I’ve been surprised by the number of people who have e-mailed me about my syndicated column this week on Planned Parenthood and the impossibility of abstinence in their worldview (everything is about sex) to say, essentially, yeah, so what? I’m beginning to wonder the percentage of dads with teenage girls who think this way; an e-mail:
I’m afraid that a lot of people’s idea of abstinence would match up with Planned Parenthood’s, or if they thought about it, wouldn’t care if their daughter’s only violation of abstinence was masturbation. Look at parents’ fears about sex and their daughters:pregnancydiseaseviolent loversshame about daughter’s gaining the reputation as a loose girl or them gaining reputation as poor parentsdaughter’s emotional turmoil if lover leaves them/cheatsdaughter sticking with the “wrong” guy as a result of having sex with him Masturbation avoids all of these. Yes, folks who believe that masturbation is wrong will still want their daughters to abstain from it. But a lot of folks believe that the problem with teen sex is that it is dangerous, not that it is immoral. To them, masturbation is not a problem.
I’m not a dad of a teenage girl, so tell me. The attitude above speaks to a desperation. Culture is overwhelming. Hormones are running wild. Examples of living a full life are lacking. But we need to want and expect and teach more. Again, that’s what real abstinence education that’s going to have a shot at working will do. It has to be offered in conjunction with parents and teachers and churches who consider these kids fully alive persons whose characters are being formed and who deserve to be treated and think of themselves as more than lustful animals.