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ERIC Number: EJ1072470
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
"Sex Respect": Abstinence Education and Other Deployments for Sexual "Freedom"
Philosophical Studies in Education, v37 p147-158 2006
Those who view the right to a religiously neutral, empirically-based public education as fundamental have been able to do little more than watch in terror as abstinence-only sex education, which excludes information on either safe sex or birth control, has come to prevail in United States (US) schools. Among causes for concern are abstinence programs' endorsements of inaccurate, incomplete, partial information with little to no regard for the realities of life, particularly of teenage life today, as known through medical or social science. In this article, the author will briefly discuss the historical context giving rise to present day pushes toward abstinence education before examining the main contents of the exemplar of federally funded abstinence education programs, Coleen Kelly Mast's "Sex Respect: The Option of True Sexual Freedom." The author evaluates similarities and differences in approach among Mast and her challengers, particularly examining Judith Levine's "Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children from Sex." While the author concurs with critics that the information typically provided American children by abstinence educators is incomplete and biased, she also finds some noteworthy contradictions within such counter discourses. These contradictions seem to echo Michel Foucault's concern with what he calls the "repressive hypothesis," that people repress if they do not promote or deploy a particular conception of human sexuality and sexual fulfillment.
Descriptors: Sexuality, Sex Education, Contraception, Adolescents, Educational History, Educational Philosophy, Teaching Methods, Federal Programs, Freedom, Criticism, Course Content
Ohio Valley Philosophy of Education Society. Web site: http://ovpes.org/?page_id=51
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A