The cultural battle over sex education is fought between the concepts of realism and traditionalism. The realists think traditionalist parents are unrealistic in thinking their children are never going to have sex. Traditionalists think the realists are fatalistic in assuming that everyone’s kids are going to have sex.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that over a 10-year period from 1991 to 2001, the percentage of high school students who engaged in sex dipped from 54.1 percent to 45.6 percent. That means that today, a sizable minority of teenagers are sexually active. Regardless of your side in the culture war, that’s not a victory for realism. The number of teens having sex has declined because adults mustered the courage of their convictions.
Realism, sadly, is the only voice allowed in Hollywood. In three shows in an eight-day period, two sitcoms and a drama conjured teen-sex plotlines as an opportunity to paint sexual abstinence as unrealistic. Hollywood’s message: parents, surrender to the inevitable desires of your children, and children, surrender to the expectations of your fatalistic culture.
In the Sept. 30 episode of ABC’s "Eight Simple Rules," the mother, a nurse, has been recruited to substitute-teach on sex education. She says: "Tomorrow, I have to talk about contraception, and the only thing the school will let me discuss is abstinence ... I just think it’s irresponsible to say that abstinence is the only option. I see teenagers at the hospital every day, and they’re in trouble already. They need to know about safe sex."
The next day, abstinence education is caricatured as a cheesy black and white videotape: "And thus Woody leaves, knowing with great pride that this is another night he did not have sex." The children laughed at the tape. A white boy unloaded his best attempt at hip-hop slang: "Dog be cold, saying hasta to a lady with such a fine cup set and booty like that." He added that anyone who’d stick with abstinence must be homosexual: "But I’ll bet my money that dog be all swishy-swishy, playing for the other team."