Now there’s a shocker

BREAKING NEWS: Teenagers have sex despite what they tell their parents and pastors.

The sad part of this is, because of the milieu in which the virginity pledge is made, when they inevitably fail to keep it, they also fail to use condoms more often than those who have a less restrictive social environment.

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7 Responses to Now there’s a shocker

  1. Belloc's Daughter says:

    Yeah, that’s right. Just tell your sons and daughters, “hey I know you’re a scumbag/lowlife/slut and therefore you don’t deserve anything better than a casual root, so here’s how you use a condom.”

    Which is why we also say to our kids, “hey, you’re gonna do drugs anyway, so here’s how you minimise the risks”

    or, “hey, you’re gonna get drunk anyway, so just make sure you don’t drive”

    or, we say to our five year olds, “hey, you’re just gonna hit other kids anyway, so make sure you run away from them fast.”

    But whaddya know: turns out that being religious makes a big difference.

    http://smartabouthealth.net/curiosity/2009/01/05/religion-may-be-key-to-keeping-teens-from-having-sex/

    “When they looked at religion though it was a completely different story.

    Teens who were said to be religious waited until the age of 21 on average to have intercourse, compared to 17 for those who were not religious.”

    So, maybe schools should just butt out and sex ed should be left to the parents and their respective world views.

  2. Jarrah says:

    Ignoring all the strawman arguments, the religiosity angle is a valid point. Being religious means people have sex later on (or just can’t get a root – correlation doesn’t mean causation). And that’s fine and dandy, good luck to ’em.

    “So, maybe schools should just butt out and sex ed should be left to the parents and their respective world views.”

    I disagree, but I also think sex ed shouldn’t be compulsory. If parents want their school to have sex ed, they shouldn’t be stopped from having it, but if they don’t, they shouldn’t be stopped either.

    The libertarian solution is not having standardised curricula, and allowing schools or groups of schools to set their own.

  3. Belloc's Daughter says:

    but I also think sex ed shouldn’t be compulsory. If parents want their school to have sex ed, they shouldn’t be stopped from having it, but if they don’t, they shouldn’t be stopped either.

    The libertarian solution is not having standardised curricula, and allowing schools or groups of schools to set their own.

    That seems pretty reasonable.

    Straw men, eh? Well, what message *does* it send your child when you permit them to go out with boy or girl you wouldn’t even permit to drive your car?

    And what message does it send your child when you caution them about XYZ behaviours, but not about keeping themselves for someone who actually loves them?

  4. Jarrah says:

    I don’t understand the point of your questions.

    To take them at face value, the first one isn’t a good analogy – your child has a mind of their own, your car does not, so you can teach your child the right/smart/wise thing to do, but you can’t do that for your car.

    As for the second one, it would be nice if everyone would ‘keep themselves’ for someone who ‘actually’ loves them, but I don’t think marriage is the measure of love, and I think it’s hard to tell when someone loves you or just wants your body. I also think it’s fine to have sex for reasons other than love. I hope I can teach my children to differentiate the good reasons from the bad.

  5. Belloc's Daughter says:

    My point is pretty simple, really. Some people think that remaining a virgin until you are married is the optimal way to begin married life (though not meaning that it will guarantee a trouble-free marriage).

    So it seems to me, that if I love my children, then I will, in your words, “teach my children to differentiate the good reasons from the bad” reasons for having sex with someone. Is that true? You are doing the same thing, except that you and I might differ slightly about what those “good reasons” are.

    So, surely it is a good thing for us both to do what is right by our kids, as best as we can discern. Now, suppose you teach your kids that it’s okay for them to have sex with someone when they love you. That seems pretty reasonable. Well, does it follow that your children will do the right thing according to your principles? Of course not. They might decide that having sex with as many different people as possible is what will make them happy. Or they might neglect to have “safe sex” and either contract a nasty STI (or AIDS) or become pregnant unintentionally. Does it follow that you should never have taught them to have “safe sex” in the first place or that you should never ask them to promise you to always have safe sex or only have sex with someone who loves them (whatever you deem to be right behaviour)? And if lots of young people inevitably failed to use adequate contraception (and judging by the number of abortions, I’d say that’s pretty damn high) does it follow that their parents shouldn’t have encourged them to follow that path in the first place? No. No parent teaches their children according to the mistakes the children might make. We all teach them to do the right thing (even though you and I, for example, might disgree with what that means exactly).

    So, really, I don’t see why people should be bagged for encouraging their kids to wait for someone who loves them enough to make a public committment, just because so many fail in keeping to that value.

    As for the car. Well, I just can’t understand why I should be happy to allow a young man to take my daughter out on a date, if he is not ready and willing to marry (in general), when I wouldn’t even trust him to drive my car. I value my daughter much more than my car, why wouldn’t I protect her from someone who might damage her? (I am speaking of a daughter who is a minor and therefore not legally responsible for herself). That was my point about the car.

    “I think it’s hard to tell when someone loves you or just wants your body.” Absolutely, which is why I think marriage is important.

    You acknowledge that it would be nice if everyone kept themselves for marriage. Why do you think that? I think it is too, because in my view, sex, love, marriage and procreation are meant to be part of the one whole. Sure, you might disagree with that. That’s fine. But I think it’s quite wrong for anyone to say that we should raise our children according to the mistakes they might make. No good parent does that (including you, I’m sure).

    Finally, the ability to save oneself for marriage is greatly enhanced or weakened by the society in which a person lives. Currently, it’s extremely difficult for anyone to be pure of heart (I don’t mean devoid of sexual feelings, just faithful in marriage and so on) and this will lead to many young people failing to live up to their own ideals and/or the values of their parents. It does not follow that they ought not try. I am not always honest, but it does not follow that I ought not try.

    The message I wish to convey – clearly – to my children is that they are worth more than casual sex, that they are not objects to be used. Likewise that other people’s children are worth more than casual sex, and that they too are not objects to be used. My children may or my not take on these values as their own, but they will know clearly what we believe, and why.

    (Incidentally, I do not hold that God hates anyone, as per one of the links you posted).

  6. Jarrah says:

    “I don’t see why people should be bagged for encouraging their kids to wait for someone who loves them enough to make a public committment, just because so many fail in keeping to that value.”

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not bagging people teaching their children to wait until marriage (or until x date, or until y conditions are met, whatever) to have sex. My whole point with the original post was to point out that a) the virginity pledge doesn’t do much good on its own, and b) the type of parents that want their child to remain a virgin until whenever are also the type of parents that say “contraception is bad”, with the subsequent problems.

    Maybe it’s possible to apply calculus to the problem. Assume a certain upbringing delays sex (or reduces how much kids have) but increases unsafe sex, and another upbringing decreases unsafe sex but brings forward the first time and increases the number of instances – it’s entirely possible that the unsafe sex numbers come out the same in the long run, and there is no net benefit to either method.

    “I value my daughter much more than my car, why wouldn’t I protect her from someone who might damage her?”

    My point there is that your daughter has a mind of her own, the car doesn’t. So the boy can do what he likes with the car, but your daughter has her reason and upbringing to protect her from bad decisions. Obviously she will still make some mistakes, but it’s hardly fair to compare daughter to car in this scenario.

    “You acknowledge that it would be nice if everyone kept themselves for marriage.”

    No, I’m afraid not. I said “it would be nice if everyone would ‘keep themselves’ for someone who ‘actually’ loves them”, and went on to say that wasn’t the same as marriage.

    “But I think it’s quite wrong for anyone to say that we should raise our children according to the mistakes they might make.”

    Really? You don’t tell them to look both ways before crossing the road? You don’t tell them not to get in a stranger’s car? You don’t tell them to do their homework, clean their teeth, avoid trees in a lightning storm? And so on.

    It reminds me of the tongue-in-cheek argument that seatbelts and airbags just make people more likely to smash because they don’t bear the consequences as much, and instead we should attach sharp spikes to the steering wheel pointing at the driver – they’ll drive more carefully then.

    The message you wish to convey about casual sex and respect for others is fine by me. I don’t have quite the negative feelings about casual sex that you do, but I certainly see where you’re coming from, and what I teach my own kids will only differ by degree, not type.

  7. Belloc's Daughter says:

    My whole point with the original post was to point out that a) the virginity pledge doesn’t do much good on its own,

    Yes, I agree with that. It only tends to work if the children have had a life and upbringing which underscores the point of the pledge.

    and b) the type of parents that want their child to remain a virgin until whenever are also the type of parents that say “contraception is bad”, with the subsequent problems.

    Hmmm. Both Protestants and Catholics might be inclined toward traditional Christian teaching about chastity, but most Protestants and many Catholics don’t agree with the Catholic Church’s strong stand against contraception.

    If I consider a concrete example of a child who has been brought up in a loving family which adheres to the views above, then according to the study, they will more likely put off having sex until their early 20s, so that even if they give up on Mum and Dad’s morality, they are not likely to be unaware of contraceptive methods etc and are certainly old enough to organise themselves some.

    I would be terribly ashamed to have brought up a child who is so useless in adult life that they cannot at least organise their own contraception, should they decide to ditch our values! Also, what is the likelihood that some young person who has decided to ditch Mum and Dad’s morality regarding virginity will adhere to it regarding contraception? That seems highly unlikely to me.

    As I say though, teaching kids to pop condoms on bananas etc at primary school can’t have been doing much good, considering the rise in STIs and an abortion rate that is woefully high.

    No, I’m afraid not. I said “it would be nice if everyone would ‘keep themselves’ for someone who ‘actually’ loves them”

    Yes, sorry, I made an error there, I wasn’t trying to twist what you’re trying to say.

    Really? You don’t tell them to look both ways before crossing the road? You don’t tell them not to get in a stranger’s car? You don’t tell them to do their homework, clean their teeth, avoid trees in a lightning storm? And so on.

    You misunderstand. I mean exactly what you’re saying: we do teach them to brush their teeth etc, because that is what will keep them safe/healthy etc. I expressed it badly.

    I was trying to say that we don’t raise our children using their possible (or even likely) mistakes as the standard. Am I expressing that more clearly? So, I do wish for my children to wait for marriage to have sex, and that is what I’m teaching them. In the same way, I am teaching them to not to use drugs, or get drunk etc, even though they might end up ignoring my advice.

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