Monday, April 04, 2005

Thoughts on Denial as a Preventive Health Plan

If you're reading this today your problem is that this is the only blog that I have, because I've got a thing about the forlorn hope that teaching "abstinence only" to children will make a dent in teen pregnancy and STDs.
I saw this piece on MSNBC on young people's sexual behavior and attitudes. I'll grant you that this can be confusing stuff... at least one President of the United States was similarly disposed. All the more reason why children... people... need better information and not less.
When I first started conducting STD prevention training in the Navy I was... strongly encouraged?... to emphasize abstinence as the only sure preventive method. That's actually true, of course, and I'm a pretty good instructor; but can you guess what happened right after we hit our first overseas liberty port? So I modified my lesson plans a bit; and I didn't change the world, but the overall rates dropped off a bit and the repeat cases fell off substantially. I'm not necessarily proud of myself, but I believe the people who were going to do what they were going to do, make the choices they were going to make, did so with better information to protect themselves and others from infections and unplanned pregnancies.
You just can't get by with telling people to not even think about sex and let it go at that. Any adult that can't grasp that has got to be either in denial about their own experience or is experiencing memory loss. Sexuality is older than religion, and has almost certainly undergone a lot fewer changes over the centuries. It isn't going to go away anytime soon... one hopes... so deal with it.


Blogger Tamar said...

Right on! It is outrageous to take away information and contraception from teens. We want them to learn to make responsible choices. They are unable to learn that if we treat them like sexual criminals.

I love the "study" you describe and its success. There is actual research today that is backing up what you proved for yourself in the navy.

Great post!

4:36 PM  
Blogger Always Question said...

Thank you, Tamar.
I'm trying to work on my blog discipline, but sometimes a subject just jumps out at me, and I have to speak to it.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Ronni Bennett said...

"Sexuality is older than religion, and has almost certainly undergone a lot fewer changes over the centuries."

Heh, heh, heh. Wonderful observation.

3:24 PM  

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