20
Feb
09

On-Air :Is abstinence realistic?

_44981524_bristol_ap226b1It’s made it on -air : We’ll be talking with young people around the world :
Hi it’s Shaimaa here and we’ve asked the abstinence question a couple of days ago when Bristol Palin  said  “it isn’t realistic at all.”  Is she right?  This blogger-also a single mom- thinks so.

In her first interview after giving birth to Sarah Palin’s first grandson Tripp, the 18 year old mom said that she wished she had waited but that it was her choice to keep her baby.

She also said that abstinence , a cause her mother stands for, is unrealistic as sex among young people her age is more acceptable. This already had some of you going and unless something else tops it we’re looking to do this debate tomorrow.

Donnamarie commented to say
“Sex is a biological imperative. If some people chose, for religious or cultural reasons, to ignore that fact, they are certainly entitled to do so. But they have no business trying to force others to follow their refusal to acknowledge the fact that sex IS a biological imperative.”

This comment from David saying
“It is possible. I’m 25 and am still abstaining.”

Tomorrow we’ll be speaking to Bruce in New York  who told me that abstinence doesn’t work as it’s in our nature to want to have sex and that was perfectly OK what’s important and is to know about safe sex.

Which brings me to one of the other guests on tomorrow’s program. Denny Patton is the president and founder of Silver Ring Thing an Organization that supports and calls for abstinence, we had a long conversation and i presented Bruce’s argument to him and then he asked me this — what if I tell you that safe sex isn’t realistic and that throughout the years it has failed us?

He said people have been advocating safe sex for decades and the results? more STD’s and  more teen pregnancies. So here’s another thing to think about, is safe sex unrealistic as well? Is it working? If it is, why are teen pregnancy rates so high in England for example?

Also check this article on the future of abstinence programs in America under the Obama administration.


89 Responses to “On-Air :Is abstinence realistic?”


  1. 1 Rob
    February 18, 2009 at 23:50

    If we as a society want to reduce teen pregnancy rates we need to tackle the real cause; poverty. Yes, young girls must take responsibility for their own sexual behaviour, but we cannot blame them for pursuing a reproductive strategy that may well pay off for women who have limited options (see Geronimus’ “weathering hypothesis”, e.g. Geronimus, A. T (2003). Damned if You Do: Culture, Identity, Privilege and Teenage Childbearing in the United States. Social Science and Medicine, 57, 881-893).

  2. 2 Don Lax Detroit, MI
    February 19, 2009 at 00:56

    What one chooses to believe is realistic is totally dependent upon their world view. Those of the culturally relativistic school find it facile to justify whatever behaviors they choose to cherish by asserting that if a behavior results in what gets defined as a problem there is no need to make the morally demanding choice to change the behavior when it is much easier to merely relabel the insalubrious consequence in relativist terms by claiming that it is only percieved to be problem by superstitious, uninformed, quaint people with “outmoded” expectations of what the difference between moral and amoral is.
    Certain universal moral absolutes however have been demonstrated throughout the course of recorded history to immutably apply to every culture and every sub-culture within all of them. Those who contend otherwise are merely indulging in self-delusion.

  3. 3 Marge
    February 19, 2009 at 06:21

    Most certainly abstinence is realistic. For women that is. For men abstinence is almost impossible – that is the biology of it. That is why so many homosexual men get AIDS. They find it very difficult to restrain themselves. The high rate of rape, pedophilia, pornography and other sexual crimes among men reflects this weakness. It is time we all became more realistic about the male sex drive – and girls, take care, don’t dress to provoke! Take care.

  4. February 19, 2009 at 08:01

    ‘Yes’… errr, that is, I mean ‘No’…I think!

  5. 5 VictorK
    February 19, 2009 at 11:42

    Abstinence is less the point than self-discipline, and that discipline is more a product of culture than individual will. A culture that values and supports such qualities as self-control and deferred gratification – and not just in sexual matters – will produce young people who are, on the whole, perfectly capable of either sexual abstinence, or at least (and more probably) the responsible expression of their sexuality.

    There is no crisis of teenage pregnancy amongst the children of the Western middle class at university (which is not to say that they are particularly abstinent). That’s because they come from a disciplined cultural background. It’s the same discipline that gets them into university in the first place, and good jobs (a fact that the social engineering of the left always overlooks, and why their schemes for ‘equality’ have always failed). Cultures that don’t attach practical value to social discipline and self-control are, unsurprisingly, characterised by high rates of illegitimacy, sexual disease, poor educational performance, and general social disintegration. Religion, of course, is a very good source of this kind of discipline. And religion, of course, is disdained by the left, when it isn’t hated.

    Abstinence – or at any rate sexually responsible conduct – is a perfectly realistic option for the children of the middle class. The real question is whether the left – who tend to support permissiveness, self-expression, and general unrestrainedness – are prepared to revise their views and promote social – and sexual – discipline amongst those classes most in need of it.

  6. 6 VictorK
    February 19, 2009 at 12:11

    @Marge: aren’t you exaggerating a little?

    Men are programmed to be more sexually aggressive than women; but that doesn’t mean we are incapable of disciplining our sexual impulses. That an instinct is natural is no reason why it can’t, or shouldn’t, be subjected to internal (or external) control.

    True, men are more likely to be sexual offenders than women, but male and female sexuality are not the same: there’s nothing to compare. I don’t think men (in the West) have particularly high rates of sexual crime.

    The point about gays and AIDS is interesting. Don’t gays have less incentive to discipline their sexuality than heterosexual men? I think their promiscuity is optional rather than innate and uncontrollable. Gays have changed their sexual behaviour over the years and AIDS infection rates amongst them are – I think I’m right in saying – not as high as they were. Doesn’t this show that willingness to submit to more disciplined ways of behaving is more significant than any natural or chosen impulse to promiscuity?. Which is why I think abstinence is realistic.

  7. 7 Ogola Benard
    February 19, 2009 at 12:27

    There are allot of condoms on display machines and medical shops and stores! The question is – when should one abstain? Now that she is pregnant, isn’t she facing psychological problems being a top?

  8. 8 Peter
    February 19, 2009 at 15:54

    I manage to abstain till I met someone who is willing to. ie when I was 35. Being fat and undesirable nobody wants me. If I’d a choice I think I would have not . To abstain or not depends on your willingness. I abstained not by choice and nothing happen.

  9. 9 gary
    February 19, 2009 at 16:08

    Abstinence is certainly unrealistic without honesty, discipline and ethical values.
    g

  10. 10 Heather in Montana
    February 19, 2009 at 16:12

    I come from a small town where the only sexual education given in the school system was abstinence-based. I had the good fortune to know the knowledge of how to use a condom, birth control, etc. I often had to share this information with those who were sexually active in my school, whose common idea of safe sex was withdrawal or having the woman on top. Needless to say, we had a very high STD and pregnancy rate. I have seen and lived with the results of abstinence-only education, and it does not work. Providing sexual education that includes safe-sex techniques, along with a highly publicized free condom distribution center (health clinic, etc.) can work. Some teenagers and young adults will be stupid, like those who get into car wrecks even though they know how to drive properly, but education rarely fails to make the majority less safe.

  11. 11 Been there
    February 19, 2009 at 16:38

    Abstinence until marriage was practiced widely, though not universally, in the USA through the 1950’s. So it is possible, in the right cultural circumstances, for abstinence to be the norm.
    What were the conditions that made it possible?

    –A culture that hides and impedes sexuality. Dress codes, chaperones, no public display of sexual language and images.

    –Early marriage: it’s possible to wait a year or two; it isn’t possible to get most people to abstain for a decade or more.

    –Lack of contraception, so that pregnancy is a likely outcome of non-abstinence. Contraception was illegal in some USA states as late as 1968.

    –Abortion illegal and dangerous.

    –Shame and denial if pregnancy results. Hurried marriage with an attempt to cover up the pregnancy, or giving birth in a home for unwed mothers and releasing the baby for adoption, were the options.

    Abstinence later in life, when one has a bit more “honesty, discipline and ethical values,” is certainly possible, but it isn’t realistic to expect today’s teenagers in today’s culture, surrounded by sexual stimuli, inundated with hormones, and immature in self-discipline, to be abstinent until they are regarded as socially and economically ready for marriage.

    I would not want to go back to the time when abstinence was enforced by shame, ignorance, and withholding of alternatives.

  12. 12 Jennifer
    February 19, 2009 at 16:50

    Jee whiz, this topic has been discussed more than once!

    With our society preferring to take a permissive tone with regards to sex; no- abstinence is not realistic for most people; who simply go with the mainstream!

    I think, we as human beings, are much more evolved than animals. We should be able to think before we act; especially with regards to this serious matter.

    Only when people see that abstinence IS an option to be considered; will we start to see some people taking responsibility for their own actions!

  13. 13 viola
    February 19, 2009 at 22:25

    At the risk of being called a nit-picker, I’d like to point out that sex is NOT a biological imperative. Reproduction is, and the sex drive is the mechanism that was evolved to insure that reproduction. As such, it is similar to the appetite mechanism that ensures that the organism is fueled.

  14. 14 Don Lax Detroit, MI
    February 20, 2009 at 02:30

    I am gratified to see that contrary to most postings WHYS receives this particular thread has attracted the contributions of a number of people who are not impressed by the argument that whatever the completely amoral media chooses to expose youngsters to is not able to be counteracted by the instilling of more salubrious moral values in the home and church.

    When young people are taught to ratiocinate (that’s a fancy word for think predictively as in “what will the logically likely consequences of an act be”) then they will not be gullible to believe everything that some amoral profiteers want to pander to them.

    What gets taught in the public school system is a reflection of the majority attitudes of an elite “intelligentsia”. It is illustrative to observe that the National Academy of Sciences is a
    powerful contributor to the public sector policy formation dialogue and is being praised for forcefully advocating policy positions in agreement with it’s consensus opinion. In a 1998 survey 93 percent of academics identifying themselves as members of the N.A.S. expressed disbelief or serious doubt in the existence of a personal God.

    Now you should have a good idea of where a large part of the current spate of socially insalubrious teaching is coming from.

  15. 15 Dennis Junior
    February 20, 2009 at 03:20

    Abstinence is in realty is a great thing.
    ~Dennis Junior~

  16. 16 Roy, Washington DC
    February 20, 2009 at 14:41

    Expecting total abstinence is unrealistic. Faced with a biological drive to have sex and a conflicting cultural drive not to, there are always going to be teenagers on both sides of the fence. Abstinence should be taught as the ideal solution, but should they choose to have sex anyway, teens should be educated on what the risks are and how to mitigate them.

  17. February 20, 2009 at 15:20

    Abstinence holds so much promises to any who can successfully practice it. But more question is if the mechanisms for promoting abstinence today are 100% effective. Religious, Cultural and Social doctrines forms the basis of my choice to Abstain. I also chose to abstain from Sex for Health reasons.

  18. 18 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    February 20, 2009 at 15:22

    I think it’s ridiculous to say that abstinence isn’t realistic. Plenty of people abstain by choice or just by lack of opportunity. I think there are many problems in societies worldwide that lead to teen pregnancy, too many for me to accurately go into it. I do feel that in general sexuality, in the US at least, has very conflicting and damaging messages. Men are expected to be sexually active, volatile, and act like jerks half the time as part of their gender identity. Women and girls on the other hand are to be protected and sheltered and are viewed as overly emotional and idiotic if they end up pregnant.

    I’ve met so many men and women who fit neither of these expected cultural/gender roles. But, I know many people who still expect the opposite sex to fall into these categories and it causes them a lot of suffering–they hate what the culture tells them to be or what they should be looking for, but they feel they have no choice but to look for it.

    Pornography, the media, pop culture, poverty, extended cultural history, mixing cultural backgrounds, etc. etc. etc. etc….it all affects cultural and very individual views on sex. Attacking any one thing is not going to help much. I don’t know what the solution is, but in general I think that teaching safe sex and convincing girls and boys both that it’s an acceptable and desirable thing would be the best bet for reducing teen pregnancies.

  19. February 20, 2009 at 15:26

    Abstinence is akin to virginity. But in view of the fact that teenagers are exposed to sex through different outlets, it will be difficult to dissuade them from having sex. It can be easy for young people to abstain from sex if they can have the chance to marry. However, it has become the norm in the majority of societies to delay marriage because of economic constraints. So casual and free sex has become the means to make do while waiting for the opportunity to settle down.

    Those who can abstain from sex are those who have had enough of it or those who can’t find the right partner as sex of them isn’t just a physical but a “spiritual” matter.

    There are also those who abstain from sex because of draconian laws that prohibit “illicit” sex.

    Sex is a part of our instinct. As it is difficult for an alcoholic to resist a glass of alcohol, it can also be difficult for a sex-driven person to resist seizing the chance to have sex. What matters is to have it safely and not to have a short time pleasure for a lifelong misery coming mainly from STDs.

  20. February 20, 2009 at 15:27

    Salaam… Yes, abstinence is absolutely realistic… As for me, I am a proud practicing Muslim woman, I am now 22 yrs. old and nine months, I am single, and I am still a virgin, no male has ever managed even to touch my hand, and I intend to stay like that until I get married, Inshallah… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  21. 21 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 20, 2009 at 15:30

    The American commentator and comedian Bill Maher points out that a recent 8-year study “reveals that American teenagers who taker “virginity” pledges wind with with just as many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as the other kids do. But that’s not all–taking the pledge also makes a teenage girl six times more likely to perform oral sex and four times more likely to allow anal.”

    Sex is a biological imperative. Religious groups that wish to have their members attempt to forego that biological imperative should be free to do so.

    Equally, the rest of us should be free to ignore their misguided teachings.

  22. February 20, 2009 at 15:34

    I agree with Roy in DC. There this notion of the Bell Curve as it applies to people with the young on both ends of culture, wealth, intelligence, sex drive, self-control, education, morals, family values…. and pile on top of that nature’s “programming to reproduce” and media sensationalizing everything sexual. How can we expect a perfect outcome? Educate and preach abstenance, fine but don’t think we’ll end tean pregnancy.

  23. 23 Ron S. from Ft Myers Florida
    February 20, 2009 at 15:36

    I am very glad to see this on-air today.

    I have to comment on that last question re: safe sex being unrealistic.

    THAT is nonsense! In this day and age where STD’s and AIDS run rampant, where is the PROOF it doesn’t work? If he tries to state teen pregnancies and STD’s..is THIS a result of failed safe sex? I have been pracitcing safe sex for as long as I have been sexually active..no STD’s, no pregnancies from the women I have dated..see a pattern here? Look…I know there are a lot of people who won’t because they feel “uncomfortable” or some other reason. Don’t make such a blanket statement without showing the statistics of those who DO realistically practice safe sex…and successfully to boot.

    Plus…where are the PARENTS of these teens? If ANY teenager is having sex, even after being told what to do and how to protect themselves, do we STILL blame THAT on safe sex failing?

  24. 24 Jeff in Cleveland Heights
    February 20, 2009 at 15:55

    I think that choosing to be abstinent and having just an abstinence only sexual education available to you are two completely different subjects. Of course it’s possible to choose to be abstinent – many people do and find it’s the right lifestyle for them. However, to be deprived of the basic knowledge of human sexuality and reproduction based on the ridiculous idea that if I teach it I condone it is criminal. Even the most basic kitchen appliance comes with a set of instructions yet some teens are expected to live their lives without the knowledge of how to prevent pregnancy or, more importantly, sexually transmitted diseases which I find to be completely irresponsible and inexcusable.

  25. 25 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    February 20, 2009 at 16:02

    @ viola

    Not to put too fine a Darwinian point on the issue, sex is the mechanism of reproduction, and our surviving offspring, the result of sexual activity, populate future generations.

    After reading Malthus, who said that many, many more creatures were born than could survive long enough to reproduce, Charles Darwin was given the clue to the mechanism as to why some lineages of creatures survived and others didn’t: they left more offspring, who in turn survived long enough to leave more.

    I’m a devoted student of Darwin, but he was born 200 years ago, a lot has changed since his day, and I am a post-Darwinian. We can now manipulate when, if and how many offspring we reproduce. A woman in Los Angeles recently had octuplets as a result of fertility treatments. Some people abstain from sex. Some people have children at times of their own choosing (I had two when my husband and I decided we were prepared for parenthood.)

    We are no longer tied to the Mathusian imperative—IF we regard it intellectually. Biologically, Malthus still obtains. We will not overcome our ancient impulses with outdated religious teachings. We need must consider our current options, while never forgetting our primal impulses.

  26. 26 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    February 20, 2009 at 16:06

    @Ron S. — Can we really blame parents if they have made their best efforts to teach their children? I think most parents don’t like to think of their children being sexually active at all and from my experience most parents try to promote abstinence for simple reasons of discomfort. However, even with parents who give very good and open lessons on safe sex, children can still go out, have sex, and get pregnant.

    While family culture can be blamed for a lot, I am not convinced that parents should always be held responsible.

  27. 27 Monica in DC
    February 20, 2009 at 16:17

    Education Education Education!!! Teach kids what can happen when they have sex, push condoms, talk about abstinance but only along with the rest of it. Kids are going to have sex regardless, so at least teach them to be safe about it.

  28. February 20, 2009 at 16:19

    Even after the health classes and warnings, I had sea at an early age. If given the chance to do it over again, I probably would have done the same thing. But my sister in law is 17, been with her boyfriend for 4 years, and swears that they have not had sex at all. It is a personal preference that can be dictated by the environment that you grow up in. If you grow up hiding sex or thinking it is dirty or shameful, it would be easier abstain for years I’m sure. If you grow up comfortable with your body and your self then you may be willing to partake when you want, and at an earlier age. It is easier to not miss what you have never known. I can be solved simply: All kids at about 11-13 years old should be made to watch the birth of a baby while sitting in a daycare. That would stop them dead in their tracks.

  29. 29 Steve in Boston
    February 20, 2009 at 17:02

    Abstinence worked for me because when the Sexual Revolution came in the 1960’s. all the girls thought I was a conscientious objector. 😦

    Abstinence today won’t work because there are too many safety nets and no real motivation to abstain. The social taboos are gone, abortion is readily available, there are free VD clinics, they teach kids how to put on condoms in middle school, and there’s no punishment. Why abstain? Unwed teen mothers who keep their kids are given free welfare and food stamps, and glorified in the media.

    Western civilization has capitulated in the battle against teen sex. It’s never going to change unless some new disease crops up and people start dying in droves, or unless the upcoming economic maelstrom releases a tidal wave of anger against the liberalism that has resulted in teens and pre-teens, overstimulated by all the free porn in the internet, spending their idle time in a frenzy of fornication.

  30. 30 k (the American) in Morocco
    February 20, 2009 at 17:33

    Is abstinance realistic? Absolutely, given a specific environment, culture, and upbringing.

    Is abstinance realistic for the majority of young adults in the United States? Not given the current climate, though it is possible for some (including myself and my sister, aged 25 and 22, respectively).

    I did not have abstinance-only education: my mother showed me a condom and how to use it when I was 11; she told us that if we got pregnant that she would love us no matter what and even go so far as to adopt any children to prevent other decisions from being made if we all agreed it was best, and was honest about STDs, HIV/AIDS, and other reproductive issues.

    After graduating college, I worked as a patient educator (mainly birth control counseling and education) at an abortion clinic, which was a heartbreaking place to be, with women making what was often the hardest decision of their lives. Seeing girls come in, aged 13, 15, 18, who knew nothing about the implications of sex, nothing about STIs, or even basic anatomy or the function of sperm or menstration was common.

    Young people like to be respected, not condescended to. Telling them that the decision to have sex is an adult decision and should only be made by adults is appropriate, but equally appropriate is letting them know that if they decide to make the decision, they must equally take adult responsibilities by protecting themselves and their partner, and fully understanding the consequences.

    Peace ,
    k.

  31. 31 archibald in oregon
    February 20, 2009 at 17:38

    Jee whiz……..sex education sounds better………..

  32. 32 Listener
    February 20, 2009 at 17:53

    If you don’t encourage people to focus on Sex, Money, and Drug through the culture channels, such as media, the world will have more political riots. We just need to be more responsible to our own life. It is dirty, ugly and dangerous out there.

  33. 33 Andrew
    February 20, 2009 at 18:02

    In an ideal world, there would a standard code of morality that all would follow. In an ideal world kids wouldn’t be having sex with each other until of legal age. In an ideal world people would be responsible with their sexual activities. To quote Judge Judy, “It ain’t gonna happen!”

    When I wander my local shopping area after school is out I see too many uniformed kids for want of a better word, getting it on with each other on the street in full view. Now if these kids, supposedly from religious based private schools (the UK public schools) are doing this and this is the trend of the newer generations, then how can anyone expect a global situation to improve. Society and morality tends to spiral progressively to the worst and nothing short of an earth shattering change of mind will alter that.

    The 12 year old kids I see every day want to be adults, they want to have it all because this generation is over indulged, no boundaries, no discipline so what do you expect. Everyone else does it and they want to experience it for themselves. just like drinking, just like drugs, in fact anything else you care to name. Abstinence must be a real laugh for kids these days if they are told of it. For the most part.

  34. 34 viola
    February 20, 2009 at 18:06

    Abstinence only works for persons with extraordinarily strong, intelligent, independent-minded and well-educated people. The rest of us better try something else while we get to be those things..

    Canada

  35. 35 Susanna
    February 20, 2009 at 18:07

    Abstinence may not be unrealistic, but abstinence-only education is. Abstinence-only sex education has been proven to have no effect whatsoever on how early people start having sex, or what percentage of them do.

    Abstinence-only educated kids have sex as much or more often than others, and they have it less safely, leading to more teenage pregnancies and more STDs.

    In countries with liberal sex ed, teenagers start sex later and have it more safely.

  36. 36 viola
    February 20, 2009 at 18:08

    Boy, I messed up that sentence. Strike out “persons with” and it’ll make more sense.

  37. February 20, 2009 at 18:10

    It is possible. I am 21 and abstinate. It call comes down to if you want to be abstinate. If you say in the back of your mind that you are going to fail then you will.

    My faith is what keeps me abstinate. If you have no real reason for not having sex then you will most likely have sex because there is nothing for you to work twords.

    Anthony Mendoza
    Reno, NV

  38. 38 monine rodriguez
    February 20, 2009 at 18:14

    Abstinence never existed. People have been having sex since the beginning of time and it has always led to babies. Our real crime is to refuse proper education for young people who are going to explore. The message should not be “dont have sex” because people are going to have sex. the message should be “take responsibility if your are.” and it is parents and societies job to provide preventative options. by not providing education and options for our kids, we are setting them up for teen parenthood.

  39. 39 Venessa
    February 20, 2009 at 18:17

    Of course abstinence is realistic, however it is a personal choice. It’s absurd to think that everyone should subscribe to the same moral code.

  40. 40 tobias weber
    February 20, 2009 at 18:21

    What’s this talk about abstinence really about – I find the concept frightingly conservative and backward? Sex, is foremost a private and personally intimate matter and there is no institution (church or state) which may acquire a position in defining what is right for my life. Sex is part of our human culture and we should liberally accept, that it is not wrong. It is wrong to try and impose an idea (religously or ethically induced) as this will definately be imposing on a persons individual freedom, which stands above all.

    To be abstinent in itself, bears no value. Yes, for some it is easy. Others see it as an important part in their lives. We should accept, the different views upon it and not misuse sex and sexuality as an instrument of oppression.

    More importantly we need eg. Islam, the Catholic Church and the state to take on their responsabilities in educating in Safe Sex but also creating an envrionment for (young) people to make qualified judgements about their lives.

  41. 41 Emily
    February 20, 2009 at 18:21

    Abstinence programs look foolish when they try to scare teens out of sex with comments about the bad effects of sex. Teens quickly realize that sex is normal, otherwise the human race would end. If we want sexual education programs to be effective we need to acknowledge that sex and sexual feelings are not just plain sins. There IS ALWAYS a right place and time to have sex and we need to help teens find that instead of making them feel like their sexuality is wrong. When we stifle sexuality it comes out in the wrong ways, sexual abuse, depression, and immaturity.

    Sex makes the world go ’round!

  42. 42 Myng
    February 20, 2009 at 18:23

    I don’t think abstinence only education is a safe idea. I think having frank discussions regarding sexual activity with children at an early age provides them with the tools necessary to make better decisions when they are faced with sexual situations. Abstinence only education not only fails to teach people about risk, it also continues to reinforce that sex and sexuality are tools of power.

    I think the Palins are a shining example of the failure of abstinence only education and sexual obsession.

    That said, true abstinence is the only 100% sure way of avoiding STIs and unintended pregnancies. Barring abstinence, awareness of safe and healthy sexual practices is the next best thing.

    What is so difficult about that?

  43. 43 Nathan J Smith from Denver
    February 20, 2009 at 18:24

    I’m a 30 year old man who has been abstinent for the last 8months. it’s not impossible for a man to be abstinent. I’ve been free of STD’s my entire life and plan to stay that way because i practice self control.

  44. 44 Paige
    February 20, 2009 at 18:24

    Adhering to an abstinent lifestyle takes a lot of discipline and work, while succumbing to temptation takes very little discipline.

    When it comes to adults, if one can be happy and make meaningful relationships without having sex, then more power to you! I hope it’s fufilling. But when it comes to teaching our children – they are not known for their experiential knowledge or discipline. So teach your kids about condoms, because abstinence IS unrealistic for young people defiantly looking to take in the whole world.

    I would like to mention that in the US, often one of the main building blocks of a romantic relationship is sex, and if a couple is not having it, then something is assumed to be wrong. In other countries where marriages are arranged between virgins, or where people live by a conservative religious code denoting their sexual duties, I can see abstinece being more socially expected, therefore acceptable.

    ~Paige in Oregon

  45. 45 Jason Taylor
    February 20, 2009 at 18:25

    I’m 27, living in America, I went to public school and have watched T.V. and movies my whole life. I also have never had sex. People use these things as excuses. I’ve had chances to have sex and refused. Sorry, society does not force you to have sex with anyone. It’s a personal choice. Seriously, just keep it in your pants.

  46. 46 Orsonwelles
    February 20, 2009 at 18:27

    Abstinence is a personal decision. The real question for society is whether the sex education we provide gives kids the emotional and intellectual tools they need to make this decision. If Sarah Palin’s daughter had been able to openly discuss sex with her parents, would she have made the decision to have a child at such a young age? How will it affect this child to know that their parents got married only for the sake of the child? Is that really a healthy marriage?

    Although many people have said that condoms and safe sex information is readily available, I think there is still a stigma that prevents people from continuing to learn about how to keep themselves safe. As a nurse, I hear about people using ziplock bags instead of condoms, having oral sex and thinking they can’t get STDs. There is still so much misinformation out there, and people are embarrassed to ask.

    As a society, we cannot mandate people’s behavior. We can only strive to give them the information they need to make decisions that are right for them.

  47. 47 Elizabeth
    February 20, 2009 at 18:29

    People will always have sex, and teens are certainly no exception. The main contributor to unwanted pregnancies and STDs is ignorance, and this should be the main focus of improving sexual health as opposed to abstinence. FREE & THOUROUGH sex education is fundamental. Why do sexual acts have to be “temptations” or “avoided”? We are no longer living in biblical times, and infiltrating language with euphemisms and fear creates an unsupportive environment, and will only keep people from becoming sexually healthy.

  48. 48 Jeff
    February 20, 2009 at 18:31

    There is a big difference between not being abstinent and being a slut. Choosing to have sex before marriage does not necessarily mean you are sleeping with multiple partners or even being overly promiscuous.

  49. 49 Jennifer
    February 20, 2009 at 18:31

    Dear mom,

    Thanks for the sex education! Glad I chose abstinence.

    Love,
    Jennifer

  50. 50 Tash
    February 20, 2009 at 18:33

    I am quite disappointed with what I am hearing on this show when i was just listenning in my car at lunch. Abstinence is practicable, possible and people are doing it. Maybe not the majority and its not easy but it can be done by both males and females. I am a Chrisitan and do beleive that with God’s help we can live fullfiled happy lives without sex before we get married or even if we don’t.

    Yes we live in a world filled where sex is protrayed everywhere but if we guard our heart and minds and get active doing other productive things its poosible.

  51. 51 Jonathan in sunny San Francisco
    February 20, 2009 at 18:34

    It’s possible to live on just bread and water too, but the question is, why would one?

  52. 52 Maccus Germanis
    February 20, 2009 at 18:34

    Whether an idividual should decide to abstain, or experiment, it is a great shame that anyone should think it unrealistic to make and adhere to a decision.

  53. 53 David A. Naess
    February 20, 2009 at 18:34

    I hear a lot of people talking about abstinance being a mater of SOCIETY.

    Abstinance is 100% a matter of SELF CONTROL.

  54. 54 Dennis Junior
    February 20, 2009 at 18:35

    As per Elizabeth’s comments at 18.29Hours…About people will always have sexual relations…No matter what abstinence is in popularity or not…

    ~Dennis Junior~

  55. 55 Josh
    February 20, 2009 at 18:38

    The Abstinence Only education programs have lost any inklings of credibility they may have had with today’s youth. For to long they have tried to use misleading statistics and scare tactics to keep young people from having pre-marital sex. their disregard for truth and honesty have lead to a generation that largely distrust their elders on everything from Sex to Drugs and even Education itself. Until these organizations embrace a fact based approach that respects science and nature they will continue to fight a losing battle, and endangering the lives of young people by denying them important information about their reproductive health that can be as simple as teaching them the importance of using a condom if they choose to engage in sexual activity.

  56. 56 Paul
    February 20, 2009 at 18:40

    Speaking as an American from New York, we are constantly inundated with sexual images on tv, in video games, in magazines, etc., both in advertising as well as part of the actual presentation. To expect young people, especially teenagers who are going through the hormone changes, to be able to be abstinent without help is entirely unrealistic. They need to be educated young, just before puberty, and helped throughout puberty. Physical exertion such as exercise would even help to some degree, but they need the self-confidence to be able to resist all the peer-pressure and societal pressure. Growing up as a male, sex was considered the end-all-be-all of a relationship. Your friends brag about who they slept with, making it a rite of passage, and an event akin to scoring a home run in a baseball game. Until that perception changes, this “problem” will still exist.

  57. 57 John Walker
    February 20, 2009 at 18:41

    In Australia marriage is happening later in peoples lives, so sex before marriage is the norm, peer pressure is a major concern. Education is a solution. The threat of Sexually Transmitted disease is high, easing the availability of preventative messures is needed.

  58. 58 Paige
    February 20, 2009 at 18:44

    I would like to witness what it’s like to live in a country where peoples’ self-esteem isn’t tied up in their sexual desirability.

    Even as children, my peers were concerned with their bodies and appearance, and their attractiveness to the opposite sex. This really affects self esteem.

    Do people have such prevalent adolescent low self-esteem in abstinent countries?

  59. February 20, 2009 at 18:45

    We need not live our lives as if we have no control over our instincts. Sex must take place in marriage.

  60. 60 Rory
    February 20, 2009 at 18:46

    I have spent many years working in Dubai. It is a wonderful concept to have a virginal bride- as it was in the Western tradition some years ago. But it was of interest to me that in the EMirates, Arab men sleep around a great deal. Just like the trail of cars across the bridge from Dharan to Bahrain so that Saudi’s can drink and have women as intimate companions.
    There are two points here.
    One is the status of men in a culture, and what is expected of the women if they are to be life partners. Many women in the Arabian world have cosmetic treatment to restore virginity to appease the cultural mores.
    The other point is- what is allowed as the forbidden apple. If you are told you cannot- then you will try – it is human curiosity.
    And something that may need discussion – where does one draw the line? What is sex? I hate to talk about the Clinton case- but we have to ask ourself what is considered sex. In my view there is a case for abstinence- I grew up as a catholic- it was taught- it did not stop us trying – but it did put brakes on. And as the current Darwin series makes you wonder- why do we spend so much time being sexual? Some call it anamilistic- but it is a natural function. Has Holland the right answer with sex education?

    Best Regards
    Rory Kilalea

  61. 61 Cath
    February 20, 2009 at 18:49

    I would not encourage abstinence. I “saved myself” until marriage, and it was not until after the marriage ended 20 years later and I dated other people that I realised how dysfunctional our relationship, especially our sex life, was. If I had had more experience I’m sure I would have made a better marriage choice. I would not encourage abstinence, but I would encourage better use, understanding, and avialability of contraception.

  62. 62 Phil Smith
    February 20, 2009 at 18:50

    During the time I listened a number of Moslem women spoke in praise of abstinence and moral sexual behaviour. Yet my experience here, in Indonesia, and my wife’s experience in Dubai, indicate middle eastern men are not averse to sex outside marriage – before and during their own marriages!

  63. 63 Juan Holmes
    February 20, 2009 at 18:52

    I think that the question being addressed is the wrong one; if we are discussing this from the standpoint of Bristol Palin, the question should not be whether abstinence is “possible” or “realistic”, but whether or not we should be demanding it from our youth. The idea that society is more (or less) sexualized currently is ridiculous; we’re talking about the primary recreational activity for humans for millennia.

    The issue here is that Miss Palin comes from a segment of American society that still believes that “abstinence-only” education is the only way to go, despite a preponderance of evidence that the students of those programs – Miss Palin included – have more sex and less safe sex than their peers who have received complete and factually-accurate educations.

    If the question is whether or not abstinence is possible, then the answer is yes. If the question becomes whether or not is should be demanded of people coming into their sexual prime, then you’re talking about demanding a black-and-white religious moral absolute on a greyscale world – particularly when discussing this particular case, which takes place in a country that supposedly has religious freedom.

  64. February 20, 2009 at 18:52

    Sex, married or unmarried, should be understood in the context of personal responsibilty and potential self sacrifice which sexuality inherently demands. As much suffering and socially problems is the result of sexually active people who are not ready or willing to bare the consequences of their actions.

  65. 65 Natalia from Poland
    February 20, 2009 at 18:52

    I’m in my twenties (24)and honestly all of my friends,either couples or single are having sex, safe sex before marriage.Enjoy life, when U are an adult! I think it’s normal in our age.Teenagers,on the other hand, should be sexually educated and stay abstinate till they’re grown- ups.

  66. February 20, 2009 at 18:57

    An important subtext we’re not addressing in this important conversation is the nature of the adolescent decision-making process. More knowledge is not the answer. We must shift our paradigm regarding how teens make decisions. The research in adolescent brain development indicates that teens don’t make decisions based on knowledge and logical processes. To encourage teens to make healthy choices and avoid high-risk behavior, we must transform our educational methods. A more sophisticated, brain-based approach that appeals to how teens actually make decisions will better serve youth and enhance their ability to make healthier choices. This is particularly effective when educators can cultivate a trusting, meaningful relationship with teens.

  67. 67 Dramane
    February 20, 2009 at 18:59

    Abstinence depends on a number of facts.In a society where young boys have a total freedom of staying out late at night with young girlsor vice versa, in a society where pornography is accessed by many teenagers,abstinece is more likely to suffer a heavy blow.
    However,i agree on the fact that abstinence is realistic.It all boils down to self control.
    It is up to our modern societies to educate and encourage young people to abtain from sex.

  68. 68 Lovemore
    February 20, 2009 at 19:01

    If you tell people, especially teenagers, that abstenance is unrealistic, you are simply telling them to go out there and have sex. They will not even try to give heed to abstenance messages.

  69. 69 André
    February 20, 2009 at 19:14

    ‘Abstinence’ is often a puerile fantasy; what we are talking about is a basic human function like eating and a demystified sexuality is similar to masturbation performed as an act of communication. Mostly sex is just a signal flag for other issues: ‘am I attractive’, ‘does anyone want me’, sundry ‘great expectations’, ‘being the full quid’, pride, vanity, etc. People living according to the goat-herding ethic of segregation and compulsion e.g. many Moslems, can’t really comment on anything other than a very narrow concept of sexuality. The melting pot of cultures and mores in most societies leads to confusing, shimmering comparisons that your show is exploiting. Typically ‘western’ people do not take enough pride in the long journey our culture has gone in this area, and the knowledge it has gained along the way. What is ugly about sexuality is that it is full of exploitation and manipulation: that is something that can be legitimately questioned, yet young people are not really able to articulate this very well: that is where we should make some improvement in western culture, which unfortunately relies heavily on manipulation, coercion, and exploitation, in many ways; mainly serving non egalitarianism, keeping up the barriers between the haves and have nots.

  70. 70 jonathan
    February 20, 2009 at 19:15

    There was allot of talk on the program about peer pressure being a major cause of teenage promiscuity. Were any of these people ever teenagers? Heres a new theory teenagers want to have sex because they are teenagers. Unless there is a clear cultural value and respect for abstinence, sex, and intimacy there wont be any change.

    Sex education and scare tactics about stds and pregnancy are not going to change things because teens rarely think of consequences.

  71. 71 Jennifer
    February 20, 2009 at 19:26

    Re: I think the Palins are a shining example of the failure of abstinence only education and sexual obsession.

    Yo; Sarah Palin does not endorse abstinence only sex education.

    Sexual obsession? haha

    .

  72. 72 archibald in oregon
    February 20, 2009 at 19:41

    Jennifer,
    At least you were given a choice…….. I thought it best not to use guilt and fear of the unknown to make you comply with what I selfishly thought was best for you.
    love, Mom

  73. 73 gio dushenko
    February 20, 2009 at 20:35

    i dont want to tell same words or feel same feelings to my wife ,wich i olrady told to many girls before.
    i dont want to change partners wary often ,bekos then i will be inhabited to change partners often.and life with only one wife will might bekome too boring)

  74. 74 Julia
    February 20, 2009 at 21:49

    Abstinence is totally realistic. The saddest thing about the debate is the emphasis that it is some animal function or it’s just fun. This leaves out the fact that it is special. The whole emphasis in the US today is that your self-worth is tied up to your body. Everyone is asking if you are hot enough? How many girls are not just exploring but giving into peer pressure,or doing it to prove their love or to show that their grown up. WHAT ABOUT THESE ISSUES? Is that what we want to encourage. Or tell little boys that they really don’t have self control and certainly shouldn’t try to exercise any if they did. That is ridiculous and a cop out. Sex has consequences like any other choice you make, its not just for fun.

  75. 75 Emilio Largo
    February 20, 2009 at 22:36

    Abstinence is really the way to go in the 21st century. For the most part the concept is misunderstood and usually brought up in the subject of preventing teenagers from having sex. To me, its more of a health choice than a moral one. I can’t say the I constantly practiced it, but if I got AIDs or hepatitus all I could I was practicing risky behavior. Every time a person doesn’t practice abstinence from sex they are rolling the dice and kids really need to know the risks for their own health and safety.

  76. 76 Marge
    February 21, 2009 at 04:59

    reply to Victork.

    I agree some men are capable of disciplining sexual impulses. Far too many don’t. The jails have many men incarcerated for sexual crimes such as rape, incest, pornography and sexual assault. Very few women – if any – commit such crimes.

    Re AIDS, unfortunatly on the increase. Many homosexual males have hundreds of partners in their sexual lives – homosexuality goes without responsibility – no children to care for.

    I repeat abstinence is more realistic for women, despite the sexual daily bombardment from the media . Perhaps we are capable of more personal responsibility than men.

  77. 77 Vernon
    February 21, 2009 at 11:42

    What’s this about abstinence? Are we talking to monks or what? Abstinence until marriage though (the marrige part is not emphasised enough) is or was a perfectly respectable notion until promiscuity took off. My history was not typical,I know, due to social fears but abstinence till about the age of 23 or so, an acceptable age for marriage, would have been fine with me:
    At 17 – it was like a dream to even take a girl on a dance date with nothing but dancing.
    At 20 holding hands for the first time.
    At 22 my first girl friend, hugging and kissing without a thought for anything more.
    At 25 lost virginity but I should have been married by then shouldn’t I?

  78. 78 Emile Barre
    February 21, 2009 at 12:22

    This is a matter for the rational mind of any individual. Abstinence is not wrong and neither is promiscuity. However, anyone who rationally, as distinct from consciously,engages in unprotected sex deserves everything they get.

  79. 79 Ubong Okon
    February 22, 2009 at 18:27

    if we are sincere to the religion we profess, the issue of abstinence will not arise because no genuine religion support sex outside marriage no matter how you look at it.

  80. February 22, 2009 at 18:58

    i don’t know..i guess it’s possible. i am 26 and still a virgin (not by choice though – i think i was too geeky for the ladies😉 ). but i think the question is about abstinence – which i think is possible. its more a matter of will and self discipline not about religion and preaching.

  81. 81 Daniel Sisa
    February 23, 2009 at 15:37

    To avoid being redundant I will only point out that abstinence used to be a religious command from the past, so we as a society must evolve and get rid of all this taboos from the past that may have had their reasons thousands of years ago, but not anymore. We have the right to question rules that were made by far less prepared people. Our world now has more wisdom than before so it’s time to change. It’s healthy to meet your partner once you have had previous experience. That doesn’t mean you need to be promiscuous.

  82. 82 Maddy
    February 25, 2009 at 00:48

    I think that abstinence or at least being very careful about who and how many people you have sex with allows more trust into relationships, which can increase the longevity of a relationship. I believe that abstinence is definitely realistic, but I also believe in openness and thorough education in order to understand all sides of the argument.

    In response to some of the comments about homosexuality:
    We have now got to the point where about an equal number of straight and homosexual people contract AIDS in the west.
    I don’t think it is right to assume that homosexuality goes without responsibility. All humans have responsibility whether or not they have children.
    I also don’t think you can assume that gay people are more promiscuous than straight people. That might be the media distortion or what our society sees, but in reality people who are gay are the same as straight people except for the obvious difference.

  83. 83 John in Germany
    February 25, 2009 at 15:23

    Talk it to death.

    One of the most enjoyable part of being in love is the sex. Why be abstinent?. A very biological way to keep mankind in the market, has been discussed, and talked into the ground.

    It someone doesn’t want to Ok. but why write books about it, cause trouble because of it. Put young people into a problem zone where they can sometimes ruin their lives. Why is sex dirty, Why should people wait for marriage before having sex, if they want to have it before. A careful education of our children to teach them that love is better first, the cream on the cake being the sex when one is sure, then all is ok.

    I feel that some youngsters mix the two up and think sex is love, and not a part of it. But it is still no reason to be abstinent.

    Hey some of the medium does nothing but titillate its viewers 24hrs a day. Could it be the time we live in?

    What a lovely World.

    John in Germany

  84. 84 V.K.
    February 25, 2009 at 21:15

    well, this is quite timely for me…i’m 33, yes, 33 and a virgin. i think i’m normal🙂 i’m not bad looking. but i did have a very bad experience when i was about 19. i wasn’t in love with the person i was dating so i didn’t want to be intimate with him. after that i’ve had to work a lot and have focused on graduate school. and honestly, i had not found anybody i wanted to be that intimate with. that is, until a few months ago, when i did found my soulmate. now, all the MANY barriers i had have simply disappeared. and it’s not about having sex or not, or doing this and not that, but really about love. i had not been in love before, not the way i’m now. that’s all there is to it, i think.

  85. 85 John in Germany
    February 26, 2009 at 12:55

    Hi VK
    There we go, just as you like it, in your own time with no more complications. I wish you and your loved one, all the best for the future.

    Yes that is all there is to it.

    Greetings.
    John in Germany

  86. 86 vk
    February 27, 2009 at 02:08

    thanks for your good wishes, john. and yes, you’re right, it’s quite something.

  87. 87 yodit
    March 7, 2009 at 09:20

    yes I think abstinence is realistic and possible, but also i know that there are challenges especially to the teens to abstain all the time. so abstinence should be supported by the whole of the social environment. it could start by helping the teens to learn to take responsibilities about their life, to learn to identify critically what is at stake in their life and to what things they should give priority, and also to ask the right questions about how they feel. we humans under any circumstances have the right to choose and we should help each other to make right choices. i think these are the ways and processes how we all can make abstinence realistic.

  88. June 19, 2009 at 07:05

    You guys are awesome🙂 keep up the good work.


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