Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Pink Nun Throws Some Curveballs

Whichever side you're on, you gotta see The Pink Nun. The Pink Nun promotes chastity. Her whole web site is about controlling your sexual behavior, remaining abstinent until marriage, how to do it, why to do it.

But this is different.

I hate to say it, but our local prudes are a little ... boring. It's like they're not only against teen sex, but against teen fun in general. Sometimes you think they oppose happiness itself.

The Pink Nun's approach to abstinence, well, chastity really, is very positive and fun. She doesn't act like sex doesn't exist, and she definitely doesn't tip-toe around the slang and talking about stuff that people do. (In fact, I am finding it hard to find anything from her web site that I can actually quote here for our family-oriented audience.) Here's a sample of the Pink Nun's view, from her FAQ page:
Q: If I want to wait to have sex, how far can I go sexually?

PN: The question should not be "How much can I get away with? but "What is the best thing to do?"

You have to set a black and white line for yourself which you discuss and agree with that person that you will not cross. That needs to include specifics like, what touching is allowed where, and what positions you will stay away from. For example, you could decide to not go beyond kissing, but do you want to be kissing while laying down and rubbing up against each other?

This should be based on knowing what will wet your pants and make your judgement blurry because you're drunk in the moment. Some people are more microwave-style, and will get turned on and ready to go from kissing. Others are more crock pot-style, and need more time and touching before the heat gets cooking.
  • Set a higher goal for yourself than you believe you may even be capable of.
  • If you or your boy/girlfriend has a sexually-experienced past, you will have to have stricter guidelines.
  • I say "If you grope like a dope, there ain't much hope." Spots on our body were created to warm us up for sex, so hands off!
  • If you're starting to pant, it's probably getting dangerous.

You see how the tone of this is.

The Pink Nun has some sort of close attachment to performance artist Lisa Bulten. As it comes out in an BeliefNet interview:
... Q: It [a Chicago article] says, "Bulten and the Pink Nun, who have never been photographed together, bear an uncanny resemblance to one another, right down to their identical nose rings and tongue studs."

A: Yeah, that's basically right.

Mmmm. <strokes_chin_thoughtfully>

What makes the Pink Nun OK? I think it's the positivity of it. She says Jesus wants you to remain chaste, but she doesn't say you'll go to hell if you screw up. In fact, she says you can be "virgin again," at least in Jesus' eyes. It's not that sex is bad, or that bad people have sex, it's that sex is so good you don't want to waste it.

Now the interesting question is, how does this relate to the public school health curriculum in our county?

The public schools can't quite take the Pink Nun's approach, for two reasons. First, our laws don't allow religious teachings in the classroom, and second, Montgomery County students come from all different backgrounds, including different religions. Saying "Jesus wants you to remain pure" will not be a very strong argument to a Jewish kid, or a Muslim kid, or a kid who requires reasons rather than orders. So it wouldn't work anyway.

The new proposed curriculum, the one that the CRC and PFOX sued to stop, had a lot to say about reasons that teens should not have sex. It talked for instance about:
  • Resisting peer pressure to have sex
  • Family expectations and values
  • Cultural beliefs about sexual behavior
  • Religious beliefs
  • Media messages that influence decisions about sexual behavior

The curriculum noted that the decision to have sex is:
  • a decision that should be based on more than passion

The proposed curriculum that CRC/PFOX sued to reject talked about consequences of sexual activity, including:
  • Poor self-concept
  • Low self-esteem
  • Disappointment
  • Depression
  • Suicide
  • Loss of reputation
  • Change of friends
  • Pregnancy and lifestyle change resulting from it
  • Sexually transmitted disease

The curriculum they didn't want said that
  • Long-term relationships are rare among teens, and
  • promises before sexual activity are many times forgotten afterward

How about positive consequences of sex? CRC and PFOX argued that the curriculum encouraged teens to engage in sexual behavior.

The eighth grade curriculum said:
there are positive consequences of sexual activity for adults, but for most teens the negative results far outweigh the positive

And then, say a teen has sex and gets pregnant. The curriculum that CRC and PFOX sued to eliminate had this to say about teen parenting:
Review the Social, Emotional and Economic Impact of Teenage Parenting
A. Social
1. loss of friendships
2. loss of social activities
3. marrying for the wrong reasons

B. Economic
1. inability to complete educational goals
2. lack of employment skills
3. low paying employment
4. use of the welfare system

C. Emotional
1. low self-esteem/concept
2. depression
3. forced to act like an adult (job, bills, parenting)
4. inability to cope with child rearing
a. child abuse
b. neglect
c. adoption
d. other

5. lost adolescence

I am only quoting from the 8th grade curriculum, in tenth grade they were going to get more of the same type of thing.

So -- the Pink Nun advocates remaining chaste for Jesus, and also for your own self-esteem and self-respect. On the other hand, the Montgomery County sex-ed curriculum that was unanimously accepted by the school board advocated remaining abstinent -- chastity being a religious term -- for very many reasons.

No, it didn't mention Jesus, you'd have to talk about that at home. Is that what they didn't like about it?


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