Heterosexual intercourse is simple: Insert Tab A into Slot B. Repeat. It is the simplicity of the thing that worries our government. Almost anyone of a certain age can do it, and almost any female of a certain age can become pregnant from doing it. Since the government believes that babies are best born to a couple that has everything in common except gender, they are eager to make sure that Tab and Slot do not meet until man and woman are wed. Hence the millions of federal dollars now being spent to spread abstinence among unmarried adults up to age 29.
Abstinence programs don’t work with younger kids for whom sex is a curiosity, so the government must be thinking that it will work better among twenty-somethings who may not be so curious given the fact that over 90% of them have already had sex.
I love abstinence programs. They are simple, neat, and totally within the control of the people choosing to practice them. The fact that few people choose to practice them is a drawback, but one that is due, so the pro–abstinence faithful tell me, more to human depravity than an error in policy.
The government is concerned about the fact that unwed mothers gave birth to 998.262 babies in 2004. They believe that the only way to effectively reduce this number is to
“just say no” to sex. They are right, of course. Condoms and pills might help but they are not as effective in stopping pregnancy as is avoiding intercourse. To date only one birth to a virgin is on record. So while not 100% fool proof, abstinence is much closer to being so than any other method we know.
To see if this program has a chance in hell of succeeding, I spoke with a variety of university students, most of whom are devote Christians. I did find some who planned to wait until marriage to have sex, and some who had married young in order to have sex, and some who decided that waiting was foolish and that a couple should be sexually compatible before deciding to get married. Most of the sexually active students I spoke with use birth control even if their churches frown on it. While in no way a scientific study, I am pretty confident that abstinence won’t work with the twenty-something crowd any more than it does with teenagers.
When talking about sex, several male students used a farming metaphor: sowing one’s seed. That’s what triggered my own plan to lower the number of out–of–wedlock births. Just as the federal government pays farmers not to sow a variety of seeds, they could pay boys not to sow their seed. This would be a kind of reverse prostitution: you get paid not to have sex.
When I suggested this plan, a number of young men said they would abstain from sexual intercourse for an annual fee of $10,000. I don’t know how this stacks up against traditional farmers, but it seems reasonable. Of course the plan discriminates against women, but a similar discrimination exists among farmers as well. So share this with your government representatives as the election draws and let’s see what happens.