In a recent episode of Glee, they tackled the hot debate of sex education–abstinence only versus a more comprehensive educational approach. You can read a summary of the episode and watch a clip here.
I’ll admit, I’m not much of a Glee follower, but when I heard about this episode it got me thinking, what do parents/adolescents prefer? Is abstinence-only still taught in school? Is abstinence-only education even effective? So I did some research about current sex education in US high schools and I was surprised at some of the things I found.
In one article I found some interesting information on some of the history on abstinence-only education.
“the 1998 Social Security Act… provided $50 million in annual grants for abstinence-only education… Language in the Act specifies that funds cannot be used to discuss contraceptives, except to describe and emphasize their failure rates.”
The article then goes on to demonstrate the impact that this Act had on sex education in high schools. It explained that the CDC later did a study called the School health Policies and Programs study and found that 96% of high schools were in fact teaching abstinence only, but that nearly half of high schools were stopping there without providing any other preventative education. Some of these education programs had been going on so long that 1/4 to 1/3 of the adolescents had failed to receive any formal education about other preventative measures besides abstinence. The article highlighted this problem by informing that not only did abstinence-only programs fail to delay the onset of sexual activity and number of partners, but by graduation 63% of adolescents had participated in some type of sex intercourse.
The alternative to abstinence-only sex education is comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) which includes education about abstinence as the best way to prevent pregnancy and STIs but it doesn’t stop there; it also includes “medically accurate” information about other preventative measures. The study performed by the CDC, found that close to 80% of students want an education program that includes both abstinence education and other prevention methods.
So with all that being said, I’m curious to know what your opinions are about the debate. What method do you feel is more appropriate? What was your experience with sex education in high school, and do you feel that it was affective among your peers?
Leave a comment and tell us what you think and why.