Shaming rarely dents behavior. It simply makes people feel lousy about what they’ve done. Yet a new stylized term for shaming, “sexual risk avoidance,” seems to be gaining prominence when it comes to sex education in the nation’s schools.
In Abstinence Only Rebranded, Amanda Marcotte of Salon makes a cogent argument against this failed Bush-era sex-education strategy. And Marcotte clearly grasps the irony of Trump’s 3 marriage/cheating, narcissistic mentality as the leader of anything educationally related to sexual conduct.
What’s missing in this approach?
…….. Clear education about how sexual intimacy affects the brain!
Teens and young adults often think of sex as entertainment or entitlement. Their naivete can be manipulated into “proof of caring.” They lack the understanding that sexual intimacy creates emotional and nuerological connections with another person. And these connections may not be reciprocated even when they, themselves, feel them deeply. They fail to recognize that what they are feeling is simply the addiction of romantic love.
Managing expectations can reduce rampant sexual behavior
Addictions of all sorts can best be managed when one grasps the dangers, not the shame, in the behavior. Shame can cause the depression and low self esteem that drives behavior into spirlling out of control… not the other way around. A person determined to prove themselves right is less apt, not more apt, to recognize the signs of a romance gone wrong and head for the exit door before it’s too late.
Will a call for abstinence help reduce teen pregnancy?
According to Marcotte, the Trump administration has pumped $277 million into abstinence until marriage programs and appointed Valerie Huber of Ascend to a post at the adolescent health division of the Department of Health and Human Services. Her focus will be abstinence until marriage, an unrealistic approach when the average age for marriage in the US is 28 and the average age for the beginning of sexual activity is 19.
A more worthwhile approach would be to build recognition about the addictive quality of sexual relations and the need for protection for both your mind and your body when you engage in sexual activity.