By Chad Hills
Focus on the Family
Focus on the Family advocates abstinence education because it works. Really? Yes – and we have evidence that proves our claim. But first, some context.
Today it’s difficult for young people to comprehend sexual purity, much less put it into practice. Our present culture defines relationships as by-products of sexual performance, and its concept of “beauty” straddles a thin gray line between salacious exposure and soft porn. It also doesn’t help young adults that their parents and the culture encourage them to put education and career ahead of marriage and family, thus driving the average age of marriage well beyond the mid-20s.
But if you talk to young people, a gradual change is taking place.
They’re experiencing the aftermath of a sexual tsunami, and are sorting through the refuge left in the wake of sexually liberated parents. The fallout from broken, dysfunctional families is painful – a model they don’t want to replicate. Young men and women are searching for brighter futures and not so sure they want to follow the road map they’ve seen modeled and taught.
Enter the findings of a landmark study published in the February 2010 Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. This study of 662 high-risk, African-Americans in sixth and seventh grade offers the latest proof we have to add to our growing mountain of evidence that abstinence education works.
There are the four take-away points from this latest and hugely noteworthy landmark research. Students receiving abstinence-centered education:
-initiated sex less;
-had fewer sexual partners;
-(Hold your breath …) did not reduce their use of condoms among the sexually active;
-had more pronounced risk reductions than those receiving safe-sex and comprehensive sex education, which showed little difference compared to students receiving no formal sex education.
The study’s objective conclusion? “Theory-based abstinence-only interventions may have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.”
Abstinence-centered education is effective with this generation because it provides direction, character education and a guide for healthy living. It gives hope for a brighter future to those regretting their sexual involvement. It encourages parents to participate in and lead this discussion.
So it seems that while President Obama promised change to young America, his Administration is actually short-changing the next generation by de-funding abstinence-centered programs in our nation. Let’s hope our President lends more support to where the evidence is leading – because abstinence education works. Really!
Chad Hills is sexual health research and policy analyst at Focus on the Family.