I thought I was done with this topic, but Dennis Prager’s June 28th article Supreme Court Decision May Force Young Women to Confront Sexual Reality sparked further interest.
But first, some background on what’s been called abstinence-based sex education. As the name suggests, these are programs in public schools, funded by the federal government in some cases, where the primary message to teens is that they are better off not engaging in sexual behaviors at all until they are married and ready to have children of their own.
Of course, these programs have been universally maligned:
Two scientific review papers find abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and policies in the United States are ineffective because they do not delay sexual initiation or reduce sexual risk behaviors. According to the researchers, these programs also violate adolescent human rights, withhold medically accurate information, stigmatize or exclude many youth, reinforce harmful gender stereotypes, and undermine public health programs. Both papers are published online in the Journal of Adolescent Health. –Columbia Mailman School of Public Health.
All young people should have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information that is medically accurate, LGBTQ-inclusive, and culturally and age appropriate so that they can make informed decisions about their sexual behavior, relationships and reproductive choices. Yet the federal government wastes $110 million per year on misleading and incomplete abstinence-only-until-marriage programs that harm young people and fail to achieve their stated goals. These programs disguise abstinence-only messaging as “sexual risk avoidance” and deny young people necessary and even life-saving information about their own bodies, reproductive health and sexuality. The federal government must eliminate all funding for these programs and use that money to fund sex education programs that offer informative and inclusive curricula. –Guttmacher Institute
There are several problems with the abstinence-only-until-marriage, or SRA, approach. First, research shows that they don’t work. The fact is, sex education that includes both abstinence and birth control have a better track record of helping young people wait to have sex until they’re ready.
Even more importantly, abstinence-only-until-marriage programs withhold critical, sometimes life-saving information, while shaming young people for who they are, how they feel, or what their experiences have been. Practicing abstinence and learning how to say no to sex are important parts of any good sex education program, but they’re not the only parts. –Planned Parenthood
In other words, they all say more or less the same thing. So why am I bringing this up? Because of the sudden surge in “sex strikes” I’ve been reading about in social and news media.
Women in the US have backed a ‘sex strike’ against men who will not have a vasectomy as anger grows over the repeal of pro-abortion laws.
“Abstinence” has been trending on Twitter in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Roe v. Wade ruling.
Now American protesters have spoken out in favour of a sex strike.
“Why shouldn’t we withhold it if we’re always worried that they’re not going put a condom on, that they’re going take one off after we ask them to. If we can’t safely go out and have sex and know that we will have a choice after that, then why should we be expected to?” event coordinator Caroline Healey said, while participating in an abortion protest in Manhattan’s Union Square.
“If this world thinks that they can oppress women forever, then we close our legs,” Maya Demri, a rape survivor, told the outlet.
And on twitter, from marilynn #FreeWendy:
From Daphnie L Portis:
Both #sexstrike and #abstinence are trending on twitter, which is highly interesting.
There are more examples in the previously referenced Prager article. Prager says that for fifty years, abortion has allowed feminism to tell women the lie that they are exactly the same sexually as men. The feminist implication is that men and women have no control over their sexual impulses, which is why abstinence-based sex education doesn’t work. We just can’t help ourselves. We’re no different than dogs and cats mating just because it’s an incontrollable, evolutionary drive.
Prager denies this stating that the fact that women call for sex strikes but men never do, indicates that women really do approach sex differently…when they have to. Abortion, more than any other form of “birth control,” has allowed women to have this perspective according to Prager. Now, without access to abortion (that’s an exaggeration since about half of the states in the U.S. will continue to offer free access to abortion services), women are confronting a reality that only their grandmothers and before had to deal with.
Christianity and to an extent religious Judaism have called for abstinence until marriage for a variety of reasons including teaching men to respect the bodies of women and, of course, to prevent pregnancies outside of marriage. The irony is that the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade may actually result in abstinence for a generation of young women, compelling them to refrain from sexual activity until married to a man she can trust to stand by her in the long run and help raise her children.
From the Prager article:
All this notwithstanding, I am certain that most women calling for, or sympathizing with, calls for a sex strike and an end to the hookup culture will not put two and two together.
“I’m entering my celibacy era,” @rebecky69420 posted.
“Deleting all dating apps as we speak,” @ghbsthbh commented.
Up until now, men and women could engage in quick and even anonymous sexual hook ups with little or not consequence or even thought. As long as abortion was on the table (never mind sexually transmitted diseases, but whatever), a woman could wipe away any “effects” of the encounter by having a “medical procedure” performed. Now, not so much.
Prager’s article concludes:
Brainwashing women into believing that their sexual nature is no different from men’s only benefited men.
The hookup culture only benefited men.
And men have benefited from abortion becoming a form of birth control. Abortion on demand meant that men impregnating women to whom they were not married came with no consequences. Abortion meant that men didn’t have to marry the woman they impregnated. Abortion meant that men didn’t have to raise the child they conceived. And abortion meant that men didn’t have to pay child support.
Turns out that abortion is many men’s best friend
That is the supreme irony. Women have always seen abortion as a benefit serving women, but in reality, it enabled men to have what women have apparently envied; consequence-free sex. Even if a woman became pregnant, the man was probably long gone by the time she visited an abortion clinic. Abortions aren’t risk free and for the most part, they aren’t free at all, so the woman still endured the cost of time, effort, and money.
I realize this article doesn’t address all the reasons that women have traditionally gotten abortions, and like my other articles, it won’t make many people happy. But it does reveal that in addition to the billion dollar abortion industry preying on scared, vulnerable women, it has also been cheapening their sex and bodies as well as allowing them to be used by men.
Perhaps sex strikes, abstinence, or whatever you want to call it are good for women. Men may benefit as well, but not all of the men and women involved may clearly understand why.
Oh, one last observation. As I recall from Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, pretty much everyone was restricted from having sex unless for procreation. “Handmaids” had sex because they were fertile but again, only with the idea of making a baby.
The further irony in the sex strike movement and particularly those women who dress up in “Handmaid” costumes as a method of protest may indeed be creating their own reality. It’s not a “repressive society” that has them dressed in red, it is themselves.