I don’t know about you, but I read headlines about conservative sex-ed curriculum, and I am exhausted, immediately.
That said, in the newest conservative v. liberal teeth-grinding headlines, Tennessee is seriously considering a law that would expand its abstinence-only sex-ed curriculum to include “gateway sexual activity.” The bill is already approved by the state’s senate. This in response to recent controversy about teaches mentioning in class that there are alternatives to intercourse. (Don’t want to shock anyone, but I think they’re talking about, gasp, oral sex.)
Perhaps Tennesse is missing something in their sex-education strategy, because they’re a top 10 state for unplanned pregnancies. The stars may lie, but the numbers never do. Just saying.
America is a place of such extremes. Crazy amounts of porn. But no sex before marriage! It blows my mind. We talk about an evolved romantic landscape here at WTF, but basically, it’s about defining what’s actually out there today, realistically, not what we “should” be and how it “should” happen.
There is a New Yorker article from 2008 (written on the heels of Bristol Palin’s pregnancy) that I regularly cite in conversation, still, titled “Red Sex, Blue Sex.” It talks about the effects of religious views on sex and pregnancy. I highly, highly recommend it. A highlight:
Religion is a good indicator of attitudes toward sex, but a poor one of sexual behavior, and that this gap is especially wide among teen-agers who identify themselves as evangelical. The vast majority of white evangelical adolescents—seventy-four per cent—say that they believe in abstaining from sex before marriage. (Only half of mainline Protestants, and a quarter of Jews, say that they believe in abstinence.) Moreover, among the major religious groups, evangelical virgins are the least likely to anticipate that sex will be pleasurable, and the most likely to believe that having sex will cause their partners to lose respect for them.*… But, according to Add Health data, evangelical teen-agers are more sexually active than Mormons, mainline Protestants, and Jews. On average, white evangelical Protestants make their “sexual début”—to use the festive term of social-science researchers—shortly after turning sixteen.** Among major religious groups, only black Protestants begin having sex earlier.
* The idea that having sex is shameful for women. So. Sad.
** How contradictory is this? And also, not only are they having sex earlier, they’re having unempowered, unprotected, shameful sex.
Go Tennessee! Facepalm.
P.S. Have you watched “The Education of Shelby Knox?” It think it’s on Instant Watch right now.
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