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View Full Version : Abstinence and Related Topics [Read the first post before you respond to this thread]


Jae Onasi
03-16-2007, 12:18 PM
I've given a lot of thought on even opening a thread on this topic because of the PG-13 nature of this forum and the fact that this topic can go way past that restriction very quickly.

So here's the scoop. Abstinence, birth control, and STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) are on-topic for this thread, but you must, MUST be very careful how you word things to keep it within the confines of the PG-13 restriction.

What I do not want to see is graphic discussions or pictures of sexual activity. I don't want to see specific instructions of how to use such methods, because this isn't a sex-ed course, and I think that should be up to a parent in conjunction with a child's school to handle, not us. Furthermore, if we give someone incorrect information and someone ends up pregnant or with an STD, I don't want us or LF to be held liable. In addition, some methods of birth control are prescription-only in the US, and I do not want to go anywhere near that with a 10-foot pole because that also could get us/LF into a bunch of legal hot water.

I've included STDs in this topic because of how they can be prevented and because of the whole sensitive nature of this topic in general--it's much easier to keep it all in one thread for moderating purposes but also because the topics are linked in that some forms of birth control may also prevent STDs.

What's allowed:
Discussion of different types of birth control and effectiveness rates
Discussion of religious views towards birth control
Sexually transmitted diseases (with an eye towards how they can be prevented, not blatant descriptions of how you get them)


What's NOT allowed:
Graphic discussions of sexual activity--straight, gay, or otherwise
Pictures and diagrams of sex acts
Discussion of how to use/apply/manage different forms of birth control
Where to get prescription-only items without having a prescription (since that's illegal in the US)
Anything pornographic
Anything else the moderators deem inappropriate for this forum or this thread

Abortion-related topics should go into the abortion thread.

The other moderators and I are not going to give this topic much leeway at all. If a post is out of bounds, it'll get edited or deleted. If it's a blatant infraction of the guidelines of this thread and forum rules, then that person will experiences penalties appropriate for that infraction. I urge you to use good judgment when posting in this thread.

That being said, I'm sure it'll be a very interesting discussion. :)

CountVerilucus
03-16-2007, 09:26 PM
Personally, I don't think abstinence is necessary. Perhaps you might choose this path because of religion but I do not find premarital sex/fornication immoral at all. As long as it is consensual sex and the couple is smart about it (condom, contraceptives) then it's fine.

Meaning any couple thinking about having sex, especially teenagers, should get some basic education on the risks and the ways to prevent those risks.

JoeDoe 2.0
03-16-2007, 09:38 PM
Personally, I don't think abstinence is necessary. Perhaps you might choose this path because of religion but I do not find premarital sex/fornication immoral at all. As long as it is consensual sex and the couple is smart about it (condom, contraceptives) then it's fine.

Meaning any couple thinking about having sex, especially teenagers, should get some basic education on the risks and the ways to prevent those risks.

Exactly, only do it IF you are ready for the responsabilities and consecuences (STD's, pregnancy etc.) and go to sex-ed classes, they're useful. (Good topic btw Jae)

Jae Onasi
03-17-2007, 02:09 AM
Yes, I see respect for your partner ranks right up there in importance with learning how not to share your bio-hazards. :roleyess:

Having been married nearly 17 years, I can tell you there's a lot more to it than just a 10 minute romp. :) However, yes, knowing how to prevent disease and mini-yous is a good thing.

Achilles
03-17-2007, 02:26 AM
Personally, I don't think abstinence is necessary. Perhaps you might choose this path because of religion but I do not find premarital sex/fornication immoral at all. I agree with your first sentence in the context of your second sentence.

I don't agree with abstinence as a condition for moral judgment within a religious decree. I do think that abstinence has significant value on it's own. I will encourage my kids to be abstinent, but I will also teach them about safe sex, knowing that teenagers "sometimes" make bad decisions.

Darth InSidious
03-17-2007, 05:11 AM
I don't particularly want to get into the moral/ethical disaster area of this topic, but I thought I'd just remind everyone that the only surefire way not to have an 'accident' - getting an STD/child is not to engage in intercourse in the first place.

Achilles
03-17-2007, 05:36 AM
The question that isn't addressed by abstinence only policies is what to do until that catches on?

"Daddy, I'm pregnant"
"Well honey, you shouldn't have been having sex in the first place. What did I tell you about having sex?"
"Not to"
"Right and see the mess you're in because you didn't listen?"

Samnmax221
03-17-2007, 06:18 AM
I don't particularly want to get into the moral/ethical disaster area of this topic, but I thought I'd just remind everyone that the only surefire way not to have an 'accident' - getting an STD/child is not to engage in intercourse in the first place.
The only way not to have a car accident is to never get into a car, and live in fear all your life.

Jae Onasi
03-17-2007, 10:29 AM
The only way not to have a car accident is to never get into a car, and live in fear all your life.

A Barretta theme song flashes through Jae's head, "Don't do the crime if you can't do the time..."

My view is 'encourage abstinence but like the Boy Scouts, 'Be Prepared''(BSA would probably hate being associated in this way... :) ).

Achilles
03-18-2007, 01:56 AM
I realize you comment was made in jest, but I wonder how the "you made your bed, now sleep in it" argument is supposed to help young adults feel comfortable approaching their parents with serious concerns during this confusing time in their lives.

It seems that parents would probably do well to recognize that human beings (especially younger, male ones) are hard-wired to reproduce. Parents can do a lot to help prepare their children to make smart decisions, but setting potentially unrealistic expectations and then leaving it at that seems to be a recipe for disaster.

My 2 cents.

Jae Onasi
03-18-2007, 09:43 AM
If they're getting their parental guidance from us on a Star Wars forum, they have far greater issues with their parents than discussions of birth control. :)

There _are_ consequences of sexual activity, and sweeping it under the rug and saying "Oh, kids will just be horny kids, let's give them birth control" is not necessarily the best way to handle the problem. Kids need to be taught how to say "No, I'm not ready yet" or "No, I really want to have a close, committed relationship with someone before I take that step" or even "No, I really want to wait until I'm married". Kids also need to learn to respect other kids who say these things and not tell them they're a bunch of prudes for waiting. Kids need to learn not only how to prevent pregnancy and STDs, but also they need to learn whether or not they, individually, really are ready to take that step, emotionally and physically.

When my kids are old enough for the discussion of sex/birth control (which, frighteningly, is not that far in the future), we're going to have a long discussion of what happens, how people get pregnant, how people get STDs, how to prevent that, why we think abstinence is important spiritually, physically, and emotionally, how to say 'No, not right now--I want to wait', and then I'm going to show them the box of condoms in the bathroom and say "Look, waiting is best, but if you really, REALLY have to have sex before marriage, here's birth control, and it'll get refilled as needed without us talking to you, but we'd really like it if you talked to us about it anyway."

Achilles
03-18-2007, 03:08 PM
If they're getting their parental guidance from us on a Star Wars forum, they have far greater issues with their parents than discussions of birth control. :) Huh? Where did that come from? :confused:

There _are_ consequences of sexual activity, and sweeping it under the rug and saying "Oh, kids will just be horny kids, let's give them birth control" is not necessarily the best way to handle the problem. I don't know any one that's advocating that stance.

Kids need to be taught how to say "No, I'm not ready yet" or "No, I really want to have a close, committed relationship with someone before I take that step" or even "No, I really want to wait until I'm married". Kids also need to learn to respect other kids who say these things and not tell them they're a bunch of prudes for waiting. Kids need to learn not only how to prevent pregnancy and STDs, but also they need to learn whether or not they, individually, really are ready to take that step, emotionally and physically. I absolute, unequivocally, 1000% agree with everything you said here. I do not agree that this should represent the length and breadth of a game plan for responsible parenting.

They should absolutely be taught to wait. They should be taught about the dangers. They should be taught about the mental and emotional impacts of sexual activity. Then they should be given contraception.

And this message shouldn't just be coming from parents. It should be coming from every adult in a position of responsibility that they come into contact with, including church leaders and school teachers.

When my kids are old enough for the discussion of sex/birth control (which, frighteningly, is not that far in the future) Some people will tell you that if you haven't started by the 2nd grade, you're late.

we're going to have a long discussion of what happens, how people get pregnant, how people get STDs, how to prevent that, why we think abstinence is important spiritually, physically, and emotionally, how to say 'No, not right now--I want to wait', and then I'm going to show them the box of condoms in the bathroom and say "Look, waiting is best, but if you really, REALLY have to have sex before marriage, here's birth control, and it'll get refilled as needed without us talking to you, but we'd really like it if you talked to us about it anyway." I think that sounds like an awesome plan of attack. I'm assuming you have all boys? Is there a reason why you think that church leaders and school teachers shouldn't be re-enforcing this message?

Jae Onasi
03-18-2007, 06:56 PM
If they're getting their parental guidance from us on a Star Wars forum, they have far greater issues with their parents than discussions of birth control. :) Huh? Where did that come from? :confused:

This quote: "I realize you comment was made in jest, but I wonder how the "you made your bed, now sleep in it" argument is supposed to help young adults feel comfortable approaching their parents with serious concerns during this confusing time in their lives."

I read it as you thinking we adults here on the forum would have some kind of influence over the teens in this sphere.

There _are_ consequences of sexual activity, and sweeping it under the rug and saying "Oh, kids will just be horny kids, let's give them birth control" is not necessarily the best way to handle the problem. I don't know any one that's advocating that stance.There's been a concerted effort in very liberal circles to play abstinence down considerably or get rid of it in curriculum altogether on the theory that 'all it's going to do is cause pregnancy/STDs in unprepared teens'.
Your school may have had it part of the curriculum when you took the class, but when I took the sex ed class, abstinence was never mentioned. If it was, it was a one phrase preamble "You should try for abstinence, but if not, here's an hour long discussion of birth control". I think it needs far more attention than that.

Kids need to be taught how to say "No, I'm not ready yet" or I absolute, unequivocally, 1000% agree with everything you said here. I do not agree that this should represent the length and breadth of a game plan for responsible parenting. Then why is there such an outcry in liberal circles if those of us who are socially conservative ask that this be included as _part_ of the sex ed discussion? I don't want abstinence to be the _only_ thing discussed in sex ed (because I'm a realist--it's darn hard to wait til marriage), but I do want it to be given a more appropriate weight. Kids are having sex way too young (12, 13, or 14 is way too young), and I think it's important for them to learn that it's OK to say 'let's wait' in a culture that is blasting them with messages to the contrary.


They should absolutely be taught to wait. They should be taught about the dangers. They should be taught about the mental and emotional impacts of sexual activity. Then they should be given contraception.I'm with you on that, though I as a parent want to be involved in those decisions.

And this message shouldn't just be coming from parents. It should be coming from every adult in a position of responsibility that they come into contact with, including church leaders and school teachers.I think we actually had a sex ed class in high school in our church, but we had to have parental permission to do it. The evangelical community is extremely pro-family, but they are extremely geared to leaving parenting decisions up to the parents, including sex ed and birth control issues. If I tried to hand out condoms to the teens in my church, I'd probably be lynched, not because parents didn't want to have their kids hear about the subject (and I bet a lot of the parents have had a birth control discussion and might even have supplies available for their kids, too), but because I was violating what they consider an extremely important parental issue that is their purview and theirs alone.

We have some great parents in our church, and our church is set up with one of its goals to do whatever it can to support the family unit. A lot of these parents have been raised and nurtured through the church to be great parents and are extremely involved in child rearing. What this means is that they forget that there are a lot of parents out there who are absentee at best, abusive at worst, and either don't want to be involved or because of working multiple jobs just to survive are unable to be enough involved in their kids' lives, and someone has to step in somewhere to be a safety net for these kids.

When my kids are old enough for the discussion of sex/birth control (which, frighteningly, is not that far in the future) Some people will tell you that if you haven't started by the 2nd grade, you're late.
Second grade is just too young. They aren't going to retain it and they have absolutely no concept of what that is. If I tried to explain sex to my son when he was in 2nd grade, I would have been met with a blank stare and quite possibly a "Euuww, that's gross" comment. We did, however, give body parts their proper names. I think it's kind of silly to give private parts cutesy names that kids have to unlearn later on with the appropriate names. Of course, this lead to some unique public conversations for us as parents, but what can I say? :)
My son as a 4th grader had the puberty talk a couple weeks back, and when Jimbo and I talked to him about it, we got an earful about what he learned would happen to him, how he might begin to like girls, and how incredibly gross this all was. It was hard not to laugh.

I think that sounds like an awesome plan of attack. I'm assuming you have all boys? Is there a reason why you think that church leaders and school teachers shouldn't be re-enforcing this message?
One boy, one girl. She'll get the same 'We want you to wait as much as you can, but here's what happens, here's how to stay out of trouble, here's the box of condoms...' talk too, since bc pills don't stop STDs. I've got a while to go with her and a discussion with the pediatrician on best STD prevention methods for girls that _she_ can take responsibility for--things may change over the next 5-10 years.

Why they shouldn't reinforce this message? Our kids are in public school, so the school is pretty much prevented from discussing anything religion related as one (of many) reasons for abstinence, and the NEA is extremely liberal--abstinence tends to be downplayed in more liberal settings, though I want to be careful to say that teachers the vast majority of the time have kids' interests at heart. So the school can't reinforce some aspects of sex ed that I'd like to see reinforced. Church leaders feel it's a parent responsibility, particularly if you're talking about something like birth control pills for girls, because that becomes a parent/child/physician discussion. We have a new youth pastor in our church, and it'll be interesting to see what approach he takes on this issue. There may be a discussion of abstinence (I'd be surprised if there's not), but I doubt they'll be talking about birth control itself, since that's viewed as contributing to promiscuity. I happen to think that keeping a condom somewhere on your person is prudent in a culture as nuts about sex as ours is, but that's me, and other folks in my church would likely disagree.

The fact remains that if I want it taught the way I think it should be taught, it's up to Jimbo and me to take the responsibility for it, and the school and church should play a supporting role. I know that's not always reality, and that's where the church/school should be a safety net, but it shouldn't have to be up to them exclusively.

Allronix
03-18-2007, 08:38 PM
In the faith I practice, sex is a gift from Mother Goddess and Father God. It is not designed to be tossed about casually, and it can be powerful magic, but it's nothing to throw up all sorts of taboo, supersition, BS, lies, and shame about either.

"If it harms none, do as you will." - Wiccan Rede

Consent is the big issue here. This is why pedophilia is considered evil. The child is not consenting. Ditto with beastiality, necrophilia, and a host of other practices that harm either party. This is why cheating is also a bad idea, separate from polyamory. Cheating is when one partner is given the expectation of exclusitivity and the other misleads them (and likely their other partners!), which harms all parties involves and often comes around to bite the cheater in the arse. "You reap what you sow" is another BIG tenant of Wicca.

Polyamory, everyone knows the relationship's not exclusive and has the freedom to seek secondary or tertiary partnerships. It's consentual between all adults involved. Homosexuality - again, if everyone's of age and consenting, then no one's harmed. Celibacy, if one chooses it, is also not harming anyone so long as they don't get in everyone's face about how it should be the only choice.

This being said, I believe in accurate, medically-based, and comprehensive sex ed and birth control. "Just the facts" has worked marvelously in this Wiccan clan. The data's behind it, too. Just about every study that goes out of its way to chart the results finds fewer teen pregnancies, fewer STDs, and more contraceptive use among those who got the education. The best the scare tactics, "virginity pledgers," and abstinence-only was able to manage was MAYBE an 12 month delay in sexual activity, followed by an abysmal contraceptive use rate, and a soaring rate of "oops" pregnancies.

Achilles
03-19-2007, 12:19 AM
This quote: "I realize you comment was made in jest, but I wonder how the "you made your bed, now sleep in it" argument is supposed to help young adults feel comfortable approaching their parents with serious concerns during this confusing time in their lives."

I read it as you thinking we adults here on the forum would have some kind of influence over the teens in this sphere. My apologies. I was referring to parents.

There's been a concerted effort in very liberal circles to play abstinence down considerably or get rid of it in curriculum altogether on the theory that 'all it's going to do is cause pregnancy/STDs in unprepared teens'. Could you please provide a source for this (either here or via PM if more appropriate)? I've done, what I would like to consider, a reasonable amount of research on this subject and have yet to see anything from the "liberal" side that suggests that abstinence should not be part of the safe sex curriculum.

What I have seen is evidence-based arguments that "abstinence only" plans are resulting in riskier behavior from teens. I don't think pointing out that "abstinence only" is failing is the same thing as saying that it shouldn't be part of the curriculum.

Then why is there such an outcry in liberal circles if those of us who are socially conservative ask that this be included as _part_ of the sex ed discussion? I think you're unfairly characterizing the "liberal" argument. I haven't come across one source that is not supportive of abstinence education. I have come across several sources that appear to be deservedly critical of "abstinence only" campaigns.

I don't want abstinence to be the _only_ thing discussed in sex ed (because I'm a realist--it's darn hard to wait til marriage), but I do want it to be given a more appropriate weight. This (http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/emc300/azstandards/comprehensiverationale.htm) is the standard for sex-ed in my state (R7-2-303. Sex Education). No where in the curriculum is contraception (or any derivative thereof) mentioned. Abstinence is mentioned twice. I think the argument that abstinence is not currently given a fair shake in the classroom is not supported by the facts. At least not in my state (our capital is the 6th largest metropolis in the U.S.).

I think you've mentioned before that you're from Illinois. Here (http://www.icah.org/pdf/SexedinIL.pdf) is some information from that state for anyone that is interested in reading it.

Kids are having sex way too young (12, 13, or 14 is way too young), and I think it's important for them to learn that it's OK to say 'let's wait' in a culture that is blasting them with messages to the contrary. I agree. I take a slightly different stance on the matter though. Rather than supporting "abstinence only" sex education, I think parents should make some effort to limit how much "culture" kids are getting from the media.

I'm often bemused by all the effort going into cleaning up adult-oriented television programming when it seems the real solution is to unplug the damned thing.

What this means is that they forget that there are a lot of parents out there who are absentee at best, abusive at worst, and either don't want to be involved or because of working multiple jobs just to survive are unable to be enough involved in their kids' lives, and someone has to step in somewhere to be a safety net for these kids. I agree. I think that safety net should be the public school system. I think it sucks that the burden should fall to them, but it's the solution that makes the most sense.

Second grade is just too young. They aren't going to retain it and they have absolutely no concept of what that is. If I tried to explain sex to my son when he was in 2nd grade, I would have been met with a blank stare and quite possibly a "Euuww, that's gross" comment. I won't post my sources because they come very close to violating the ground rules of this thread, but this discussion should begin somewhere between ages 4-8.

We did, however, give body parts their proper names. I think it's kind of silly to give private parts cutesy names that kids have to unlearn later on with the appropriate names. Of course, this lead to some unique public conversations for us as parents, but what can I say? :) The sources I can't quote recommend this at ages 0-3. :D
They grow up so fast! :(

My son as a 4th grader had the puberty talk a couple weeks back, and when Jimbo and I talked to him about it, we got an earful about what he learned would happen to him, how he might begin to like girls, and how incredibly gross this all was. It was hard not to laugh.

[QUOTE=Jae Onasi]She'll get the same 'We want you to wait as much as you can, but here's what happens, here's how to stay out of trouble, here's the box of condoms...' talk too, since bc pills don't stop STDs. Aren't you just as concerned about unplanned pregnancy as STD's? They have that sub-dermal thing too.

Our kids are in public school, so the school is pretty much prevented from discussing anything religion related as one (of many) reasons for abstinence, and the NEA is extremely liberal--abstinence tends to be downplayed in more liberal settings, though I want to be careful to say that teachers the vast majority of the time have kids' interests at heart. So the school can't reinforce some aspects of sex ed that I'd like to see reinforced. Based on what I read, the only thing Illinois school teacher are prevented from teaching is proper contraceptive use :D

In all fairness though, I don't actually live there, so it might be quite different "on the ground".

Fish.Stapler
03-19-2007, 02:00 AM
Coming from a 14-year-old living in the same state as Achilles who went through Sex Education the last 3 years in middle school, safe sex was mentioned once. Once. The rest was about abstinence and what happens when you get pregnant. I know a lot of fellow classmates who enjoy bragging about sexual "conquests" (very demeaning term I know, but I can't think of any better one, suggestions or an editing of it would be appreciated) or various romps.

A lot of them also brag about foregoing birth control. I think that this really has to do with the shoddy education program in place. The thing that I've noticed reading about and personally, recently experiencing this first-hand is that abstinence is not effective when taught alone, and neither is the one that advocates primarily birth control as opposed to abstinence. (once again this is not based on the empirical data as much as the personal observations). They must be taught together so that people know as much as they can about one of the hugest issues facing teens.

Something ideal would be:

Part I of cirriculum - abstinence, how to avoid peer pressure etc.
Part II of cirriculum - all methods of birth control, useage, merits and problems of each etc.

The major problem is this won't happen in public education until it can get more funding. The videos we used were from the 80's, far outdated in terms of how the subject has evolved. They simply couldn't afford to spare improvements here when they had to make severe layoffs and schedule changes so they could keep paying the teachers.

Sorry for the badly constructed ramble, my two cents here.

edit: Not to mention, my personal belief about why teens want to fornicate so much lies both within genetics and the fact that there is such a huge taboo in place about the subject. When my dad had "the talk" with me and my mom found out, she FLIPPED because I was her baby and wasn't ready for it, despite the fact that by the time you're 10 you know most of it now (one of the many culture problems I suppose). It really lies with the parents to "man up", break the taboo and talk to them at a YOUNG age. If your child gets muddled notions of the act before you talk to them about it and they don't think it over with their brains instead of their hormones, you're too late. With the taboo there and the need to "rebel" and spite people, teens are going to do it, especially the misinformed ones.