In light of a recent article in the Boulder Daily Camera I would like to share a few thoughts. The article may be found here.
For the past five years I have spoken in numerous Boulder Valley Schools as a guest speaker on the topic of abstinence as a healthy option for teens to consider when making the very important decision of whether or not they want to be sexually active. Boulder Valley School District teaches comprehensive health education which includes presenting contraception and abstinence as options.
Within the medical community there are various “ideals”…A diet consisting of healthy fats, carbs & protein is considered “ideal” to keep cholesterol in check. Exercise, drinking in moderation and not smoking is considered “ideal” for overall wellness. Delaying sexual activity, limiting the number of partners and entering into a long-term, committed, monogamous relationship is considered the “ideal” for sexual health. Science stands behind all of these “ideals”. Will every person choose to strive for these ideals? Absolutely not. Does that mean we should not encourage people to strive for them? Absolutely not.
Regarding the content of any public school presentation I have done, NEVER have I presented abstinence on the basis of religion. I have never equated sexual activity with being bad or dirty. Quite the opposite. Sex is a powerful, natural and pleasurable way for two people to be intimate with one another. My message is rooted in the facts on a medical level – engaging in casual sex has potential risks both emotionally and physically. Because teen girls have an “open” and immature reproductive system, meaning the cells lining the cervix are not fully mature, that makes them more susceptible to picking up bacteria and viruses. As reported from the Center for Disease Control 1 out 4 sexually active teen girls currently has an STI or STD. This does not mean boys are not at risk. Oral HPV, commonly transmitted via oral sex, has now surpassed tobacco and alcohol as the #1 precursor to mouth cancer in adults. The face of oral cancer used to be someone in their 50s, 60s or 70s who was a heavy smoker or drinker. Today it is a young adult in her or his 30s. This is the information I share with teens regarding their sexual health surrounding the visual demonstration in question. Abstinence education is not about squashing a person’s sexuality, but rather lifting it up for the future, when he or she may enjoy & share it within the medical “ideal” of a long-term, committed relationship.
Parents are the primary educators and I always encourage the students to seek a trusted source when faced with challenges.
Keep it smooth,