Quick (listening) hit: Debating abstinence

I was on the Alan Colmes radio show last week, debating Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association. You may be able to tell that I’m kind of jet lagged and cranky in the segment – at one point I get totally pissed off. (I know, shocking.)

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  • crazydrumguy.wordpress.com

    Nice job! Okay, I guess you did sound a little pissed at one point, but you were right! (Does that make it okay?)
    Too bad feminists are never allowed to get angry about anything, because then you’re an “angry feminist” (and probably a lesiban too!).

  • pmsrhino

    Okay, I think these abstinence supporters either never go to their classes or are completely okay with lying out their asses. I had two sex education classes when I was a teen (both sponsored by my church) and the first one was HEAVILY abstinence only. I remember going there, getting the scary STD slides, having women talk to me about how the times they had sex before marriage made them feel dirty and shamed (oh, even masturbation was a big no no), and also the lady who ran the program actually talked to me one time, which was a crazy experience. I can’t wear metal ’cause I’m allergic, so I had a ring my parents bought me for my 13th birthday on my necklace chain (took me about 2 years to be able to wear a necklace without breaking out) and the lady stopped, looked at the ring with this look of pretty much disgust and asked in a fairly accusing voice, “That your boyfriends?” like I was some sort of whore because I had a ring on my neck. I remember after that program not feeling one bit knowledgeable about sex, I was only scared and frightened. It made things very difficult with my first boyfriend because I was so scared of feeling guilty and ashamed if I ever had sex. We never even made out I was so damaged by it.
    The second one, also sponsored by my church, was the total opposite. It was comprehensive and my class was taught by a very awesome married couple who were very open (unlike the last class which was taught by a single woman, I assume to make us feel more scared of the idea of sex before marriage as harmful). Girls and boys were in the same class. We were taught about ALL different types of contraception (including a female condom) and they even brought examples in so we could see them and they could demonstrate how to use them properly. We were given excellent stats and abstinence was mentioned ALONGSIDE all those other methods. It was the only 100% way to never get pregnant or get an STD, but it was never overemphasized over the other methods. It still took awhile before I felt comfortable in my sexuality, but that class helped so much to take care of some of the damage that abstinence class did.
    So when I hear people talk about abstinence only sex-ed like it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and is actually empowering it just pisses me off to no end. It does far more damage than good. And honestly, they are the ones promoting that feeling of shame because you start to feel like that is what’s supposed to happen. It is emphasized so much in those classes, the shame, that when I lost my virginity and didn’t really feel anything about it one way or another I actually thought it was strange that I didn’t feel any shame. So yeah, screw you abstinence only people. You need to get out and actually talk to people who have taken your damning course, then maybe they will actually see the real damage it causes.

  • http://openid.aol.com/percat6

    Out of curiosity, do you find you are invited more by people who side with you overall, or more just to be opposition for a show that disagrees?
    “There’s nothing only about abstinence education”? Hahaha! Right, I forgot, they also teach that condoms are so ineffective you might as well not use them.

  • opheliasawake

    Of course you got cranky Jessica, anybody would with someone blatantly twisting facts in front of you. I hate the doublespeak that the abstinence folk use. The misuse of the word “empowerment” was what really got me. Empowerment isn’t conditional on virginity. It’s not. GAH!
    Yay Jessica and yay that Alan Colmes is off of Fox. I’ve always loved his measured approach, but couldn’t bring myself to watch Hannity & Colmes.

  • Athenia

    Ok, so here’s my problem with the Abstinence Only Lady, all of those problems she mentions DO NOT MAGICALLY GO AWAY WHEN YOU TURN 20 YEARS OLD!
    Abstinence Only Edu is like keeping a baby in diapers when it needs to be potty trained or something.

  • jeana

    This is what I never understood. When you get older or married (since that is when sex is justified, apparently), does birth control start magically working? Does it only not work when you’re a teen? How does one keep from getting pregnant once you’re married? Or are you supposed to have as many babies as you can till your body gives out?
    And why don’t they understand that no contraception = unwanted pregnancies = abortions or pregnant teens? Do they actually think it means no sex? Because that’s pure stupidity.

  • jellyleelips

    Eh, you don’t sound pissed, you just sound like you’re debating a liar :)

  • Ayla

    It’s difficult to have a real debate with someone who, after noticing that the sky is blue, is still willing to turn to you and insist that it’s green.
    That woman was a liar and a manipulator and I’m glad the the host called her on her distraction tactics.

  • beth

    I agree with lellyleelips–you sound like you’re debating a liar. Well done.
    I also had abstinence-only sex ed. It was incredibly demeaning to me and the other females in the classroom, just as you said it was, Jessice. I don’t recall any mention of STDs, but the (male) teacher decided to show us what hell our lives would be if we got pregnant. Abortion, condoms, and birth control were never mentioned. He excluded males at this point in the discussion and proceeded to explain to us females how we would have to quit school to raise the child on our own, get a full time job at minimum wage, pay for childcare and rent and whatnot, would end up as lonely, uneducated single mothers, and generally made a misogynist ass of himself.
    The message was clearly “If you have sex, you will get pregnant and fail at life, you worthless sluts.”
    While I do not feel I was damaged by this “education,” I do feel I was cheated out of a lot of valuabe information about sexual intercourse, sexual relationships, desire, contraceptives, and objective information that would allow me to think critically about what I wanted for my body and relationships.
    Fortunately, my interest in sex led me to books and the internet, where information abounds, and I now am taking a class called psychology of sexuality. However, I don’t know how many of the other people in my class were able to get around the frank misinformation and blatant scare tactics.
    It’s really important to me that teens are allowed to think for themselves. Regardless of what these abstinence-only fucktards want, students deserve accurate, unabridged and uncensired, objective sexual education.

  • beth

    *Jellyleelips, that is.

  • beth

    *Jellyleelips, that is.

  • jellyleelips

    I dunno, lellyleelips is kinda catchy :)
    I didn’t have abstinence-only sex ed, but looking back, the only thing I really remember was the pictures of STDs. My teacher didn’t warn the girls about being slutty, or give us misinformation, but that’s because he didn’t really give us information in the first place. I got the sense he was too squeamish. Which is a huge problem for sex ed, poorer high schools like mine had the freakin football coach teach it. Which would be fine, if the football coach were an open, honest sexuality educator instead of an awkward recruit who didn’t really talk about anything and didn’t even want to be teaching the class. My wish would be that schools could afford to have some sort of “licensed sexuality educator” or something, who goes around to all the high schools in an area. I mean, my high school had a counselor for the girls who actually became pregnant, but not for the girls who wanted to find contraception.

  • Kathleen6674

    I love how she ignored you when you said 95% of the population has premarital sex. If 95% isn’t a failure rate, I don’t know what is.

  • B

    Jessica wins.
    I delayed sex until this past year because of an abstinence only education in high school. But only because I was SCARED into not doing anything. I thought all forms of kissing would lead to sex, pregnancy, cancer, death, etc. I thought God would hate me and send me to hell.
    And this past year (I was 21 at the time) I decided to have sex for the first time and had no clue how to be safe. After the first night I was naked with a boy (we didn’t have sex) I called my friend and started crying because I was afraid I was pregnant because he orgasmed next to me on the bed.
    I felt foolish and tricked. I don’t want anyone to ever feel this way again. Abstinence only sex education DOESN’T WORK. And like Jessica said, 95% of Americans have sex. We might as well teach it correctly.

  • Ariel


  • the.empress

    wooowww, what a liar that woman is.
    and i LOLed towards the end there when she implied that young people just LOVE abstinence-only education. i just graduated from high school a year ago and that certainly was not the case. all i ever heard around school about that program was bitching and moaning.