An updated version of Tennessee’s abstinence-based sex-ed bill would include warnings to students that kissing and hand-holding are “gateway sexual activities” and would also prohibit instructors from teaching about contraception.

WMCTV reports:

In a new family life instructions bill, holding hands and kissing could be considered gateways to sex.  Planned Parenthood said that allowing state government to define local sex education curriculum could backfire.

According to a 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Study, 61 percent of Memphis City high school students and 27 percent of middle school students have had sex.  That’s higher than the national average.

Planned Parenthood said these numbers are why a new sex education bill promoting abstinence is not realistic.

“If the state of Tennessee gets to create the curriculum, it has to create something that umbrella reflects everyone,” said Planned Parenthood Director of Education Elokin CaPese.

Despite the high numbers of students in the state having sex, the focus on abstinence-only instruction may lead to higher teen pregnancy rates and STD rates.

Although sex-ed programs can be an effective tool to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the politicized nature of the sex-ed debate may do more harm than good.

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  • au napptural

    Christian values strike again! Eye roll. Predicting a huge increase in OOW kids. I guess all that inbreeding messed up this fool’s mind.

  • Yulez

    Well…they are gateway activities. People being upset about them being labeled as such doesn’t change the fact that they are. Do you have sex without kissing? Do you kiss without hand holding? Teens shouldn’t be having sex, point blank period. But I do believe that if you give them a REAL sex education full of scary pictures and statistics…they won’t be so eager to have sex. If they talked about how easy it is to contract Herpes, and how permanent it is, they wouldn’t want to kiss. If they talked about how easy it is to pass disfiguring warts, and that they’re caused by HPV, hand holding wouldn’t look so appealing either. There’s too much out there to catch; and teens spread it like wild fire. Teach them the truth! If you keep your hands to yourself, you may extend your life by preventing the spread of permanent social diseases.

    • The most sensible comment thus far.

    • Humanista

      Right, except…..HPV/genital aren’t spread by hand-holding. *face palm* …If we’re going to scare kids w/ information, it should at the very least be accurate.

    • Yulez

      @Huminista No face palm. All warts are caused by HPV, genital or otherwise. There are various strains of the virus. Thanks for trying to check me though :)

  • On what planet are middle schoolers having sex?! That is just sick. Where are the parents? Kissing and holding hands are definitely forms of intimacy and as such are gateway sexual activity.

    • La, California Dreaming

      Hey, kids start exploring sexual activity in middle school.

  • Humanista

    27% of MIDDLE SCHOOLERS????? My mind is blown! Prevention HAS to start with values at home, and a reduction of this laissez-faire, expose-minors-to-everything thing that’s been going on in society. I was that young fairly recently–the late 90s–and we kids were just getting excited about holding hands!

    In any case, hand-holding and kissing don’t cause sex. The intent to have sex causes sex. As someone who kissed and did ALL the hand-holding as a teen (ha), it NEVER led to sex or anywhere near it because I didn’t want it to. Kids have a way of doing what they want because it suits them, common sense and scare-tactics be damned. The law is ridiculous, because prevention of teen sex can’t start in a classroom. The majority of teens who aren’t having sex (not those who are desperate to, but are “undateable”) don’t because they have solid reasons not to. They have something to lose or are too busy being kids or preparing for their futures.