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Rick Perry’s Guide to Abstinence

Perry says abstinence-only sex ed would work if only people were applying it correctly. Here's a how-to guide.
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This week the Internet revived an October 2010 interview clip of Gov. Rick Perry talking teen sex with Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith. Asked why Texas persists with an abstinence-only sex education curriculum when the state has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country, Perry responds glibly, “Abstinence works.”

“But we have the third highest teen pregnancy rate among all states in the country,” Smith replies. “It doesn’t seem to be working.”

“It works,” Perry insists. “Maybe it’s the way it’s being taught or the way that it’s being applied out there.”

You hear that, Texas teens and educators? The problem is that you’re just doing it wrong. Allow me, then, to break down the ins and outs (no pun) of how to maintain teen abstinence, Gov. Perry style.

1. Don’t get aroused.

The best way to avoid having sex is to never get aroused. Thousands of years of evolution–which you can’t prove exists anyway!—are no excuse for having sex. Instead, focus on avoiding anything sexual in nature, especially pornography. What’s that you say? Back in 1995, Perry personally invested in and profited from America’s largest porn distributor, Movie Gallery, Inc, distributors of such porn classics as Teens Never Say No? Listen, kids, I’d like to familiarize you with a little concept adults like to call, “Do as I say and not as I do while I’m alone in my hotel room on a business trip.” Soon enough, you’ll be allowed to give hypocritical lectures on not doing what elected officials do on Twitter all the time. For now, keep it in your pants.

2. Be ashamed. Be very ashamed.

When the thought of having sex enters your mind, it’s helpful to picture a non-virgin as a disease-ridden Peppermint Patty that’s been passed around the classroom by all of her friends. That’s an exercise I picked up from Texas’ abstinence education program. Even though a 2005, state-sponsored study by Texas A&M University showed that kids are having more sex after they take such courses, Rick Perry’s administration spent over $18 million in federal funds on such curricula in 2007 alone where kids also learned that “entire families” have died of AIDS because the parents had sex before they were married and that, if they, too, were already having sex, they’d basically disappointed God forever.

3. Look, just don’t have sex, okay?

The best way to remain abstinent from sex, teens, is to not have sex. Sure, you’re 14 years-old, your hormones are raging out of control, and you belong to the first generation that has no idea what it’s like to have to wait for anything ever, but I’m confident you’ll have a sudden, uncharacteristic desire to delay gratification during a hot and heavy make-out sesh with your boo. “I’m just going to tell you from my own personal life,” Perry wants you to know, “abstinence works.” Really, how much easier can he make it for you? Just stop getting pregnant already, kids. You’re making the governor look bad. Don’t you know he’s running for president now?

Cindy Casares is a columnist for the Texas Observer. She is also the founding Editor of Guanabee Media, an English-language, pop culture blog network about Latinos established in 2007. She has a Master's in Mass Communications from Virginia Commonwealth University Brandcenter. Prior to her career in journalism, she spent ten years in New York City as an advertising copywriter. During her undergraduate career at the University of Texas she served under Governor Ann Richards as a Senate Messenger during the 72nd Texas Legislature.