RSVP America Campaign

RSVP America began in 1994 as a grassroots movement to restore legal protection - state by state - for marriage, women, and children.

Global Sex Norms Isn't the Answer

The growing trend of cultural acceptance, at all costs, that permeates every aspect of Western culture (especially in the U.S) actually has bounds. While everyone must accept (and even cheer for) radical Islamic mosques, atheist protests of children’s Christmas pageants and same sex couples, we must not respect, nor accept, unique cultural views on sexuality. It seems that when it comes to sex education, and an individual’s beliefs regarding sex, there needs to be a global norm in order to overcome the outdated, divisive, oppressive views of conservatives across the world.

In a recent, scathing, article from the Washington Post, writer Jonathon Zimmerman, criticizes the lack of progress in a “global norm on sex education”. Interestingly enough, included in his criticisms of conservatives was a very stereotypical liberal response, from a concerned conservative, nonetheless, to proposed cultural changes.

“Consider the reaction to the U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s 2009 International Guidelines on Sexuality Education, which urged schools to address often-ignored topics — including masturbation, abortion and contraception — so that adolescents could develop their own sexual selves. One critic in Singapore blasted the ‘U.S.-centrism’ of the guidelines, which were authored by two American educators. He was echoed by a right-wing opponent in the United States, who decried the standards as a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ that was ‘damaging to cultures, religions, and to children.'”

Unbeknownst to the Singapore critic was the unspoken rule that preserving culture and diversity applies only to issues in which the left agrees with such rhetoric. Preserving and enriching sexuality within the parameters of long held religious and cultural belief systems doesn’t fit the agenda and therefore must be antiquated and, therefore, eradicated.

While this ‘global sexual norm’ is a hard pill to swallow for countries with a strong Muslim presence, it is equally as threatening in Western countries where Christian and Jewish representation is dwindling. The United States has been pushing the idea of children developing their “own sexual selves” for decades through public school sex education. Since it is obviously (according to Zimmerman) the only logical approach to handling the myriad of sexual diseases, unwanted pregnancies and misinformation and abuse occurring worldwide a thorough review of the results here in the U.S. should prove insightful as to its efficacy.

Some very interesting statistics gathered by the Guttmacher Institute show how successful sex-ed really has been:

The United States continues to have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the developed world (68 per 1,000 women aged 15–19 in 2008)—more than twice that of Canada (27.9 per 1,000) or Sweden (31.4 per 1,000)
Exposure to high levels of sexual content on television is associated with an increased risk of initiating sexual activity, as well as a greater likelihood of involvement in teen pregnancy.
Regardless of sex education in schools, whether it stresses abstinence only, contraception, or a mix of both, our culture has a greater influence on children.
Seventy percent of male teens and 79% of female teens report talking with a parent about at least one of six sex education topics: how to say no to sex, methods of birth control, STIs, where to get birth control, how to prevent HIV infection and how to use a condom.
Despite the alarming cry coming from sex-ed proponents that children do not receive sexual advice or education from home, the numbers say differently.
Although there is no evidence indicating that federally-funded abstinence-only-until- marriage education is effective, a recent randomized controlled trial found that in specific cases, abstinence-only education programs that are specifically tailored to the local community and do not criticize contraceptives nor advocate abstinence until marriage can be effective in delaying sexual debut among younger teens.
Lastly, programs that are created specifically for the needs of a community (Jewish, Muslim, Christian, agnostic, etc…) that focuses on abstinence while still sharing other options has been successful.

Teaching local children based on the needs and cultural values of their community goes against everything that is the ‘global sexual norm’ and yet is successful in combating our immoral, hedonistic, morally relative culture whereas sex-ed in its current state is failing. Perhaps Zimmerman should review a few statistics before spouting off about the need for children to realize their sexual selves ( as long it agrees with the global sexual norm, of course) and promote local communities working within their moral and cultural bounds along with the medical community in an effort to keep children safe rather than sexually awakened.