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Abstinance Only Education Study

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Re: Abstinance Only Education Study

Postby Coppermine » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:14 pm

Half Massed wrote:
Coppermine wrote:
Half Massed wrote:
Coppermine wrote:I've long held that abstinence-only perhaps as the opposite effect on teens; that without knowledge of proper ways of protecting themselves, that it could actually lead to an increase in teen pregnancy. This of course was debunked not long ago with a study that indicated that not only is teen pregnancy at a 10-year low, but so is teenage drug use and violence.


What was the sample group for this study? I don't doubt that teen pregnancy has gone down in places where real sex education is actually being taught, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't have risen in areas where abstinence-only education has been taught exclusively. Taking a polling of the entire U.S. does not answer the question of whether abstinence-only sex ed has adverse effects.

It would make sense if it did. After all, if you don't know what you're doing or what not to do, it's a lot easier to accidentally get somebody pregnant.


I think teenagers have a lot of ways of gathering information these days. Some may be good or bad, but I think there is at least an openness about safe-sex and pregnancy that was not prevalent 40 years ago. I believe the sampling was random and wide spread; abstinence-only did not result in an increase in sexual activity, nor a decrease. It simply has no effect which implies 2 things:

1.) Abstinence only ed in schools is worthless
2.) Teens are not given enough credit for making decisions without us force feeding it to them

At least in my opinion; the perception is that teenagers are dumb animals that if not taught right from wrong, will ultimately do wrong. I know that low-income areas are hit much harder with teen pregnancy, but low-income areas also have higher pregnancy rates in general.

Besides, from the random sample, i think the experiment was to determine if students receiving abstinence only education had less sex. They do not.


Alright then, well that proves the point. If they're not having less sex with abstinence only sex ed, why not teach them how to have safer sex?

And obviously teenagers make their own decisions, that's how family conflicts happen and the stereotype of rebellious teenagers was established, but I'd be more comfortable making it as easy as possible for teens to make smart decisions, rather than just saying "They're smart kids, they'll figure it out on their own."

I mean, I knew about safe sex before I even reached high school, but not every teen does. And if they're taught the only safe way is none at all, or that premarital sex is wrong and shameful, they're less likely to seek out ways to protect themselves. There's the thinking of: If it's wrong to do in any form, it's not going to be any less wrong if you wear a condom.


I agree, and I'd also feel better if they received at least information as facts rather than a watered down "if you have sex you'll die" argument.

The problem with abstinence-only education is that it substitutes what teens need to know for what educators (and parents, and legislators) feel comfortable telling them.

And, since I love debunking the myth that fewer people had pre-marital sex "in the good old days" it turns out they were just better at hiding it. Thankfully, diseases like HIV/AIDS weren't around then.

Fox News.com wrote:NEW YORK — More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

"This is reality-check research," said the study's author, Lawrence Finer. "Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades."

Finer is a research director at the Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that studies sexual and reproductive issues and which disagrees with government-funded programs that rely primarily on abstinence-only teachings. The study, released Tuesday, appears in the new issue of Public Health Reports.

The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people — about 33,000 of them women — in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer's analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.

Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.
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Postby sportsaddict » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:28 pm

Seems like the kids that come from families where sex is talked about is a horrible thing, and something someone should never do until marriage, are usually the ones that end up being more reckless. If kids are taught how to make good decisions and how to protect themselves, everyone will be fine. Because no matter what you tell kids about sex, most of them won't listen.
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Postby Coppermine » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:32 pm

sportsaddict wrote:Seems like the kids that come from families where sex is talked about is a horrible thing, and something someone should never do until marriage, are usually the ones that end up being more reckless. If kids are taught how to make good decisions and how to protect themselves, everyone will be fine. Because no matter what you tell kids about sex, most of them won't listen.


Well if you think about it, the Bible Belt states have the highest teen pregnancy rates, but... I'm not really implying anything, just pointing it out. Could be coincidence.
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Postby knapplc » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:46 pm

sportsaddict wrote:Seems like the kids that come from families where sex is talked about is a horrible thing, and something someone should never do until marriage, are usually the ones that end up being more reckless. If kids are taught how to make good decisions and how to protect themselves, everyone will be fine. Because no matter what you tell kids about sex, most of them won't listen.

Well, my experience with this is certainly not scientific, but here goes:

My wife’s Aunt & Uncle have nine children. They home-schooled those kids and basically never EVER talked about sex. It was taboo, big time. So as the oldest kids “graduated” and moved out of the house, each one of them got caught up in an unplanned pregnancy. It happened again, and again, and again, and again, and again. It was bizarre. This is a highly conservative family with very strict moral “values,” but despite these values taught to the kids, each one of them went right out and promptly violated those values.

Why? Easy: hormones >>>>>>>>>>>>>>abstinence

So, knowing this, and knowing that despite my upbringing during which sex talk was not forbidden per se (but never really happened, either), and then seeing what I did when I turned 18 (responsibly, though), I have made the determination that A) abstinence, while a good idea, is not realistic in most circumstances and B) since I don’t want my daughter to become pregnant at an early and ridiculous age, I’m going to talk to her early and often about sex. I’m going to tell her what she should expect, what she should beware of (read: boys :-D ) and I’m going to tell her how to have a realistic attitude towards something that is entirely natural and apparently pretty normal.

Then I’m going to pray that she never EVER EVER EVER EVEREVEREVER has sex ever in her whole life. :-o :-o :-b !+) But when she does, I also hope that some of those lessons I’ve given her have sunk in, that she’ll be safe, smart and hopefully rewarded by it, and that she’ll choose a good guy.

I would really prefer that my daughter waits until marriage and all that. That would be SO much easier on me. :-o But the reality is that I didn’t, her mother didn’t, and next to nobody we know did, so to put that burden on her is doing her a disservice. I’m going to be realistic, and not too terribly destroyed when (if) she tells me she’s lost her virginity.

In my mind’s eye I picture it a lot like Ione Skye’s character telling her dad about her experience with Lloyd Dobler in Say Anything… I’ll be that dad (minus the embezzlement part).

Hopefully she’ll be that girl. ;-D
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Postby Coppermine » Mon Apr 16, 2007 6:51 pm

I agree knapp; it's not just hormones though. It's basic, human biology. We all want to have sex. When it's suppressed for someone's entire life, that need only gets stronger. You can't fool someone biologically to not want to do it. And since they were homeschooled, they likely weren't exposed to ANY relevent reproductive information, from school, peers or the media. And so, they go out, hook up with another homeschooler and wham, bam, thank you Sam... she's having a baby!
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Postby knapplc » Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:00 pm

Coppermine wrote:I agree knapp; it's not just hormones though. It's basic, human biology. We all want to have sex. When it's suppressed for someone's entire life, that need only gets stronger. You can't fool someone biologically to not want to do it. And since they were homeschooled, they likely weren't exposed to ANY relevent reproductive information, from school, peers or the media. And so, they go out, hook up with another homeschooler and wham, bam, thank you Sam... she's having a baby!


Yeah, agreed. That's what I was getting at without spelling it out.
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Postby Tukka » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:09 pm

Coming in a bit late on the discussion, but I agree with a lot of the sentiments that have been expressed already. I think that in schools, sex education should just be treated as a subset of biology, and physical education.

Teach the facts. Describe to students what sexual intercourse is and what the possible and probable consequences of doing it are. Explain how pregnancy occurs, how and why sex (and other sexual activity) is an effective vector for the spread of a variety of diseases, teach the anatomy of the sexual organs, what orgasm is (in both genders) and how and why it occurs, and what sex does to your body (release of endorphins, etc.).

Such a thorough education might get rather explicit at times, but then that's the whole point. You can't teach something very well by beating around the bush (no pun intended). You have to want to teach the subject of discussion and have no qualms about answering any pertinent questions your students might ask and indeed you want to engage in such a way that they don't have to feel ashamed about answering any questions they might have.

However, I think it is pretty clear that those who are bent on teaching "abstinence only" are not interested in educating students as much as they are interested in pushing a specific moral (not educational) agenda.

I don't think abstinence-only programs are really there to prevent teen pregnancies or the spread of STDs. No amount of scientific evidence one way or the other is going to make the people who push abstinence-only education the hardest change their tune, because pregnancies and STDs aren't their primary concern.

Their primary concern is keeping young people, especially women, ignorant about their options when it comes to contraception and abortion. It's a cultural thing, a taboo. It's to keep people (again, especially women) as ignorant and ashamed about their bodies as possible.

Hopefully the results of this study will precipitate a change in education policy around the country for a fuller, broader treatment of a subject that all of us have to deal with in our lives at one moment or another, but for the reasons I mention I doubt that'll happen.
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Postby Art Vandelay » Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:39 pm

I realize that the "Eight Simple Rules" bit is intended to be funny...but, wow, what a ridiculous load of crap. I agree with the first one, but that's it.
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Postby ironman » Mon Apr 16, 2007 9:47 pm

Art Vandelay wrote:I realize that the "Eight Simple Rules" bit is intended to be funny...but, wow, what a ridiculous load of crap. I agree with the first one, but that's it.


I thought it was fantastic. Do you have any daughters Art?
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Postby Art Vandelay » Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:09 pm

My wife is currently pregnant with our first. We are not going to find out whether it's a boy or girl until it's born. If it is a girl, my opinion won't change.
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