There Is Nothing Old-Fashioned About Teaching Kids Abstinence

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There’s a divide about the way we approach sex education in this country. Some areas of the country focus on topics like consent and using contraception as though it’s assumed that all teens will be having sex. Other schools are so intent on teaching abstinence only that they remove references to abortion and birth control from science textbooks. But a survey performed by the CDC in 2013 reported that 46.8 % of high school students surveyed were sexually active. And while that’s a significant portion, it’s not all teens, and those who are choosing not to have sex because they simply aren’t ready deserve to be addressed.

As a mother of two young boys who will be old enough for the sex talk sooner than I care to admit, Camille’s words have made me rethink how I will approach the topic of sex with my children. Yes, we will talk about consent. I will make sure they have access to and know how to use a condom. But we will also be discussing the emotional effects of sharing your body with another person, how having a strong connection with the person can change how you feel about the sexual experience, and why they should respect both themselves and their partners enough to wait until they feel an strong emotional connection before having sex. There’s a place between condoning casual sex and teaching pure abstinence that too often gets excluded from the sex discussion with teens. Teaching our kids that it’s okay to wait isn’t old-fashioned, it’s teaching them a lesson in respect for themselves and others.

(image: Kerstin Waurick/

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