Let’s talk about (the cost of) sex | NevadaAppeal.com

Let’s talk about (the cost of) sex

Jarid Shipley
Appeal Staff Writer
Trevor Clark/Nevada Appeal Carson High seniors Sharyah Stewart, 17, from left, Lindsey Bleuss, 18, and Christine Hutchins, 18, listen to STD awareness speaker Pam Stenzel in the gym at Carson High School on Monday.

On Monday morning, the students of Carson High School faced some tough questions.

National speaker and abstinence educator Pam Stenzel talked to the students during two assemblies about the cost of their choices.

“I can’t make this choice for you. Your parents can’t make this choice for you, even if they wish they could. You have to decide,” Stenzel told the students.

For just over an hour, Stenzel talked about the choices and consequences of sexual activity, even safe sexual activity.

The program was funded using a $35,000 federal grant received by the Crisis Pregnancy Center in Reno. Stenzel will be talking to schools in Northern Nevada through Friday, including a presentation today at Virginia City High School.

Nine years ago, Stenzel was working in a crisis pregnancy center in Minneapolis and time after time the girls in her office would tell her they just didn’t know.

“When you start whining about what kids aren’t being taught, eventually the finger has to be pointed back at you and you have to do something,” Stenzel said. “My only goal in talking to students is so that they can’t say they didn’t know, that nobody ever told them.”

Since then, Stenzel has traveled the world, speaking to students about abstinence and making good choices. Her video, “Sex has a price tag,” received the Charleston International Film Festival Gold Award in 1997 and has been translated into 11 languages.

One of Stenzel’s main points is that high schoolers think pregnancy is the worst consequence of sex, but it shouldn’t be their only concern.

“You can live through pregnancy, I’ve done it three times, but there are sexually transmitted diseases that can kill you. On average, pregnant girls in Nevada carry 2.3 sexually transmitted diseases.”

Stenzel also talked about the prevalence of 30 sexually transmitted diseases, including the most common one, human papillomavirus or HPV. She also mentioned that nationwide 14,000 teenagers will get a sexually transmitted disease today.

Lisa Schuette, a health teacher at Carson Middle School, brought 120 seventh-graders to the high school for the presentation.

“They loved the message, but it was also a little scary for them,” Schuette said. “We’ve talked a lot about STDs and they know the dangers, but she is so dynamic that they enjoy listening to her.”

In addition to the physical consequences, including pregnancy, sterility, infection and possibly death, Stenzel also talked about the emotional impacts of sexual activity outside marriage.

“Is it worth it ladies? Are the consequences worth it because he told you he loved you,” said Stenzel. “Love would never ask you to do something that will damage you for the rest of your life.”

Schuette said the presentation fits into the educational philosophy of the district.

“We have an informed-abstinence program, we talk about abstinence but we also address the other dangers. We have a great family-life committee that helps us,” Schuette said.

After the presentations, Stenzel answered questions from students about a variety of topics.

“Just when I tell you I can’t be shocked by the questions, I get shocked again. But, having worked for a crisis pregnancy center I know most of what they are going to ask,” she said.

• Contact reporter Jarid Shipley at jshipley@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1217.

Voice your opinion

What: Family Life Advisory Committee, which helps direct the curriculum for health and sexual education classes in the Carson City School District.

When: 6-8 p.m. the first Wednesday of every month. The next meeting is March 7.

Where: Carson Middle School, Room 123.

Call: Lisa Schuette at 283-2111 ext. 2862 for information

On the Net

For more information about speaker Pam Stenzel and her programs, go online at: http://www.pamstenzel.com