Needless to say, abstinence-only sex education, sadly the dominant kind of sex education in America, demonizes sex, condoms and all forms of birth control and is rife with false statistics and so called facts. It also enables slut-shaming and demonizes any girl or young woman who dares explore her sexuality and engage in sexual activity instead of remaining virginal, chaste and pure. This is not sex “education” but rather the imposition of conservative ideology, heteronormativity and patriarchal gender roles / norms.
So much of this ineffective and unrealistic maleducation relies on fear tactics. Much of the stuff abstinence-only curricula teaches and the material they use are simply laughable. It’s just too bad that that’s what young people are learning (or not learning) about sex. Here are some examples:
In South Carolina, Heritage Community Services teaches girls that boys simply cannot control themselves when they are sexually aroused and that unless girls cover up their bodies, those poor boys turn into sex monsters and just jump on them.
“Males and females are aroused at different levels of intimacy. Males are more sight orientated whereas females are more touch orientated. This is why girls need to be careful with what they wear, because males are looking! The girl might be thinking fashion, while the boy is thinking sex. For this reason, girls have a responsibility to wear modest clothing that doesn’t invite lustful thoughts.” (Heritage Keepers, Student Manual, p. 46)
Right, because girls and women are not sexual beings. They’re just passive receivers. This also reinforces victim-blaming because if a woman is wearing revealing clothing and gets raped, it’s because she asked for it – what else was she expecting wearing skimpy clothing? This also insults boys and men by saying that they virtually have no self control.
On the Teen FAQs section of their website, in response to the question “how far can you go with the opposite sex?” it says:
A good minimum guideline is to declare everything covered by a bathing suit as off-limits. Everyone needs to know his or her boundaries before getting in a risky situation. Once someone is excited physically, it can be difficult to stop.
Apparently boys will be boys, right? They simply can’t control themselves once they’re around one of “those” girls. The Heritage Community Services Curriculum also relies on scare tactics to scare young people into not having sex. In the student manual it says:
“Circle the consequences that you DO NOT want in your life”: “Sexually Transmitted Viruses, Sexually Transmitted Bacteria, Cervical Cancer, AIDS, Legal and financial responsibility for a child until he or she is at least 18, Raising a child alone, Emotional hurt and regret, Increased chance of abuse from a partner.” (Heritage Keepers, Student Manual, p. 35)
Because sex is bad, bad, BAD! Also, suggesting that “increased chance of abuse from a partner” is a likely outcome of sex is an utterly distortion of relationship abuse. Where is the sex-positivity? The possibilities that it can bring you closer to your partner, that it can actually feel good (gasp!), that it burns calories?
Meanwhile in Kansas, abstinence-only organization Women’s Clinic of Kansas City/Life Guard says on their website: “Being able to have sex does not make you any different from a rat in a warehouse. They have sex too. Is that what you want to compare yourself with?” WHAAAAAT?!!!! So basically teenagers who have sex are just like rats? Sex is a normal, natural part of humanity and biology, not just something that rats in warehouses do.
This is what tax dollars have been going to. Ridiculous, absurd, and untrue claims like the aforementioned that just try to reinforce heteronormativity, gender stereotypes and the policing of female sexuality.