Abstinence education still doesn't work

Filed under: Teens, Your Pregnancy, In The News, Media, Day Care & Education

A team of researchers from Oxford University has determined (again) that abstinence-only education doesn't work. At least, it doesn't work if the goal is to prevent kids from having sex or to prevent kids from getting pregnant or pretty much anything like that. They looked at 13 US trials involving more than 15,000 kids ranging in age from ten to twenty-one years old. What they found was that the abstinence-only education had no effect on the age at which individuals lost their virginity, whether they had unprotected sex, the number of sexual partners, the rates of sexually transmitted diseases or the number of pregnancies.

While one trial did find that participants were less likely to have had sex in the month following the abstinence class, another showed that kids taking part in abstinence-only classes were significantly more likely to report pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease, compared to those in more traditional courses. Most of the trials, however, showed that abstinence-only education had no effect on the students' lives at all.

In the United States, these programs are heavily supported, especially by religious conservatives. The government has spent a huge amount of money trying to convince horny, over-sexed teenagers that they should just ignore the images that are all around them, not to mention the hormones running amuck in their bodies.

I'm a big believer in actually educating kids -- giving them accurate and complete information that will let them make the best possible decisions and will help them stay safe (and non-pregnant). It seems like more and more studies are showing that that is the best path to take; trying to force a single, unsupported option on teenagers just doesn't work.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.