Apr 14, 2007

This study makes the No Fun Brigade a sad panda

US students attending sexual abstinence classes are no more likely to abstain from sex than those who do not, according to a new study.

Participants in special programmes were just as likely to have sex a few years later as those who did not attend.

In the past few years of Republican Party control of Congress, the spending on no-sex-before-marriage education has risen from $10m to $176m a year.

The students in this study, which was ordered by Congress, came from a range of big cities across the United States, such as Milwaukee and Miami and from rural communities in Virginia and Mississippi.

They were 11 and 12 years old when they entered the abstinence programmes, which lasted one to two years.

The researchers also looked at the behaviour of their peers from the same communities who did not attend the classes.

The findings show that those who attended first had sex at about the same age as their peers - at 14 years and nine months.

The Bush administration has warned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study.

I bet it has.

Haven't they worked out by now that you cannot stop monkeys from doing what they are biologically programmed to do? And since this is the case, you should at least make it safer for all involved by providing free contraception and protection? I mean, geez, this is pretty much all the evidence you need that major religions tend to right out ignore actual facts. Sure, you shouldn't be exactly encouraging teenage kids to be having sex (and damn, 14 is pretty young), but I remember being that age. OK, I wasn't exactly religious in the first place, but even so I likely would have flirted with eternal damnation if I could have laid that chick from my English class.

Sex pretty much beats abstract concepts, especially in a society so heavily sexualized as the US. And yeah, I know I don't live there, but the UK media does take its cues from from the leaders in the field who invariably are based there. Plus a shared language does help a lot. I mean, lets take for example the average chart song. I don't know, since I don't listen to the radio, but whatever is popular these days. Girls Aloud for the guys over here, stuff like that. Or certain commercials. Its pretty hard to escape the implicit use of sex in the media to sell and anyone with half a brain realizes this. And there is no problem with that, unless you find scantily clad women and men disgusting for some reason.

The problem is mixed signals. Throw into this mix the problem of what is essentially a Judeo-Christian morality that is still latent in much of Western society, and pretty obvious in America. On the one hand, you are bombarded with lovely, teasing imagery all day long. But then, you are conditioned into a society where sex is at best considered a subject not really fit for debate. Something to be kept behind closed doors, not to be discussed....in short, something shameful. Thats a pretty volatile mix.

I don't normally like essentialist debates on what constitutes "being human" for a number of reasons, usually for being appropriated by typically "conservative" movements. But any idiot with basic biological knowledge (which rules out certain Christians, now I think of it) is going to know sex is a fairly big deal to any organism. This is pretty much nothing more than an attempt to make people feel guilty about perfectly natural drives.

Do you know the historical roots of guilt?

Its nothing more than another control mechanism. Something to keep the peasants in line. They may not truly believe what is being sold to them, but they will certainly feel uneasy, from imprinting at an impressionable age. In part, thats why you never see the elite make too many rules against the use of sex to sell, or big business lobby against Christian coalitions. Because one winds you up, the other relieves and so both are reliant on each other to keep the mechanism of guilt working. Think of it this way, you spend all day in church or whatever hearing about how sex is evil, sex is wrong, then you get home and on TV you have scantily clad and attractive young women dancing around, advertising whatever crap it is they want you to buy. To a degree, buying the product can relieve the guilt. But it also feeds off of it. A self-sustaining loop, if you will. A constant wind-up and down of your desires, keeping you in a pretty much agitated condition all day long, where you can be led by the nose by whoever can relieve it.

And most people don't realize they could pretty much solve it themselves if they stopped giving a flying fuck what others think and gave up guilt altogether.

Well, this kind of went a fair distance from its original "lets laugh at the dumbasses" intent, I must admit. But really, this New Age of Puritanism is starting to piss me off no end.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I really liked the way you connected the of relief of puritan guilt with consumerism...
interesting stuff