In brief: Nadine Dorries proposes abstinence-only education for GIRLS ONLY

We all  need to speak out about this. Nadine Dorries, the now notorious anti-choice, anti-women Conservative MP, is calling for the sex education bill to be amended to require that sex education in schools include content promoting abstinence to teenage girls. Only girls.

Two things:

1. We know that abstinence-only education does not prevent teenage pregnancies or the spread of STDs in that demographic (google it; this post is brief because my time is brief), so introducing it for any reason is pointless. Realistic, honest and respectful sex education is the only approach worth considering.

2. The sexism of targeting young girls for abstinence-only education is astounding, and reinforces the centuries-old convention that women and girls should not want or be allowed to have non-procreative sex (and should be prevented from doing so, if necessary), while men and boys can do as they like (they have their wild oats to sow, after all).

Speak out (in whichever way you can) against this misogynistic MP and her offensive, puritanical proposals now.

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10 responses to “In brief: Nadine Dorries proposes abstinence-only education for GIRLS ONLY

  1. I think it would be smart to teach about all the things about STDs and how you can get them and how to prevent them but to also teach that not having sex and having self control until you are married is the best way of not getting them. I think the emotional issues of sex need to be pointed out more in sex education. I don’t understand how people can teach ONLY about abstinence or saying that sex is evil when it isn’t and teach no facts of what is going on around the world regarding sexuality. I also don’t understand how people can teach ONLY about sex and how to protect without teaching the beauty of waiting for marriage and how it will create a happier atmosphere (I know a lot of married couples where both people were virgins and it is amazing to me) but that even if you don’t make it through until marriage, it doesn’t mean that you can’t be happy when you do eventually marry.

    • Kids need to learn about all aspects of sex (including safe sex), yes. That’s what I mean by comprehensive sex education. (Assuming that you can’t catch an STD when you’re married is naive, I feel.)

      And I fail to see what marriage has to do with any of it anyway. For a start, marriage is a completely heterocentric and heterosexist convention, and it’s irrelevant to decisions about sex in the here and now, anyway. I have little intention of ever getting married (it’s not an institution in which I am interested, or to which I would be suited) but I intend to have a lot more sex with whomever I please. What about those individuals who agree with my views on marriage and/ or simply never meet anyone they want to marry? Claiming that sex should be reserved for those who enter into marriage (or even to those whose relationships are going to result in marriage) is, to me, as ridiculous and pointless as preaching abstinence-only philosophies.

    • In my view abstinence does have a place in sex education. Men and women should be confident enough to turn down sex if they don’t feel ready for it. It is a perfectly acceptable option. Sex and marriage are not the same thing (obviously). You don’t need to be married to have sex and you don’t need to have sex if you’re married.

      Waiting for marriage doesn’t seem to be a worthwhile goal for me. For one it holds marriage up to be some kind of ideal and the romanticisation of marriage can give many unrealistic expectations. This may be especially exacerbated when you reserve sex for marriage. Sex is an important part of a relationship, at least it is for me, but it is only one aspect of the relationship. Couples (for polys) need to be compatible in a number of ways if they want their relationships for last a long time. Keeping sex in reserve until marriage or keeping sex purely for procreation is unrealistic. Too much disparity in a couple’s libido, adventurousness or one member having a particular kink that the other dislikes may wreck a relationship. Committing yourself to someone or marrying them when you don’t know about this disparity is ‘problematic’.

      • Abstinence in its current construction (that sex is wrong, something we should be ashamed about, and something that will get you the clap and all that goes along with it) is not needed in sex education. The right to say no to sex, and to wait until you are physically, emotionally, mentally, and psychologically ready for sex, is. They are very different things and preaching abstinence-(only) is not how you teaching young people about the the right to say no and the right to wait.

        I agree about the potential problems in waiting until you’re married to have sex. Oh, the things people must discover about each other! What if you are just not compatible? What the hell do you do?!

      • I agree with the premise that men and women should feel confident enough to decline sex. But seriously, have you seen the sub-humans who feature on Jeremy Kyle? These people don’t even think about whether or not they should have sex. To them, it seems, that breeding is as natural as breathing. So the notion of having the people with an IQ greater than, say, 90, able to say ‘no’ is flawed, because I’ll bet you a crumpled fiver that these people aren’t the problem; it’s the Jeremy Kyle sub-species who need help.

        • No. I mean yes. But no. Eugenics isn’t the answer. But teaching people to say ‘no’, isn’t that a mild form of eugenics anyway? Hmm… Dorries is our very own home-grown Sarah Palin. And just between the two of us, when I’m working at home I time my lunchbreak to coincide with Jeremy Kyle. At the end of an hour I feel dirty, shabby and a little superior.

  2. I’ve read conflicting stories about this. In several she is promoting abstinence only education (which demonstrably increases teen pregnancy and STIs) and in others she is promoting abstinence education as part of a wider sex education policy (which I don’t particularly have an issue with). This country doesn’t do particularly well on teen pregnancy rates and STIs compared with our European cousins even though we’re much better than the yanks. Something clearly needs to be done so that men and women are able to make informed decisions about sex.

    Dorries isn’t the MP to build this kind of legislation or to improve education. She has a history of campaigning to reduce the term of prenancy for abortion to 20 weeks which would limit access for many women. She’s campaigned for dress codes at work so that women would be restricted in wearing high heals. I find the former to be a bit disturbing and latter to be a frivolous, anti woman waste fo time.

    Something about this Tory MP is quite unsettling and I’d quite like to blame her fervent Anglicanism for it. Indeed in 2008 her “Hand of Hope” campaign was largely based on a photoshopped image of a fetus’ hand reaching out from a uterus (google it if you want to be revolted). This same image was seen across many Christian web sites.

    If you look at her voting record on you can see that she is against gay rights too. If this were America then I’d say that she fits right into the Christian Cult of Ignorance that constantly works to limit access to education so that the population can be more compliant and obedient to the Christian deity. They do this through a campaign of misinformation (outright lies, half truths and quote mining) and by promoting an agenda that I find, frankly, frightening and that woudln’t be out of place in Saudi.

    • Oh, she would make abortion illegal if she could. I never heard that about the dress code before. *shudder*!

      You’re not the only one blaming her and her religion for her views and actions.

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