to share it with.””

Of course it’s been proven over and over again that abstinence only sex education does not lead to a decrease in sexual activity, but does manage to stop people from using as much protection, leading to increases in the teen pregnancy rate, leading to increases in both the teen birth rate and the abortion rate. It’s so uplifting!

“By the way, though it is just a recreational activity, like Parcheesi or air hockey, it can also lead to broken hearts, chlamydia, pregnancy, and AIDS. So, in that sense, it’s a little different from a board game. Hey, let’s look at some super-magnified images of genital warts!””

Confession – an experience much like this is why I no longer play Parcheesi. Though I still break out the genital warts slides now and then! Well, at least we learned that if something people want to do is dangerous, the worst thing we can do is try to make that thing safer.

“You don’t want your kid to drink and drive, but if he did, you’d prefer he wear a seatbelt, right? Well, would you ever say to him: “junior, I know you’re going to drink and drive. You shouldn’t, but everyone does. So just wear your seatbelt”?

Why not?

Because that statement seriously dilutes your anti-drunk driving message, lends a tacit endorsement to the behavior, and assumes the worst in your son before he even has a chance to make his own choices?”

This is why anti-drunk driving organizations advocate banning seatbelts. The only way to stop drunk driving is to make it as dangerous as possible! That’s the only way they’ll learn!

“Also, for how long have the majority of parents been using the “well, my kids are going to have sex anyway” logic? Decades, maybe? And has sex among unmarried people become generally more or less prevalent during that time? More, right? So do we, perhaps, have here a case of a self-fulfilling prophesy?”

Because it sure would be ridiculous if the causality worked the other way, from teenagers having sex to parents… noticing their teenagers are having sex.

“Also, do you, in any other situation, elect to forgo teaching your kid to do what is right and instead prepare him to do the next best thing? Do you ever tell your child to shoot for a ‘C’ in math class? Do you ever tell her to make sure she only engages in reasonable levels of bullying and gossip? Do you ever tell your son to only vandalize abandoned properties? Do you ever tell your daughter to only lie to you once a week? Do you ever tell your son to only forge your signature on his report card if he’s really sure it looks super accurate?”

Good thing the author emphasized how sex-positive he was earlier, or this comparison of sex to a list of crimes, sins, and failures might seem a little suspicious. Really that’s what this ultimately comes down to. Is sex a reasonable thing for people to want to do, just for the joy of it? Or is it morally equivalent to petty crime? And what that comes down to is whether you think sex outside of marriage is sinful. If you do, you can write whole blog posts trying to come up with reasons to support your position, but all it comes down to is that we should be avoiding extra-marital sex as much as possible, because it’s BAD. On the other hand if you don’t believe sex is sinful, you can just look at it as a public health problem like any other, and do what the data says will save the most lives and give people the most control over their own bodies: real sex education that doesn’t judge people regardless of what level of sex they’re interested in having, but just gives them the tools they need to be healthy no matter what choices they make.