I’m going to say something that you might not want to hear: sometimes teenagers have sex. Not all the time, but you know how it is.
I get it. Thinking about your darling little snowflake getting his or her freak on can be uncomfortable, but ignoring one of the most basic facets of human existence is, to say the least, ineffective.
That’s why it’s such a pleasure to hear an actual, real-life grown-up adult discussing teenage sexuality in a responsible way. A public official, no less! It’s like spotting a yeti.
New Mexico Chief Medical Officer Erin Bouquin gave a television interview in which she was asked about the 50% increase(!) of gonorrhea and chlamydia in the state’s teenage population. When asked what message Bouquin would like impart to the youth, she said that the use of condoms would slow the spread of STDs. According to the Santa Fe New Mexican:
“Use condoms. Condoms are very very important in controlling sexually transmitted diseases,” Bouquin answered. She also noted what she called “the ABCs” — abstinence, be faithful and birth control.
Yes. True. There can’t be any way that this goes poorly for her. Oh wait! She was asked to resign.
I didn’t see that coming. And by “didn’t see,” I mean “could see for miles.”
You see, Bouquin mentioned condoms and how condoms can be an effective tool in maintaining the public health, but that means acknowledging that adolescents have sexual urges and might sometimes act on those urges. Oh no!
The day the interview aired, the now former Chief Medical Officer was asked to resign because she had not “met the expectations of the governor.” What are those expectations? Given that New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez is said to favor abstinence-only education, I’d guess that the aforementioned expectations might include ignoring reality.
You see, abstinence-only education doesn’t lead to abstinent behavior. States that favor abstinence-only have higher rates of teen pregnancy and birth than states with comprehensive sex education. Bouquin’s comments were sensible and responsible.
Which is why it’s so sad that her fate is not even a little surprising.
Image credit: Spec-ta-cles