Over the years I have been very open about my stance, as a parent, on abstinence only sex education. I have always been very adamant in a comprehensive sex education for my children. As I’ve stated in my blog post, ‘Why I Plan to Teach My Kids to Have Sex Before Marriage’ I even outline why I am an adamant believer in how having sex before marriage can help you understand yourself, your needs, and your relationship with your partner at a very deep level before jumping into marriage.
Predictably, when I state this, I find many people who very strongly disagree, which is their right to do so in a respectful and responsible way.
But as I receive claims that, because I will be teaching my children it is okay to be sexual safely, it’s okay to have sex before marriage… SAFELY, and it’s natural, beautiful, and NOT a sin, I was told that my “kids will be at risk for STD’s, abortion, betrayal, emotional distress, single mother, poverty, shame, and spiritual darkness due to their sexual choices.” I wanted to discuss.
Abstinence only education programs advocate for monogamous, heterosexual marriage, before having any appropriate sexual intercourse.
This is pushed as the ONLY way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs. These lessons are a detriment to the youth that are taught it and the numbers prove this. The percentages of teen pregnancies when abstinence only education is taught is astronomically higher.
Of the 50 US States, only 38 states had sex education laws.
I’m in Idaho which does not have a law requiring sex education in the schools. Parents are allowed currently to opt their children out of sex education. The law specifically states “The legislature of the state of Idaho believes that the primary responsibility for the family life and sex education, including moral responsibility, rests upon the home and the church and the schools can only complement and supplement those standards.”
It is definitely the responsibility of a parent to know what their child is learning, be a part of their child’s education, and understand what they are learning in school.
However, sex education is one course that can be more effectively taught in a classroom setting. Why? Because it is a sensitive subject. Children do not like to hear or talk about sex with their parents. It is important as parents for us to be open and honest with our children early, but it can often be easier for your child to speak to another adult. Having a comprehensive sex education class with a knowledgeable instructor can do this for them.
This is why by 14 your child has the right to go into the doctor’s office and speak to a doctor privately.
Looking at the statistics of these maps the higher rate of teen pregnancy coincides significantly to states where abstinence is pushed in any sex education they receive.
Looking more directly at the exact claim against me.
This comment that stated I’m harming my children. Teaching my children safety will lower their risk of STD’s and teen pregnancy. Many that are taught that sexual feelings and emotions should be suppressed are often those who have a distorted and compulsive loss of understanding a healthy sexual relationship with their partner. Often causing sexual addiction Josh Duggar being the most famous example of this in the last 5-10 years.
This post is an interesting account of a young woman who grew up in purity culture and how it took her years to stop policing her own sexuality. I would not want to paraphrase her own words but strongly suggest reading it.
When you teach your child that sex is not okay, to have sexual feelings and thoughts is a sin, you’re teaching to repress natural desires, thoughts, and feelings. This can cause feelings of disgust, shame, and a fear of one’s own sexual interests.
Sex is natural, it feels good, and it’s pleasurable.
Any individual should take control of their own sexuality by exploring what they like in a safe environment with a welcoming and understanding partner and marriage does not need to be a part of the equation. However, if children are going to be having sex, and they will be, they should be knowledgeable about ALL the risks, safety measures, and concerns that arise.
That is why I am a strong advocate for a full and comprehensive sex education.
Betrayal and Emotional Distress….
Both parties of any sexual encounter should be able to talk openly. When under a mutual understanding I counter that betrayal and emotional distress is lessened, if at all there. If anyone is going into a sexual encounter expecting something the other is not, such as a relationship, love, marriage, then of course there will be betrayal and emotional distress, same can go for within marriage. Not understanding their own wants and needs can do that as well. Taking time to learn your own sexual wants and needs helps you build confidence and understanding.
The rate of teen pregnancies among those learning abstinence only sex education is higher. Those teens that become pregnant are at a higher risk to never finish high school, never go to college, and never raise themselves out of poverty. The number of generational teen pregnancies is high. Grandmother had a baby at 16, that daughter had a baby at 15, the granddaughter had a baby at 14. It happens and the generational poverty continues. Teaching and giving teens open access to birth control and other contraceptives lowers the risk of teen pregnancy and raises the chances of them finishing school, going to college, and building a career for themselves, thus raising themselves out of any poverty situation.
I would like to claim that spiritual darkness over sexual desires only happens when a child is taught those desires are sinful. If taught sexual desires are natural, healthy, pleasurable, and okay, there is no spiritual darkness. I do not believe sex is a sin, I do not believe sex before marriage is a sin, I do not believe having sexual thoughts or masturbation is a sin. If you put all worth and meaning in your life on salvation and your spiritual wellbeing, then you tell a child something that is natural to feel is sinful then of course they will feel a darkness, shame, and self-disgust.
Parents, the ultimate goal is we have choices and so do our children. Our children should be taught the whole picture and be allowed to make their own choices, a full and comprehensive sex education.
Why I Plan to Teach My Kids to Have Sex Before Marriage
Acceptance and Supporting Same-Sex Parents
I Find Fault in Teaching Girls to be Modest
How to Raise an Open-Minded Child
Monogamy Versus Playing the Field: Pros and Cons
7 Key Lessons to Teach Kids About Body Safety and Consent
You are definitely on to something here. I completely agree with your points and plan on doing the same!
Thank you for this. I believe in being open with my kids and discussing everything when it comes to sex. That didn’t happen when I was growing up.
I will for sure be doing the same with my kids. Being open, honest, and educational.
Growing up in a more conservative home and society in India, we did not discuss any of these topics; but I do plan to be more open about it and ultimately trust my kids to make sound responsible choices of their own
In India, people are not open about sex education and related terms. Glad to see that in other parts of world people teach their child about this topic.
Love this! Coming from someone that wasn’t even told about puberty (that was a shocker!), I wish I would have been more informed like this. Better to find out at home from a parent than through the wrong channels.
I absolutely agree with you. Before the pandemic my 14 year old was going through a very comprehensive sex ed program through out church called Our Whole Lives. I chose this as a replacement for our abstinence only sex ed program taught through our school system. I would much rather my daughter be prepared and confident in her choices and I feel like that is what OWL provides.