May 8, 2009

Meghan McCain: The GOP doesn't understand sex

Posted: 09:51 AM ET

By Meghan McCain, daughter of US Senator John McCain

The first time I ever heard about oral sex was during the Lewinsky scandal. Mostly, I remember being confused by President Clinton’s response—“It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

When it comes to sex, politicians face all sorts of double standards: who is allowed to have sex with whom, what constitutes sex, and whether it’s appropriate, to name a few. Candie’s Foundation’s announcement that they were partnering with Bristol Palin to promote an abstinence-only campaign has caused me to reflect on my own experiences as a political daughter, and the role sex plays in defining the Republican Party.

Let me get something straight: Bristol Palin, as an 18-year-old adult, is free to make her own choices and decide how she wants her life to unfold. But for whatever reasons, the American public and media remain overly engrossed in our politicians’ sex lives and, as in this case, those of their families. There’s an especially unhealthy attitude among conservatives. Daughters of Republican politicians aren’t expected to have sex, let alone enjoy it—as if there were some strange chastity belt automatically attached to us female offspring. God forbid anyone talk realistically about life experiences and natural, sexual instincts. Nope, the answer is always abstinence.


Filed under: GOP • Meghan McCain

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Michael C. McHugh   May 8th, 2009 11:09 am ET

Certainly their evangelical and cultural conservative wing does not, although i could never figure out exactly what they wanted. Did they want to turn back the clock to the 17th Century Puritan colonies. Impossible. That world no longer exists, socially, politically and economically–it's long gone, as is Calvinism.

Did they want to turn back the clock to the 19th Century Victorian Era? Also impossible, for the same reasons at all. It is a world that no longer exists and can't be revived.

Maybe they would have been happy to just return to the 1950s, at least as they imagined those Happy Days. More mothers staying at home, gays in the closet, divorce less common, abortion illegal, but still widely available to people with enough money and the right contacts. Of course, that 1950s world was heavily based on males heads of household who could support one family on a single income. Not many jobs like that any more. America was still on top of the world then, a real superpower, economically, and that is not the case any more. Also, hings were starting to change even then, even if under the surface, not nearly as public as the 1960s–when the Baby Boomers rebelled against the 1950s domesticity.

Pietro Sirianni   May 8th, 2009 11:26 am ET

Unless your party changes and rids itself of people like Limbaugh, Hannity, O'reily, Gingrich, Coutler, and the Texas oil industry that supports them it is finished. People like you will be turned away.

The aforementioned are entertainers who have high-jacked a political party as a means to become ultra-wealthy. They are only interested in plundering America.

Fool_Patrol   May 8th, 2009 1:43 pm ET

Ms McCain is right! Bristol "abstinence is not realistic" Palin is exhibit A. Bristol is a national spokesperson because her last name is Palin. If she were poor, Black or Hispanic, Bristol would simply be another welfare statistic.

What an insult! An obviously poorly supervised, sexually active, underage drinking, gang sign making, unemployed, uneducated, non-self supporting, unmarried, teen mother who referred to herself as a sl_t on her Facebook Page and followed up with action by engaging in unprotected sex as a spokesperson for abstinence? Why not make Bristol the spokesperson for how to contract HIV and other STDs?

Put the Meth pike down! Bristol "abstinence is not realistic" Palin promoting abstinence is like a Hooker promoting free love. All it amounts to is another free trip for the Palins.

Dave of Detroit   May 8th, 2009 2:54 pm ET

I always thought that a political party had the duty to run the "affairs" of the Country, not control the "affairs" in the Country. There is an old saw that the government would classify sex if they could and that is without Roe vs Wade! The Janet Jackson wardrobe malfunction getting the attention of the Supreme Court, Palin's daughter preaching abstinence with a baby on her hip make Meghan's comments sound sensible and logical-The problem, as always, is abuse of the system-Welfare checks for ADC, Illegal's children have U.S. citizenship if born in the States, the burgeoning abortion rates, and foster care programs. I would like to start really simple-Make parents responsible for their kids mistakes- if minors, stop the inflow of Drugs into the Country, Tell Colleges the CO-ED Dorms have to be replaced with the old system of separate dorms for young men and women, and, for goodness sake, do not legalizre pot, it is an Aphrodesiac!

Rose   May 8th, 2009 3:46 pm ET

Abstinence never worked throughout history. That is why religious institutions created the concept of marriage. It was a way to control sexual unions and paternity. They had to ensure that children were born into committed family situations for their best chance at survival – at least in most cultures. Married couples accepted the responsibility of caring for their young (usually). It is exactly for this reason that sex outside of marriage was shunned. Before the advent of more reliable birth control methods, sex usually led to pregnancy. There was no arrangement to raise the children that were produced. Sex outside of marriage was given the status of being a "sin".

Given that we live in a free society, bombarded with sexual imagery and permissiveness (unfortunately) – teaching abstinence is not realistic. Just look at the number of children born to teen mothers to confirm this. It's better if teens chose to abstain, however giving them proper sex education and access to birth control is necessary and realistic. Promoting "don't do it" will not work because many "will do it" especially with raging hormones. A responsible approach to avoiding pregnancies and disease must be presented.

Rose   May 8th, 2009 4:14 pm ET

It was highly irresponsible of Sarah Palin to state-fund "abstinence only" programs in Alaska's high schools. Bristol Palin is continuing the same irresponsiblity in her mother's footsteps. When both mother and daughter give birth in the same year – something is quite wrong.

Sarah Palin is like a disaster movie, abstinence-only programs was the prequel. Bristol is the sequel. She should finish her education and raise her child instead of creating circus campaigns like her mother.

hugh ~ california   May 8th, 2009 4:40 pm ET

Rose is right, abstinence has never worked. It never will. Sex is a natural part of life, but society is always trying to find a way to make it dirty and sinful.

eunice   May 8th, 2009 5:14 pm ET

the best present a woman can give her husband on their wedding night is her virginity..yes, I am old, born in 1929, but this is what we bekieve in our family..& we treasure each his own, this is a free country & a free world, I respect the opinion of others...

debbie   May 9th, 2009 12:49 am ET

Bristol might be 18 now but when it became public she was only 17. Does that make it better because she is 18 now? Bristol was a teen that got pregnant and just because she is Palin's daughter does not make it ok. Preaching what she did wrong now is too late. Both her and her mother I hope goes away, we are tired of hearing their poor pity parties.

Katherine   May 9th, 2009 7:16 am ET

Perhaps abstinence is not realistic, but being responsible is! Birth control is widely available and cheap; you can get it without a prescription in many cases. Teach teenagers that they DO have access to it...there's a Walgreens on every corner.

I for one am glad that abortion was illegal in the 1950s...otherwise I wouldn't be here. Just ask my parents...abstinence wasn't realistic back then, either.

James   May 9th, 2009 1:41 pm ET

Typical blond.

James   May 9th, 2009 2:32 pm ET

Sex ed is good though discouraging abstinence is just a detriment to that education. Abstinence is not unhealthy or unrealistic. Everyone self restrains themselves. Abstinence is just restraint until marriage. I know a type of people who can't restrain or control themselves from having sex, they're called rapists.

James   May 9th, 2009 3:40 pm ET

Teens ought to at least wait until they are adults. Teens are responsible about sex about as much as they are the way they drive cars. I don't believe they're ready to handle it and pregnancy statistics support this.

terry   May 9th, 2009 5:53 pm ET

do not think Gov Palin wanted to have the last baby,,she was not responsible @ the end,,perhaps secretly hoping baby would not live when born....only the Lord knows ..

Pragmatic   May 9th, 2009 6:03 pm ET

Why is it always the girl's purity that is paraded like some prize? What about the males? Why is it accepted that males can have as many lovers as they can get while a female cannot? And if all females were holding out, then with whom are all the guys getting their action? Y'know, the action they all brag about getting?

Reality is that sex is a part of life, a part that has serious consequences, and should not be the center of anyone's life. It's only sex. It has its place, but is not the be all and end all in life.

So, like everything else in life, there are risks to manage and decisions to make. One needs to be knowledgeable in order to make good decisions. Abstinence guarantees 100% that one will not get pregnant or get some one pregnant AND that one will not contract a Sexually Transmitted Infection (this includes all forms of sexual activity and not just intercourse, for those of you who don't consider oral sex to be sex). It's the only 100% guarantee other than the fact that you will also die at some point in your life.

Teaching about birth control and disease control is not the same as telling people to go out and have sex. I was taught about birth control and STIs in my school system's health curriculum (and that was 25-30 years ago in NY). I was taught at home that sex was not something one did lightly. I remember hearing about 1 girl who did get pregnant at 16. That's 1 girl in a high school with 3200 students all getting the same sex-ed classes (assume 51% are girls). And I happen to know some that were having sex responsibly, others that were not and were extremely lucky, and most of us chose not to jeopardize our futures on a moment's passion.

Now look at the percentage of teen pregnancies and incidences of STIs among teens (both sexes) since the "morality" police has censored the teaching of sex-ed in the schools. It's been steadily rising since the mid-90's.

I am now the mother of a young teen daughter, and you can bet I'm going to arm her with all the knowledge available on sex/birth control/disease control. Does that mean I give her permission to go sleep around with anyone and everyone? No. It means that should she find herself faced with the decision, she'll have all the information in order to make a decision.

Bob   May 9th, 2009 7:31 pm ET

Why do people keep insisting sexual education involving abstinence to be the blame for the rise in teenage pregnancies? It's the society and media's increasing promotion, embracing, and overexposure of sexual carelessness that's causing more kids to have sex younger.

Stevie V   May 9th, 2009 7:42 pm ET

Hi Megan, if more Republican's had your views which are more open and expansive the party might not be shrinking the way it is. You are so refreshing.

Scott   May 10th, 2009 11:43 am ET

Think of all the good that comes when people are monogamous relationship after marriage. Now think of all that can go wrong with a non-committed sexual relationship before marriage. End of story!

koolade kid   May 11th, 2009 2:34 am ET

How did Hell !!! did madea become federation chief pissed off
only casting flaw in the movie i'm a treky big props to J.J. abram
tyler perry stick to your shows.

Rose   May 11th, 2009 2:50 pm ET

A woman's virginity shouldn't be served up on a platter for her husband. What about "his" purity? The issue is that it is women who get pregnant and deal directly with its consequences. Teens need to be taught about birth control. There are so many misconceptions out there about what works and what doesn't.

No one is promoting that all teens are having sex. Many are not. But many are careless and irresponsible (not unusual for adolescents) and lack emotional maturity. Given that there is a high number of unplanned teen pregancies, discussion and education about options is necessary – not just promoting abstinence because it is not realistic and sex education (or lack thereof) suffers.

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