Undersexed, underpriced and over here. The Silver Ring Thing
is the latest import from the States, and I bet it isn’t
even really made of silver. I mean seriously a silver ring for a
tenner, hell I might abstain for a bargain like that. Well
probably not. It is easy to dismiss the much publicised campaign which the
gulf stream has just deposited on our shores, aiming to reduce
teenage pregnancy, STDs, oh and save young people’s souls.
It is classic bible belt evangelism, with a message and a product
which you can conveniently purchase. But if most people are not fooled, then what is the problem?
Last year a survey showed that teenagers who have taken such
pledges have the same rate of STD infection as the rest of the
population. A more recent study suggested that while such pledges
actually did delay intercourse (no bad thing I admit) when such
teenagers did have sex they were less likely to wear condoms. Such evidence does not matter to the Bush administration who
recently gave The Silver Ring Thing $700,000. Federal funding in
the US coupled by conservative teaching in religious schools,
which is an increasing problem over here, prevents children
learning the importance of practising safe sex. This is the
difficulty. I have no problem with someone who wants to promote
abstinence. It is a legitimate position which I happen to think
is futile. But I do object the refusal to teach teenagers how to
put a condom on properly and the claims that the only way to
avoid STDs is through abstinence. Will George Bush be willing to
personally look after the unwanted babies, and treat all the STDs
he has created? They claim showing a teenager a condom turns their mind to
sex, but showing most fourteen year olds a multi-plug has exactly
the same effect. We live in a sexually aware age, where the most
famous advert for abstinence dresses up in a sexualised version
of a school girl outfit (did you wear that to school?) and
invited us to “hit me baby one more time.” It
isn’t possible to avoid sex and people are going to have it.
Lots. So lets make sure they know why safe sex is important and
how to have it. Sell them a ring if you like, but also give them
a load of free condoms and then even I may help out.ARCHIVE: 4th week TT 2004