A Reply To Mr. Flavin
By Cat Breen

     Okay, I admit it.  I'm one of those who "balk at the
suggestion to empower youth with education and protection,"
especially if it means following Sharon Stone's strategy.  As was
mentioned in  R.D. Flavin's "Basic Instincts," Sharon encouraged
parents to provide easy access to condoms for their teenagers.
I find it ironic, however, that Ms. Stone has no children of her
own, yet feels (due her celebrity status) she is someone whose
advice I should embrace when it comes to my child and sex.
Providing easy access to condoms appears to be her answer to
providing kids with the power to have "safe sex."  Somehow, I
just don't see this as the answer...  Gee, my "stupidity" and me.

     One program, D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education),
popular in schools, teaches our children to say "no" to drugs and
violence.  This is a worthwhile program and one that I certainly
condone.  However, why would we teach our children they can
learn to say "no" to drugs and violence while at the same time
stating they can't control their sex lives?  If we're to believe
Mr. Flavin and Ms. Stone, the same teenagers who are taught
not to do drugs or not to drink and drive, and to resolve
problems without violence, can't manage to control their "basic
instincts" when it comes to sex.  Say "no" to drugs, but hey,
here's some condoms and have all the sex you want!  While we're
at it, why don't we assume our children are unable to restrain
their "basic instincts" when it comes to drugs and supply them
with an ounce of marijuana or perhaps some needles for their
unavoidable heroin addiction?  Certainly they won't be able to
control their violence, so let's escort them to the nearest gun
shop and help them choose their weapon for the next time they
have the compulsion to kill somebody.  Naturally, don't forget to
enroll them in a gun safety program so they'll have the needed
facts to participate in 'safe shooting'.

     Mr. Flavin mentioned that "celibacy and abstinence are
tantamount to high comedy," yet suggests making teenage sex
"an earned privilege" in the same way that one must earn a
driver's license.  Yes, driving tests are required and one must go
through a probationary period before earning a license to drive.
But exactly what kind of sex test is he suggesting for our
teenagers?  Perhaps a questionnaire with questions along the line
of: "What would you do if you were in the backseat of a car with
your naked and sweaty boyfriend or girlfriend when you suddenly
realize you don't have a condom with you?"  Hmmm...  I wonder
how many teens would answer that one truthfully?

     Regarding teenagers and driving--it's a fact (based on
analysis of data from the U.S. Department of Transportation's
Fatality Analysis Reporting System) that the risk of crash
involvement per mile driven among drivers 16-19 years old is 4
times as high as the risk among older drivers.  Risk is highest at
ages 16-17.  The crash rates are largely due to the young
drivers' immaturity combined with their driving inexperience.
Driver education programs may have given them the "facts" and
cars with seatbelts and airbags may have given them
"protection," but neither of these provided them with the
emotional maturity to handle a vehicle.

     Even with people such as Sharon Stone, obviously eager to
help my pre-teen son by giving him some condoms, I choose to
handle the situation myself without their help!  What "Basic
Instincts" neglects to mention is "parental involvement."  Too
often in today's society this is lacking.  Nonetheless, I will be
there for my son.  Purchasing condoms for him and then walking
away and expecting society to give him refills is not the answer.
Discussing abstinence will definitely be presented alongside the
issue of contraception.  Okay, so, Sharon admitted to some
teenage adventures in the backseat of a car.  So what?  Ms.
Stone seems to forget AIDS was not an issue when she was a
teen.  Keeping our children free of HIV is an issue in this day
and age.  And the only method that is 100 percent effective in
preventing this dreaded disease is abstinence.  It is the parent's
responsibility to give their child not only the facts but also the
emotional support to make sound judgments.  Ultimately, when
my son has not only the "basic instincts," but has also reached
the level of emotional maturity needed to maintain a loving,
sexual relationship, then, by all means we will discuss "safe sex."
I do NOT need Ms. Stone's advice OR her easy access to
condoms!

Just call me stupid,
Cat

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