Um, Not Exactly, Kate

Carol Platt Liebau
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Posted: Mar 28, 2008 7:14 PM
Grey's Anatomy actress Kate Walsh has seen fit to offer her opinion on teen abstinence:

"Abstinence is one -- abstinence is one aspect of sex education, but it is not the complete aspect. And to expect, I think, everybody to remain abstinent is just -- it's like asking them not to grow."

Let's get this straight.  In Kate Walsh's opinion, there shouldn't even be the expectation that, on the whole, teens will -- or can -- exercise sexual self-restraint.  In other words, for the most part, young people are nothing more than animals, at the complete mercy of their hormones.  How insulting. 

Certainly, the dichotomy that's been set up between "abstinence education" and "comprehensive sex education" is a false one.  There are a million ways to make sure that young people are well-informed about their bodies and where babies come from without assuming, as a first principle, that they can't be expected to control themselves or to understand the deeper ethical and emotional aspects of sexual relationships between men and women -- the things that make it most distinctively human.

Will "everybody" remain abstinent?  Of course not.  But then again, not every teen will refrain from using drugs or drinking alcohol, either.  That doesn't mean that we resign ourselves to educating them about the importance of using clean needles or emphasizing the dangers of drunken driving.  Similarly, those who share Kate Walsh's view might want to consider the possibility that those teaching young people about sex could do so without conveying the message that teen sexual activity isn't just normal, it's inevitable.