My sexual education took place over a few years, with my very first introduction to sex ed by my Mother. My mother is pretty liberal, and with out her I’d have probably thought “abstinence was the only answer”. When actually, abstinence is only one of the answers.

It’s hard for me to remember back to that very day that Mom and I had the talk.

I started my period in seventh grade, at school, and was sent home by the nurse. It was a huge ordeal. When Mom picked me up we went straight to the drug store to get pads and tampons. Mom said it was my choice, but to buy both of them because I’ll probably hate pads.1 When we got home, Mom and I went into her bathroom and she explained what a pad and tampon were and how they worked. I was terrified of the tampon. “How can I insert that huge tampon?” I thought. So I wore the pad instead. Then Mom took me back into her room for the talk. Only I didn’t know it was time for the talk. She started by saying, “(My name), now that you have started your period, you might notice changes…” And then my Mom calmly told me about being attracted to someone, about a first kiss, about masturbation, and yes about condoms, birth control, and AIDS. Mom said that when I was going to have sex, which she wished I’d wait to experience when I was more mature and not a 12 year old mess, that I needed to use condoms and birth control. She then brought out a small pack of Trojans, and said that when I decide to take that step, I could always come to her for protection and advise. Then Mom took us out for dinner. Burgers I believe.

Flash forward a year. I’m in the eighth grade now. We have a human sexuality week in science class. Abstinence only propaganda is starting to creep into my sex education.2 We ask a question and receive “well, abstinence is your first choice, but condoms should be used to protect from sexually transmitted diseases” as the answer. Every question asked, receives an abstinence answer in return. Utterly useless. Then my teacher proceeds to bring out a condom and a medium sized cucumber. Yes a cucumber. She then shows us how to put a condom on a cucumber. She even blew the condom up into a balloon afterward, showing us that any size penis can actually fit in a condom, if it’s “this stretchy“.

Flash forward another year. Ninth grade. I’m getting my physical for a school activities requirement. My doctor is a male pediatrician. The very same pediatrician that I had my entire life. I cordially asked him if he could send a female for my physical3, and he obliged, by sending in the most kind, and understanding female doctor ever. She gave me my physical and a good sex education in that short 20 -30 minutes that we had together. She also gave me my first set of birth control pills, saying it should help with my severe cramps and will help stave off the dreaded teen acne.4

Through out my High school education, we start hearing more and more of the abstinence only5 propaganda. And that’s when the slut-shaming began to rise. If you had sex, you were instantly vilified. If you masturbated, you were vilified. You were simply a slut/whore/skeez  if you decide to act upon you sexual desires. Even as a hormonal teenager, I saw this was wrong. People6, were labeled and called terrible names on a daily basis. Berated, just because they were sexually active, or sexually involved with someone.

That is why I believe abstinence only education is flawed. Abstinence only education, feeds the shaming of youth who are sexually active. Yes abstinence is an answer, an answer among many answers. No you do not have to be abstinent, that is a personal choice. But you should become informed before you decide to take that step.

Since 1998, Scarleteen has helped inform many, be it teenagers or adults, of sex education. Scarleteen is a fabulous site, dedicated to providing comprehensive sex education to everyone. Scarleteen helps young folk make responsible, informed, decisions about their sexuality in a non-judgemental, compassionate and positive atmosphere.

To keep the good work moving, Scarleteen needs our support. If you donate to Scarleteen, you’ll aid in educating young folks about their sexual health. You will also dissuade the notion of slut-shaming by promoting sexual awareness for young people. And if you need more of a reason, I know that Shanna Katz is personally donating a safer sex kit to everyone that donates $5 or more. Every donation counts, I know you hear that often, but it’s true. Five dollars from each of us will make a big difference in the overall picture. If you’d like to read more posts from the Scarleteen Blog Carnival, visit AAG’s site for the entire list of participants.

Please help show your support for Scarleteen by donating today!

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  1. And in the end, she was right. Of course. []
  2. Maybe because the city that I’m from is highly populated by Republicans? Or maybe it’s an easier way for my teachers to teach the curriculum? You tell me. []
  3. Now that I had boobies and all. []
  4. When I started the pill it did exactly what she said it would. And I gained weight. But I needed it, I was bones jones. []
  5. Bullshit. []
  6. mainly girls []

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