'Virginitis' only risk of this birth control Chastity advocate talks at Arundel

October 27, 1992|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Staff Writer

Molly Kelly has nothing against sex, she will tell you. After all, she has eight children.

But the sexual abstinence guru told Arundel High School students that safe-sex lectures often fail to discuss the one birth control method that that is free and foolproof: chastity.

"I'm not here to make you agree with me," said the Philadelphia woman who has spent the past eight years traveling around the world preaching abstinence. "I'm here to make you think."

Her 30-minute talk in the packed school auditorium Friday was frank and funny.

"I'm here to talk to my favorite people in the world -- young people -- about my favorite subject in the world -- sex," she began.

Her message, delivered with the enthusiasm of an evangelist and a cheerleader combined, was simple: young people can control their sexual urges, and chastity is the birth control choice with the least risk.

She compared sex with going to the bathroom. A baby, who doesn't know how to control his body, wears a diaper. As a child, he learns to control his body.

But teen-agers, who are told to use contraception, are taught to rely on devices rather than their own self-control, she said.

"It's a put-down to say you need pills, drugs and devices," she said.

Mrs. Kelly said she does not oppose teaching teen-agers about birth control, but said abstinence needs to be presented as a choice they can make.

"We live in a society that thinks something is wrong with the word virgin," she said. "There's no disease there called virginitis."

She pointed out that no form of contraception is 100 percent effective. And even if the contraceptive prevents pregnancy or disease, it does not protect teens from the emotional risks of sexual activity. "No condom is big enough to fit over your heart and mind," she said.

Adults willing to tell children not to drink alcohol or use drugs must be willing to tell children not to have sex, she said.

"Too many of my generation want to treat your generation like animals when it comes to sex," she said. "I respect you to make a decision about your sexuality."

A number of students said they appreciated her talk. "The speech was very uplifting," said Nichole Pindell, an Arundel senior. "She respected us. She believed we could say no. Too many adults think we can't."

Ninth-grader Brett Johnson said some students feel pressured to have sex. "For some people it's a big deal. Others are into sports and other things," he said.

"I think this will help out a lot," said Gina DiMaggio, also in the ninth grade.

Mrs. Kelly said she began speaking to teen-agers about chastity because she opposes abortion, but realized something had to be done to help prevent teen pregnancy.

The county school board this year considered buying her videotape, "A Talk With Molly Kelly on Teens and Chastity."

The videotape ultimately was rejected because it did not present a cross-section of racial groups, and it was considered too long.

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