By Scott Kingsley, Student Contributor
This article is a response to Carly Priest’s Opinions article from last week entitled “Who Put Fred Flintstone in Charge.” For those who missed it, it was a verbose condemnation of abstinence-only sex education.
The author claims, “I care because today, abstinence-only education neither prepares students for a consent-only, ‘yes means yes’ culture, nor takes a proactive approach to combat the epidemic of STIs, HIV, and teen pregnancies.” Sure it does. Abstinence-only education preaches abstinence. If you don’t have sex until marriage, do you know what your chances of raping someone are? 0%. If you save yourself until marriage do you know what your chances of getting an STI, HIV or pregnant as a teen are? You guessed it: 0.00%. Now, whether or not these programs are effective remains widely debated, but to suggest that their intention is not a “proactive approach” to preventing any of your listed problems is ludicrous. I find it curious that your answer to “the STI epidemic” is not to instill moderate behavior and restraint, but rather to distribute more condoms- a solution you detailed in another article you wrote in October- a solution the CDC has deemed only the 3rd most effective way of curbing this epidemic, and not entirely effective.
My main objection with your article, however, stems from your desire to establish what you describe as a “sex-positive culture.” In a society where we suffer from an STI problem you deem an epidemic, and a drastic increase in the amount of teen pregnancies, should we really be advocating looser sexual standards and sexual freedoms- especially among teenagers? According to the CDC, 14 million people contract HPV ever year, and 75 million already have it; our culture is already far too ‘sex-positive.’ The problem nowadays exists not in abstinence, rather, navigating the booze-ridden hookup culture that has corrupted modern academia.
The article states government support for abstinence programs “sends a dangerous message to adolescents about their self-worth” namely that those who engage in premarital sex will “lose out on benefits pseudo-scientifically linked to abstinence”- these benefits referring to the qualifications for abstinence education detailed in the Social Security Act. (Side note: “Social Security Act” is singular not plural Carly. You incorrectly called it the “Social Securities Act” which isn’t a real thing). However, these benefits are not “pseudo-scientifically linked”, nor are they “a false link” as supposed by the author. Rather, the benefits are connected to abstinence in very real ways. These programs “teach that bearing children out of wedlock” is “likely to have harmful consequences” on both child and parent, as well as have “harmful psychological and physical effects.” These findings are correct. In a report from the U.S. Census Bureau, 90% of welfare recipients are single-mothers and 70% of gang members, high school dropouts, teen suicides, teen pregnancies, and teen substance abusers come from single mother homes. In another report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 63% of youth suicides and 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from single-parent households.
So, statistically speaking, children of single parents are more likely to experience violence, commit suicide, remain poor, become drug users, commit a crime, and be educationally deficient. No parent in their right mind would knowingly (or willingly) subject their children to such dire consequences; our overly “sex-positive,” increasingly amoral society encourages sexually decadent practices that place so many people in these tough situations.
So what could be a great way to combat these dire statistics? Perhaps a program that teaches “a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage” as the “expected standard of human sexual activity.” That’s right, we already have one, the above line another provision within 510(b)(2) of the Social SECURITY Act that the author conveniently left out. The benefits of not having to suffer from the problems listed above seems very real to me.
In a country so concerned with ‘privilege’ (see: white privilege, a recently invented term used to justify reverse racism), the morally-libertarian left conveniently ignores the greatest privilege children can have: two happily married parents. Statistically, encouraging marriage before childbearing is the smart thing to do.
Mankind didn’t survive hundreds of thousands of years by screwing around for fun. We survived because men and women acted in ways to ensure the survival of their offspring. Men provided for whatever women they impregnated and children they had. Modern Civilization, ironically, has made us weak, as we’ve stripped sex of its survival component. Today, sex has become nothing more than a hobby- a sport that anyone can play. With that in mind, it’s not out of place to promote healthy, monogamous relationships as the human ideal; they’ve gotten us this far, and based on the statistics, I’m pessimistic that any alternatives will make us better rather than worse off.
The author expresses frustration that abstinence-only education “suggest(s) intrinsic individual value proves intimately and innately tied to sexual history.” You’re right, it does, and it should. The more people you’ve slept with, the higher the chances you have of carrying STIs, which affects me and my offspring’s chances of survival: logic germane to both sexes. A car with 250,000 miles sure as hell ain’t worth as much as the latest model that hasn’t left the lot. Know and accept the price of fun: it’s called growing up. I’ll concede the fact that in the Western and “Westernized” world today, most people (97% according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute) lose their virginity before marriage. It’s bound to happen with all the hormones flying around and hundreds of thousands of years of genetic programming screaming in our ears once we reach adolescence. But don’t take that as proof we should throw self-control to the wind.
It’s a shame that our Catholic institution has blindly followed the lead of such misguided students like Ms. Priest, and failed to take seriously our role as a Jesuit institution. By allowing co-ed dorms, and supporting events like the “Vagina Monologues”, our school has abandoned our values under the guise of permissiveness and toleration, suggesting that our problem lies not in our overly “sex-positive” culture, but rather in excessive reluctance to engage in sexual experimentation.