I have written several posts about my opposition to abstinence-only-until-marriage “education”. I oppose these programs for a variety of reasons based on strong evidence and sound reasoning. Today I would like to discuss the subject of abstinence until marriage from a slightly different angle.
I have never intentionally implied, nor would I want it said, that I oppose abstinence. Well, I oppose it for myself, but I’m a forty-two year old woman who is well-informed, mature and responsible enough to make that choice. Oh, and I’m married, but as you may already know, marriage is not a deciding factor for me when it comes to making decisions about sex.
What other people choose to do or not do, and under what circumstances, is their own business, though. And that is the subject of this post.
According to an article by Julie Sternberg, senior staff attorney with the ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project, by age 20, 75% of Americans have had sex without being married. By age 40, that number increases to 95%. Premarital sex is a cultural norm in the U.S. — and has been for decades.
That said, it has never been my intention to criticize those who do choose to abstain until marriage. If that is important and right for you, then that’s what you should do. But you should also realize that your choice is not based on science or facts, but on your personal values and ideologies that may not be shared by the next person — and that’s OK!
We are all entitled to our own views about sex and marriage, and to make our own choices about them. But what abstinence-only-until-marriage programs try to do is take moral and religious ideology and dress it up as science in an attempt to frighten, control and manipulate people into following a religious moral code. That is what I have a problem with, rather than with people abstaining for personal reasons.
Abstain, if you will. You don’t need to explain or justify it to anyone. It is your choice, and your choice alone. You don’t even need a reason, much less a bunch of factually incorrect reasons. And if you abstain because of your religious beliefs or your faith; because God says premarital sex is a sin, shouldn’t that be enough?
It seems to me that you do your faith a huge injustice and undermine your god by attempting to justify your decision in some other way. Especially when that way is a lie.
Bottom line: do it, or don’t. I support your right to make that choice for yourself. But don’t lie about it, and don’t try to impose your moral code or religious principles on me or my child, especially not on my tax dime.