left biblioblography: How ‘Abstinence Now’ Actually Works…

Friday, July 17, 2009

How ‘Abstinence Now’ Actually Works…

Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education that emphasizes abstinence from sex to the exclusion of all other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. This type of sex education promotes sexual abstinence until marriage and either completely avoids any discussion about the use of contraceptives, or only reveals failure rates associated with such use.

Proponents of abstinence-only sex education argue that this approach is superior to comprehensive sex education for several reasons. They say that sex education should emphasize teaching a morality that limits sex to that within the bounds of marriage and that sex outside marriage and at a young age has heavy physical and emotional costs. They claim that comprehensive sex education encourages teen premarital sexual activity, which should be discouraged in an era when HIV and other incurable sexually transmitted infections are widespread and when teen pregnancy is an ongoing concern.

Opponents and critics, which include prominent professional associations in the fields of medicine, public health, adolescent health, and psychology, argue that such programs fail to provide adequate information to protect the health of young people. Some critics also argue that such programs verge on religious interference in secular education. Opponents of abstinence-only education dispute the claim that comprehensive sex education encourages teens to have premarital sex. The idea that sexual intercourse should only occur within marriage also has serious implications for people for whom marriage is not valued or desired, or is unavailable as an option, particularly homosexuals living in places where same-sex marriage is not legal or socially acceptable.

Abstinence-only sex education became more prominent in the U.S. over the last decade stimulated by over $1 billion in federal funding. However, few long-term, rigorous studies have been done on these programs, and their effectiveness remains a matter of question. While abstinence-only sex education is a controversial subject, the fact that complete abstinence itself (even within marriage) is the most effective preventative measure against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases has never been in dispute. What is in dispute is whether abstinence-only sex education actually succeeds in increasing abstinence.

Christlation: “Actual information will give the children ideas! Oh noes! Think of the children!” Usually the clarion call of the willfully ignorant.

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Anonymous said...

This is why abstinence-only should really be called ignorance-only.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Or woefully-ignorant only.