One of the common themes that you’ll find in abstinence-only sex
education curricula (besides factual errors, conservative ideology and
demonization of condoms) is the constant shaming or judgmental
statements towards young women who don’t uphold certain visual
standards of chaste and purity.
Young women are taught to not show skin or flirt, lest they invite
dirty lustful thoughts in the boys, who are rendered helpless beasts
when tempted by the girls of ill-repute. Not only does such "education"
insult the intelligence of young people, but it reinforces harmful
Let’s take a tour through the states to look at some of the most egregious examples:
In South Carolina, Heritage Community Services (currently receives a CBAE grant of $600,000 per year from 2006-2011) teaches girls that conservative attire is necessary, or those poor boys will virtually attack you. Here is an excerpt from their classroom curriculum:
Appreciate our work?
Rewire is a non-profit independent media publication. Your tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.
"Males and females are aroused at different levels of intimacy.
Males are more sight oriented, whereas females are more touch oriented.
This is why girls need to be careful with what they wear,
because males are looking! The girl might be thinking fashion, while
the boy is thinking sex. For this reason, girls have a responsibility
to wear modest clothing that doesn’t invite lustful thoughts."
Yes indeed, girls. It is your duty to the country. More from HCS’s website:
"a good minimum guideline is to declare everything covered by a
bathing suit as off limits. Everyone needs to know his or her
boundaries before getting in a risky situation. Once someone is excited
physically, it can be difficult to stop."
"be careful about how you dress (are you sending the wrong message?)"
"Dress modestly. Sometimes the way you dress can send unintended
messages to others, especially men because they are sexually aroused by
what they see"
The theme being expressed, with our tax dollars’ subsidization, is not only that girls have a responsibility
to dress like puritans or whatever it is that these groups are
advocating, but that if they don’t, young men are uncontrollable dolts
who will, presumably, "force" sex upon them. LifeGuard Youth Development in Missouri (has received $3 million in CBAE grants) reinforces this insult:
"Guys can be compared to a microwave. They see something enticing and like 30 seconds later, they are ready to go! Because
we know they are using only one side of their brain at a time (logic
and not emotion) and their testosterone causes their sex drive to
always be "ON," generally they may not connect feelings with the act of
having sex. Girls can be compared to a slow cooker. Usually,
for a girl to be turned on, a whole lot of time, attention, words,
affection, and touch needs to be slowly added before she is aroused.
These actions engage her emotions and for her, sex does equal a
Yes, this is the "science" that our government subsidizes.
But a quick glance around at other abstinence-only programs shows that
not all girls are "slow cookers." Oh no, some of them are pure trouble. You know, those girls who show skin and flirt, tempting your poor son into a sex-crazed madness.
"Sometimes girls flirt to get attention. They may want to feel
they are attractive to guys. Looking for this attention may be cover
for underlying insecurities, and having this attention lets them think
they are at least good at one thing."
Yes, that makes sense. Because flirting with the opposite
sex is certainly not normal, biological behavior. There has to be
something psychologically wrong with these deviants, this being the
"only thing they are good at", obviously. Colorado’s Friends First (receiving a $414,800 AFLA grant
each year from 2007-2011) agrees, saying these troublesome girls who
flirt must lack "parental communication and boundary settings" in their
These programs gleefully promote and teach others to point fingers at
girls in their school that have "gone all the way". "Slut-shaming" is
par for the course, as Missouri’s LifeGuard Youth Development lets
everyone know what to call these young women:
"Being able to have sex does not make you any different from a rat
in a warehouse. They have sex too. Is that what you want to compare
(i.e., hint, hint, "slutty" girls are rats, spread the word!)
"Nobody wants to marry someone who has been the loving, meaningful relationship of 17 other guys."
The worst combination of these themes of "slutty girls" and "uncontrollable sex beast guys" came from Ohio’s ATM Education website (receiving $600,000 CBAE grant
each year from 2006-2011). Before we shamed them into changing their
site, you could enter the "Party Room", where you learn the story of
Rochelle, Jason, Monica and Tanner. Each person tells their perspective
about what happens during and after a party one night.
Rochelle tells how she drove her drunken friend Jason home after the
party, and then is raped by him. Jason denies that the rape happened,
saying their sex was consensual. Monica and Tanner observe that Jason
was being a drunken idiot the entire night, with Monica (Jason’s ex)
adding her opinion that Rochelle has a reputation for "putting out" and
being a "slut."
The site then asks the question: "Based on all accounts, whose story sounds the least credible?"
Guess who the "correct" answer was? Rochelle.
Why? Because she had a supposed reputation as a "slut." Therefore she is not to be believed.
Jason, on the other hand, is given a pass, because he was drunk, "vulnerable," and with a "hot" girl in a car.
Boys will be boys, right? They can’t help it if they get tempted by one of "those" girls.
Fortunately, ATM Education was shamed into changing the language on their site,
but if you look at the language of these abstinence-only until marriage
programs all over the country, it’s not difficult to believe that one
of these programs would make such statements.
Currently, the Obama administration is finalizing the details on their
2010 fiscal budget, and they will have to make a decision: (A) continue
to fund these abstinence-only sex education programs that have already
wasted $1.5 billion in tax dollars and endangered the sexual health of
countless youth over the past decade? Or (B) zero out funding for these
ab-only programs, instead bringing real, age-appropriate comprehensive
sex education to our schools that gives youth all of the information
they need to stay safe and avoid pregnancy.
This post is cross-posted at Amplify.