The US Congress ordered this study which spent time with 2000 children aged 11 and 12, some in big cities, and some in rural communities. The researchers also looked at the behaviour of their peers from the same communities who did not attend the classes. The findings show that those who attended first had sex at about the same age as their peers – at 14 years and nine months.
Here is a link to a very interesting article published in the Washington Post. The gist of it is that US students attending sexual abstinence lessons are no more likely to abstain from sex than those who do not, according to a new study. The study concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration’s social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom.
“There’s not a lot of good news here for people who pin their hopes on abstinence-only education,” said Sarah Brown, executive director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a privately funded organization that monitors sex education programs. “This is the first study with a solid, experimental design, the first with adequate numbers and long-term follow-up, the first to measure behavior and not just intent. On every measure, the effectiveness of the programs was flat.”
The conclusion by one commentator is that “The most effective programs are those that say abstinence is the best choice but birth control and protection are also worth knowing about.” An official at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States agreed.
For those involved in Christian sex education there is a challenge from this report. Are we too narrow minded? It would be interested to see if there was any research in the UK that agrees or disagrees with this. It seems that some smaller organizations are able to locally make a big impact but nationally it just doesn’t seem to work. Recently we heard that Ofsted have concerns over the sex education. Pupils say teachers and parents are not good at talking to them about sensitive issues like sexuality and are turning to magazines for help, a report finds.
Yesterday, on my day off, I was watching the West Wing series 1 and this issue comes up, it does seem the abstinence plus needs more exploring. Any thoughts?