Missionary Position


| November 8, 2002


Missionary Position

The D.C. school system has begun teaching abstinence-only classes as an alternative to sex education in their junior high and middle schools. The curriculum, called 'I'm Worth the Wait,' focuses on building self-esteem and convincing children to wait for sex until marriage.

Helena Valentine, program administrator of Catholic Charities' Teen Life Choices (TLC) programs, tells Christina Larson in the Washington City Paper that she wants to give teens hope and help them develop their futures. 'But if the student wants to talk about sex or contraception,' writes Larson, 'Valentine cuts the discussion short. 'No, there's absolutely no discussion of condoms. This is a total abstinence program. If it's mentioned, we say there's no such thing as safe sex.''

Classes such as TLC instead offer advice on how to take care of acne, since the program's founders believe that children who feel good about their selves and are happy with their appearance are less likely to engage in premarital sex. Thirty-one percent of teen births in the D.C. school district are repeat pregnancies, but kids who already have had sex are not vilified by the program, which sells students the idea of 'secondary virginity' as long as they postpone further sexual activity until marriage.
--Nick Garafola
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