07 November 2009

time to get comprehensive

This semester I'm taking a public speaking class, and for it I have to give a variety of speeches. The first was a demonstration speech (knitting), the second an analysis speech (genetically modified crops and their possible effects on world hunger), and the third speech is supposed to be persuasive. There are many things I feel strongly about, that I would love to give a speech on, but many of these things I don't feel I could argue rationally. Such as religious tolerance (what's the big deal? if it's not hurting anyone, let them do what they want! worry about your own soul! etc with a few f-bombs, prolly). Another is equality in marriage laws--aka gay marriage. This nearly makes me quiver with rage, just thinking about it! Especially when the terms those homophobic and (usually) religiously zealous bigots give themselves: pro-family, protectors of the institution of marriage. ... But perhaps that rant is for another post, another time.

The topic I've decided on is comprehensive sex-ed, via whatever source available. Abstinence only sex-ed claims to teach you "how to have the BEST SEX of your LIFE," but for the person who decides to not wait (or chooses mediocre sex) they are grossly under-informed, or worse misinformed, and ill-prepared for sex in what may or may not be a committed long-term relationship. In seventh grade, the abstinence teacher stood in front of my class room and told my class that a condom had to be as thick as a balloon in order to prevent the HIV virus from permeating through it. That when you open a condom, you're supposed to unroll it and look for holes before using it, and since no one does that, that's why they don't work, because there are often holes. That having sex before marriage (aka, I'm assuming, a commitment before God and family since the abstinence teacher was a pastor) would devastate the relationship and all future relationships.

I realise abstinence is the ONLY way to COMPLETELY prevent babies and (most) STD's (depending on what a person's definition of abstinence is). But in today's society, it is unrealistic to expect everyone to wait until marriage, since many people are choosing to pursue careers before settling down to create a family. (Unless of course, you're gay and not living in one of the few states that grants you the freedom to legally express your love for another person with a marriage license, because, then you have to be abstinent forever. /sarcasm) I want to say that places with comprehensive sex-ed have lower teen pregnancy rates/STD rates, but I'm not entirely sure that's true, because I haven't researched it.

Morally, I don't see anything wrong with not waiting until marriage. In Western society, there is no longer that taboo on non-virgin women. Well, maybe so from the religious right, but not from society as a whole. I'm not going to be stoned to death because I had a child out of wedlock, nor am I going to be sent to some unwed mothers' group home. Even though I managed to educate myself about safe sex via the internet, sometimes I wonder if the information would have had more of an impact coming from an authority figure, rather than some teen networking site. I knew I was taking chances, but I don't think I realised how big the chances I was taking were. But I worry about the people who choose not to educate themselves. The ones who say, "well, the sex-ed teacher told us condoms fail all the time, so why should we bother?"

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