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Premarital Sex Might Make You Feel Bad

Rusty - April 20, 2007

Apparently abstinence-only education isn’t working. Raise your hand if you actually thought it would. Well, unless the government implements a playground campaign amongst 4th graders I don’t think kids will be learning about sex from the state anyway. I mean, seriously, by the time kids get the “official” sex education classes they could probably be teaching it. But I digress.

Okay, so, fine, the government wants to educate kids about sex. But shouldn’t they focus on the science/factual part (“this is a penis, this is a vagina”, “these are possible results of sexual intercourse”, etc.) leaving the moral questions to the parents? I mean seriously, pretty much everyone can agree on the “how” but will never agree on the “when” so why even try? Besides, the government has never been very good at teaching morality (I have nothing to back that up with but it sounds right so it must be true).

It seems like the primary failure of abstinence-only education is that of motivation. At home we can teach our kids that sex is about love and commitment…and if they do it before they’re married they are going to hell (just like the Democrats, the gays and the creators of South Park). The government obviously can’t do that (because it doesn’t know who is going to hell). All they can say is that you might get a disease or get pregnant or may regret it in the morning. You add condoms to the curriculum and then the only motivation to avoid premarital sex is that you might feel bad about it afterwards. In other words, burning with Hillary or feeling bad.

Um, well, if you don’t want your kids having premarital sex I’d suggest either teaching them at home or come up with a more motivational way for the government to teach it than “if you wear a condom you probably won’t get pregnant or a disease…but you might feel bad afterwards!”


  1. Well, the sex-ed teachers could cite this study that found sexually active teens are more likely to be depressed and attempt suicide. That’s a bit stronger than “you might regret it in the morning”. . .

    “Burning with Hillary” sounds like an STD.

    Comment by ECS — April 20, 2007 @ 1:09 pm

  2. So Rusty, what you’re saying is we should find a way to scare the HELL out of our kids?

    One of the problems is you’re dealing with a biological “need” that’s programed into us and enhanced thru hormones!

    We try and fight that by saying “be good”, don’t “sin”, “you’ll feel bad in the morning”. It’s a tough sell….isn’t it?

    Comment by Don Clifton — April 20, 2007 @ 2:33 pm

  3. ECS, beware of the post hoc fallacy though. If teens are suicidal there are almost surely causes that will lead them to be sexually active as well. (i.e. either mental illness or past abuse)

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t worry about sexual activity. Rather I suggesting that the causes of why people are sexual active tend to bias certain correlations.

    Comment by Clark Goble — April 20, 2007 @ 2:46 pm

  4. Clark, sure – read the study and see if it passes muster. It’s not my research. By the way, your chocolate is to-die-for delicious.

    Comment by ECS — April 20, 2007 @ 4:08 pm

  5. Ironic.

    A friend and I were having an enlightening discussion on sex yesterday morning during our walk. She is from England and was the only member in her entire school and peer group growing up. Her friends were very sexually active and she said she had a hard time watching this because she always wondered: “What’s so bad about pre-marital sex?” She never really understood why. However, she endured and later married in the Temple, still a virgin. We continued to talk about why it’s “not right” before marriage and then suddenly why it “is right” after marriage.

    The problem is that kids (and some adults; yes, even those “consenting” ones) do not understand the nature of sexual intimacy. They see it as something to do to indulge a craving, a need. Some say it’s to express true love to your boyfriend/girlfriend. Well, yes, I guess it is –except that it’s not.

    Sexual intimacy is more than a craving. It’s more than an expression of love. Heck, it’s more than creating a life. Sexual intimacy –when used in the way it’s supposed to be used –is the combining of two souls (spirit and body) in an expression of total commitment to each other. It’s a culmination of the craving, the love, and the creation.

    Anything less, and you’re settling.

    FWIW, Elder Holland’s talk (wasn’t it “Souls, Symbols, and Sacraments”?) is awesome. Of course, this doesn’t work for the mainstream, non-religious youth.

    Maybe teach them that the “need” is there for a reason? If they want science, tell them it’s there to propegate the species, because who would do this willingly without the hormones? :)

    Comment by Cheryl — April 20, 2007 @ 4:30 pm

  6. Ironic,
    Well, first of all, what on earth was the girl doing, WATCHING her friends be sexually active???

    (Okay..okay…I couldn’t resist posting it…)

    Comment by Nick Literski — April 20, 2007 @ 6:22 pm

  7. Yeah, I’ve never understood why the government bothers to fund abstinence-only education when very few people are under the delusion that it works and the people that are under that delusion are the kind of people that would rather the school system didn’t provide any sexual education for kids.
    Plus, the state really has very little interest in making sure that we don’t have sex, it just has an interest in curbing the negative side effects. And since, well, kids are pretty likely to start having sex before they leave high school, the best thing the state can do is teach them to use protection, so they don’t get pregnant or spread diseases.
    And saying that teaching about birth control facilitates sexual activity is sort of like saying that teaching repentance facilitates sin. Probably true to an extent, but necessary anyway.

    Comment by Meg — April 20, 2007 @ 6:39 pm

  8. “So Rusty, what you’re saying is we should find a way to scare the HELL out of our kids?”

    You guys must not have seen the same slide-show I saw in my middle school health class. It was basically a guided tour of the wonderful world of STD’s.

    Comment by Tim J. — April 20, 2007 @ 8:04 pm

  9. Nick-

    Ha. ha. Very funny. :)

    Comment by Cheryl — April 21, 2007 @ 7:10 am

  10. One of the central problems with abstinence-only programs is that many of them teach scientifically incorrect information. So, not only does the morality not work, they don’t even teach the kids scientifically correct info, which in my mind is the main purpose for sex-ed in schools.

    I had a lot of students in my women’s studies class who have come through the abstinence-only program in our state who have *a lot* of bad things to say about their experiences with it (and it wasn’t just because they didn’t want to be taught morality in school).

    Comment by Seraphine — April 21, 2007 @ 10:06 am

  11. The problem with scaring kids is there are too many examples around them doesn’t pan out. If fear would have been the only obstacle, I would have been sexually active as a teenager. I had plenty of friends that were having sex. They didn’t get std’s, they didn’t get pregnant, and they didn’t get depressed. Their lives weren’t ruined, they went to college, and eventually some got married, had kids, etc.

    The problem with using fear, is sex before marriage isn’t the boogeyman we treat it as. We may want to believe teenagers aren’t ready for it and it will ruin their lives, but the truth is there are teenagers that handle it just fine. It’s morally wrong, that should be enough to help our children understand they shouldn’t be doing it.

    Comment by jjohnsen — April 21, 2007 @ 1:58 pm

  12. I’m all for raising a standard. I want kids to know that some folks in the larger community still believe premarital sex to be a bad thing — and I don’t have any problem with my tax dollars being spent in such an effort.

    IMO, one of the terrible negatives of “free-love” is that it promulgates the doctrine that desires, wants, passions, urges, or what-have-you, are to be easily gratified — as if such gratification were an intrinsic right of being alive and human — that no one can tell us what the hell to do.

    This plays right into the depression question–

    Anything that works upon the psyche in such a way so as to cause one–already in the throes of depression–to feel limit in the expression of one’s “true self” will exacerbate the problem. And certainly, there is nothing like sex (for most) which causes one to feel liberated in the expression of one’s “true” feelings.

    Comment by Jack — April 21, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

  13. I made it through the teenage years a virgin staying chaste until my wedding night. And that was post 1960′s sexual revolution mind you, with plenty of opportunities to do otherwise. People who give in to sexual urges when they know there are serious health, emotional and socio-economic risks are jackasses.

    Instant gratification is the disease…sexual activity is only one (yet very serious) symptom. Under public pressure, McDonalds got rid of the Super Size campaign. Hurrah! Gore demands we cut back on greenhouse gasses or our grandkids will drown. Here Here! You simply imply maybe teenagers ought to cut back on sex consumption. Gasps of incredulity. The laughter ensues with tomatoes flying.

    I wonder if attitudes would change if we could link massive carbon dioxide emissions or a risk of heart disease to sexual acitivity before marriage?

    Comment by Fregramis — April 22, 2007 @ 8:12 pm

  14. But shouldn’t they focus on the science/factual part…leaving the moral questions to the parents?

    Teaching kids how to have sex without teaching them rules of conduct is like teaching a kid how to use a gun without teaching them gun safety. It is stupid, risky and downright dangerous.

    There are basic things everyone can agree on, religious or atheist, when it comes to sex (e.g., there are risks associated with the activity, certain types of behaviors associated with it are self-destructive, there are criminal activities associated with it, relationships built primarily on it are going to fail, people want to manipulate you with it or for it for their personal gain or satisfaction, etc.). These are not matters of moral debate, they are the present reality we face and can be addressed dispassionately as a matter of behaviors people engage in. And we can, as a society discuss them in a straightforward manner that does necessarily engender public/social/religious strife over content. But, people dont want to. It is not a matter of cannot, it is a matter of will not.

    burning with Hillary

    That would be a great name for a post-punk band. Their debut album would be “It Breaks a Village”.

    Comment by Kurt — April 23, 2007 @ 3:58 am

  15. Kurt,
    I fully agree with you. I also love the name “Burning with Hillary” for a band.

    I totally think we should link CO2 emissions with premarital sex, even if the science doesn’t back it up. It will at least make the debate interesting again, right? :)

    I’m all for raising a standard as well. I just don’t know if abstinence-only education is the best way to go about it.

    jjohnsen, Saraphine, Meg, Cheryl,
    Very good thoughts all, most of which I completely agree.

    Comment by Rusty — April 23, 2007 @ 7:14 am

  16. I am so registering that domain right now!

    Comment by Kurt — April 23, 2007 @ 8:10 am

  17. Tim J,

    I remember vividly that same slideshow in junior high. It was quite disturbing to see the girls laughing at each picture and the guys looking like they’re going to puke.

    I was re-introduced to this slide show last year when I substitute taught a high school health class. It’s three times worse than the one I saw before and the discussion is much more open (i.e. graphic). It amazes me that a kid would come out of that having any inclination to be sexually active without seeing their partner’s medical records. (which they tell them to always do beforehand but who really would? I can’t thing of a more inviting turn on than to insist my girlfriend prove to me she isn’t a diseased whore!)

    Comment by Bret — April 23, 2007 @ 3:01 pm

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