May 21, 2005
Class in Sexual Abstinence
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Last November I wrote about a course in
sexual abstinence that is so effective that the percentage of
7th and 8th graders who become sexually active in a year falls
from 16 percent to only 4 percent.
result is so stunning that I attended a Heritage Keepers Life
Skills Education class of 9th grade African-American boys. All
wore baggy pants. Some slunk in hoods while others had a great
variety of hair styles. Many slouched in their chairs.
thought, "If these guys can be taught abstinence, anyone can
teacher was an attractive, upbeat 31-year-old named Byron
Rounds. He began with a question: "Can anyone tell me what
"Abstinence means saving your virginity until you marry,"
anyone get closer?"
eager young man said, "It means not participating in any sexual
activity outside of marriage, but saving sex for the best time,
was from a class where few came from homes with married parents.
brief video said, "One out of five men have chlamydia and do not
know it. The majority infected by HIV don't know it....This is
a condom. It can't protect your minds or your heart. And 2-4
percent will slip or break during use, while 15 percent of
condom users get pregnant in the first year. It is useless
against HPB (Human Papilloma Virus)."
video then began to illustrate "refusal skills." A boy in a car
put his arm around a girl and said "Put out or get out." She
opened the door, "See ya." and walked out.
coos, "I won't tell anybody." She courageously replies, "There
is nothing to tell."
voice over says to those who resist the smooth lines, "You are
not alone. Half of kids between 15 and 19 are virgins." "Oh,"
says a guy. "I thought I might be the last one."
good-looking young man asserts, "Sex is not a game. I can decide
what I'm going to do today, and tomorrow and the day after.
Abstinence is not a dirty word." Another handsome boy adds "I'm
not risking my life for a cheap thrill."
Rounds tells the class, "Your parents might have been born in
1960. How many STDS - Sexually Transmitted Diseases - were there
then? Only five, with two major ones, Gonorrhea and Syphilis.
Now there are over 22 major STDs and 24 in all, and climbing."
shows grotesque slides of a boy with genital warts covering his
sexual organ. The male class groans aloud, "UGH."
condom provides little or no protection for this. Today, more
than 32,000 kids in America will become infected. That is 1,430
in the next hour. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have died
of AIDS... The most common STD, HPV, causes all cervical cancer.
shows slides of a woman with HPV and her genital warts, and says
"There are 2.5 million viral infections of HPV per year." The
know, a couple can be intimate, without being sexual. A couple
can know each other's pain or joy. In fact, you can be intimate
with your mama or your dad. That is called emotional and mental
intimacy. You can be intimate without being physically
teacher, who has been married for three years, says "Let me give
you a glimpse of the best sex. Number One, it is when all worry
about STDs are removed. Number Two, it is when you are not
worried about that female leaving you or cheating on you. Three,
when you are not concerned about her becoming pregnant.
do you do that? You have sex when you are in a truly committed
relationship of marriage, a lifelong commitment that you will
grow old with this person together."
Rounds then asked: "If you knew you could have sex with Halle
Berry and had a 96 percent chance of not getting HIV - how many
would take a chance."
one hand went up. I was amazed.
he asked the question again: "A fine female drives up beside you
and says, "I want to give you the night of your life, something
to remember. I want to have sex with you."
many of you would go ahead?"
hands go up. The other boys turn on those kids, "She might hurt
you want that stuff on your penis? Who else has hooked up with
learn how to get this class into your school, call Anne Badgley,
(843) 863-0508. (Full disclosure, an organization I lead has
cooperated with Heritage Community Services on marriage.)