This week’s Chron column: Teens Love Sex – deal with it, America

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Dovetailing off the discussion and argument off my very passionate post about the UK’s new sex ed pamphlet for teens in this post, I continued the thought process and argument through into my column. I formalized the argument and drew out concrete ideas for how sex ed can finally be effective, healthy and productive for teens in America across our varied social strata. But that sounds dry — Teens Love Sex is actually fun. Bristol Palin does not escape, yet again. Here’s a snip from the middle:

(…) The argument seems to be that encouraging enjoyment of healthy masturbation to a teen will suddenly mean the kid will lose control and no longer know the difference between right and wrong and go on a sex spree of some kind. Tell them it’s okay to explore and look out! We’ll have skyrocketing teen pregnancy and teen STD rates — oh, wait. Eight years of abstinence education, and a sharp rise in these rates thanks to Bush (according to the CDC) have produced precisely that.

So much for the “hands off” approach. Talk about not understanding human social dynamics, let alone teen social dynamics. In my opinion, the conservative backlash just shows me that America’s anti-sex, anti-pleasure pundits are the ones who will enact their greatest fears and lose their f—ing minds should they give in to a single moment of pleasure. They don’t have the decision-making skills to know what’s appropriate and safe, and what’s not — because they’ve denied this type of understanding and exploration of sex’s pleasure principles from everyone else for so long.

We’re 200+ days into Obama’s shift, and while we’re waiting for all that change, the current state of sex ed in America is a flattened, empty, deserted war zone of sexlessness — at least Obama did eliminate Federal abstinence education program funding from the 2010 budget. (…read more,

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  1. ChicksonSpeedSpotter · Edit

    A number of things:

    I don’t think that a rise in pregnancies amongst younger women as such is necessarily a problem, if these pregnancies were what the mothers themselves wanted.

    The article does not mention whether these are *unwanted* pregnancies, pregnancies “out of wedlock”, or pregnancies in the context of marriage, where the couple just happens to be young.

    IMO, a journalist, not to mention the researchers themselves, has a responsibility to distinguish between all these things.

    I also think it is rather suggestive to use formulations like
    “pregnancies AND syphilis”, “pregnancy AND STDs”.
    The one is decidedly not the other.

    It’s totally unfair to all the young mothers who honestly wanted to have children, to lump them together with teenagers having unsafe sex and getting STDs. Let’s not stigmatize young mothers this way.

    If a woman, who grew up a Xian in a rightwing State, and has been immersed in Christian family values her whole life truly wants to start a family at what would be considered a young age, say 16 or 17, well, that is her choice. I personally think that’s way too young, but again it’s her choice.

    What if the rise in teen pregnancies simply means that there are more young women who, inspired by right wing ideology, simply
    *want* to start having families as soon as possible?

    I think it is disingenuous to suggest that these young mothers *really* did not want to have children, simply because they chose to have them at a young age, and that it is all George W Bush’s fault that they did.

    My own mother was 18 when she had me (she got pregnant at the age of 17), my dad was 23. Everyone is always shocked
    when I tell them this. My parents are both Xians, and well adjusted individuals, they are both highschool teachers. They were married when they had me. Just so you know, I will always defend young parents, especially young mothers, because, hey, my own
    parents were young when they had me, and I don’t like to see young parents or young mothers associated with STDs or syphilis.

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