The 7 Stupidest Ways We're Promoting Abstinence

Abstinence-only education starts with the idea that teenagers listen to adults and manages to get even stupider. It's working to turn the only life-threatening problem in the world that can be fought by balloons into a biblical plague. We've reached a point where even the Pope OKs some condom use, and he thinks about sex the same way non-Popes think of the Ark of the Covenant: imagining what the other side has while believing that looking directly at it will melt the soul from your body.

Also, we'd do both with Indiana Jones.

Abstinence-only education turns sex education into an oxymoron, deliberately not teaching people things we know about. It's what happens when a species breeds so successfully, they start showing off. It's the reproductive equivalent of riding a bike with no hands and eyes closed: They'll keep pumping away for a bit, but pretty soon they'll screw up and their crotch will hurt. The only way to teach something so stupid is to be extremely stupid, and that's the only thing these campaigns got right.

#7. Derek the Abstinence Clown

A clown throwing machetes while screaming about sex in a room full of children technically counts as abstinence education, but only because they'll never live long enough to reproduce. And because picturing that scene psychically sterilized you. Sorry, "spoiler." Derek the Abstinence Clown demonstrated that using condoms was risking your life by making children lie underneath him as he juggled knives. Which isn't actually "demonstrating" anything, but nobody within hurling range was prepared to disagree.

For safety we only picture him with balls, which still prevents ours from working for several hours.

He doesn't even wear makeup, because he's already so horrifically clowny that you can feel it crawling off his bare skin from a digital photograph. He got into abstinence clowning when he mistakenly identified his ability to absolutely prevent any sex as a superpower.

After the story broke, Derek's YouTube video was removed, then his entire website was removed, then the hiring agency -- which had received an $800,000 federal grant -- starting contacting websites and demanding they remove all photographic evidence. So we've got federally funded agents destroying all proof of an escaped blade-tossing genital-targeting clown. Sorry, conspiracy theorists, but everything you've ever been terrified of was pathetic compared to that. And from now on we're going to consider "using protection" to include at least three sheets of plate steel over every building entrance.

#6. The Purity Teddy Bear

Abstinence-only education doesn't work, doesn't work, lies, doesn't work and doesn't work, but I agree with this video 100 percent:

If sex makes you picture talking teddy bears, don't have sex. If you do, sex really will lead to tragedy, expense and pain: specifically a huge Care Bears toy receipt, scissors and polypropylene cotton chafing.

Can she see that bear, too? Because there's no good answer for her either way.

People taking sexual advice from teddy bears don't need abstinence videos; they need parents who don't leave them unattended near van-filled parking lots quite so often. The video is a double sexual tragedy, because you've got two teens who care enough to spend hours together setting up cameras, roleplaying and using props. That's better than most people manage with sex. And I don't think they meant their video to highlight one of the main problems of abstinence. Look at them agreeing not to have sex until they're married:


Now look at them married:


They "waited" exactly as long as it took to change into a wedding dress and get to the church, and real people often skip the first step. A spouse is someone you can share your life and dreams with. Puberty settles for "alive" and "will let you." Then the lack of birth control means that they have to stop having sex before they've gotten any good at it, and two people who didn't even know if they could stand each other in the first place suddenly have to deal with a combination of all their worst traits that shits itself. Abstinence causes more broken homes than hurricanes.

#5. The All Blacks

Abstinence is about suppressing your primitive urges. The All Blacks are the ultimate expression of them, mastering our caveman impulses to take important objects from other groups by stomping them into a different fossil strata. And they've elevated them to a level beyond science and art. The only reason they haven't evolved into pure energy beings is that it would make them worse at grabbing the ball. Which doesn't change how they're worse representatives for calmly resisting physical actions and impulsive behavior than Romeo and Juliet.

That was legendary All Black ex-captain Sean Patrick asking New Zealanders to abstain from sex for six weeks, which is a damn weird thing to do while driving an electric pink fisting-mobile on loan from a pride parade.

"Seriously, Sean, a giant motor-driven plastic fist is the perfect vehicle for a non-sexual message. Now get in and drive it for me while I set up my video cameras. Yes, like that."

If trying to restrain your sexual urges means thinking of a squad of burly rugby players, you are one important revelation away from cutting the legs off your jeans and being much happier. He implores viewers to power an All Black victory in the 2011 Rugby World Cup with "Abstain for the game!" Even as a joke, the idea of avoiding sex for sport is ludicrous. Was he trying to create an army of orgone-overcharged All Blacks to descend with throbbing fury? Because that would work. No team would stand against that. A tank battalion wouldn't stand against that.

"That's not fair, now I STILL feel inadequate!"

The campaign symbol was wearing a black rubber ring with a logo on your ring finger, and nobody will convince me that's not visual code for doing something filthy with fun strangers. When your sexual cues have moved past basic color-coding to specific symbols and materials, your idea of a sexual fetish would be most people's idea of biological metaphysics. And picturing highly trained physical specimens while pushing your flesh through an all-black ring isn't abstaining; it's the power of imagination, and will soon need some tissues.

#4. Bristol Palin

Bristol Palin is the embodiment of the abstinence movement: She says having a kid sucks and lives in an alternate universe where contraception doesn't exist. Because you need an entire alternate universe where nothing prevents disastrous mistakes to explain how she has a reality show. Normally the family members of famous people should be spared nonstop media attention because they're innocent, but she reversed that moral code (and the entire direction of human progress) by using her newborn child to get a reality TV show.

"How much media attention for this fresh human child?"

She was scheduled to receive over $15,000 to appear at a Washington University panel on abstinence. The students campaigned and got the appearance canceled, proving that they didn't need any advice on abstinence, as they clearly knew how to say no to an idiot trying to screw them and leave them listening to infantile crying. The cancellation of Bristol opened the talking slot for Dr. Katie Plax, head of adolescent medicine and associate professor in the department of pediatrics, medical director of teen health at the Washington U. Health Center, and leading cause of bewildered questions of "Jesus Christ, Washington U., why wasn't she on the panel already?"

Washington U.'s first choice for a panel on grief counseling.

Bristol would do a better job of sex education with $15,000 by printing pictures of herself on boxes of condoms and distributing them, though that would backfire and work as abstinence education. And because it's something to do with abstinence that would actually work, she didn't do it.

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Luke McKinney

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