Abstinence-Only Sex Education Fails to Teach Truth

Doesn’t the old saying go that we have to make the future a better place for our children? Well, with a new bill signed by Wisconsin’s governor Jim Doyle forcing sex-ed instructors to teach children that the only ‘safe sex’ is abstinence, there may be no future children to worry about.
Of course, this is not a realistic projection, but this new bill, which will take effect in Wisconsin on July 1, is just another example of how America constantly attacks sex. Now, if you look at television, movies, music, etc., it would seem that I’m wrong. But America doesn’t attack the word ‘sexy.’ It attacks the act of sex itself. Little Johnny may be exposed to sexy images all the time, but the second that Little Johnny gets a little hard-on, the most he can expect is a vague, ‘Well son, that’s just a part of growing up,’ from his uncomfortable father.
Why is the actual act of sex so taboo? Outside of friends or certain groups, one can never talk frankly about sex and this new bill shows how it is continually demonized as some dangerous thing. Imagine for a second that all your sexual knowledge came only from the sex-ed classes you took as a kid. How much would you know? You would probably only be able to recall the negative aspects of sex and the warning that if you are ever to engage in this ‘illicit behavior,’ you must use a condom or else you’ll get a sexually-transmitted disease and die a slow, horrible death.
This bill, however, goes a step further by teaching students that even condoms are dangerous. Of course, there’s always the isolated incident of a torn condom or whatever, and proponents of the bill argue that STDs are increasing among teens. Well, if indeed cases of STDs are increasing, it’s not because people don’t have enough knowledge, it’s because sex has been vilified in the minds of people since childhood and they have just become tired and cynical of all the propaganda thrown at them everyday.
Let’s picture a world where it is not sex that is unmentionable, but instead, it’s taking a dump. First of all, this act is far more disgusting than any type of intercourse. I think people should be more bashful buying toilet paper than condoms. But, what would society be like if this were seen as true? First of all, parents would hide toilet paper away from their children, and if one of them happened to come across a roll, the parents would just call it a ‘special adult thing.’ Then along comes the fourth or fifth grade, when the teacher will walk up to the board and announce that today the class will be learning not sex education, but toilet education. The children will giggle extensively when this forbidden subject enters such an environment.
‘OK class,’ the teacher will start out, ‘as you grow up, there will come a time when you’ll have to use a bathroom outside of your own house, and when this occurs, you’ll have to learn how to wipe.’
The teacher will then brandish a roll of toilet paper. The young children listen obediently and promise to wipe when they’re older, but then they get to high school.
Let’s revisit Little Johnny, who is now Big Johnny, captain of the football team. He comes out of practice with an interesting message for his friends.
He just used the bathroom, didn’t wipe and nothing bad seems to have happened to him. In fact, it feels much better to avoid wiping. Since Johnny’s so popular, everyone stops wiping.
You see, it wasn’t bad information that led to the crisis, but a history of propaganda about a natural bodily function that caused the people to ignore valid information and turn cynical.
Sex is not only normal and healthy, but makes for a damn good time.
The existence of STDs should not cause people to fear sex, but help them make sex and this is exactly what sex education classes should teach.

David Syatt is a first-year literary journalism major. He can be reached at dsyatt@uci.edu.