Via Brittney, we learn that Mark Rose refuses to believe that, even when a program is so difficult to follow that there’s almost nobody who can follow it, there’s anything wrong with the program.
Abstinence-Only as Anti-Pleasure
We’ve talked about this before:
I think of this, too, with the abstinence-only crowd, how anti-life that world-view is. How it denies pleasure, denies connection, denies life itself.
It’s this twisted world-view that sees pleasure as inherently evil and children as the proper punishment for sex.
But clearly, the default is pleasure and happiness. The default is pregnancy and children and fucking, fucking, fucking.
None of these things is evil. And yet, of course, those things are not always desired. And so we take active steps to prevent them. We stop the pregnancies; we use birth control; we are careful about when we have sex and with whom; we wait until we are married; we don’t have sex at all.
But that–abstinence–is not the default. It’s the most extreme choice we can make.
Self-discipline we call it, this learning to deny ourselves pleasure and happiness, learning to deny ourselves life.
Really, it’s no wonder that most kids “fail” to abstain completely, even when they want to.
Where Do Teenagers Magically Acquire This Much Self-Discipline?
It goes against that procreant urge we all feel. Yes, a person with incredible self-discipline might be able to completely abstain from sex. People with incredible self-discipline can climb Mount Everest or lower their resting heart rates considerably or swallow swords. We don’t expect seventeen year olds to have that kind of self-discipline, though.
We understand that self-discipline on all other matters takes years of training, of fighting against your body’s natural urges and focusing that on something else. And even with years of training, even with sole focus of purpose and clarity of cause, people still die on Everest. Sword swallowers still get hurt. The most well-trained people fuck up.
Why are we surprised that, with a goal few kids actually want to accomplish, and little training, most kids fail to remain abstinant?
And What Counts as Abstinent?
I know the trend is for men to insert themselves in my business as much as possible. Shoot, right now I have to buy my clothes twice as big as I need them just to make room for the men in my life who want to get in here with me and help me make all my decisions*. Forget what will happen to my clothing budget with lawmakers get their way and I have to turn over the contents of my uterus every month for them to examine to make sure I’m not fucking up the future of America.
The point is that even I remain unsure what constitutes “abstinence.”
Mr. Rose. I throw the floor open to you.
If you could just read through the following activities and let me know if they constitute remaining abstinent or not, so that I may plan my Friday evenings thusly, I would appreciate it.
2. Smooching with boob caressing.
3. I stimulate my partner’s (or partners’) genitals with my hands and/or feet.
4. I am thusly stimulated.
5. I stimulate my partner’s penis by rubbing it in my cleavage.
6. A nipple is touched to a clitoris.
7. Clothed genitals are rubbed together.
8. I place my fingers in my partner’s vagina and caress.
9. I place my fingers in my partner’s anus and caress.
10. I describe doing all of these things, even in abstract terms, to a bunch of strangers on the internet.
Ha, I crack myself up. My point, though, is that the farther away from “fucking” we want to draw the line for abstinence, the harder it is for kids to do it. Who doesn’t want to feel the weight of another body on theirs? Who doesn’t love a lover’s hot breath on their skin? Who, when faced with broad shoulders and muscle-roped arms or a round butt and long-soft hair, wants to just sit chastely and talk about homework?
Is one peck on the cheek enough?
Is it fair to ask that it be?
Let’s Hope that Conservative Christians are Right and that Being Gay is a Choice
Folks like Rose would argue that, fair or not, abstinence is the only way to assure that teens don’t get STDs or have to face unwanted pregnancies.
But it’s not. You know who else doesn’t really get STDS and don’t face unwanted pregnancies?
Women who never fuck men, but only fuck women.
Check what the CDC says: “A study of more than 1 million female blood donors found no HIV-infected women whose only risk factor was sex with women.”
Have you ever heard of a chick knocking up another chick? Not until they figure out the whole “sperm from bone marrow” thing. And even when they do, it’s not as if that will just happen by surprise. “Oh, shit, honey, while we were fucking my front door broke and some scientists were able to get in here and take some of my bone marrow, set up a little lab in the bathroom, and transform it into sperm and, without us noticing, put it in your vagina. Damn. Damn. Damn. We need to get us the morning-after pill right away.”
In other words, there is a very safe, pleasurable alternative to both boy-fucking and abstaining, at least for girls.
To Bring Us Full Circle
Which does make you wonder, doesn’t it? If fucking boys is so dangerous that the government feels the need to step in and advise us to never do it, because of the kinds of diseases they carry and the pregnancies they cause, doesn’t it suck to be a boy?
If God really loves you best–Oh masters of the household–why has he made fucking you so fraught with peril?
*On the plus side, I think that running their arms along the length of my arms, resting their big square hands on top of my delicate fingers, each digit following the motions of the finger below it, like a thick, musky shadow brushing against my skin over and over again, their rough cheeks resting against mine, their chins settling lightling in the crook of my neck so that they can watch as the white of the screen is replaced by ancient symbols standing for sounds that can’t quite capture the noises two people this close usually make, has indeed improved the typing skills of said men–No hunt & peck for me means they get to practice no hunt & peck for them–even as it means my trips to the bathroom have grown more impractical.
Ah, the joys of Sunday morning soft-core porn…
It’s exactly for posts like this that I believe I should be named best blogger you know.
Abstinence works every time it’s tried.
Uh, excuse me. Abstinence is not an action. It is the absence of action. As such, you cannot prove its success, but only its failures.
It is willfull obtuseness to claim any sort of success from abstinence, or to believe that abstinence is a workable solution in the face of natural human instinct.
In other words, there is a very safe, pleasurable alternative to both boy-fucking and abstaining, at least for girls.
That would explain why, in my college dorm at a Christian School which legislated abstinence, there were at least 12 straight girls who regularly engaged in lesbian sexual activity.
Seriously moving to a cave.
You tried, B. Thank you.
Abstinence works every time it’s tried????
I’m seriously moving to a cave.
I’m not sure——and I could be wrong——but a few years ago, I saw a program on the Sundance Channel that said Sweden started sex ed around the third grade. The program even showed some PSA or an education video (or something like that) with condom puppets.
Admit it B. You had to go squeeze one out after writing that post didn’t you?
Tangentially, isn’t that technically the only way that works every time?
The UUs have a sex ed curriculum that runs from the child is about 5 to when the adult dies. It’s taught as part of our religious education programs. “Our Whole Lives” (or OWL for short) situates human sexual expression within the whole experience of human life. You’ve never seen a bunch of happier, more well-adjusted kids — but maybe that’s because we’ve made the decision as a faith to affirm human sexuality as a part of Creation and they know that they won’t get drummed out of their church for following where their hearts lead.
they know that they won’t get drummed out of their church for following where their hearts lead.
Well, Bridgett, it may be that my heart is the driving force, but I can tell you I ain’t leading with it. ;)
I tend to lead right and then either throw a hook or uppercut left. But really, it’s all about the footwork.
Isn’t this just the ultimate question of why is there pain in the world? And why is there pleasure? Why do we seek one and not the other? And is the absence of sexual gratification a form of pain? (I’ll have to get back to you on that one, maybe, um, never.) Why are we attracted toward beauty and pleasure?
Is it the beauty of love
Or the love of beauty?
Jazus! I’m so sorry. I’m really not helping at all. OK B, you ARE the best blogger.
Ha, this is one of those posts you rethink after a long nap…
Still, it’s funny, so it stands, I say.
Wow — as the mother of 3 teenagers (2 girls, 1 boy), this is a wonderful post. You’re right, I’d worry more about boy-fucking than anything else, and that would apply to both genders of my kids. We lived overseas for a lot of years, and man are folks ever UPTIGHT over here about this stuff.
Ya know, B, I’m completely opposed to “abstinence only” sex education. The programs out there are full of misinformation, and every study done suggests that they don’t, in fact, delay kids having sex, so they’re ineffective as well. And they make kids feel that their bodies are dangerous, scary things, which is a dreadful thing to do. BUT I have a distinct moral objection to the “it’s ridiculous to ask teenagers to accept this because it’s too hard” complaint you raise. We ask kids to do a lot of difficult things, and they are in one way or another punished if they don’t succeed: we ask them to control their anger, we ask them to stand up to bullies, we ask them to keep their political principles even if their friends disagree, we ask them to think for themselves. These are all tough to do, but we ask teenagers to do them, and by and large they succeed. So I really wouldn’t use the “oh, but it’s too much trouble” argument against abstinence as a concept.
In fact, if a person’s principles hold that sexual abstinence is a positive good, then open, honest sex education, starting from a young age, that doesn’t vilify the body and its urges and which is tied in with other aspects of moral education, probably will work for that person. What’s awful is the crop of lies and threats currently masquerading as (one-time-only) sex ed that gets promoted under the name of abstinence.
In my more cynical moments I suspect that abstinence proponents *know* that it doesn’t work — and that’s the point. For the few for whom it does work, they know these people can be controlled. For those for whom it doesn’t work — well the ones that get pregnant keep the working classes fully stocked, and the ones that get sick & die — well they fall somewhere between collateral damage and good riddance.
As I believe Jaxn said — real compassionate belief system.
Now I don’t really believe that idiots like Mark actually think like this, just the powers-that-be that feed him his propaganda.
I wanted to make a snarky comment about the construction of the ‘works every time’ thing (every time you don’t have sex, you’re not having sex!)… but the grammar kept coming up wrong in my head and ruining the joke.
Hmmm. On its own, I think this is true. Accepting that it’s a good idea to limit your behavior, even in ways that don’t always make sense and may run deeply counter to your idea of how the world should work, is a pretty big part of growing up. (Or, at least, figuring out how to appropriately respond in those sorts of situations) But I think in the context that we’re working with, it is too hard. That is, as long as your latter conditions aren’t fulfilled – we aren’t teaching the information or accepting its existence – the requirement to not do something (we’re not entirely sure what that something is, because we don’t have the information) is pretty damn impossible.
It’s sort of like sending kids through a minefield with buried treasure randomly interspersed, and telling them not to step on mines and that it’s their own dumb fault for getting hurt if they do … but not providing a map, or minesweeping equipment, or even a description of what the difference between a mine and buried treasure is. If all you know is that some of the things you want cause slight depressions in the earth (without knowing that, say, the ground can settle over a mine just as well as over a treasure chest), then you’re likely to have horrible things happen.
(Okay, I know, I way overextended that… but still.)
I guess more plainly – it’s hard to be safe if you don’t know what safe is. The impossible isn’t so much resisting
prematuresexual activity, it’s figuring out what you’re supposed to be doing in a world that isn’t going to even bring up the subject unless you do something wrong.
Well, Magni, you’ll note that in my next paragraph I point out that for abstinence to be a successful concept it has to be contextualized in ways that do provide a map, and even minesweepers. I think we are as one in opposing the abstinence-only sex education curriculums currently being peddled.
Oh, yes… I knew that you pointed it out. I just wanted to clarify that I was reading Aunt B’s initial post with that in mind – when I read “It’s too hard,” I read “It’s too hard the way we have things now (for all of these reasons which mostly have to do with How We Are As People and not quite as much to do with The Situation).”
I don’t know if that’s what she meant when she was writing it, but when I was reading, I filled in all the bits that you pointed out.
Ha, I’m totally making out with Mag for explaining myself better than I can. No, I don’t mean that abstinence only is “too hard” and therefore teenagers shouldn’t be expected to do it. I mean that we teach abstinence only like “just never have sex or you will die die die or at the least get a terrible disease and then be a big slut and then get pregnant and then die die die.” Comprehensive sex ed with abstinence as a strategy doesn’t bother me at all. As I said, we make all kinds of choices about why and when we have sex.
It’d be like, if I said, “Hey, let’s all meet up in Chicago” and then didn’t give anyone directions. Well, would it be any wonder if few folks were able to get there?