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Abstinence- Only Education? A Big Fat No!

This is a very controversial article. Take a seat and enjoy. Last night, a parent asked me a question (Mind you, I am not a parent or a ward), she wanted to know how to treat the hard subject of sex and its connotations with her adolescent daughter. She had attended a conference where parents were advised to discuss the topic with their children to ensure their safety. Now her concern is this; should she speak to her daughter about abstinence or protective measures to take when one is sexually active. So having gone through adolescence some few years back, this parent, my auntie, wanted to know which of the two was to be hammered on taking into consideration the fact Google teaches what she doesn’t even know.

I in turn discussed with a couple of friends whose initial reaction was that abstinence was the way to go. However, after a few deliberations, they said it was paramount to buttress on the safety measures to take when one is sexually active because abstinence can be learnt from various places. I.e. religious bodies, family members, school authorities etc. and these are people she is in constant touch with. Who then teaches the precaution bit of things? Friends – who have half –baked information or full information which they will apply only their benefit. Without doubt, my friends and I agreed that we first heard about ‘blue –balls, contraceptive pills, coitus interruptus, beating the bishop, kamasutra and barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms and sponge from other friends and we never questioned the truth in what we told were benefits or merits of these terms.

I must forgotten to add, my auntie was listening attentively to us recalling how we were taught to believe that everyone’s safe period was the 14th and 21st day of the month, which was entirely false! Another fallacy was that abstaining till marriage was like buying a gadget without testing it. And anyone who seriously liked or wanted something took the chance to test or check it before paying to take it home. If it wasn’t checked or permission wasn’t given, the buyer always walked away; smart analogy but very false!

My auntie, who may be couldn’t believe what she hearing asked:

Auntie P: Who at all fed you with all these lies and some truth?

Us:  We learnt it from some guys.

Auntie P: You ladies too?

One of the Ladies: Yes. A guy who lived in the neighbourhood taught me about blue balls and how to stop my nipples from getting hard and gave me a DVD which had pornographic content.

Second Lady: Laughing hysterically*, that reminds me of lessons –your- mama-won’t- teach – you- 101 or what your-mama-doesn’t-know 101. I can’t remember.

Auntie: Another term?

Second Lady: Kind of. It was what a male family friend called the lessons he gave me on sex.

Auntie: The cheek of it!!!I know about all that and more.

On our way to the car, Auntie was convinced that she had to let out all she knew on the subject and even find out more. She preferred for her children to be the ones doing the education rather taking in all this garbage from their friends. It was very unsafe to do so. She was amazed that for a long time I believed that coitus interruptus was a safer sexual practice that condoms because condoms could burst.

My auntie believed that it was very necessary to discuss sex and all there is to the term with her child after this conversation.

Here is the controversial bit. Some adults believe that if the child is taught to abstain and she/he heeds to it, there won’t be a need to discuss pills and safe methods, which is a valid point. But, no information is too much. Knowing about the subject in total rather ensures the safety of the child. Remember that guy who caught winking at your daughter? He may be her teacher soon. He may take even take her through a practical lesson of all the things he teaches her. Don’t let him. It is your responsibility.

In case you need further assistance on how to handle this issue, you can contact the following entities:

  1. Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG) 233-302-310369 / 306104 / 310454 | info@ppag-gh.org
  2. Marie Stopes Ghana. https://www.mariestopes.org.gh/ 0800 2 85 85

Or visit websites such as:

  1. https://sexetc.org/

The site has 16 topic areas covering information on sex and relationships, pregnancy, STDs, birth control, sexual orientation, and more.

 

  1. http://www.likeitis.org

The site covers topics like teenage pregnancy, help and advice, periods, STD, sex, peer pressure, sexuality, contraception, and puberty.

 

  1. https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens

With 88 unique, locally governed affiliates and more than 840 health centers in the Unites States; they have the means to educate on reproductive and sexual health.

  1. http://www.itsyoursexlife.com/

It is the official website of MTV and the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Emmy Award winning it’s Your (Sex) Life public information campaign. MTV   is an online destination for many youth. The channel seeks to combine that with information on teen related sex and relationship FAQs. The content is straight to the point.

  1. http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/

Advocate for Youth is a web resource where you won’t get straight-up answers on sex education. The organization gives direction to issues like HIV, sexuality education, emergency contraception, teenage pregnancy prevention and more, through its programs and policies.

 

  1. http://www.siecus.org/

The organization in its own words promotes comprehensive education about sexuality, and advocates the right of individuals to make responsible sexual choices.

Visit any of these places for help. Let us know if this article was helping by leaving us a comment below. You could also let us know what you will like to read about and we will be glad to write on it. Better still, if you have some experiences on the subject or others to share, get into the blog session and write share your thoughts. Parenting is a fulfilling responsibility. Don’t give that role to the internet.

September 7, 2017

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