A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Let's Talk About It

Sex.  It's not really a word most Mormons are comfortable discussing in public.  Myself included.  But since it's "just us girls" tonight while the men are at Priesthood session of General Conference, let's talk about it.  Sex Education is a vitally important public health issue.  This is especially true for women!  Stephen Colbert was joking about one of the recent attempts to limit access to birth control, and he noted that there's only one way to avoid becoming pregnant: "Be a man."  The joke reveals that often the consequences of sex seem to fall disproportionately on women and girls.

So, one of the reasons that I'm not voting for Mitt Romney is that he thinks "abstinence only" sex education is what should be taught in public schools.  That is simply bad public health policy no matter how you slice it.  Recent studies of "abstinence only" programs have found that it DOES NOT discourage teenagers from having sex.  It actually just discourages teenagers from having SAFE sex.  Abstinence education doesn't work.

Believe me when I say, I do believe in personal abstinence.  Mormons follow the law of chastity, which means no sex before marriage.  But as my conservative friends are always telling me, government can't force people to do things.  The government can't force teenagers or anyone else to do this.  What it can do, is equip young Americans with the knowledge to have safe sex if they are going to have sex.

I think a lot of Mormons are uncomfortable with sex education because, deep down, we feel like it is encouraging people to have sex before marriage.  Somehow, we think that we are transmitting the message to our kids that "it's okay, everybody's doing it."  I've heard this analogy several times, but I think it's helpful to think of comprehensive sex education as a tetanus shot.  We all get our tetanus shots (and other immunizations) and once I have kids you can bet I will be signing them up for these shots too.  Giving your kids tetanus shots  doesn't encourage them to step on rusty nails.  But in the event they do, it gives them protection.  I encourage you to think of sex education the same way - it doesn't encourage kids to have sex (and this has been statistically proven), but it does encourage them to have safe sex - reducing unwanted pregnancies (and abortions!) and decreasing risks of STDs.

Don't know why I picked this topic.  But there you go.


  1. Tetanus shots might not encourage kids to step on rusty nails... but it does cause autism!!!1

    But seriously, I agree 100%. Not to mention that if people have safe sex they won't have to even confront the issue of abortion--the best way to reduce abortions is to get affordable contraceptives and thorough sex education to everyone.

    Good post!

  2. Great post! You're absolutely right. If someone is truly pro-life and desires to reduce abortions in this country, abstinence-only education moves us entirely in the wrong direction.