Abstinence is ‘safe sex’

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 15, 2003

CONWAY – This past Thursday, students and faculty at Conway Middle School were privileged, along with three other nearby schools, to have speaker Keith Deltano present the benefits of saving sex for marriage under the &uot;Abstinence Before Marriage&uot; program.

Inspired to begin educating youth about the benefits of abstaining from sexual relations until marriage, after one of his sixth grade students confided in him that she was pregnant, Deltano began researching and compiling statistics for presentation to local schools.

With information from the Center For Disease Control, the National Abstinence Clearing House and other family organizations, Deltano’s presentations gained the respect of the community and earned him a reputation of excellence.

A federal grant makes it possible for students of public schools to attend the seminars with money that is specifically set aside for abstinence programs, under Title 5.

This year will be the sixth consecutive year Conway Middle School will have Deltano present the &uot;Abstinence Before Marriage&uot; program.

The school’s principal, Pamela Chamblee and Northampton County Public Officer Suzy Strickland coordinated this year’s event and were very excited to have him return this year.

&uot;We feel like more students are receiving the message of abstinence through programs like this, as opposed to forcing them to sit down in a room and watch a series of videos and listen to lecture tapes,&uot; said Strickland.

Deltano began his presentation by taking the stage with an authoritative yet down to earth presence and broke the ice by addressing the &uot;stupid&uot; culture in which students live.

Making light of oxymorons like, ‘Caution!

Hot coffee!

Contents may be hot,’ and ‘speed bumps,’ Deltano paralleled the commonly used phases to draw attention to the irony of the popular rhetoric of ‘safe sex.’

According to Deltano, society is sending mixed messages to young people by encouraging ‘safe-sex’ when there is no such thing outside of a monogamous marriage relationship.

Accusing society of talking out both sides of its mouth by discouraging teens from having sex, while yet handing out condoms, pills and any other form of contraceptive. &uot;It’s like telling a kid that he’s not allowed to eat a cookie and then placing the cookie jar before him with a napkin for when he does.

&uot;Society is claiming failure to maintain purity is unavoidable due to the confrontation of inevitable desires. I’m offended, and you should be too because it is an insult to your intelligence.

You have a choice to remain pure and protect yourself, your family and your future,&uot; said Deltano.

He explained that certain desires, like the desire to go to the bathroom, eat or have sex, although natural, require self-control and joked with a student, &uot;What do you do when you have to go?

You don’t just drop your pants and go where you’re standing, even if it’s painful, do you?&uot;

Deltano shared truths that dispelled myths claiming a person cannot get a disease unless they have sex citing the example of oral herpes and chlamydia, contracted from simple skin-to-skin contact and reasoned with the students to consider a CDC statistic that the earlier a person has sex, the less sex they will have over the duration of their lives due to increased exposure to STD’s associated with multiple partners limiting the frequency of sexual relations.

He shared the statistic that 10 percent of teens who become pregnant have a 77 percent chance of being on welfare due to absentee fathers and incomplete education, that one out of every four teen boys will contract a disease, that condoms are zero percent effective against disease, including Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) proven to cause cervical cancer and sometimes sterility in women and have a failure rate of 10-30 percent and that genital herpes is incurable with flare-ups one out of three months.

To demonstrate the 10-30 percent failure rate associated with condoms, Deltano paralleled the example of a going to the beach despite a weather forecast with 10 percent chance of showers to the 10 percent chance of contracting a disease when choosing to have sex telling students that although it will most likely be sunny, there is still a chance of showers.

Similarly, there is still a chance they would contract a disease.

To make the point &uot;concrete,&uot; he strapped a volunteer to a table on the stage and asked him to choose a number from one to ten and then whispered a number into the ear of a student in the audience telling him to yell it out after the student on stage revealed his number.

After concluding with the student that the probability was one in ten that they would have chosen the same number, Deltano picked up a cinderblock, suspended it over the student’s waist and asked him how he’d feel if he dropped the block in the event the student in the audience calls out the same number, seeing as how it was &uot;only a 10 percent chance&uot; and obviously not liking the odds, Deltano asked him what changed. The student’s response solidified the point Deltano was trying to make, &uot;The stakes are higher.&uot;

Deltano commented, candidly, how different it was when a concrete block was &uot;dangling over the future of (his) family&uot; and continued, &uot;Just like in the demonstration, you are risking potential damage to you and your future.

Similarly, when you give into your desire to have sex, you not only risk pregnancy, you increase your chances of contracting a disease that could be with you for the rest of your life.&uot;

His final words to the students were that even if they already had sex, it’s never too late to make the choice to remain pure and encouraged those who have been sexually active to make an appointment to be examined by a doctor to ensure their health.