The Results of Abstinence-Only Education

Bush’s Empha­sis on Absti­nence Puts USA at Risk for Increase in HIV Cas­es

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).

From The Hid­den Dan­ger Behind Absti­nence Only Sex Edu­ca­tion in the USA

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.

Absti­nence-Only Sex Edu­ca­tion Has Lit­tle Effect on Teen Behav­ior, Analy­sis Says

Advo­cates for Youth on Tues­day also released a report about sex­u­al behav­ior among high school stu­dents, titled Trends in Sex­u­al Risk Behav­iors among High School Stu­dents — Unit­ed States, 1991 to 1997 and 1999 to 2003. The 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).

Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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