Friday, July 6, 2012

"Abstinence-only" : The American sex psychosis

When Paris Hilton publicly announced two years ago her intention to regain her lost virginity to give to her future husband through an operation of the hymen, the tabloids were surprised by the conservative shift taken by the girl made famous on the Web by a sextape. The story does not say if the starlet finally underwent the surgery, but these reports had highlighted the importance, for at least part of American society, virginity at marriage.

This culture of abstinence is subsidized by the federal government and has been distilled to public school for twenty years, particularly under the two terms of Republican George W. Bush. Who, as governor of Texas, had spent at least $10 million in 1995 in the sex education program "abstinence-only", designed to teach young Americans that the best way to protect themselves from dangers of sex - sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and teenage pregnancy - is to remain a virgin as long as possible, if they can not wait until marriage. Learning that is not accompanied by information on contraception.However, as shown in the American think tank Think Progress, numerous studies have shown that abstinence programs failed to prevent early pregnancy among U.S. adolescents, quite the contrary. For example, Mississippi, whose program public sex education is that abstinence-only, in 2010 had the highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country (55 per 1000).

In 2007, a federal report from Mathematica Policy Research presented the conclusion of its study on the results of abstinence programs in these terms: they "have no impact on rates of sexual abstinence."

The pro-abstinence movement has grown in the United States in the late 1970s, driven by conservative Christians, who wish to influence the content of sex education provided to American children, says Claire hail-Favier, PhD candidate in American studies, in his article "Abstinence only?"

In textbooks distributed in class, the model given to children is that of a society marked according to very strict codes. According to the eight points established during the reform of the Welfare System of 1996 (p. 250 of PDF), schools must include teaching children that "a faithful monogamous relationship in the context of marriage is the norm on condition that the activity sex can take place "and" that sexual activity outside of marriage is highly likely to cause harmful psychological and physical effects ".

However, the two researchers are careful to emphasize that there is a "very significant proportion of Americans who do not adhere to standards of moral conservatism" and that there is "a heterogeneity of moral attitudes in the U.S. States".

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