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Silver Ring Thing (Virgin Warriors)

(13 Posts)
JJ Tue 11-May-04 07:20:35

So what do you guys think about the Silver Ring campaign (vowing abstinence under marriage) descending on your shores?
Commentary by George Monbiot here .

I've got nothing against people waiting until they're married to have sex, but this seems mind-boggling stupid and counterproductive!

JJ Tue 11-May-04 07:21:09

oops -- abstinence *until* marriage.

What a typo!

muddaofsuburbia Tue 11-May-04 08:47:34

As someone who did abstain from sex until I got married, I think this is an interesting campaign. Whether in a secular country like the UK I would follow Dubya and plough cash into an essentially Christian scheme though I don't know. Obviously for loads of reasons I would love young people to be encouraged to wait until marriage before they had sex, but this country has a completely different culture from that of the pseudo-born-again US.

If the idea of this campaign is to replace all other types of sex education then it is flawed. But if as I suspect it's to finally bring abstinence back as a valid and acceptable choice for young (and older) people then that's fantastic. The pressure on children from primary school age upwards to have sex with other children is intensifying so something has to be done.

Although with the Guardian citing the Dutch example again (yawn) I would imagine that a large majority of the UK population would support a lowering of the age of consent to say, 12, I personally think that's dangerous. But I realise that Mr Monbiot would dismiss me as Victorian, out of touch and probably equally dangerous for saying that.

This campaign and similar has tried in the UK before (I've got a True Love Waits card from the last time!). My feelilng is that if it makes just one yong person think twice before sleeping with someone because of peer pressure then it's a good thing.

Tex111 Tue 11-May-04 08:58:02

I've come across this quite a bit in Texas and I have to say that, though I'm not against abstinence, I am against this particular programme. It promotes ignorance rather than education which is incredibly dangerous. It also promotes shame and embarrassment over a very natural desire. I think encouraging kids to wait as well as providing them with all the information they need in case they decide not to wait would be a better approach. I also think they should at least promote masturbation hand in hand (so to speak!) with abstinence and give the poor kids a break!

JJ Tue 11-May-04 09:16:43

Mudda, I think it is being used to replace sex education. As Tex111 mentioned, the underlying belief is that if kids don't have sex, they don't need to know anything about contraception, protection, etc. While this is true (if you don't have sex, you don't need to worry about those things), the fact is that most of the children on the program fail and the results are disastrous.

I agree that abstinence should be a valid and acceptable choice. Do you think that it's possible to do that alongside a detailed sex education program? (I do, so it's an honest question.. but I didn't wait until marriage for sex and wondered your view.)

muddaofsuburbia Tue 11-May-04 09:21:18

I think Tex has got it right. In this country we seem to have it the wrong way round - "here's what to do boys and girls, but you don't have to do it yet" rather than "You don't have to do it yet, but if you do then here's what you should know".

Ds calling...back later

muddaofsuburbia Tue 11-May-04 09:39:52


Perhaps the emotional aspects of having sex too soon should be dealt with in more detail rather than a more factual, biological "how to do it "safely". How many 13 year olds have done it with a condom, but felt totally used and rubbish afterwards? Isn't the emotional health of young people just as important as their sexual health?

I think (apart from the faith issue) one of the reasons that I did wait was because my group of friends at school all believed the same as me. We talked about how great it would be to have sex, but also why we wanted it to be with just one person after we'd made a real commitment to one another. Having that support and back up really helped. Dh was also a wedding night virgin and he'll say the same.

A silver ring and siging is certificate is all very nicey nice, but what about encouragement when you think you might get carried away before you're ready. Support and practical advice, not a lecture or a put down, is vital.

Children get sex education, but I think they need real practical answers on *how* to wait, if that's what they feel strongly about.

Am being pawed by a 20 mth old who wants to play - but will keep pondering - sorry this is so garbled - will mull!

JJ Tue 11-May-04 12:32:56

Maybe one way of making abstinence more acceptable while still educating children about sex is to take the judgment out of it. I mean, talk about abstinence as a valid method of birth control, etc but don't say "Don't do it because you should wait."

And don't make it all or nothing. I mean, if a child does have sex, she's not damned forever and can decide not to do it in the future. I think this is the problem I have with any "virginity" movement. Once you've lost it, it's gone and so is the incentive to not have sex with a future partner (maybe... I don't really know).

I hope it sounds like I'm agreeing with you for the most part, because I am. Some form of non-judgmental support (school guidance counsellor, etc) might help? I don't know if that's practical or if it would even be a good idea.

And, as Tex111 mentioned, teaching girls to masturbate (under the guise of anatomy or something) might help them wait. I mean, if you can relieve yourself after some serious smooching, having sex with a fumbling boy who doesn't know what's where might not be so attractive. Maybe encourage calmer dates with the idea in "Something About Mary" for the guys...

I think openness with sex does help a lot, though. Especially with the emotional issues you mentioned.

Heathcliffscathy Tue 11-May-04 12:50:12

agree with most of what all of you have said...i think the silver ring thing is quite a sinister campaign tho (watched a documentary about it recently, it is a VERY christian movement, but gets state funding, which as i understand it is illegal in the US (rightly so). also agree mudda, that emotional aspects are as important as physical if not more so. i've always wondered why there wasn't a huge emphasis on non-penetrative sex in teen sex education...lets face it, for both sexes, but especially women, if sex education emphasised learning how to masturbate, and non-penetrative sexual stimulation, it would be a realistic way of allowing young people to explore their sexuality and would probably result in a lot more enjoyment. I think we live in a very penetrative-centric society...i'm not saying penetration can't be pleasurable (of course), but i think that especially for women, emphasis on penetration actually gets in the way of their pleasure a lot of the time, especially when younger...and if you de-emphasise penetration, whilst really being honest about sexual pleasure you're not patronising young people, you're not denying their need to experiment, but you are potentially avoiding a lot of unwanted pregnancies and stds. i know that oral sex carries risks, but they are miniscule in comparison to penetrative sex. i think that maybe the culture in GB is still too prudish to address this issue with young people properly...

do i sound like a freak...probably, but i've thought a lot about this, and reckon it's the way forward...

Tex111 Tue 11-May-04 18:03:41

I agree that the emotional aspects of having sex are very neglected when it comes to teens and think that programmes like this can increase the negative feelings regarding sex like shame, guilt, etc while forgetting the positives such as intimacy, pleasure, fun, etc. Sex, if they decide to have it, can become a furtive, dirty activity rather than something natural and healthy and those feelings can last a lifetime.

I agree with mudda that there has to be continuing support for teens and not just a one-off class or a lecture on 'not doing it'. And JJ made a good point that even if you have sex once it doesn't mean you have to do it again. And you don't have to go through a 're-virginising' ceremony in front of all your friends to make that choice (something else I've come across in Texas). It really shames the kids and that's just awful.

I agree with Sophable too that alternatives to intercourse aren't discussed enough with teens though I know that in the Silver Ring programme all forms of sex are discouraged. When I was growing up it was very much everything but penetration to maintain virginity, which was all about the hymen. Unfortunately, it was fairly one-sided though as the guys often went home satisfied while the girls were still frustrated! A few more details in sex education class above and beyond reproduction would be a very good idea, such as what and where the clitoris is. I can remember dating guys who thought that women peed out of their vaginas! No idea about the separate parts of the female anatomy. Embarrassing for the girls and guys both.

I think it comes down to respect, understanding and responsibility. Teaching kids to respect and understand their bodies and to take responsibilty for their actions which means either abstaining from sex or having safe sex. And removing shame and judgement, whatever road they decide to take.

Heathcliffscathy Tue 11-May-04 19:52:44

I totally agree with your post's interesting that you have this attitude given that you've grown up with the *hold on to your virginity* mantra...

JJ Tue 11-May-04 20:11:29

I know what you mean, I think, Tex. I grew up in IN where sex meant penetration of the vagina with a penis (very specific). This was as defined by the kids at my school. There wasn't much adult input except for "DON'T HAVE SEX". But everything else seemed to go.

Thinking back, it must have been humiliating for some of the girls. (I decided to wait - with all types of sex - until I had left high school so would have failed the Silver Ring or any "wait until marriage" vow but it really worked for me.)

Tex111 Tue 11-May-04 20:34:54

It's been a long road! I think having a brother who ended up a dad at 17 because he was 'too embarrassed' to use a condom (even though there was a big box of them in the bathroom across the hall) really made me think about the attitudes towards sex that I grew up with. Sad to see kids make their lives so difficult from something so simple.

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