Reality vs Fantasy

The Washington Post has an short editorial on the issue of teenage sex:

In our bicultural household — I am American, my husband is Swedish — we are trying to raise our children with the language, cultures and values of both countries. In most cases this isn’t difficult. In one area, however, our values differ widely: My husband, reflecting the predominant view in Sweden and much of Western Europe, thinks sex is a normal part of adolescent development. Like many in this country, I disagree, believing it’s better for teens to wait — if not until marriage, at least until they are in an adult, loving relationship.

As a health journalist, I wondered if one way of thinking is demonstrably healthier, physically and psychologically. I resolved to find out.

Among the findings that surprised me: Although prevalent attitudes on teen sex differ in Western Europe and the United States, the views of leading researchers and doctors on both sides of the Atlantic do not. Their opinions lean much closer to the European model. They tend to agree that the mixed message America sends to teens about sex — authorities say “don’t” while mass media screams “What are you waiting for?”– endanger our children.

The outcome? Levels of teen sexual activity look remarkably similar here and abroad, but U.S. rates of teen pregnancy, childbirth, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases are among the highest of all industrialized nations, despite recent decreases. Read brief accounts of how Western European and American perspectives compare.

Well, duh. That’s kind of been obvious to anyone with a working brain for… well, forever? I hate to sound arrogant about it, but seriously… anyone that thinks our abstinence-only, never-talk-about-it, stick-your-head-in-the-sand attitude is at all healthy or aligned with reality is just an idiot.

The simple reality of the situation is as follows:

  1. Teenagers are going to have sex.
  2. You’re not going to stop them from having sex.
  3. Sex isn’t evil.

Kinda obvious, no? Anyway, follow that through to the logical result. If teenagers are going to have sex anyway, preaching abstinence isn’t going to do any good. If teenagers are going to have sex anyway, they can either do it with a full knowledge of sexuality, reproduction, contraceptive techniques and potential consequences such as pregnancy and STD’s (that is, a comprehensive sex education), or they can go into it in ignorance and believing whatever myths they happen to hear. They can either feel free to have honest and open discussions about it with their parents, or feel afraid and ashamed to do so. Obviously, one of those options is going to have a better result for the teens in question than the other one.

The religious right is just stupid. Not that I’ve ever thought they were anything else, but that’s what it boils down to. How many abortions are they responsible for? How many teen pregnancies and unwanted children? How many STD infections? They need to get off their fucking high horse and come down to reality,
rather than ruining countless lives by forcing their back-asswards
fantasies about how the world works onto the population at large.

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