Sex Ed Marine Style

Straight Talk - coverSex: If You’re Scared of the Truth Don’t Read This

Submitter: I’m submitting a book that landed on my desk as an unwanted mailing this afternoon, and was just as quickly tossed in the trash.  We are a small private school, and obviously biased materials like this are books we try to avoid.  It’s interesting that Worldcat lists 10 libraries as owning this book; none of them are school libraries.  Many thanks for the hours of amusement that you’ve provided!

Holly: You’re welcome!  Since this was submitted, three more libraries have holdings added to WorldCat.  They appear to be mostly public libraries, which is definitely a more appropriate place for it.  There are families that might opt for this style of sex education.  I’m not saying it’s an out-and-out awful library book.  This kind of thing needs to be looked at carefully before it is added to any collection, though.  Remember that unwanted mailing of the dental book? If you don’t look carefully at these books that show up unsolicited, you could end up with something that doesn’t fit your community’s needs.

Straight Talk - back cover

Straight Talk - contents


Men Won't Buy the Cow

Limiting Your Partners and Living Together

Chapter 7


  1. There’s nothing wrong with having materials on an abstinence approach…aren’t libraries supposed to cover all viewpoints? I say keep it as long as there are also materials from other POVs…too many libraries do get a bit too one sided on their approach to materials.

  2. PS or is it simply that since the one mentioned is smaller, it has to have books that cover several sides of a topic all at once? I can understand that.

    I still don’t think it’s an awful book though…would say it’s a needed one for today’s kids. We can’t teach *only* abstinence, no, but it shouldn’t be viewed as totally archaic either.

  3. Oh dear! My boyfriend and I must have a talk tonight about our cohabitation without marriage. I had no idea I was merely the next best thing to a prostitute! How could I have been such a foolish loser?! And where’s my money?!

  4. So guys want to sleep around and women want marriage and security? How enlightening! I can’t believe all this time I thought we were succumbing to progressive views about cohabitation, delayed marriage, and more mutable gender roles! Gee, I must be a DUMMY.

    Someone should tell that marine that teenagers haven’t said “dummy” since the last mid-century.

  5. Good grief, what an absolutely ridiculous book. MM: I agree with you that all options should be offered, but I am sure that all the books on sexual education discuss abstinence–presumably without the insulting sexism and absurdly dishonest propaganda shown here.

  6. I have to agree with Canaduck. This book is sexist and insulting to women. There has to be better information out there, presented in a more open tone. This is more like ‘Scared Straight’ for those having sex outside of marriate.
    I lived with my husband before we were married.
    I am not, nor have I ever been a cow.

  7. I’m with Canaduck and legume. I think people are being too kind to this. It’s pretty awful. As Canaduck says, you can promote abstinence without the kind of nonsense you see here.

  8. I’d really, REALLY love to read the Answers for Dumb Come-Ons in Chapter 9!! I’ll bet they’re QUALITY!!

  9. Last Christmas I was tasked with finding a book “to make sense of boys” for a 14-year-old girl, and you’d be amazed at the crap like this out there, much of it masquerading as relationship advice for teens. (Because dehumanizing all boys is key to establishing a loving and healthy relationship!) I mean, this girl doesn’t live in purdah or locked down on the compound–she knows her parents lived together before they got married, as did her grandparents–and a book like this wouldn’t strike her as being any less ridiculous than it strikes us adults. You can support a teenager’s decision not to have sex without resorting to a lot of silly scare tactics and insulting stereotypes.

    I wasn’t looking for abstinence-only material (more something that would help her make good decisions overall), but in the course of my search I did look over a couple of abstinence titles that just seemed much more positive than this one–relationship books for the teenage devout Christian and the like. They were more about making choices that reflect your values and having confidence in your beliefs than avoiding sex because all men are evil dirtbags.

  10. As others have said, a book about the benefits of abstinence would be a fine part of a library. There are plenty of sensible, positive reasons for abstinence. But this bit about a “lifetime of suffering?” The old misguided myth that guys just want sex, and girls have no sexual desires but just want love and security? The blatant attempt to bully and frighten people into abstinence? Yuck.

  11. I’m with Krissy- I really wanted to see those answers to dumb come-ons.

    As for this book, there’s got to be better quality material than the “all men are scum” approach shown here. I am well aware of what these religious people teach, and it’s based on fear and control. Unfortunately, it’s likely to give young ladies a fear of men and people in general. It also usually backfires since the more you forbid something the more teens are likely to want to do it.

    From these few pages it doesn’t seem likely that the book contains accurate information, either. Most co-habiting males don’t insist their partner get an abortion, for instance.

  12. Post-abortion stress but no mention of the stresses of having a baby. Because that’s not stressful at all, no.

  13. There is a copy of this book floating around on the processing cart next to my desk. I haven’t decided what to do with it yet, but I won’t be processing it. I even hesitate to put it out on our free discard table.

    We have plenty of books in our collection that provide a well-written, more balanced view of sexual education, including abstinence. Besides, most of these books only check out when a student is doing research for a paper.

  14. What a pile of utter utter shite. (I don’t have to put little *** in that word, because it’s Irish and thus Quaint.) The viewpoint that no premarital sex will give you a happier life is valid sure, but this is mixed up with vile sexist myths and terrible scare-mongering.

  15. With its dodgy anecdotes and rampant sexism (“Your body is like an expensive car” – WTF?), this reads like a religious tract masquerading as secular advice. Sure enough, Carl Sommer self-identifies as a “devout churchgoer”, while the ‘Medical Institute for Sexual Health’ is described by Sourcewatch as “hard-core abstinence” and “purity pushers”.
    Anyway, I think it’s clear from that cover that Carl favours fingering before marriage…

  16. This book isn’t pro abstinence, it’s incredibly sex and male negative!
    I love how all the examples are quoted from other reliable sex negative books and not directly first person accounts. Porn lead the boy to drugs? Please! I also love how they twist statistics and quote people to sound like a reliable statistic. “A college professor describes a survey he takes every year in his marriage class…” Who is this professor? Which school what this survey done? During what years? Was this course an elective or a requirement? Note how none of this information is provided, or it’s neatly hidden. There are (hopefully) many better pro abstinence books out there. Please find them and weed this one.

  17. Like the Submitter (no pun intended), I received this book unsolicited, for free. No, It doesn’t really belong in a small, private, high school…or possibly anywhere. We go for quality, not quantity in our collection.

  18. I don’t think this sounds like a bad book, even if it is extreme. When all teenagers hear is, “Don’t have sex…but if you do, use a condom…and get on the Pill…and don’t worry too much because you can get an abortion at Planned Parenthood without your parents knowing…” , it’s no surprise they don’t take the decision as seriously as they should.

    Libraries should have books to support various viewpoints of their constiutencies. I know that I’m the only librarian in the world who is both religious and conservative, but I know I’m not the only library user who is. If there are books with other approaches to sex education available, something along these lines should be as well, at a public library, anyway.

  19. This book isn’t geared to women, or the academic community. It’s geare to young men in the military, who don’t have the most progressive attitutudes towards women, even at the best of times.

    This book does have a place, and an audience. Maybe not in every library, but before you criticize, you have to look at the intendended audience first. And maybe live it like I did for 20 years before you understand it.

    I wouldn’t encourage my daughter to read it, but there 10,000 GI’s I know who probably should.

  20. Hmmmm. Sorry, but I quit reading any self-help book when I see that the author doesn’t know the difference between “effect” and “affect” and the editor hasn’t caught it either.

  21. As a believer, it both amuses and bothers me to see people who think they’re being all “pure and religious” write things like this. Real religion isn’t about fear. Besides, if they were to go back to the original writings – such as the Torah itself – they’d find it all very pro-sex. And it’s all about the woman. Rabbis have sat down and stated, according to a man’s job, how many times a year he should sexually pleasure his wife – and only if she wants it. Judaism was the first religion that made it illegal for a husband to rape his wife. Sex is when and how she likes it. Not up to him at all. (And is probably the real reason why there’s that whole “No touching during her period” thing. A women likely started that “unclean” business in order to get a break!)

    Poor old Carl. If he went back and studied the roots of his own religion he’d be in for some very unpleasant surprises. Like how if his wife isn’t happy in bed, she has every right to divorce him.

  22. Not only is this book ridiculous but please tell me you are not being serious in thinking that military men should read this. I have been in the Marine Corps for 4 1/2 years and I have seen just as many pig headed guys in the service as I have outside. Tell your daughter to read books about tolerance and the importance of personal choice rather then sling insults about male military members.

  23. @Julie–Actually, studies have shown that rates of teens having sex are about the same regardless of whether they have abstinence-only or comprehensive sex ed, but that rates of teen pregnancies and STDs are quite a bit higher with abstinence-only, and also in highly religious communities. Giving them facts, options, and realistic advice is precisely what allows them to take it seriously.

    @Jami–If women have to declare 1/4 of their time as “off-limits” for sex in order to “get a break,” that’s not very pro-sex, now is it? If the woman actually likes sex, that’s a week of unhappily waiting to be allowed to enjoy yourself.

  24. Asking a Marine for advice about sex would be like asking an alcoholic drag queen for fashion tips.

  25. Alice, I’ve seen the car/body comparison in other abstinence ed materials: The rationale was that a guy’s bride is like his dream car, and no guy wants a dream car someone else has already driven.
    Why, pray tell, do they think “straight talk from a former U.S. Marine” gives this any more weight? It’s not because it’s targeted at men in the military: That stuff about the terrible fate of girls who succumb and What Boys Are Really Like is clearly aimed at girls.

  26. This author would be so confused by my brother – lived with his girlfriend for more than a decade, had two children with her, THEN married her.

    That is, he’d be confused if he could take it in, but something tells me that he’s not the kind of person to pay attention to examples that don’t support his thesis.

Comments are closed.