Earlier this week I read a newspaper article that claimed that sexually transmitted diseases were rapidly increasing among 15 to 19 year olds in our area. The article went on to proclaim that “abstinence-only sex education in schools” clearly wasn’t working.
I lowered the paper and sat at my kitchen table, speechless. The logic of some people just astounds me. Kids in school generally get one unit of sex education, and they only spend a few days talking about birth control. The message of abstinence is an important one, because only kids who abstain from sex before marriage and then remain true to one partner are NOT at risk for STDs. This message does need to be shouted from the mountaintops.
But you know what? Condoms aren’t completely foolproof. The HIV virus can slip through a condom. Birth control pills don’t prevent STDs at all. So how is birth control education going to stem the tide of sexually transmitted diseases?
What no one is mentioning is the veritable FLOOD of sexual images being sent to our kids through music, movies, and television. Our culture is saturated with sexual messages. And it doesn’t all come from outside the home. So many of our kids are living with parents who think nothing of shacking up with someone to whom they’re not married . . . and single moms and dads think nothing of having their dates sleep over.
How is the abstinence message supposed to counter all that? It can’t. No way.
What does make a difference? Moms and dads who walk what they talk, parents who take their kids to church where teachers explain that our bodies are created in the image of God and are not to be treated with disrespect–by ourselves or by anyone else. Men and women who live morally upright lives and show by example that true love is committed and faithful and joy-filled. That sex in marriage is part of a beautiful and God-honoring relationship.
We can’t expect our kids to be profoundly changed after only a few hours of a sex education class–not when the culture negates everything they might hear in that class. Time to wake up and smell the coffee.