Abstinence-only Sex Education

Re-reading the classics of feminism such as Betty Friedan’s Feminine Mystique and Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch, I am amazed at how far women have come since Sigmund Freud’s misogynist attitude toward women and their sexuality. But then I encounter Amber Barnhill’s poignant story about her total lack of sex education and I realize we still have a long ways to go. I spoke to her and commended her for her willingness to speak out about the damage religion can inflict on women.

How Abstinence-Only Sex Education Led Me Down An Unexpected Path

By Amber Barnhill

When talking about my religious past, I often find myself referencing movies. How else are mainstream humans going to relate? Neo waking up in The Matrix. The barely-audible Asian chick in Pitch Perfect. And, in this case, Drew Barrymore’s role in Never Been Kissed. If you’ve never seen the movie, the title really says it all.

Imagine being an almost-24-year-old, intelligent, moderately-attractive-yet-socially-awkward female venturing into the real world for the first time, having never even held hands with a guy and not having much in the way of worldly knowledge, but knowing that degree of innocence is not the norm.

Imagine being so wracked with guilt over masturbation that you spend months trying to figure out how to pay for a hymenoplasty without anyone knowing, because you’ve been taught that your value as a unmarried woman is directly proportional to the state of that precious little sliver of skin and that a man can totally tell if you’ve ever in the history of your life (*ahem*) put anything in there.

Thanks to the Duggar family, mainstream humans can now finally get a glimpse of the largely hidden fundamentalist cults that pervade our society and the damage they do to women.

Being raised in one of those cults taught me just one thing about sex: There is this hole in my body, but if anything goes near it before I’m married, I will lose all value in this life and basically become a “filthy rag,” according to Isaiah 64:6.

Read the rest here:  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2015/07/03/how-abstinence-only-sex-education-led-me-down-an-unexpected-path/

Cited with permission from Hemant Mehta, The Friendly Atheist, Pathos.com.

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About the Author Karen Garst