Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Telling Teens Not to French Kiss

I've just read a new article titled "Legislating Against Arousal" in the latest copy of the Guttmacher Institute's journal.

Cythnia Dailard reports that the federal government, nearly ten years since the start of the abstinence-only-until-marriage program has finally defined what they mean by abstinence. The new guidelines say that abstinence is "voluntarily choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage." They define sexual activity as "any type of genital activity or sexual stimulation between two persons."

Sexual stimulation? Let's see, that could include flirting, hand holding, kissing, french kissing...watching someone in tight jeans bend over and pick up a fork on the floor of the middle school cafeteria. Come on...were these people ever teenagers?

And any type of genital activity until marriage? Let's remember that the average age of marriage is now 26 in the United States. Could the people who wrote these regulations really think it is realistic to ask in love teens and twenty somethings prior to marriage not to share any type of stimulating behaviors? And what about gay and lesbians who are denied the right to marriage? I guess they better avoid stimulation throughout their lives.

This would be laughable if we weren't pouring millions of dollars into these programs each year. They offer bad public health advice to young people, and I think they fail to offer moral advice to young people as well. Frankly, as a minister, I would refuse to marry a couple who told me that they had shared no sexual behaviors at all; sexuality is too important in a marriage, and the decision to be married is too sacred, to have NO information about each other's sexuality prior to the wedding day. It's hard to believe that it is federal policy to encourage such ignorance.

Instead, we should be helping young people celebrate their developing sexuality, one of God's most life affirming gifts, in developmentally appropriate ways. In October, the Religious Institute will be convening a group of theologians to develop a new Open Letter on Adolescent Sexuality. I look forward to sharing it with you.

To read Ms. Dailard's full article for yourself, go to http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/gpr/09/3/gpr090312.html

4 comments:

Cassandra said...

Sexual stimulation? Let's see, that could include flirting, hand holding, kissing, french kissing...watching someone in tight jeans bend over and pick up a fork on the floor of the middle school cafeteria. Come on...were these people ever teenagers?
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Yes, all of these actions may cause sexual stimulation or only a few. It depends on the individual. My DH (boyfriend at the time) and I found that hand holding and kissing were fine. Other forms of affection or particular situations proved problematic to our end goal of remaining chaste during our time of dating and engagement and so we avoided them. This is not imprudent advice if your end goal is to wait until marriage for sex.

Bart said...

I went to high school in North Carolina, and that's nothing. Down there the government (through the schools) were saying that not only is holding hands arousing, but that through logic it naturally leads to AIDS and pregnancy.
What the government should be saying is "yeah, abstinence is cool. But if you are going to do it, here's how to put on a condom so it doesn't break and you end up with an STI"

Rosara said...

I completely agree with Bart. I have no problem telling teenagers to wait for oral, anal, and vaginal sex until they're in a committed and safe relationship. The relationship need not be monogamous, so long as ALL of the partners are aware of each other, committed, and safe. The relationship need not be marriage, because (really) what is marriage? (That’s for a whole other discussion, though).
What I DO have a problem with is not equipping citizens with the knowledge they need to survive and be healthy. Not teaching a teenager to properly put on a condom (or to use a dental dam), does not lead to the betterment of the human race nor of the human spirit, it leads to death. Sex doesn't lead to death. Sex leads to enjoyment. Uninformed decisions lead to death.

Infoman said...

Great post.