There were several topics I had hoped to include in Best Sex Writing 2008 that didn’t make it in (among them last year’s various political sex scandals), and one was sex education and abstinence-only education. I had on my list Amy DePaul’s Alternet article on secondary virginity but couldn’t get the rights to it. There’s been lots of great stuff written about abstinence-only education of late, and here’s an example from Violet Blue, also a contributor to BSW (I hope to have an interview with her here soon). The column is called “Abstiencne does not make the heart grow fonder.” And I used a photo of her with a cupcake just because I love them. For some positive and comprehensive looks at sex ed, visit Ellen Friedrichs’s www.sexedvice.com, Heather Corinna’s Scarleteen, (Heather is also the author of S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get You Through High School and College and you can read my interview with her here) and check out the work of Logan Levkoff, author of Third Base Ain’t What It Used to Be.
Here’s a snippet from Violet’s column:
Abstinence education is a failure, but at the 11th hour of 2007 it still got a huge pile of Bush-approved money.
How much cash are we talking about to pay teen girls to give their hoo-hahs a Coke
and a smile? (Make mine a double, thanks.)
In April 2007, Massachusetts declined the yearly allotment of the U.S. government’s $700,000 per-state grant for abstinence education in public schools. (Abstinence education discourages the use of any birth control, such as condoms.) This was just after a 20-page Columbia University study exposed that abstinence curriculum statements about condom use are medically inaccurate. The American Civil Liberties Union, tired of the Department of Health and Human Services ignoring repeated warnings about incorrect data, sent the department a letter threatening legal action. The ACLU is trying to get the DHHS to stop disseminating bad information — because doing so violates
At the same time, Randall Tobias, President Bush’s abstinence-promoting, condom-discouraging “AIDS Czar” and deputy secretary of state, resigned after admitting he was a customer of the famed “DC Madam” when the escort service was about to surrender its records. The Washington Post reported that the government spends $176 million a year on abstinence programs. Let us ask ourselves, is that anywhere near what Tobias made as the (former) head of Eli Lilly?