In my 7th grade sex ed class we were shown a diagram chart of kisses—not as hot as it sounds—ranging from tongueless to a full-on tonsil sports reference. The teacher said if a girl kissed a boy with her tongue she never got over it, and that the first boy to arouse a girl would "have her heart" for the rest of her life. I squirmed in my pink corduroy overalls. I know I look like I spent 7th grade writing extra-credit reports on dragon books, but that didn't take up every day—I had already done the tongue kissing, and I had experienced arousal, but I needed my heart for circulation things. I was horrified that I'd only be able to think about the pizza-flavored, braces-clashing french kiss for the rest of my life, instead of future husband Matthew Perry. One of the tenets of abstinence-only sex ed is that when one engages in sexual activity, women fall in love while men just fall in pussy. My least favorite piece of misogyny this week is the inherent sexism of abstinence-only sexual education.
Currently congress Republicans are working to halt the nomination of Nina Pillard to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals because of an article she wrote criticizing gender stereotypes in abstinence-only curricula. That's so crazy! I didn't know Republicans read articles about education. Pillard writes: “Painting all males with the brush of sexual brutishness both naturalizes the wrong done by the rapist and obscures the good of the non-aggressor... Failure to acknowledge women’s very real and powerful sexual urges also abets sexual abuse and rape: If women are taught to deny their desire, their ‘no’s’ appear ambiguous, making it easier for men to believe that no means yes—i.e., that male insistence will merely lead to what both ‘really’ want.”
Abstinence-only sex ed perpetuates the idea that women don't actually want sex, rendering our natural urges tainted, and not just the taint urges. Abstinence-only sex ed reinforces the idea that men are the sexual ones and that women are just looking for a husband to take care of them. It made me feel ashamed for my desires at a very young age, which negatively affected the way I responded to sexuality as I grew up. Slut shaming can have harmful affects on a woman's self esteem, men and women's response to feeling sexually objectified, and it can perpetuate rape culture. The teacher told us that the first man a woman is aroused by will be the one she thinks about for the rest of her life during sex. That's so wrong. I don't think about the 12-year-old oboist from band camp every time I have sex. I think about all 12 year olds. Additionally, abstinence only education completely disregards queer people, so I think we should disregard it! Women can want and enjoy sex just as much as a man! That has been my least favorite piece of misogyny this week, tune in next week to find out what riddle the troll asked me when I answered, "Um... is it a fish?"