Volume 5  Number 7  December 23, 2008
Second Opinions

Sex and the Kiddies

What is lust, after all, but the desire to recapture the heady sensations of adolescent sexuality?
William Boyd, The New Confessions

[Sex] is something the children never discuss in the presence of their elders.
Arthur S. Roche

Is that a gun in your pocket or you just glad to see me?
Mae West (to a Chicago police officer the only time she was ever arrested)

If sex, as Russell Baker remarked, is the last important human activity not subject to taxation, times they are a-changing. Now people who think sex between consenting adults is fine have had to pay taxes to support abstinence programs for kids. Every sincere supporter of the Abstinence-Only programs funded by the Federal Government, knows that sex is bad, especially for children: it can lead to pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (S), and of course, in the unmarried, to moral decay. By 2005 there were more than 800 programs that had been funded with over $1.5 billion to promote and fund programs that advocated sexual abstinence as a way to deal with adolescent sexuality. President Bush's 2009 budget which cuts funding for HIV/AIDS and S, designated $204 million for abstinence only programs. Federal Fund recipients for Abstinence Education programs cannot even be used to provide more information on contraception or safer sex practices to prevent Ss, even if nonfederal funds are used for that purpose.

Three Government reports were released in 2007 with final evaluations. The May 7, 2008 JAMA quoted Bruce Trigg, MD, of the New Mexico Department of Health, who said the programs "had absolutely no measurable impact on initiation rates, ages of first intercourse, or number of partners, no impact on pregnancies, births, or Ss, and the same rates of condom and birth control use." "In some cases," he added, "kids sat through 3 years of mandatory abstinence-only classes." Talk about academic torture!

Because of increasing pressure to revamp sex education programs and to expand funding for other types of sexual education initiatives, many states have refused federal funding for these abstinence-only programs.

The very concept that propaganda for abstinence might replace common sense talk with mom and dad about the birds and the bees, is a breathtaking example of ideological prudery, misspent Federal funds-or is it the sex-speak of superannuated virgins?

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Martin F. Sturman, MD, FACP

Copyright 2008, Mathemedics, Inc.

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