Similarly, I've heard too many times to count that abstinence-only programs are not sufficient to keep teenagers from having sex before they're socially, mentally, and financially ready; that we must teach "safe sex", ceding the ground of morality, decency, and common sense to the hormones of teenagers. A recent study puts the lie to that belief as well:
An abstinence-only education program is more effective than other initiatives at keeping sixth- and seventh-graders from having sex within a two-year period, according to a study described by some as a landmark.
The study, published in the current issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, indicated that about one-third of the preteens and their young teen classmates who received an eight-hour abstinence lesson had sexual intercourse within two years of the class.
By comparison, more than half of the students who were taught about safe sex and condom use reported having intercourse by the two-year mark, and more than 40 percent of students who received either an eight- or 12-hour lesson incorporating both abstinence education and safe sex reported having sex at two years.
Among students who received instruction on overall good health, but not having to do with sex directly, nearly 47 percent had sexual activity in the two years after the class.
I frequently hear, in reference to academic standards, that students will rise to the standards we set for them. I assert that the same is true of standards of behavior. This study would seem to validate my belief.
Update: Here's the Associated Press version of the same story. Keep in mind, the AP is no conservative mouthpiece.