When you were ten, and you had a “boyfriend,” what was the major testament to your relationship? Holding hands, right? Well, that’s “gateway sexual activity.”
Tennessee has launched some intensive new guidelines for their sex ed classes. First rule of Tennessee sex ed: You do not talk about sex. Second rule of Tennessee sex ed: You do not talk about sex.
While I don’t see anything expressly stating that hold hands is actually part of this bill, it is being referred to as the family life instructions bill, seeking to help students understand the health, economic and societal benefits of refraining from non-marital sex, encourage students to engage in goal-setting, and to not promote “gateway” sexual activities.
The most entertaining part, is that people think these measures were truly necessary. Why? Because comprehensive sex ed promotes sexual activity. Really? The sex ed I had was about periods, and lots of information on STDs. Nothing that was said to me promoted sex or made it sound like it was anything I wanted to be a part of. Entertainingly, the author of that FAQ claims to demonstrate that abstinence centered programs are more effective than comprehensive sex ed, although all evidence supports otherwise.
States with abstinence-only programs have the highest teen pregnancy rates, even though on the whole, teen pregnancy is decreasing nationally. What does that tell you? And did I mention, these are the same findings from two years ago? Research shows that abstinence-only strategies could deter contraceptive use among teenagers, thus increasing their risk of unintended pregnancy.
The same pontificant rants about how Planned Parenthood held a sexual education class, and only mentioned abstinence once. Allegedly PP promotes all types of sexual activity to teens except intercourse. Okay, fair enough, you want all bases covered including abstinence, but here’s the thing: it’s called sexual education. As in, educating about sex. In giving all the information, teens know about contraception, where to get it, how to use it, how effective it is. This enables them to be prepared, and make smart decisions.
Hopefully they’ll think twice about going for that hand-hold.