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Girlfriend Wants To Wait Til Marriage For Intercourse @hodgetwins
Printer Friendly Version Aspire: Educational Philosophy Aspire, like many abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, is often thought of as sexuality education or as a teen pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease STD prevention program. This curriculum, however, would be better classified as marriage education. It focuses on marriage to the exclusion of most other topics and presents one set of beliefs on the topic as universally accepted truths. Narrow Scope—Focusing on Marriage SIECUS curricula reviews are based on the Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality Education, K, which were developed by a task force of professionals from the fields of education, medicine, youth services, and sexuality education. The Guidelines are a framework for comprehensive sexuality education programs and represent a consensus about the necessary components of such programs. The Guidelines include 39 topics important to sexual health; abstinence is one of these topics. The Guidelines include a number of age-appropriate messages about abstinence for students such as: It does not provide information on most of the topics in the Guidelines, including reproduction, puberty, contraceptive options, sexual health care, and sexual orientation. Aspire does include in-depth discussions of some of the important topics included in the Guidelines, such as the influence of the media, drugs and alcohol, and sexual abuse. Even these conversations, however, are geared toward emphasizing the importance of marriage. He explains four methods of teaching: Instead, Aspire is firmly rooted in the opinion that sexual behavior outside of marriage is morally wrong, that everyone regardless of their age should save sex for marriage, and that the only way to have a happy marriage is to remain a virgin until your wedding day. Aspire presents this position as if it were an undisputed fact or a universal truth but clearly it is not; 63 percent of high school seniors and 80 percent of college students 18—24 have engaged in sexual intercourse yet the median age of first marriage is Relying On Negative Messages Unlike many abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula which rely entirely on negative messages and fear, Aspire attempts to address abstinence from a positive perspective. Furthermore, it creates a dichotomy between those who wait to have sex until they are married, who are portrayed as virtuous and good, and those who do not, who are portrayed as flawed and unhealthy. Choices and events during these years have a lot to do with whether and to what extent these life events will be accomplished the way you desire. Some get caught in the current. Others slip on the rocks. Successfully crossing the valley of these transition years is critical in protecting your future. Its research is not peer-reviewed or published in legitimate scientific journals. However, by suggesting that abstinence before marriage is the most important decision young people can make about their future, and by crediting abstinence with future financial success, the curriculum instills young people with unrealistic expectations. Messages of Fear—Portraying Premarital Sex as Harmful Despite attempting to take a primarily positive approach to teaching about abstinence, Aspire devotes a number of discussions and activities to detailing the potential consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage. The consequences of sexual activity can be wide-ranging and long-lasting. List some of the unintended consequences of sex for each category in the boxes below. Each group then creates and performs a skit illustrating how sex affects teenagers. In fact, even worksheets designed for students to complete with their parents do not leave room for the possibility that not all families are opposed to all premarital sex. Aspire is one of the only fear-based, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs to readily admit that each of the consequences of sexual activity is not inevitable. For example, in one activity designed to illustrate the risk of STDs, teachers fill one grab-bag with paper slips numbered 1—5 and a second bag with five paper slips all bearing the number 5. Numbers 1—4 correspond to various STDs. The number five, however, means no STD. Students are told the goal is to draw a five and asked to draw first from the bag with all of the numbers and then from the bag with only fives. The message is that abstinent students can be assured of drawing a five. This is an important point. This honesty notwithstanding, the curriculum makes it clear that one cannot have premarital sex and come out completely unscathed. In this exercise, teachers label five shopping bags with the categories of consequences mentioned earlier. The class is divided into five groups and each group is given a bag. Students are asked to brainstorm various consequences that fit in their category and write them on the outside of the bag. The males stand up first—one represents a student who has chosen sexual activity and one represents a student who has chosen abstinence. Which couple has a better opportunity for a lasting relationship? Did the guy who was sexually active expect that the consequences would remain with him into other relationships? While it is always possible to start over, some consequences will be more difficult to leave behind than others. Though the program attempts to put a positive spin on this by emphasizing the importance of character and character traits like self-control, what it is ultimately doing is setting up a dichotomy between those young people who choose abstinence who have self-control and face a happy future and their sexually active peers who lack character and will not achieve success. Exercising self-control in the choices you face builds your character— which in turn strengthens your ability to exercise self-control. Young people who chose or have chosen to be sexually active are flawed, do not have self-control, and will not be successful. This dichotomy is set up early on when teachers are told that they need to choose student volunteers wisely: One story introduces students to Tammy and Shane who dated briefly after their senior year of high school. Tammy attempts to pressure Shane into having sex and, although it is hard for him, he says no, thus ending the relationship for good. She was concerned because the real father had apparently already left her. In the meantime, you are developing your character: These are important qualities to possess in order to remain abstinent and to bring to a healthy, lasting marriage. The curriculum persists in this portrayal, however. Each one is different. They are beautiful, fragrant, and valuable—they cost a lot! I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I think we should get married. Physically, Mentally, Financially, Socially, Emotionally. Sexually active students are undeniably told that although they were once beautiful, fragrant, and valuable, they are now permanently bruised or damaged, if not destroyed, like those roses that are missing petals. Virginity Pledges—Asking Students to Promise Purity Aspire, like many fear-based, abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, includes a virginity pledge, in which students vow to remain abstinent until they marry. At the end of the program. This research has found that virginity pledges can help a select group of young people delay intercourse under certain circumstances. Pledges taken by an entire class as part of a lesson or presentation, however, were not found to be effective. Moreover, even when they work, pledges only help this select group of adolescents delay the onset of intercourse for an average of 18 months—far short of marriage. In fact, virginity pledges may be detrimental to some teens. The study also found that those young people who took the pledge were one-third less likely to use contraception when they did become sexually active than their peers who had not pledged. Further research has confirmed that although some students who take pledges delay intercourse, ultimately they are equally as likely to contract an STD as their non-pledging peers. In addition, these pledges are not appropriate for all students, as they show blatant disregard for gay and lesbian students who cannot legally marry in this country. Signing this pledge is tantamount to agreeing to a lifetime without sexual behavior. It is unfair and unrealistic to ask a high school student to make such an agreement. Distorting Information Unlike many abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula, Aspire contains very little information about topics related to sexuality such as puberty, reproduction, or contraception. The information on these topics that is contained in the curriculum is limited to brief discussions of STDs and condoms. Although for the most part the information is accurate and cites reliable sources, it is presented in a distorted way that is likely to mislead and confuse students. Students would be better served by an open and honest discussion of the means of STD transmission and the levels of risk associated with different sexual behaviors. The curriculum, however, does not provide information on how most STDs are or are not transmitted. In fact, it only discusses transmission when it comes to HIV. It should be noted that here Aspire correctly tells young people that HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact. This most basic information about how STDs are passed from one person to another is necessary if young people are expected to protect their sexual health throughout their lives. Untreated, it can cause severe health consequences for women, including pelvic inflammatory disease PID , ectopic pregnancy, and infertility. Such information could help to ensure that young people receive treatment for these curable diseases early enough to prevent any of the long-term consequences the curriculum mentions. Aspire is honest about its beliefs. Teens are introduced to the concept of risk reduction versus risk elimination. Teens need to be made aware of this distinction. While condoms may reduce the risk of infection, abstinence complete removes or eliminates this risk. Such a question might induce an honest discussion about the benefits and limitations of condoms. They were intended to protect against pregnancy and STDs, and years of scientific research show that when used consistently and correctly they do a very good job. It may, however, stop them from using condoms when they do become sexually active, thereby putting them at increased risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy. Faux Science—Using Unsound Science to Support Assertions As part of its suggestion that it is providing objective information, Aspire attempts to ground its central thesis—that sex is only appropriate within marriage and all people should get married—in scientific research. As such, it spends a good deal of time discussing the concept of bonding and the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is a hormone that is released during certain activities including sex, childbirth, and nursing. It is often associated with feelings of love and relaxation. It helps hold these relationships together. Outside of a marriage relationship however, the oxytocin bond can increase the emotional pain when the relationship is ended. A few activities use duct tape to illustrate this bonding. In one, a small person stands on a chair up against a wall. The rest of the class is then charged with making the volunteer stick to the wall using duct tape. Once they have succeeded, they pull the chair away and the volunteer is suspended against the wall. The class then has to take that person down and use the same duct tape to make another person stick to the wall. The obvious result being that the used duct tape is less sticky and the task will be harder, if not impossible, with the second volunteer. The curriculum then makes the analogy explicit:
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