Regarding your piece on the trend toward abstinence-only sex ed in the District (“Missionary Position,” 10/25), I must say I am highly disappointed in any school district that would employ such a program. As your article correctly pointed out, there is no evidence that such programs have an impact at all. But the most troubling aspect of these programs is that they don’t provide education. Instead, they are close-mouthed about contraception (except when pointing out its failure rates) and rely on antiquated notions regarding sex. Children should be given facts, instead of being told that premarital sex leads to a “broken heart” for which there is no cure. (I wasn’t aware that broken hearts could be attributed only to premarital sex.) The assumption that premarital sex is an extension of low self-esteem I also find difficult to swallow.
Children in the District of Columbia, and elsewhere, deserve better than this. Sexual health is an important part of one’s well-being, and information should not be censored because of some frigid adults being unable to handle the fact that teens are curious about sex. As your article correctly stated, most children do not feel that they can discuss sex with their parents (some of whom are less educated about this topic than their children), and if the schools discourage any discussion about sex—exactly whom should they turn to for this information?
I guess teens in the District, and other areas where this type of program is utilized, will just continue to rely on myths and the advice of their peers—and the public will continue to pay for the many teens who find themselves pregnant or worse.
Fort Washington, Md.