If abstinence is right, then please, please, please let me be wrong.
JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Historically, telling kids to “Just Say No” hasn’t really worked out so well. We hear that resounding no, and we rebel – we always want what we can’t have, and we fetishize the very things that are presented as taboo. As a result, the message backfires, sending legions of restless, pent-up souls into the streets, screaming, “YES, YES, YES!”
So, really. I’d like to meet the prude who came up with abstinence-only education and kick him (or her) in the crotch.
People, there is nothing wrong with having sex, provided you’re smart about it. But the thing is, the average person isn’t actually all that smart. And these are the folks who are breeding like crazy, further dumbing down the gene pool with many, many equally dumb babies. So, the very least we, the intelligent portion of the population, can do is to make knowledge available – namely, knowledge about how to have sex without disastrous repercussions.
Take dear Bristol Palin, for example. Poor, poor Bristol. It’s not her fault that she was born to a fundamentalist whack job who is too busy hunting and attempting to be the Boss of Everyone to advise her small army of children to practice safer sex.
In a riveting interview with Christian Today, Bristol declares the following: “Everyone should be abstinent…but it is not realistic at all.”
Well, yeah. Perhaps your mom could have told you that herself, Bristol, since there is some very real speculation that she conceived your older brother, Track, out of wedlock. Or at the very least, she could have let the school system teach you about condoms. But wait, Sarah and Todd Palin are still blissfully wed and popping out babies willy-nilly, so I guess that’s a success story. Unlike yours, now that good old Levi has been liberated from your family’s conservative clutches.
Sex is not some precious gift to withhold. It doesn’t define whether or not you’re a good person, whatever that means. It’s a biological need. It’s fun. And it’s no one’s business, as long as you’re taking care to make sure you’re safe about it. You won’t burst into flames or make baby Jesus cry. But you could get yourself into a boatload of trouble with it, so why not educate people on how to avoid that?
It’s important to for the youth of today to realize that it is indeed possible to have sex and not get pregnant: I’m living proof. I’ve been at this for quite a while and am still childless. Because I want to be. Or maybe it’s because God is punishing me for my harlotry, and He has rendered my uterus a charred, inhospitable wasteland. Either way, I don’t care. I don’t have kids. Or herpes. And I’ve had some sex in my day.
My public school sex education started in fourth grade, when the boys were herded into the gym and talked at by the physical education teacher, and the girls were sequestered by the school nurse. We were all told about “how babies were made.” The girls were given feminine hygiene products. It was embarrassing; it was awkward. But we all knew what was what. And it didn’t end in a depraved, fourth grade orgy.
As I progressed through school, the sex-ed got more explicit, and I had perhaps some of the least titillating conversations of my life. If anything, all these prurient crazies who push abstinence-only should ENCOURAGE sex education in school, because they really know how to take the luster out of it. But that said, I learned a lot about contraceptives and diseases and all that jazz. You know, the things that people really, really need to know in order to protect themselves and their partners.
Of course, my parents didn’t leave it up to the school system to educate me. I didn’t just get the sex talk; I had the ongoing sex dialogue. My mother was in charge of most of this, and she said all the typical mom-to-daughter things about respecting oneself. I knew that she would prefer that I not have sex, but she never once told me that to do so would be somehow wrong.
More than anything, though, I remember one conversation I had with my dad. My father, the child psychologist/overgrown frat boy, gave me some sage advice right before I left for college that I will never, ever, ever forget.
“Kid,” he said to me. “Let me tell you some rules that my friends and I had when we were your age. And this is foolproof – but I know you won’t listen to it right now. I’m right, but you’re the type that’s going to have to figure it out on her own. Still, I’ve got to tell you, and I hope you’ll share this with your friends.”
I think I rolled my eyes.
“Rule number one,” he said. “Sometimes the fucking you get ain’t worth the fucking you get. Rule number two: never fuck anyone crazier than you. Rule number three: If you do, you’re probably fucked.”
Wow, right? But he was 100% correct. And that conversation was a stunning example of sex education at its finest. Be open, be frank, don’t assign value judgments. As mortifying as it was to hear those words come out of his mouth, I am grateful to him to this very day – and incredibly grateful that I come from people who didn’t request I pledge my chastity to them in some bizarre purity ball ritual-type thing.
On top of being totally irresponsible, not talking about sex is as absurd as not having it. As my good friend* George Michael sings in the extremely unwholesome song, “I Want Your Sex:”
Sex is natural, sex is good
Not everybody does it
But everybody should.
Yes, this. Exactly this. Thank you, George Michael, for summing it up so well.
(*This is a total lie. I’ve not met the man, though I’d like to.)
Pregnant is the new successful!
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Surprise! Accidental pregnancies are the new planned pregnancies! And pregnant is the new successful.
Everybody loves surprises—and what could be more exciting than the surprise of life? Everybody loves life! And everybody LOVES babies. Need proof? Just look around you! Everyone’s got a cute little baby these days. What are you waiting for? A career?!
Nothing helps you find your place in the world quite like a baby. Not sure where you’re going in life? Feeling aimless, worried about the future, and unsure of what you really have to offer anyone? Drift around long enough in dead-end social circles and pursue enough unfulfilling, destructive relationships, and chances are, sooner or later you will either knock someone up, or get knocked up yourself—and, voila! Suddenly, you’re a parent! Instant purpose! Nobody can doubt that you’re important once you’ve had a baby. After all, babies are the future.
And really, what could be more of a blessing than a surprising new baby? Babies bring joy and sunshine into the lives of everyone around them. A baby can be a lot of work, but it can also bring families together, to say things like, “Who is going to take care of this baby?”, and “I guess you better drop out of school.” And who likes school anyway? Nobody cool! That’s right—have a baby, and you can quit school and sleep late every day!
Have trouble making friends or connecting with others? Parents don’t understand you? You better believe your new baby will!
Insecure about your relationship? Concerned that your boyfriend or girlfriend might be thinking of leaving you? Throw a baby in the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for lasting love. Nothing brings two dissimilar people closer or strengthens a tenuous relationship like a sudden influx of serious financial and emotional responsibilities. If your boy or girlfriend comes from a religious background, so much the better! To their families, an unexpected baby is God’s way of saying, “Get married right away.”
Think about it. Babies go with every outfit. And you can dress them up to look like a miniature version of yourself, just like the miniature version of you that they are sure to become when they grow up! Pierce baby’s ears, style baby’s hair, spend the money you earn at your part-time job to dress baby in the latest wee fashions. Clubs won’t let you in without a fake ID? Just show them your baby, and they’ll assume you must be old enough to drink! After all, you have a baby, don’t you?
You must have done something right, to end up with a baby.