Gateway Sexual Activity on Your Wedding Night

Jude sends me this stuffjust to make my blood boil:

The bill is a response to recent controversies over sex-ed lessons in some Tennessee school districts that mentioned alternatives to sexual intercourse, according to The Tennessean. A 2009 Youth Risk Behavior study found that 61 percent of Memphis City high schooland 27 percent of middle school students have had sex — higher than the national average, according to WMC-TV.

‘Abstinence’ means from all of these activities, and we want to promote that, ” Republican state Sen. Jack Johnson, the bill’s sponsor, toldThe Tennessean. “What we do want to communicate to the kids is that the best choice is abstinence.”

The bill would require a “family life education curriculum” that prohibits the promotion of contraception and “any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non-coital sexual activity.”

Much likea bill that passed through the Utah state legislature last month, the Tennessee proposal notes that schools should “exclusively and emphatically promote sexual risk avoidance through abstinence, regardless of a student’s current or prior sexual experience.” It also requires that students are taught the “physical, social, emotional, psychological, economic and educational consequences of non-marital sexual activity.”

Let’s go over this again because it seems some people missed it the first time: The kids be fuckin’. The best you can hope for is to raise them to be decent human beings about it, treat one another with respect and affection, and not give crabs to the whole cheerleading squad because rude. Beyond that, it’s just crazy moral panic about rainbow parties and teen pregnancy rings and other stuff you see on CSI but shouldn’t actually believe goes on in your daughter’s school.

Is it me, or are we just trying to delay people’s sexual freakouts here? Sooner or later Wally and the Beav are gonna figure out that holding a girl’s hand is amazing and kissing her is mind-blowing andactually touching one of her boobs really for reals is like seeing the face of Jesus, and so what we’re doing in an ideal world for these wadded-panty scolds is making sure that revelation happens when those crazy kids are 40 and have somehow walked down the aisle with somebody they have no idea if they can stand the taste of. Does that sound like a good idea to anybody?

I’m not saying sexual incompatibility is impossible to overcome, by the way; I’m not crazy about the test-drive analogy because people aren’t cars and can change, but I am saying if you leave out even “gateway” sexual activity until you’re within the bonds of matrimony that is a VAST amount of territory left unexplored, and marriage can be difficult enough as it is.

(I’m also not wild about the idea that all sex once you’re married is safe, as if there is no rape that occurs between spouses, as if one spouse can’t transmit an STD acquired by being a cheating asshole to another spouse, as if preventing pregnancy couldn’t be important if you were married for any number of reasons. Marriage does not automatically equal anything goes, not for everybody.)

In the ideal world of the virtuous and morally pure lawmakers from Tennessee, we would have inexperienced pairs of terrified virgins trying to figure everything out after an entire day spent in formal wear pretending to be nice to each other’s parents’ friends, dancing awkwardly to Kool and the Gang, eating cake that almost never tastes good, drinking watered-down house wine and driving around in a limo their wedding party has festooned with whipped cream and streamers.

Yeah. That’s the time to try something new.


11 thoughts on “Gateway Sexual Activity on Your Wedding Night

  1. The question you need to ask is ‘why does the political leadership want an increase in the teenage birth rate?’.
    When I was younger, living in the deep south, people started having sex around 13 or 14 years old, and quite a few were active at 15. Back then access to birth control was very limited, so was education. As teens practiced abstinence girls got pregnant, left school — went to visit distant relatives – which meant they gave the kid up for adoption — and sometimes came back to school, if they had left school before being obviously pregnant. Sometimes the guys that also got ‘in the family way’ suddenly had to quit school to get jobs, but not always.
    Later, as schools started teaching sex education and access to birth control became more available, the teen birth rate started falling.
    Nowadays, with the push to limit knowledge about sex and limit access to birth control, young people are going to get pregnant. The political leadership knows this. So ask ‘why do they want this?’.
    There are some valid reasons to have at least the older teenage birth rates nonzero, population replacement, new folks paying into social security, (see Japan’s aging problem — they are running into a problem of not enough young people to care for the older generation). But these reasons are not listed by the religious politicians pushing ‘abstinence’.

  2. I hear quite a few wingnuts talking about how we “don’t have enough babies being born” to keep the economy going. They must be getting it somewhere.

  3. For those who already have done it, I seem to remember a movement called something like “secondary virginity” where those that have done it can call themselves virgins again. Perhaps that is what the good legislature is thinking of?
    The bad part is that I would agree that having sex changes a lot of things and can put things in motion that will indelibly change your life. But I don’t think kids are going to renounce it just because the sex ed teacher – excuse me, the “Family Values” teacher – says don’t. Kind of like the effectiveness of Mr. Mackey (?spelling?) on South Park – mmmkay?
    Even worse, 1) I’d like to see how they define “gateway” activities. and 2) they seem to totally miss that as one ages from 5 to 20 that certain activities prepare one for their adult role. The language sounds too similar to the war on drugs – Marijuana being a “gateway drug” where one sniff is gonna doom you to continuous IVs of the hard stuff, is holding hands the gateway to sex? What about kissing? And what about the mixed messages we already give the kids – clothing for pre-teen girls that is rather provocative, but you can’t hold hands. And forget about the messages of Barbie dolls. To eschew all “gateway” activities we must prevent them from holding hands until their wedding night – an approach that seems guaranteed to have the kids engage in behaviors before they are age appropriate.

  4. I think the word choice is interesting. Gateway usually precedes drug – bad! So I guess these people think all sex is bad? Or is it a gateway to AWESOME if you’re married but perdition if not? (Or what if it ends up being a gateway to marriage? Does that retroactively sanctify all of it?) Of course it’s useless to even start with this because it presumes they’ve thought this thing through, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about wingnuts it’s that thinking things through apparently is acutely painful to them for as often as they do it.
    I wish they’d have used slippery slope instead, because we’d have had lots of fun with that one.
    And “walked down the aisle with somebody they have no idea if they can stand the taste of” is win.

  5. I wonder what Jocelyn Elders would define as gateway sexual activity… heh.

  6. The cake at my wedding was FUCKING AMAZING, thankyouverymuch…
    Hmph. And what the other posters said…

  7. I wonder if those zealots in state legislatures remember the steamy nights spent in the backseat of the car at the drive-in movie when they were young? I’m almost a “senior” citizen and I can sure tell you I do and I wasn’t even as promiscuous as most of my friends. Luckily I had a mom who educated me about sex at an early age. My best friend wasn’t so lucky. She went on a date with her first serious boyfriend, got in the backseat and three months later had to quit school because she was in the family way. She didn’t know. Her mother didn’t tell her and neither did the health teacher, school nurse, pastor at church…abstinence only is a very bad idea.
    As for whether this is a plot to increase the workforce down the road, I doubt it for two reasons. First, the opposing forces are not that bright and second, the circumstances of their birth, given cutbacks to every program that will assist in their raising and education and given the appalling costs of college education, most of these children will not be able to get jobs that will enable them to help anyone but themselves if that.

  8. I was raised in a religious home and taught through childhood and adolescence that sex should be saved for marriage, and though I believed that this was true, the fact was that if Jesus Christ himself had descended from heaven and told me not to do it, I would have casually walked past him and into the bedroom of that college cheerleader who was willing to have me. Nothing was more important to me than losing my virginity before graduating from high school, and I just made it a couple months short of my self-imposed deadline. No amount of religious fervor, cautionary education or outright state-imposed oppression will ever overcome the white-hot glow of teenage lust.

  9. Quick, break out the chastity belts! And the saltpeter! It’s Anti-Sex Time again in America! (Also known as “The Age of Santorum”…)

  10. It’s like they don’t understand that you need to know what you’re doing in order to do it correctly.
    Oh, wait …

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