Argument: Abstinence may be effective, but teens will never follow it

Issue Report: Abstinence-only vs. comprehensive sex education


Stephanie Luke. “Sex education a must”. The Daily Collegian. 4 Dec. 2008 – Peter Bearman, the designer of the study, said that 88 percent of the abstainers broke their pledge before marriage. This is a huge number of people, and it should force people to look at the reality of teenage sexuality.

The Bush administration advocates the concept that abstinence is the number one contraceptive. While this is true, it avoids reality. Teenage sex happens no matter the preventative measures a community takes, and these teenagers have to be educated about the dangers and how to avoid them. Education about contraceptives is useful even for the people who do fulfill their pledges and get married as virgins. Just think about it.

“Don’t say ‘Just say no'”. Anchorage Daily News. 16 Mar. 2008 – Abstinence is completely effective in preventing these diseases. But it’s obvious from the data that it’s not realistic to believe all teenage girls can be convinced to put off sex. […] So it’s hurtful to these young women to pretend that that’s going to happen. But that’s what we do when we indoctrinate them about abstinence while denying them information about safe sex.

[…]BOTTOM LINE: This is a fact of life: Kids need to know how to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. They can’t just be told, “don’t have sex.”

“Educate teens about protection”. Muskogee Phoenix. 17 Mar. 2008 – Here’s a true statement: the only real “safe sex” is no sex at all. Regardless of whether you’re in a committed relationship where both parties claim to have been virgins on the marriage day, sex is only as safe as each partner’s word.

Here’s another true statement: when hormones are raging, teenagers more often than not do not see abstinence as a viable option — even those who have taken pledges to be abstinent.

[…] Condoms don’t always protect against every disease, and neither do other “safe sex” practices. We agree with abstinence proponents that the only real “safe” sex is none at all.

However, in the face of the reality that our young women are contracting STDs at an alarming level, we owe it to them to discuss the reality that they should be protecting themselves if they choose to engage in sexual activity.

Let’s face it. We’d all prefer teenagers didn’t get involved in sexual relations at a time most agree they’re not emotionally equipped to handle them.

But they’re doing it, whether we like it or not. We owe it to them to educate them to the dangers they face.

“Sex education that can last a lifetime”. Austin-American Statesman Editorial. 15 mar. 2008 – We know that not all teenagers are having sex. And we know that the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies is by practicing abstinence. But we also know that a one-size-fits-all approach does not fit all – certainly not those teenagers who, for whatever reason, engage in sexual relations.

“Editorial: Congress should stop funding abstinence-only ed”. The Daily Gazette. 7 July 2008 – Teen sex is a complicated issue, as demonstrated by the recent case in Gloucester, Mass., where 17 teenage girls may or may not have made a pact to get pregnant. It is at once a biological urge, a rite of passage, a way of feeling accepted, important or loved.

That’s not to say it should be encouraged. Pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, are serious problems, and there’s no denying that for these reasons, as well as psychological, emotional and economic ones, young people are better off waiting to have sex. They need to hear that message — and they do as part of most comprehensive sex education programs, including Planned Parenthood’s. But they also need to know how their bodies work, and how to protect themselves from pregnancy and STDs if they do have sex — and the reality is that many will, regardless of what they are told. It is silly, and dangerous, to pretend otherwise.