Is teaching abstinence the best method of sex education for students today? That’s been an ongoing debate for nearly a generation. With government funding supporting faith-based abstinence initiatives, the idea is pretty basic. The best way to not catch an STD or get pregnant is to not have sex in the first place. How effective that philosophy and educational style happens to be is likely dependent on your personal viewpoint on the matter.
Photo provided by Flickr
Among its many provisions, the legislation created the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), which, among other things, provides young people with medically accurate and age-appropriate sex education in order to help them reduce their risk of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs through evidence-based and innovative programs.
20 Abstinence Only Sex Education Statistics | HRFnd
Photo provided by Flickr
That’s not to say that abstinence only sex education is 100% ineffective. In a recent controlled trial, abstinence programs that did not criticize contraceptives or advocate waiting until marriage for sex AND were specifically tailored to the local community could be effective in delaying the first instance of sexual intercourse amongst younger teens.
Adolescent sexuality - Wikipedia
In particular, the authors found that receiving information about birth control in formal sex education was associated with a 50% lower risk of teen pregnancy when compared to receiving information only on abstinence. It also confirmed that talking to young people about birth control does not lead to increased sexual activity or higher STD rates as many critics of comprehensive sexuality education continue to claim.
What is Sex? - Teen Health Source
After nearly thirty years of strong support from the federal government for abstinence-only-until-marriage programs, the Obama administration and Congress ushered in a new era of sex education in the United States, eliminating two-thirds of federal funding for ineffective abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and providing funding for initiatives that support evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention and more comprehensive approaches to sex education totaling nearly $190 million.
Sex means different things to different people
Pamela Kohler, et al., “Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy,” Journal of Adolescent Health 42.4 (March 2008); 344–351.
Above all, it is a healthy and natural activity
This study is a welcome addition to the research on sexuality education and youth sexual behavior; however, there are some limitations to the data. The NSFG does not ask detailed questions about sex education. Instead, researcher categorized respondents by their answer to two basic questions. By this narrow definition they found that 66.8% of respondents reported receiving comprehensive sex education, 23.8% reported abstinence-only, and 9.4% reported no sex education. However, no information was available about the quality, context, or duration of either the abstinence-only or comprehensive sex education programs.