Just Don't Do It!
Are we teaching our kids way too much about sex? Or not nearly enough?
Having done 95 speaking engagements so far this year, she is not worried about those who might think her message is too religious for a public school. "I'm not beating you over the head making you become a secondary virgin," says Moore. "They have to understand, abstinence benefits their future. They have the right to say, 'I'm going to throw my life away.' That's on them." Students listen to other students, she says. "Sometimes all they see [around them] is the booty shakin'. Then they see that I look hip but I'm not hootchy. I'm saying you can look good and be abstinent doing it."
But most students want more from their sex ed class than a just-say-no message. "I couldn't fathom only having covered abstinence," says Jeff Vautin, now 21 and a sound engineering major at the University of Michigan. "You don't have to be married to be in love." And he questions the longevity of some pledges. "It's hard to know at 15 where you are going to be. I don't know if that's something they can really maintain for six or 10 years. Better to be honest to your feelings and very conscious of the decisions you make rather than to say, 'I will not be sexually active.' "
Hunter Kincaid figured out that he was gay when he was in high school in Billings, Mont., and so did his peers, who carved "fag" on his locker. Like them, Kincaid took the abstinence-only class. "As a gay student, I thought it was ridiculous," he says. "Abstinence until marriage for people who can't even get married."
Max Mintz, 17, who like Christine Coleman is part of Sex Etc., thinks the sex ed question is a no-brainer. "Teens given a good education can make good choices. If they are denied the education, they can't," says the Metuchen, N.J., teen, who successfully persuaded his school to broaden its sex ed program.
Coleman believes a comprehensive approach is good for everyone, including the ATM teens. "It makes teens think a lot more and decide, 'Here are my options; here are my limits.' I think they should know how to take care of themselves. Everyone is eventually going to have sex." Her ideal sex ed class would include "a demonstration on how to use a condom; learning about heterosexual and homosexual relationships; different types of birth control; and the three different types of sex (oral, anal, and vaginal)--and you are going to need to know three different ways to protect yourself depending on which kind of sex you choose, including about oral dams and abstinence. You would learn about romantic relationships and about the different things you can do to prevent actual intercourse but still be romantic--like taking a bath together, sleeping in the same bed together and just cuddling, watching a romantic movie, or just being alone and discovering what they believe is romantic without being sexually active."
As for abstinence until marriage? "They should still have the opportunity to go for a test-drive," she says.