I was reading a blog the other day that referenced a news article from The Boston Globe. On one hand, I think it’s fantastic that the city’s turning to online teen haunts such as Facebook, YouTube, and cable channels such as MTV, FX, and BET to reach to teens about safer sex. Not only that, the campaign is also handing over the stage to the teens themselves.
While I disagree with some of the blog’s views on other subjects, the blog does bring up a valid point: Why is a comprehensive campaign that’s advocating safe sex in a smart way leave out the safest method there is to avoid STI’s (Sexual Transmitted Infections) and pregnancy – abstinence?
There. I said it. The A-word: Abstinence.
I bet all of you are cringing right now. If you haven’t closed this window, or clicked away to a more “open-minded” website, you might be entertaining that thought. And maybe that’s exactly why the campaign doesn’t mention the word abstinence, why they completely dismiss the idea, altogether.
But what makes the word “abstinence” so bad? When I cautiously mentioned the idea that I was writing an abstinence blog to my friends, I was gawked at, laughed at, sneered at, or sympathized with.
Seriously, abstinence? They say. That is so Victorian of you.
Some people criticize abstinence because of the educational campaigns that advocate abstinence. People mention how it’s impractical nowadays, that too many teens are having sex in spite of all these efforts telling them to slow their blood down and wait.
Hear me out – I’m not here to preach to you about the religious arguments for abstinence. I’m not an 85-year-old woman who lived during a time where to show a woman’s shins is the modern equivalent of the Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake scandal in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.
I’m just a 21-year-old college girl trying to finish up her English degree. And I’m here to give you facts: Even with protection, even with birth control pills, even if you’ve practiced every safe sex method there is in the book – you still run the risk of getting an STI or getting pregnant.
Everyone’s body is different. Some people are more fertile than others. Some people aren’t. Sometimes STIs show symptoms, and you should be, in a sense, grateful to see genital warts on you in the event that you did get something. Sometimes you see nothing – that you’ve contracted a sleeper STI that will eventually become a STD (sexual transmitted disease). You might become infertile by chlamydia. You might die at too young an age from HIV.
Those are facts.
There’s no guarantee that you’ll be fully protected from STIs and HIVs; there’s no guarantee that you won’t get pregnant if you use a condom or take a birth control pill.
The best, bullet-proof solution to not contact STIs or accidents is to just not have sex. It’s abstinence, and it’s a fact.
And when it all boils down to it, abstinence is also a choice. No one’s forcing you to not have sex. And yes, there are some situations that no longer made you a “virgin” – stupid situations, careless situations, painful situations and situations that simply got out of hand. And you can’t do anything about it.
But here’s the thing about abstinence – it’s not a one-time deal. It’s never too late to choose abstinence, even if you’re no longer technically a “virgin” (which is just a social construct anyway, according to a philosophy-major friend of mine).
So don’t hesitate – appreciate! Abstinence isn’t something you should be allergic to; it’s simply a choice. And to me, it’s the best choice to avoid STIs, pregnancy and just messy situations altogether.