In the excerpt from Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex, Judith Levine discusses the fear associated with minors engaging in sexual activity, and why this fear isn't protecting our children, but putting them in danger. Levine argues that our sex education, consisting mainly of the idea that abstinence is the only way, isn't benefiting the children and isn't what is in their best interest. Levine maintains that it is a fact of life that minors are engaging in sexual activity, just as adults do, and they need to be informed. Levine argues that minors engaging in sexual activity is a normal part of life, even healthy. Levine also states that sex isn't what is harming the children: it is the circumstances in which they are engaging in the sexual activity. Sex education needs to consist of more than just abstinence only. Levine believes adults should "help [children] learn to love well, which is to say respectfully of others and themselves, skillfully in body and heart, morally as lovers, friends, and citizens". It is ignorant to ignore the fact that minors are having sex. Not drowning them in abstinence-only-talk will help decrease the "unwanted outcomes" of sex.
In Breanne Fahs article Daddy's Little Girls: On the Perils of Chastity Clubs, Purity Balls, and Ritualized Abstinence, she dissects the culture of chastity and how it impacts women. Fahs article asserts that the prevalence of abstinence only sex education classes is on the rise, and argues they cause harm to adolescent women because they undermine condom use, contraception and medical treatment. Fahs states that chastity clubs promote a gender dichotomization and teaches women that boys and girls are innately different. There is no room for the possibility that women might actually be interested in having sex too. Fahs provides research that shows that teens who pledge to remain abstinent are more likely to engage in oral sex, which could be even more dangerous than intercourse. Fahs then goes on to discuss purity balls. Fahs believes that purity balls portray women purely as property and take away a woman's sense of independence. Fahs states, "purity balls enter women into a system of commerce in which their sexuality becomes an object to be traded by and between men". Fahs asserts that in the future, we must steer clear of the fear of women's sexual desire.
1. Throughout both of these articles, they refer numerous times to sex education and the need for it to be more comprehensive. However, it does not mention when we should start educating children about sex. Do you believe there is a right time to begin sex education?
2. Do you think it is the responsibility of the parents to educate their child about sex? Or should it be the duty of friends, church, or teachers? Is there a sole group responsible?
3. What does the fact that very few men join chastity clubs say about our society?