Under 30 and not married? U.S. Government says you shouldn’t have sex.

As if we needed further proof that the Bush Administration sees itself as the moral watchdogs of all Americans, word came out the other day that the Department of Health and Human Services released revised guidelines for states seeking grants that specifically state that unmarried people up to 29 years of age should be targeted with abstinence only messages:

The federal government’s “no sex without marriage” message isn’t just for kids anymore.

Now the government is targeting unmarried adults up to age 29 as part of its abstinence-only programs, which include millions of dollars in federal money that will be available to the states under revised federal grant guidelines for 2007.

The government says the change is a clarification. But critics say it’s a clear signal of a more directed policy targeting the sexual behavior of adults.

“They’ve stepped over the line of common sense,” said James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit that supports sex education. “To be preaching abstinence when 90% of people are having sex is in essence to lose touch with reality. It’s an ideological campaign. It has nothing to do with public health.”

My first reaction when I read this was outright laughter. The National Center for Health Statistics puts the percentage of adults ages 20-29 who have had sex in the “well over 90%” range. My next reaction was anger. Apparently the U.S. Government thinks you’re old enough to die in a war at 18 and old enough to drink at 21, but not old enough to decide when to have sex (unless you’re married) until you’re 30.

Bush can go “Cheney” himself. 

27 thoughts on “Under 30 and not married? U.S. Government says you shouldn’t have sex.

  1. have too keep those ol religious voters interest.

    I remember how Bush went on and on about same sex marriage prior to election second time around advoiding many other issues..
    It is keeping the fantical religious folk interesting in voting.

  2. The religious right’s control of the Republican party and the Republican’s desire to remain in power causes absurd pronouncements like this.

    These sorts of programs waste tax money and make Americans look like idiots.

    What if the couple is 20-29 years of age, was married in Canada or Massachusetts, and is gay?

  3. Spot on about being old enough to kill people in other countries at the age of 18.  I hope that this sees a LOT of press.  When Joe Sixpack realizes that the govt. is putting a camera in HIS bedroom next, he will hopefully realize that he’s not a bystander in the GOP’s campaign to give Puritainism a bad name.  (Cue the Rev. Niemoller…)

  4. Someday, hopefully in the not-too-distant future, I sincerely hope that the people of this country will finally recognize George W. Bush as one of the very worst presidents that this nation has ever had to endure, and that they will likewise realize that his administration was a bastion of anachronistic absurdity.

  5. Proof again Bush doesn’t use science to or sound reasoning to make decisions.  All the studies show abstinence education fails on nearly every level.

  6. If you are to convince someone not to drink and drive you don’t just say to them “Don’t drink and drive or you could mess up that nice new car of yours”.  You present to them all of the perils of drinking and driving, you could kill someone, you could kill yourself, it is expensive if you get caught etc.  You also offer any available resources, I’ll give you a ride,  so-and-so will give you a ride, I’ll call you a cab etc.  This is not much different.  Kids need to understand the litany of ramifications of irresponsible sex unwanted pregnancy, STD’s etc.  They need to understand the resources available to make a responsible decision, birth control, abstinence etc.

    To teach any method exclusively is insufficient.  I can not believe that abstinence education fails at every level.  I will concede to evidence if presented though.  To say it fails at every level is to say that not a single person practices it.  I would accept that abstinence as an exclusive educational tool likely fails at every level or produces immeasurable or insignificant results.  But the fact of the matter is that it is a legitimate tool.  It must be taught in concert with all of the alternatives.  If it is a desire to prevent pregnancy you would not teach your child that the only thing available is the pill would you?  Certainly not, it would be in your child’s best interest to know all of the methods such as rhythm, condoms, and yes just plain not fucking this time.

    I believe that abstinence is a legitimate method when taught as part of a broad spectrum of methods.  I can not believe that going to the bank on it exclusively will yield productive results any more than telling someone not to drink and drive because they will ding up their nice new car.  If though, when taught as a part of a broad curriculum it is practiced by a few I say it is a success.  Sometimes nickel and dimeing people with resources that work can add up to an over all impressive result.

    In this case it is apparent that this is just more of the same right wing desires to control the sexual habits of society.  It has nothing to do with preventing unwanted pregnancy or STDs.  That is simply the mask for something that attempts to control what the far right sees as an uncomfortable topic.

    Sad really, sad too is the liberal attempt to exclude it as a viable tool.  Again abstinence is an uncomfortable topic for liberals because the connotation is that of intolerance.  We have the conservatives to thank for promoting that connotation.  Call it another high-jack by the conservatives.  They take a perfectly legitimate tool (abstinence) and claim ownership of it thereby causing it to be immediately rejected by liberals.  I say we throw every resource at kids as we can.  Help them make responsible decisions.  Their own responsible decisions.  Not what one extreme perceives to be the only responsible decision.

    Like I said, in this case it is not about making a responsible decision.  It is about conservatives controlling sexual habits because it is a topic they are uncomfortable with…………..again.


  7. Great picture Craig. LOL

    I’ll be happy to show you some studies that show how abstinence education fails, but I won’t be able to post them till tomorrow, so please be patient.

    But before I answer any question you pose it may be important to answer the question of the purpose of sex.  Is it for pleasure or for reproduction.  If you solely define it as for reproduction and not pleasure than absintence would seem to make sense.  However if you see it as a means for pleasure, then abstinence makes little sense.

    Religious groups see sex as something only for reproduction and as a source of evil.  Some religious groups take abstinence so seriously that they go to Africa and tell people there they are a sinner for using a condom.  Even though Africa has a huge problem of teen pregnancy and STD’s.

    I personally think that sex should be for pleasure.  We were born with the instruments to really really really really enjoy sex.  So why not enjoy it?  If you are worried about pregnancy, STD’s etc… then use a condom, birth control, or the morning after pill .

  8. LH: I’m over 30 and married. How do I mention this to Mrs H?

    It took me a moment.  LOL

  9. That cartoon is going to be shown to some of the women at work, Benoir.  My eight year old has just walked in and asked me what I’m laughing at- not telling him until he is older…

  10. Craig, I don’t think anyone has seriously proposed that the option of not having sex should be removed from sex education. I, for one, would make abstinence a major part of my comprehensive sex-and-drugs educational initiative for high school students, entitled “Whadda Ya Think College Is For?”

  11. I cannot figure out how “the option of abstinence” needs federal funding. 

    “Let’s see: sex causes pregnancy, and sex can transmit STD’s (hence the name).  Wait!  You mean, all I have to do is not have sex and I can avoid those horrible consequences?  Wow!  Thanks, teacher!  I would have never thought of that!”

    I could speculate on why kids who pledge abstinence become pregnant or get STD’s.  Mother Nature can be pretty persuasive when she wants to be, and the pledge means you don’t carry condoms or even admit to yourself that is the direction the evening’s interactions are taking.

  12. “The abstinence option” definitely has a place, as part of a comprehensive sex education which examines all the options. “Abstinence only” on the other hand, has no place in a classroom.

  13. “The abstinence option” definitely has a place, as part of a comprehensive sex education which examines all the options.

    That would be true in grades K-12, I don’t see how mentioning it is useful in sex education for people over the age of 20.

  14. Unfortunately, the evidence shows that at least for adolescents, abstinance-only programs do not work.  Take virginity pledges as an example:

    Pledgers have fewer sex partners than non-pledgers, they start having sex later, and they marry earlier, so they should have lower STD rates, but they don’t.” One reason is that sexually active pledgers were less likely to use condoms at first sex than non-pledgers.

    So, pledging virginity (abstinance) appears to be ineffective in reducing STDs among young people.

    But maybe it keeps them from being sexually active, right?

    Not so much. Young people notoriously forget (or don’t realize) that STDs can be transmitted through sexual activities other than intercourse:

    Among virgins—those who have not had vaginal intercourse—male pledgers are four times more likely to have anal sex; male and female pledgers are six times more likely to have oral sex than non-pledgers. Condom use for anal sex is very low; for oral almost non-existent. Thus virgin pledger engagement in riskier behavior may be a factor in higher than expected STD rates.

    But at least they’re not having intercourse, right?

    Because most pledgers are sexually active (in fact, 88% of the sexually active pledgers have sex before marriage), lower rates of condom use increases STD risk. Just as important, pledgers were less likely to seek and obtain STD-related health care, possibly because of increased stigmatization or misperception of infection risk among pledgers. Because pledgers are less likely to be diagnosed and treated for STD infections, they may be more likely to have those infections for longer periods than non-pledgers.

    Yes, but if only you can keep people from having sex until they’re married, they’ll be fine:

    Pledgers who are married have the same STD rates as non-pledgers who are married.

    See also the original journal article:

    Brückner, Hannah and Peter S. Bearman. “After the promise: the STD consequences of adolescent virginity pledges”. Journal of Adolescent Health 36 (2005) 271–278.

  15. Exellent point, DoF. If people could only have sex after marriage, it seems reasonable that most people would choose to marry much earlier—kind of the way our parents, grandparents, and some of us did.  wink

  16. Anal sex doesn’t count? This seems to be stretching the virginity to breaking point.  Of course if these people think that using the tradesmans entrance doesnt count, they can hardly object to gays, as it doesn’t count as man laying with man!!

  17. Anal sex doesn’t count? This seems to be stretching the virginity to breaking point.

    You just need to use more lube. wink

  18. fuck the government. its run by an idiot, or a bunch of idiots right now. ill spread my legs to whoever i want.

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