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Abstinence Programs - Do They Work - Essay Example

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Abstinence programs, for a while now, have been the subject of a debate discussing the effectiveness and worth of implementing such programs. Tens of millions of dollars are offered as government grants to promoters of abstinence programs…
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Abstinence Programs - Do They Work
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Abstinence Programs - Do They Work

Download file to see previous pages... Cleary the government is looking for the most effective way to curb teenagers’ engagement in sexual activities that lead to an increase in sexually transmitted diseases, emotional and psychological injuries, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. Therefore, schools across the nation have been charged with implementing programs that will educate the young about the risks of engaging in sexual activities before marriage. In many schools in the United States, abstinence programs are being promoted alongside sexual education classes. Abstinence education is a type of sex education that places strict emphasis on abstaining from sex until marriage, however, studies have shown that abstinence programs, when taught as stand-alone programs, are not effective or successful. This paper will explain the reasoning and proof behind the studies. Exposure to the word "sex" and vague ideas on what it might be begin to generate within the average child's mind from a fairly young age. As a source of reference, a child looks to an adult or teacher to provide clarity and understanding on topics they might not have knowledge on. Therefore, an effective way of explaining sex to a child or teenager is through the education system - a system in place to inform and depart knowledge. However, considering that most education is funded by the federal government, funding recipients are mandated to follow the government's agenda when it comes to teaching sex. If these programs are run by the government, then surely they should be effective and yield positive results. Unfortunately, that is not the case as we will see in this paper. There are very few parties who oppose some form of sex education being taught in school and although most advocates agree that sex education should be taught, controversy exists among the group about the type of program that should be taught. According to an NPR survey, fifteen percent of advocates believe that sex education should adhere to teaching abstinence until marriage without discussion of alternatives such as condoms and contraception. Forty six percent believes that both abstinence and alternative methods such as condom and birth control use should be taught. Thirty-six percent of supporters believe that the primary focus should be on how to make responsible decisions concerning sex rather than teaching abstinence only (NPR para. 2). The two most popular methods used in schools in the United States are abstinence education and the alternative, comprehensive sex education. “No sex is the safest sex,” is the slogan of abstinence education, and while this sentence is perhaps admirable in terms of encouraging religious and marital morality, it certainly doesn't offer any advice to those whom choose to participate in pre-marital sex. It might be true that having no sex at all is the safest and most effective method at reducing pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, but in the real world, hormone-driven teenagers will experiment and look to peers as role-models. Once that decision has been made to participate in sexual activity, the entire premise of abstinence education become void. There is no further education or knowledge that a sexually participating individual can fall back on. Abstinence education only teaches not to have sex, when there should, at the very least, be involvement of both messages. The presumption that a teenager will adhere to vague and questionable advice to save oneself until marriage is ignorant at best. In 1981, during President Ronald Reagan’s administration, the federal government continuously funded sex education programs that suggested refraining from sex until marriage. There has been no research to confirm the program’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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