I do so hate waiting for the bus. This evening, leaving the local community college building, I was just dreading another dull wait at the bus stop. What I really needed was some light reading material to make my time at the bus stop pass more enjoyably. Glancing at a table beside the door I was astonished to see a collection of free literature–and several on the topic of sex. What kind of information about sex do they peddle at a community college?
Settling in at the bus stop beside a very happy and possibly enebriated young gentleman, I glanced at the titles of my selections. Two were from the U.S. Government Department of Health and Human Services–Office of Population Affairs and dealt totally with abstinence. : “What is abstinence?” and “Teen Talk: Many Teens are Saying ‘No’”. If you absolutely have to read them, they are available online at http://opa.osophs.dhhs/gov/publications. The other publifcation was from a Democratic administration, city’s Department of Health, and titled “El control de la natalidad –para usted y su pareja.” or, in English “Birth control for you and your partner.” With a glance at the guy next to me, who was speaking English in slurred fashion, I chose the Spanish language publication.
The Spanish language birth control one turned out to be pretty explicit. “Birth control gives you the control”, it announces. “Risking yourself with sex means risking your future. Unplanned pregnancy can obligate you to change your plans, deprive you of your liberty, and make it difficult to gain your objectives.” Pretty straightforward. Then it took off in the abstinence direction.”But the only sure way of preventing a pregnancy is not to have sexual relations. There are many ways to demonstrate affection without the necessity of sexual contact. You and your partner can:
-hug each other
-laugh together ”
Is my high school Spanish really up to this? juntos=together, reir means laugh? Reir juntos. They are saying that instead of having sex you can just laugh together? Hee hee, like this: oh, my darling beloved, instead of having sex, let’s just laugh together. ha, ha, ho, ho, hee, hee. Now, was that as good for you as it was for me? After that little chuckle, the pamplet describes 7 ways to use a condom correctly, mentions the pill, the 3-month injection, the diaphragm, the phone number for the STD national hotline, and contact information for all the public health clinics in the area.
So much for the Democratic sex literature. What about the Republicans?
The “Teen Talk” bulletin doesn’t look like it’s for the teens at this adult learning center–who are trying to learn English or get a GED while holding down full-time jobs. It’s full of big words like ‘epidemic’, ‘consequences’, ‘guilt’, ‘conflict’, and ‘incurable’. The only option discussed is abstinence. It’s full of the only kind of advice available before the advent of contraceptives.””Sex is not what makes a relationship work.” “Stay busy with sports and group activities”, and “Saying ‘no’ can be the best way to say ‘I love you.’” Maybe that would work for teens, but it would send most adults to divorce court. Oh, here’s a little gem: “The one sure thing about having sex is that you may be in for problems you don’t want to deal with.” Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Everyone should be so lucky to have problems like that.
The “What is Abstinence?” pamplet is written on a 6th grade level, and it’s not just about abstinence from sex either. “If someone tries to give you alcohol or drugs…Say no and tell an adult you trust. The person may be trying to get you drunk so that you will have sex.” Hmmmm. And “Choosing not to have sex means you’ll be able to focus on other things, like sports, friends and school.” Does that mean if someone chooses not to have sports, friends and school, they can focus on sex? Something is not quite right about this advice, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Update: this article was migrated from a different website. The comments appeared on that site and are a bit less child-friendly than I would like. But I have re-read them all and don’t really find anything worth deleting or censoring.