The UK MP Nadine Dorries, who is many people’s bete noir, especially liberal people, has just had the first stage of a Private Members’ Bill passed in parliament, which would make it law to promote ‘abstinence’ sex education to girls at secondary school. The bill has practically no chance of being passed. But its attempts to get onto the statute books have caused a bit of a stir in -liberal-England.
The best commentary I have read on the subject is by the excellent blogger Heresy Corner. He points out the similarities between Dorries’ ‘anti-sex’ ‘victimised girls/women’ narrative and that of mainstream feminists. He also pointed out that ‘abstinence’ may not be such a bad thing for most teenagers, when they have plenty on their plates at school, in families, with friends, etc.
A more expected, pro-sex education, pro-sex, anti-Dorries account by Sarah Ditum can be found at The Guardian:
Ditum’s article annoyed me in the way it was trying to earn ‘points’ for criticising Dorries for only focussing on girls, as potential victims of predatory boys, but when Ditum did talk about boys sexualities, she referred to ‘boys who have sex with boys’ only in the context of them being ‘more at risk’ of contracting HIV than other groups/combinations of teenagers having sex! I found this heteronormative and actually wrong. HIV is most likely to be contracted by sharing needles and also by an infected person giving birth. But in terms of sex, unprotected sex is the most risky kind, and anal sex does have some added risks, but ‘boys’ and ‘girls’ can both do that!
Ditum also was seeming to push the idea that there is a ‘healthy’ way to do sex in general. In the cif comments thread she said that young people should be encouraged to have sex when they are ‘physically and emotionally mature’ enough. Which, for some people, may be never! I don’t think sex is about being ‘healthy’, beyond taking a responsible attitude to contraception and STIs. The main thing I have learned about sex, is, it is generally pretty fucked up. As pastimes go.
So I think Ms Ditum needs to go back and take some sex education classes. Hopefully Nadine won’t be teaching them, though.