Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Open Education, a comprehensive educational issues website, just posted a story on the success of abstinence-only education in schools. According to the research studies cited, the program does not work too well, which is a shame, because abstinence is the only fool proof pregnancy and disease firewall.

If abstinence-only programs in school really worked, then good conservative Christian girls like Bristol Palin would not get pregnant. Even God-fearing, righteous teens have a sex drive and it gets the better of many of them. Unfortunately, it happens. Teen Palin’s circumstance is not isolated even among Christians.

The most disturbing and scary research study to me involved a promise. The study compared those who took the virginity pledge and those who did not. The rate of teens having sex was the same. But that’s not the biggie. The study found that those who took the virginity pledge were less likely to protect themselves (condoms and other birth control) when they did engage in sexual intercourse. Judas Priest!

I would suspect that many of the kids who took the virginity pledge were Christians. Furthermore, most probably had every intention of keeping their promise until they either (1) fell in love , (2) became so horny they just said “screw it”, (3) they became disillusioned and isolated thinking that everyone else was having sex but them (which is not accurate), or (4) perhaps they were brought up believing that masturbation was also a sin, and since they are doing that anyway they might as well do the real deed.

Whatever the reason, the results of the study may lead one to conclude that abstinence-only could actually be harmful if so many students are going to have unprotected sex.

I have two male teen cousins, both of which have had school-based puberty education. What both of them have taken away from the course is this: You will get STD’s from kissing so don’t do it. Scare tactics work for a while, but they are not long lasting and when students realize they have been duped, then the teenage mind justifies by saying everything they learned from that person or class is garbage. Not good.

I think it is important for teens to know that other teens lie about having sex. Not everyone who says they have done it actually have. They also need to know that abstinence is perfectly fine. I had several friends in my college fraternity that were virgins (and they were not gay). There is nothing wrong with that. However, kids need real information about how to protect themselves if they choose to engage in sexual contact.

That’s hard for a lot of conservative Christians to swallow because they think education equates to acceptance. If played correctly, parents can use that to their advantage by letting the school provide the information and the parents provide the religious guidance.

Links to this and the other studies are provided in the Open Education article.

1 comment:

Busplunge said...

Here's what works:

Carry a condom in your wallet.

I carried a condom in my wallet from the time I was 14 years of age to 18 years of age.

During that time I never got a girl pregnant.