Concerned that their precious children are not learning to be terrified enough about the deadly consequences of sexual intercourse, lawmakers in Tennessee have added language to their abstinence-only sex ed curriculum that warns students of the dangers of "gateway sexual activity" in a desperate effort to make sure teenagers are not "gateway enjoying themselves." This raises some important questions. If non-coital sexual activities are gateways to coitus like how marijuana is allegedly a gateway to crack, then is dry humping the ganja of sex?
The amended sex ed — excuse me, "family life education," because S-E-X is a dirty word that we never say — sailed through the Tennessee state senate like a lubed up schooner down a giant Slip n' Slide, with only one Senator voting against it. The old version of Tennessee's abstinence only education curriculum allowed teachers to suggest non-sex romantic activities to their horned up students. For example, children, have you considered frottage? How about heavy petting? Over-the-clothes second base is an underrated but effective way to experience boob without endangering the fate of your eternal soul. Try making out and neck-kissing!
But lawmakers worry that encouraging anything that might lead to sex is basically giving students a free pass to have orgies during study hall, hence the new, Super Abstinence Only Education curriculum that expressly prohibits "Promot(ing) any gateway sexual activity or health message that encourages students to experiment with non-coital sexual activity." Republican Sen. Jack Johnson explained, "‘Abstinence' means from all of these activities, and we want to promote that. What we do want to communicate to the kids is that the best choice is abstinence."
So what, exactly, does the law consider a "gateway" sexual activity? Blow jobs are obviously out, even though no one's ever gotten pregnant from one. And cuddling should be discouraged, since cuddling often leads to spooning and spooning to sin. But what about hand holding? Hand holding can introduce students to the feeling of having their skin touch another person's skin, which should not be allowed outside of the church-sanctioned boundaries of marriage. And eye contact can lead to talking, which can lead to crushing, which can lead directly to pregnancy. Maybe family life education teachers in the state of Tennessee are better off if they straight up refrain from mentioning any sort of activity that any two people can engage in, ever, and spend the duration of every class period seated silently in the front of the room while students sit with their eyes closed and hands folded chastely in their laps, listening to a recording of bagpipe music interspersed with the voice of Gilbert Gottfried saying "DON'T HAVE SEX! DON'T HAVE SEX!" in order to discourage sexual thoughts, which are also gateways.
Considering the fact that abstinence-only sex education does not work, the fact that lawmakers are doubling down on a terrible idea really demonstrates a unique commitment to failure and denial of reality. Kudos, Tennessee. I see the Volunteer State has Volunteered to see an uptick in teen pregnancy in the upcoming years.