TRUE STORY: I was going through the document at this link to post something impactful about the importance of the census and all of the things you may not realize it funds. Things like HIV programs and fire department grants and long-term care for aging community members. AND THEN I STUMBLED UPON THIS and…jeezus. 44 million dollars still on abstinence programs? I thought we all agreed that comprehensive programs that discuss abstinence but ALSO discuss disease and pregnancy prevention actually do more to curb sexual activity?
I mean…I still want you to fill out your census, obviously. But please let’s also teach our kids how to be safe before they are sexually active. And don’t just discuss safety (condoms) and pregnancy prevention (birth control), for vaginal penetrative heterosexual activity. We also need to be incorporating things like PrEP: Here is a good article about the importance and problems with availability here. And we need to at least introduce our kids to dental dams: Here is a good article about necessity (minor) and efficacy.
These are not things necessary for everyone’s healthy sex lives, obviously, but our kids need to know they exist and what their purposes are *before* they are in a situation where they might be pertinent. In theory, these conversations start before your kids may realize what kind of sexual being they’re going to be: Heterosexual, Homosexual, Pansexual, Bisexual, or Asexual. So we need to cover all of our bases. And let me be honest: I didn’t know or understand how to teach this stuff with my first kid but I’m doing much better with the younger two.
The thing people forget is that you can do all of this AND teach how abstinence is the best way to prevent disease and pregnancy. YOU CAN DO BOTH. That’s why the CDC recommends COMPREHENSIVE sex education.
The CDC found inconclusive evidence that abstinence-only programs helped young people delay sexual initiation; nor did they change other behaviors. In contrast, CDC found comprehensive programs had favorable effects on multiple adolescent behaviors, including sexual initiation, number of sex partners, frequency of sexual activity, use of protection (condoms, oral contraceptives, or both), frequency of unprotected sexual activity, sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.Washington Post
In other words, comprehensive sexuality education helps young people remain abstinent, while abstinence-only education does not.
But yeah, fill out your census. Because while we could do without that abstinence program funding, we still need to fund our fire departments, our senior care programs, HIV programs, and free lunch programs. And then, after you fill out your census, make sure your kids know the basics of safe sex in all forms.