Abstinence makes your parts grow fondler

Bad Astronomy
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Jan. 22 2010 7:19 AM

Abstinence makes your parts grow fondler

As a parent, I spend a lot of time worrying about my daughter. That's part of the job description. But what they don't tell you is exactly how to figure out what to worry about.

I suspect that in Fluvanna County, Virginia, that's a problem too. It's there, you see, that a bunch of parents are upset about an abstinence-only sex education class. Now, I'd certainly be upset if they offered such nonsense in my daughter's school, since it has been shown repeatedly that sexual education based on abstinence only doesn't work at all.

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Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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But that's not what has Fluvanna County parents unhappy. Instead, it's that students in the class were asked to fill out a survey without first notifying the parents. That's against the school district rules, not surprisingly. And, to be fair, I'd want to be notified as well so I could look at the survey.

But really, that's a minor, minor point compared to the fact that their children are not only not getting a real sexual education, but by taking an abstinence-only class they will be more open to STDs and teen pregnancies.

The program in question is called Worth Your Wait. I looked over their website, and will readily admit that a lot of the advice they give is fine: self-control is important, it's best to wait until you're ready, and so on. But that hardly matters, since the very basis of what they're saying is known not to work. It's like having a website saying drinking a glass a water a day will cure AIDS, and it'll also hydrate you. Sure, the latter is true, but the overall message is bunk.

It's too bad, because it's an enticing idea: teach your kids to not have sex, and like magic, they won't! But it's a crock. It's worse than that, really, because study after study show this very clearly: kids still get pregnant, kids still get STDs, and in fact with abstinence-only education they tend not to get educated on how to practice safe sex, so pregnancies and incidents of STDs actually go up for AO educated children.

But why let research and reality get in the way of dogma?

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