Abstinence-only programs are stupid*. They have one thing to say: DO NOT HAVE SEX. By definition abstinence-only programs have to withhold information; since they do not have information to give out, they have to use scare tactics and misinformation.
From Planned Parenthood's site:
|Comprehensive Sexuality Education||Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Education|
|Teaches that sexuality is a natural, normal, healthy part of life||Teaches that sexual expression outside of marriage will have harmful social, psychological, and physical consequences|
And don't tell me my source of info is biased, because we see abstinence-only programs outside of health class, and this is what they do. Their message is DO NOT HAVE SEX. Why? BECAUSE SEX IS BAD. PEOPLE WHO HAVE SEX ARE BAD, because SEX IS BAD.
Most of these "bad things" will happen to the girl: pregnancy, obviously, but also girls are more likely to get an STI from unprotected sex than guys. And we are all familiar with the popular double-standard: girls who have sex are sluts (thank you abstinence-only programs for promoting this thought process), guys who have sex are studs. We get this from the media, but abstinence-only programs reinforce the mindset that "if you have sex you are a slut" (and, from what I have seen, they do not do much to shift any of the guilt to the guy).
Nobody puts a scarlet "S" on your chest when you have sex, but you might as well wear it once you start showing. Sadly, the pregnancy only shows in the girl; the guy has no visible symptoms proving him guilty of impregnating a girl. So we blame the person we can point to, the girl.
And she is a whore, because she had sex.
And SEX IS BAD.
You know what else happens?
When you spend so much time drilling into a girl's head that SEX IS BAD (until marriage), the part of the message in parenthesis doesn't really get across. You can't turn it off. You've spent so much time telling these girls that SEX IS BAD and that if they have sex, well, then YOU ARE BAD, that by golly some of these girls are going to learn their lesson well. So the first time they have sex? They now feel "bad," dirty, whorish. Yes, because we need MORE ways to crush girls' -- and women's -- self-esteem and sense of worth.
I received comprehensive sex ed in school (at least in middle school; don't remember much from high school health class), but I grew up Catholic. So I got the SEX IS BAD message loud and clear.
This did not keep me from having sex before marriage; it simply made me feel like a whore when I eventually did have sex (before marriage). It also made me think, "Dammit, if I'm already a whore, might as well go all out, huh?" In for a penny, in for a pound!
I was already a BAD person for having had sex, regardless of how I felt about the guy, how he felt about me, or how long we'd been together. SEX IS BAD, period. Since it didn't matter, might as well go out and have one-night stands, since, as long as it was outside of marriage, it was all equally bad.
This mindset leads women to make some very stupid choices.
Even now, as a married woman -- when it's "okay" to have sex, because I have a little piece of paper that says so -- the message is still deeply ingrained in my head. Sex should be something natural, something intimate, special... no, it's just something BAD. You cannot undo the programming.
*And THEY DO NOT WORK.