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Arielle Tschinkel
June 12, 2018 8:32 am

Research has overwhelmingly proven that abstinence-only sex education actually hurts teens, preventing them from making healthy and informed choices about their bodies when it comes to sex. And unfortunately, students all across the country still receive medically inaccurate and biased sex-ed.

In fact, according to HuffPost, “crisis pregnancy centers,” which are faith-based anti-abortion organizations, are entering public schools to teach sex ed lessons, telling students that after having sex for the first time, their bodies resemble chewed up food…and huh?

The report says that these “virginity demonstrations” have students chew up food — including gum, mints, and cookies — before spitting it back out and giving it to someone else. Students are told that the chewed-up food is a metaphor for their bodies, and represent what they’re presenting to a new sexual partner if they’ve already had sex.

Not okay — to say the least.

Not only is this exercise 100% inaccurate (there is absolutely nothing “chewed up” about one’s body after practicing safe sex), but this kind of rhetoric further promotes stigma around healthy and normal human sexuality.

It’s also putting teens at risk. Comparing the human body to half-eaten food doesn’t inform students about how their anatomy works, how they can have safe sex, and how they can make the best choices for their bodies. It does, however, add to the pervasive shame, stigma, and confusion around any kind of sexual activity, which does nothing to empower young people at a time when they arguably need accurate and inclusive information the most.

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Even scarier is the fact that, according to HuffPost, the Trump administration is granting funds to these crisis pregnancy centers in an increased effort to promote abstinence-only sex ed in schools and roll back funding on teen pregnancy prevention programs nationwide.

For some context, these centers first popped up in the late 1960s, encouraging students to sign abstinence pledges in an effort to decrease abortion rates. Since sex-ed is mandated on a state-by-state basis, it’s relatively easy for these organizations to get into public school classrooms.

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The good news is that parents are fighting back. Many have approached their local school districts and boards of education to campaign for accurate and comprehensive sex education in schools. These activists are using social media and reaching out to local OBGYNs, with one group of parents forming a website to inform as many people as possible about the dangers of inadequate and inaccurate sex education.

Abstinence-only sex ed simply doesn’t work. The sooner our culture accepts that, the sooner all our teens will get the accurate, safe, and sex-positive information they deserve.

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