The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 12: Let’s Talk about Sex

January 8, 2009 at 4:47 pm 2 comments

Who doesn’t think of the immortal and saucily-named Salt-n-Pepa when they read the title of this chapter? I’ve always wondered how Spinderella felt, being relegated to the middle “n” position while Salt & Pepa had higher profile positions. She was definitely the hot one…but I digress.

I want to talk about sex. A recent study highlighted the following fact: Teens who take abstinence pledges are just as likely to have sex as teens that don’t. CNN broke it down for me just like that. According to a Johns Hopkins OBGYN, they seem to be “useless.” Fascinating…but there’s more.

William McGurn at the Wall Street Journal points out what may be deemed “the fine print.” The headlines mask the real message of the study:

The first to notice something lost in the translation was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health. Today she serves as health editor for U.S. News & World Report. And in her dispatch on this study, Dr. Healy pointed out that “virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general — a fact that many media reports have missed cold.”

What Dr. Healy was getting at is that the pledge itself is not what distinguishes these kids from most other teenagers. The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:

– These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.

– These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.

– These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.

– When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 — compared to 17 for the typical American teen.

– And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste — amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.

Let’s put this another way. The real headline from this study is this: “Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge.”

 The doctor quoted is named Bernardine- no offense to the Bernardines out there, but I wonder what kind of an impact names have on sexual behavior? This could be another tool for parents concerned about preventing early sexual behavior. Name your child Pincus or Herpesia or Pedofile and they won’t lose their virginity for a long time- maybe never! Again I digress…must be the subject matter.

So as McGurn concludes (If I was him I would give my child the sex-proof name of Chlamydia McGurn) what is more critical is the broader belief set of the youth, more than any specific pledge. This jives with what we learned from previous studies, explained by ABCNews in 2006 (“Racy TV Shows Increase Teen Sex Activity, Study Says”) and CBSNews earlier this year (“Study: Racy TV Linked To Teen Pregnancy”).

Mere exposure to racy TV increases sexual activity, and may even get your daughter pregnant! As an advocate for individual rights I find myself troubled by what may be an effort to control what is on the tube. I can already see the TV rights slogan (modeled after the one used by gun owners): Racy TV Shows don’t get girls pregnant, seemingly polite boys who make bogus virginity pledges get girls pregnant.

Actually, these studies only demonstrate a correlation between sexual activity and risque television programs. As with the virginity pledge study discussed above, the headlines fail to address the sociological factors that affect a variety of choices, including what TV to watch. It just reveals the shocking truth that involved parenting and familial mores has a lot to do with a child’s behavior, sexual and otherwise.

But if you remain unconvinced, name your child Rapist Pervert {Last Name}, R.P for short, and make sure they only watch Veggietales. Better safe than sorry.


Entry filed under: Commentary, Irreverence, News, Television. Tags: , , , , , .

A Tale of Two Six-Year Olds The Following Post takes place between 11:10 and 11:13 AM

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Angela  |  January 12, 2009 at 11:00 am

    I absolutely believe that watching soap operas and other shows which discuss sex caually tend to make a person think of sex in a casual way rather than something to wait until after marriage to have, something everyone does when they are “mature enough” etc . . .

    I can also see how reading a lot of youth books where girls lose there virginity could have the same effect on a teenager just as I can see a correlation between reading fashion magazines and struggling with an eating disorder.

    That is not to say that fashion magazines CAUSE anorexia or that T.V. and trashy books CAUSE slutiness. Alcohol doesn’t cause alcoholism and food doesn’t cause over-eating addictions.

    There are a number of things that can cause someone to be more susceptible to the negative influences around them.

    I would think someone going through a hard adjustment in their life would struggle more. Or someone who feels isolated and alone. I can see how a person with weak ego boundaries who believes they are worthless unless they gain approval from a peer group or from society as a whole would be more prone to being influenced negatively by things around them such as television, magazines, and their peer group.

    I am not saying we need to get rid of all racy television programs to protect such people but I do think there is a great void in many young lives that isn’t being filled properly. Kids need parents and so often television is used as a parent. Sorry to go on so long, I will stop now.

    Thanks for the interesting read.

  • 2. lowdogg  |  January 12, 2009 at 11:09 am

    Thanks for the comment. I was mostly writing in jest. Once I got the line about Racy Shows getting Girls Pregnant I had to run with it.
    In reality, I agree with your comments. This post is mostly for fun.


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