Well, my mom and I were in the car yesterday and we were talking and everything was good. But then something came up and I said that I didn't think that forcing abstinence on teenagers is a good idea. Now, myself being 16 and all, she thinks I'm going to go out and do something stupid. She refuses to let me go into stores by myself because she's afraid of what I'll buy (condoms and lube oh my).
I was wondering if anyone else had gotten negative reactions from their parents upon telling them about their use of this website and their opinions on sex in general.
If this isn't on the right board, please move it.
"Music is essentially useless, as life is." George Santayana (1863 - 1952)
Well, for a start, you can point out that extensive research has shown that sex education doesn't make kids any more likely to go out and have sex - in fact, if anything, it tends to delay the age at which people start having sex, since it promotes a realistic view of sex and encourages people to wait until they're ready.
And/or you could point out that sites like this do "push for NO sex" until people are ready (in all senses) to have sex.
But we're never going to promote "abstinence till marriage" for a whole bunch of reasons, including a) it's essentially a religious opinion, b) marriage isn't a legal option for many people, or a goal for many others, and c) "abstinence-only" education actually endangers teenagers by depriving them of the information they need to make safe and responsible choices.
I've likely mentioned this here before, but sinnce I find it really interesting, and it's a very good anecdote should you need one, I'll mention it again.
The abstinence-campaigns of late aren't the first time our country has tried this approach (and failed, miserably, and endangered the public health by doing so).
During World War I, while EVERY other country involved provided condoms (which were very different at the time and far less well-designed) for their soldiers, the U.S. had a "chastity campaign" for ours. We provided NO condoms and a stern message that soldiers (many of whom were mmarried, but infidelity always reigns supreme during wartime, always has) should all be celibate while at war and away from home.
Guess what happened? While literally every other countray had very LOW incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, our "chastity campaign" resulted in the biggest influx of sexually transmitted disease (largely syphilis) in this country to date, all spread from the soldiers to their wives and girlfriends at home (yep, well above the HIV gay-panic our feds here tried to incite in the 80's). WE did that. With our abstinence-pushing, we literally created the first major spread of STDs in this country, and ironically, our answer to what followed from that in terms of other diseases and infections, is to try and do that yet AGAIN. One'd think we'd have learned well enough the once, but it's very telling in that abstinence-pushing really isn't about sound, practical means to ensure the public health; it's about a given morality, and that alone.
So, why we don't push for no sex is that we know it doesn't work. While the sex isn't "required" like food or water are, the natural drive for such is just as strong in most people, and you can't mmake that go away, and if sex is practiced responsibly, there's really no need to want to do that, as smart, safe sex puts people at no greater risk of becoming unhealthy than say, working in a classroom full of Kindergartner's does.
(And as a former teacher, I gotta say I got a lot sicker from little kids noses, constantly, than I ever have from safe sex.)
Interestingly, when I was in high school and earlier, my mother WOULD have possibly shared the same opinion yours does, and did kind of try same with me in terns of wanting me to have NO sexual activity, same or opposite sex. but not long after, she found herself running one of the first AIDS wards for children, and with 20ish years since all that and my adolescence, she utterly supports what I do in terms of sex education and HOW I do it, knowing and understanding the realities a lot better now.
While I'm not entirely sure if my parents are aware of this websites existance (unless they go through the history or my bookmarks), I'm fairly sure they're open enough to let me make my own decision. From the few conversations that I have had with them about sex, they always said, "wait until your older" (that was when I was 13 or younger or so) and then I'd retort with something about how idiotic and risky it is to not practise safe sex.
I'm sexually active, and have been for 2 or 3 years now. I'm not sure how much my parents know about my sexual activity, but I take care to be safe. I think they know that due to the large amounts of safe sex buttons and pins and such that I parade around.
My parents were rather proud when I started using this site, and ecstatic when I was asked to volunteer. They're happy knowing that, for the most part, before I partake in an activity I research as much as possible so that I can make an informed decision.
My mom, whom I have a very open relationship with aside from the fact that I'm yet to disclose my orientation to her, has told me numerous times that she wishes she had understood how important safe sex is, and she wouldn't have partaken in some of the risky behavior she did in the past. She was lucky, but, she's just happy that I'm taking the steps that she neglected.
She's remarried, with two children (one 10 and one 7) and we've discussed not taking the abstience only approach because it truly doesn't work. She seems open to it, and for that I'm thankful.
------------------ Tim, as in "Whoa, Dude." Scarleteen Advocate
I know that my mom knows about Scarleteen because I've reccomended it to her as a resource. She does volunteer work with a local program called "Love Makes a Family" that works with the local schools and goes into classrooms and teaches kids about how a family isn't necessarily biological - they talk about GLBT families, and interracial families and adopted children, single parents, etc. Anyway. I told her about it because with some of the older kids they talk about issues of identity too, which Scarleteen deals with to some degree.
My family is very open about sex and my parents have always been very supportive and encouraged me to make my own decisions. And since they've worked hard to make sure that I'm well informed, they trust that I'll be able to make the right ones too. They're very staunch supporters of sexual rights and sex education and safe sex too. The magnetic poetry on my fridge (we got free sheets with words like "STDS" and "latex" from the Minnesota Aids Walk at Pride this year) always says things like "abstinence alone is not sex ed" and "be safer - wear a condom". Typical for my house. : )
my parents dont know about this site, but they know that i believe in comprehensive sex education becuase i attempted to get my school to do it. my mom believes it's because she brought me up that way and that she's a nurse. i guess that could be a tiny part of it, but this site was most of the reason i decided to try to get it for my school.
my father is the only one who has talks with me about sex. i think my mom is too freaked out by the thought taht "her little girl is having sex". my father says that if he finds out i am the guy will be kicked out of the house... that pretty much means if he walks in on us or finds a condom or something. that is the only way of proof. both of my parents believe i am having sex and have been with my current boyfriend and my last serious boyfriend. i guess their theory is a bit understandable... in both cases i spent many many hours at their houses. the first (and one of the few times) the first guy came over my house my father walked in on us having dry sex. and i have continued having dry sex, so they believe i'm having sex becuase they dont think that is satisfying enough i guess... ? my father starts out every sex conversation with abstinance only, and then continues onto worst case scenerio (in his mind) and tells me if i ever have sex to be safe. then goes on to say if i ever get pregnant to not even consider getting an abortion and to raise the baby. (he's *extremely* anti-abortion.) they both know that i believe in only safe sex becuase i had said it quite bluntly to each... they just dont like the idea that their "good and innocent" daughter is doing any such activity and that if i do something would probably go wrong. also, my parents are both very anti any physical contact in public. this means holding hands, leaning on my bf or his shoulder, quick pecks on the lips, ANYTHING - unless it's in private. so i guess it would make sense they were anti physical contact in private as well. they've neve asked what i do in my room with my bf, but they just assume from what they hear we're having sex. (sometimes the bed moves around or i start giggling... things like that... and it probably doesnt help that i come out looking like a mess... =\ )
My parents don't know about this site specifically, but they do know that I am active with on-campus groups that promote sex education and safer sex, along with other things. In fact, when I first told my mom that I was getting involved with my campus Women's Center, one of the first things she asked is if we give out info about condoms/birth control and preventing STDs/AIDS/unwanted pregnancies. She thought it was smashingly terrific that we do. "All you kids today have so many good resources that we didn't have" is one of the things she said.
------------------ "Why should I have to be a skinny pencil? I'd rather be a happy magic marker." - Natalie on "Facts of Life"
Well, I didn't tell my parents about Scarleteen until after a year of being an advocate (and a year of being away at college). Then I snuck little things about it in: "This volunteer work that I'm doing online." Later it was "a sex-ed website." I didn't particularly want them to find Scarleteen and start reading what I was posting at the boards--I'm not ashamed, but hey, it's my sex life. I don't hear about theirs.
Now, they know that it's called Scarleteen, and they know what I do here--mostly because I am loud and opinionated on issues about teenagers and safer sex. My mother is an eighth grade science teacher who has recently been pressed into service to teach reproduction, and she often asks me about what to tell her kids. My dad doesn't understand the amount of time that I spend here, and he treats it lightly, but I think they are both proud of me for continuing to volunteer (I was a Crisis Hotline phone counselor all through high school).
I don't miss a chance to tell everyone I know about Scarleteen and the stuff I learn and teach here, and my parents seem to be okay with that.
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