And sure, it was embarrassing to get lectured by a man wearing an Adidas visor about what my vagina was up to, but I learned a lot about my body and how to keep myself safe during sex. And that info has served me well. (No unwanted babies or STDs here!) Well, guess what? If Mr. Danber came out of retirement, strapped on his visor, and taught that same week long course to students in Tennessee, he could get a hefty fine. WTF?
A new law was enacted in Tennessee that bans teachers from promoting “gateway sexual activities” in sex ed classes in an effort to expand their abstinence-only policy. But uh, what exactly are those? The Tennessee government defines it as the touching of “gateway body parts,” which they list as “genitals, buttocks, breasts and the inner thigh.” However, teachers and speakers in sex ed classes are allowed to discuss hand holding and kissing, because, you know, those are the important and confusing parts of sex that you need explained to you! Yeah right!
So, talking about anything beyond first base with a partner is off limits but what about solo sex? The law isn’t clear on where it stands in terms of masturbation, either–which is the safest (and let’s be real, sometimes best) sex there is.
One of the law’s supporters says the move is necessary because one teacher encouraged girls to offer guys oral sex in order to get them to wear condoms. Ok, so that’s kind of effed. Condoms are important, but you should never have to bargain with your partner to put one on. And you especially shouldn’t be offering oral sex as a trade off for safe sex. But to ban the entire state’s education system from talking about sex because one teacher said the wrong thing? That doesn’t make sense, like, at all.
The fact is, abstinence is the safest form of birth control–it’s the only 100 percent foolproof way to prevent STDs and pregnancy. But let’s be real–it’s also not realistic to think that just because teachers tell you not to have sex that you’re not going to do it. Roughly 30 percent of you are already having sex. Those are the facts, Tennessee, and this law isn’t going to change that!
It’s super important to teach about safe sex, even if the government doesn’t necessarily want you to have any sex whatsoever. Since a lot of you are going to do it anyway, it’s narrow minded and dangerous to not teach you guys how to do it safely, responsibly, and with minimal risk. In fact, teaching about safe sex often lessens the rate of teen pregnancy, which is at its lowest since 1940. And really? Your sexual limits should be defined by you and your partners–not by the government.
Do you believe in abstinence-only education? What’s sex ed like in your school? Do you think the “gateway sexual activities” law is smart or stupid? Tell us in the comments!