A study by Peter Bearman of Columbia University and Hannah Bruckner of Yale University found that teenagers who made virginity pledges delayed the onset of sexual activity by an average of a year and a half and claimed to have fewer sexual partners, according to Jackson.
However, pledgers, especially males, were less likely than nonpledgers to use contraception when they did have sex and contracted STDs at nearly the same rate as nonpledgers, according to the study, Jackson says. Bush is failing to ask the proper questions for the 21st century and instead continues to say abstinence “works every time,” Jackson says, concluding, “History will show this to be tragically wrong” (Jackson, Boston Globe, 9/24).
A review of a number of abstinence-only sex education programs confirms the use of a fear-based approach. In these abstinence-only curriculums words equated with sexual activity are; low self-esteem, guilt, scared, ruined relationships, broken emotional bond, trashing of a person’s reputation, and suicide. Not a very positive or well balanced message. They’re telling teenagers that what they are feeling is wrong and needs to be avoided.
“These programs are saying; pleasure is pain, its twisting teenage sexuality into something that is ugly and dangerous. Nowhere is there a message that sexual feelings are positive and natural,” says Howard B. Schiffer, parenting and teen sexuality expert and author of How To Be The Best Lover — A Guide For Teenage Boys. “Abstinence-only programs are taking something that our bodies are supposed to experience and casting it in a negative light by using fear to try to push their own agenda” says Schiffer. He continues; “Many of these programs have never been proven effective in reducing the onset of teen sexuality or increasing teen’s safety and they are a contradiction to everything teens are feeling.” Schiffer advocates giving teens real information so they can make smart decisions when confronted with sexual situations. He says; “The hidden danger behind abstinence-only programs is that they seem to be based on an inherent distrust of teenagers; that you have to scare or coerce them to get them to act responsibly. But I’ve seen the opposite — teenagers are smart, they’re the ones who have to deal with the consequences of their actions and they deserve complete, honest and unbiased information so they can make wise decisions.”
I like Schiffer, from what he says here.
Advocates for Youth on Tuesday also released a report about sexual behavior among high school students, titledThe group contracted with an independent statistician to analyze CDC data on the subject. The findings include:
- The proportion of high school students who reported ever having sex dropped 11% between 1991 and 1997, and there was no statistically significant change from 1999 to 2003.
- Between 1991 and 1997, there was a statistically significant decline in the proportion of male and African-American high school students who reported current sexual activity, but the trend did not continue from 1999 to 2003.
- Condom use among sexually active young people increased 23% from 1991 to 1997, and it increased 9% between 1999 and 2003.
- The prevalence of students who said they had four or more sexual partners declined by 14% from 1991 to 1997 but remained unchanged from 1999 to 2003 (Advocates for Youth release, 9/28).