Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Abstinence-Only Education Revives Dangerous Dating Myths

Alternet: Abstinence Double Standard Threatens Girls' Health

The sexist theme that seems to come up the most often in these classes is that girls just don't like sex, and therefore their main "job" is to keep boys, who do like sex, from getting any. A workbook from Sex Respect notes that "because they generally become aroused less easily, females are in a good position to help young men learn balance in relationships by keeping intimacy in perspective." But beware ladies, the increased sexualization of pop culture could interfere with your natural disdain for intercourse. The same workbook tells students that "a young man's natural desire for sex is already strong due to testosterone … females are becoming culturally conditioned to fantasize about sex as well."

Since girls don't like sex, it's their job to keep boys' desire at bay and to be the arbiters of chastity. "Girls need to be aware they may be able to tell when a kiss is leading to something else. The girl may need to put the brakes on first in order to help the boy." (Student Workbook, Reasonable Reasons to Wait) Because, after all, he can't help himself. "A woman is far more attracted by a man's personality while a man is stimulated by sight. A man is usually less discriminating about those to whom he is physically attracted." (WAIT Training manual, Friends First)

Under this model of sexual behavior, of course girls don't like sex because they're only allowed to experience attempted rape and/or rape. And since boys are put into the role of aggressor rather than the pursued or an equal partner, they get to walk away before sex becomes unlikeable -- for them.

To expect girls to teach boys balance, in the midst of dating or flirting or whatever interaction they have, is to abdicate the responsibility adults have to teach boys balance, self-control and respect for all girls.

A serious downside for boys under this system is they can find themselves following the so-called rules of abstinence (not their job to control themselves) and can subsequently get charged with sexual assault or attempted sexual assault.

If the so-called experts ignore that possibility, it's no wonder their educational programs don't do an adequate job of dealing with the subject of rape. Since boys aren't expected to stop themselves, only violent abductions would qualify as real rape. Most unwanted sex would be considered a girl's failure and if anyone is a criminal it would be her.

With this attitude, no boy should concern himself if his sexual partner doesn't like what he's doing because everybody knows girls shouldn't enjoy sex. Just as dangerous is the view that if his partner finds pleasure it means she's either doing something wrong or she is impure. Rape or slander of the girl's character could follow.

This approach to sex was a key contributor to the attitudes that led my boyfriend to believe he had the right to take everything he could get from me. So rather than seeing this as abstinence-only education, I see this as Rape Enablement 101.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 1:28 PM   2 comments links to this post


At June 27, 2006 3:05 PM, Blogger Holly Desimone said...

Great article Marcella,
Thank you, I totally agree with you about RAPE ENABLEMENT 101!

At July 05, 2006 9:08 PM, Blogger MissPrism said...

This is a great post. I really thought the world was starting to get beyond this stupid "conquest" model of sex.


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