Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

Studies Reveal Positive Effects of Certain Sex-Ed Programs

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 11, 2004 (Zenit) - Government support for sexual education programs that promote abstinence continues to divide opinions. The U.S. House of Representatives voted for a 49% increase in funding for abstinence education, the Washington Times reported Monday. A Senate vote is not likely until after the November elections.

If eventually approved, the increase would give $105 million in federal funds for 2005 to the abstinence program, up from $70.5 million this year.

The federal funds are "making an impact," said Leslee Unruh, president of the Abstinence Clearinghouse. She told the Washington Times, however, that abstinence education still receives only $1 for every $12 given to programs that stress condom use.

Promoting abstinence has plenty of opponents. On Sept. 28 the organization Advocates for Youth released a pair of reports that, according to the press release, "raise new questions about the effectiveness of the abstinence-only-until-marriage approach to sex education endorsed by the federal government."

Research into abstinence programs in 10 states by Advocates for Youth reportedly shows that in the long-term there is "no long-term success in delaying sexual initiation or reducing sexual risk-taking behaviors."

Counterview

But the positive effects of delaying sexual activity is strongly defended in studies published by the Washington-based Heritage Foundation. On Sept. 21 the organization published a report entitled "Teens Who Make Virginity Pledges Have Substantially Improved Life Outcomes."

The report provides statistical evidence demonstrating that teen-agers who publicly pledge to refrain from sexual activity are less likely to experience teen pregnancy. And they will likely have fewer sexual partners.

The study cited data from the government-funded National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, showing that the behavior of adolescents who have made a virginity pledge is significantly different from that of peers who have not made a pledge. Teen-age girls who have taken a virginity pledge are one-third less likely to experience a pregnancy before age 18.

The Heritage report also observed that almost two-thirds of teens who do not make a virginity pledge are sexually active before age 18. By contrast, only 30% of teens who report having made a pledge become sexually active before age 18.

Even though those who pledge to chastity may eventually break their commitment, the report notes that delaying the onset of sexual activity has a number of positive effects. One to reduce the number of sexual partners by about half. Surveys cited in the report show that the benefits last into adulthood. For example, women who become sexually active in their early teen years are less likely to have stable marriages in their 30s when compared with women who wait.

Another advantage is the reduction in children born outside marriage. The report observes that children born and raised outside marriage are seven times more likely to live in poverty than those born and raised in intact married families. As well, they are more prone to a number of social problems, ranging from crime to emotional difficulties.

Adolescent girls who make a pledge to refrain from sexual activity are substantially less likely to give birth in their teens or early 20s. By age 18, 1.8% of those who were firmly pledged had given birth, compared with 3.8% of girls who did not make a pledge.

"Regrettably," the study notes, "teens today live in a sex-saturated popular culture that celebrates casual sex at an early age." Social institutions that teach abstinence values can play an important part in helping teens to media and peer pressure, concludes the report.

Further support for the efficacy of abstinence programs came in a study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Washington Times reported July 16. The results attribute a 53% drop in teen pregnancy, from 1991 to 2000, to increased abstinence. Increased use of contraceptives accounted for 47% of the decline, according to the study.

Further data showed that girls aged 15 to 17 who were sexually active decreased from 50.6% in 1991 to 42.7% in 2001.

Comprehensive, in theory

Another report published by the Heritage Foundation helps explain why abstinence programs can help change teens' behavior. The study, "Comprehensive Sex Education vs. Authentic Abstinence: A Study of Competing Curricula," was published Aug. 10. It explained that in the past there were two basic approaches to sex education. There was the "safe sex" approach, which encourages teens to use contraception, especially condoms; and abstinence education, which focuses on delaying the onset of sexual activity.

In recent years a new approach, termed "abstinence-plus" or "comprehensive sexuality education," has been developed. This combines, in theory, information on abstinence and contraception.

Research for the report analyzed nine major abstinence-plus curricula and nine abstinence curricula. It revealed that in practice the abstinence-plus programs devoted only 4.7% of their page content to the topic of abstinence and 0% to healthy relationships and marriage.

Moreover, a detailed analysis of the contents of comprehensive sex-ed programs shows that their aim is not to have teens abstain from sexual activity. Rather, their aim is to reduce the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases that results from "unprotected" sexual activity. "Abstinence -- or not having sex -- is mentioned as one option that teens may consider to avoid risks, but the overwhelming emphasis is on reducing risk by encouraging contraceptive use."

By contrast, the programs promoting abstinence "take a more holistic approach to human sexuality." They place more emphasis on the social and psychological aspects of sex. As well, they examine themes such as love, intimacy and commitment. "Young people are taught that human sexuality is not primarily physical, but moral, emotional and psychological in nature."

The abstinence programs also promote the idea that "personal happiness, love and intimacy are most likely to occur within the commitment of a faithful marriage and that, in contrast, casual sex with multiple partners is likely to undermine the natural process of bonding and intimacy."

Where pregnancies rose

The ill effects of sex education programs that merely promote "safe sex" were made evident in a study published earlier this year in England. On March 14 the London-based Telegraph reported on a survey carried out by the Family Education Trust, entitled "Sex Education or Indoctrination?" The survey analyzed zones where the government's Teen-age Pregnancy Unit had set up programs to reduce the number of girls falling pregnant.

The unit's strategy involves more explicit sex education in schools, often conducted by nurses without teachers present. It also hands out free condoms and sends birthday cards when girls reach 14 asking them to attend confidential health checks without their parents.

The Trust's report found that in most places, there was a rise in teen-age pregnancies following the implementation of these programs. One, in Cornwall, saw a 17% rise in teen-age pregnancies between 2001 and 2002. In York, teen pregnancies soared 34%.

Scotland saw similar results after programs were introduced to distribute free morning-after pills and condoms, the Sunday Times reported April 11. Girls aged 13 to 15 in the zone affected, the Lothians, were 14% more likely to get pregnant than their counterparts elsewhere in Scotland, compared with 3% before the program started.

The region was selected as a test area for the government's Healthy Respect project. Cardinal Keith O'Brien, president of the Scottish bishops' conference, said the Healthy Respect model had failed. He urged that it should not be expanded.

"This approach has failed to tackle the rise in sexually transmitted infections, unwanted conceptions and abortion levels," he said. "Its value-free style should certainly not be used elsewhere in Scotland." Evidence is mounting, on both sides of the Atlantic, on the advantages of programs that promote abstinence and a more comprehensive view of human sexuality.

Contact

Catholic Online
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000

Email

info@yourcatholicvoice.org

Keywords

Sex, abstinence, Men, Women, Marriage

More Catholic PRWire

Showing 1 - 250 of 4,718

A Recession Antidote
Randy Hain

Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

The Why of Jesus' Death: A Pauline Perspective
Jerom Paul

A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.

Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell

My Dad
JoMarie Grinkiewicz

Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell

Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Catholic Online

Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Catholic Online

Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
Catholic Online

State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Catholic Online

Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
Catholic Online

2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Catholic Online

Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Catholic Online

Franchising to Evangelize
Catholic Online

Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Catholic Online

Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Catholic Online

Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Catholic Online

Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Catholic Online

Full Circle
Robert Gieb

Three words to a deeper faith
Paul Sposite

Relections for Lent 2009
chris anthony

Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell

World Food Program Director on Lent
Catholic Online

Moral Clarity
DAN SHEA

Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Catholic Online

A Prayer for Monaco: Remembering the Faith Legacy of Prince Rainier III & Princess Grace and Contemplating the Moral Challenges of Prince Albert II
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe

Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Sally Connolly

Glimpse of Me
Sarah Reinhard

The 3 stages of life
Michele Szekely

Sex and the Married Woman
Cheryl Dickow

A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Cheryl Dickow

Modernity & Morality
Dan Shea

Just a Minute
Sarah Reinhard

Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Hugh McNichol

Edging God Out
Paul Sposite

Burying a St. Joseph Statue
Cheryl Dickow

George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Catholic Online

Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell

Action Changes Things: Teaching our Kids about Community Service
Lisa Hendey

Easter... A Way of Life
Paul Spoisite

Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Hugh McNichol

Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Hugh McNichol

Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Catholic Online

Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Catholic Online

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Catholic Online

Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Catholic Online

Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
Catholic Online

Holy Saturday...anticipation!
Hugh McNichol

Priestly Identity: Crisis and Renewal (Part 1)
Catholic Online

Al Qaeda...afraid of Benedict's message!
Hugh McNichol

Benedict XVI...calling all to hope...
Hugh McNichol

Perfect Women
Cheryl Dickow

Papal Palm Sunday Address - 'Enough With the Bloodshed'
Catholic Online

Spotlight on China
Catholic Online

Papal Homily for Palm Sunday
Catholic Online

Holy Week...Holy Time!
Hugh McNichol

Mary and Motherhood
Cheryl Dickow

The Void
Paul Sposite

Islamic violence wounds the global community!
Hugh McNichol

The Seven New Deadly Sins!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic benefits include Catholic principles!
Hugh McNichol

Remembering Father Alfred Kunz
Matt C. Abbott

David vs Goliath
Theresa Lisiecki

Happy Lent!
Paul Sposite

Diplomacy...Vatican style!
Hugh McNichol

Sub umbra Petri! (Under the Shadow of Saint Peter)
Hugh McNichol

Cuba...a neonascent Church!
Hugh McNichol

Kids in Conflict
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Writings of St. Augustine
Catholic Online

The Relevance of Lourdes at 150
Catholic Online

Hillary...what would Saint Norbert say!
Hugh McNichol

Lent...questions, answers and involvement!
Hugh McNichol

Mary, Mother of all Humanity, Hic et Nunc!
Hugh McNichol

Catholics...WAKE UP!
Hugh McNichol

Catholic Brotherhood with the People of the Covenant
Hugh McNichol

Have mercy on us O Lord! - Ash Wednesday
Hugh McNichol

Vote early, vote Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Christ, our global Alpha and Omega!
Hugh McNichol

Being Catholic means...total affirmation of being Catholic!
Hugh McNichol

Seeing the World through New Eyes
Sarah Reinhard

Emulating the Angelic Doctor!
Hugh McNichol

Priests defend, commend Archbishop Raymond Burke
Matt C. Abbott

Saint Paul...a continued example of radical conversion!
Hugh McNichol

A renaissance of faith, reason and global cooperation....
Hugh McNichol

Cardinal Rigali's Homily at Life Vigil
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Silencing the Pope
Catholic Online

Papal Homily on Feast of Christ's Baptism
Catholic Online

Education and Gender
Catholic Online

The ignominy of Roe vs. Wade
Hugh McNichol

Papal Message for World Day of the Sick
Catholic Online

Angelus: On Christian Unity
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Planned Lecture at La Sapienza
Catholic Online

Pope's Letter to Jesuits' 35th General Congregation
Catholic Online

Fr. Cantalamessa - Behold, the Lamb of God!
Catholic Online

That We May Be One, and Never Lose Heart
Catholic Online

Sowing Hope in Sierra Leone
Catholic Online

God-incidences are the gift of kairos moments
Mary Regina Morrell

St. Augustine's Last Days
Catholic Online

Liturgy: When There's a Medical Emergency
Catholic Online

Marriage and Celibacy: Love's Link
Catholic Online

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Rooms in My Father's House
Cheryl Dickow

Resolutions for New Year 2008
Chris Anthony

Keep teaching Holy Father!!!
Hugh McNichol

Dangers of anti-Catholic academic extremism....
Hugh McNichol

The liturgy war
Matt C. Abbott

Some Answers to a Few Common Questions about Vocations
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Developing a Global Catholic Awareness
Hugh McNichol

Christmas reflections
Chris Anthony

The Lasting Contribution of The Servant of God Pope John Paul II
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

No more bobble-head Jesus'!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Baptist World Alliance
Catholic Online

The Virgin Without Sin
Catholic Online

Cardinal Vingt-Trois on His New Mission
Catholic Online

Archbishop Forte on Religion & Freedom: Part 1
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Chromatius of Aquileia, Pope, Benedict
Catholic Online

Pope's Address for Consistory of Cardinals
Catholic Online

Trafficking in Lives
Catholic Online

Pope Benedict - On Hope
Catholic Online

The Hidden Costs of Gambling
Catholic Online

A Vital, Life-Giving Message
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Christianity's Contribution
Catholic Online

Youth and Fashion's Modest Twist
Catholic Online

Papal Homily at the Consistory
Catholic Online

Love, Marriage and Happy Kids
Catholic Online

The Virtue of Obedience: Our Duty, Our Crown
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Vere dignum et justum est!
Hugh McNichol

Pope's Address to Bishops of Kenya
Catholic Online

Democracy in Danger in Venezuela
Catholic Online

The Life-Sapping Human Virus
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Sacred Time...Come Lord Jesus!
Hugh McNichol

How Christ-like are we in our lives?
Chris Anthony

A Retreat for Today's Christian Woman
Cheryl Dickow

Pope Benedict - On Trust in God
Catholic Online

God and Caesar Seen From Down Under
Catholic Online

Praying the Luminous Mysteries for our Clergy
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Culture's Pressure on Our Girls
Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle

Papal Message on the Common Good
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - St. Jerome on the Bible
Catholic Online

What Every Parent Should Know About 'The Golden Compass'
Catholic Online

Cardinal Poupard on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

A Richer Liturgical Translation: Interview With Bishop Roche
Catholic Online

U.S. Bishops' Statement on War in Iraq
Catholic Online

The 'Golden Compass' is no treasure for children
Mary Regina Morrell

Bishop Skylstad's Address to U.S. Bishops' Fall Meeting
Catholic Online

Rewarding Failure
Catholic Online

On St. Martin of Tours
Catholic Online

Undermining Parents
Catholic Online

God...our theological E.F.Hutton!
Hugh McNichol

The Secular Vs. Religion?
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Jerome
Catholic Online

The Scourge of Poverty
Catholic Online

Sons and Daughters of God...EQUALLY!
Hugh McNichol

On Zacchaeus the Tax Collector
Catholic Online

Why Dads Matter
Catholic Online

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization
Catholic Online

God Created Man for Life, Not Death
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for November
Catholic Online

Imposing 'Tolerance'
Catholic Online

Evangelizing a Digital World
Catholic Online

A Turn to the Fathers: Interview With Father Robert Dodaro
Catholic Online

Aborting Viable Lives
Catholic Online

Women Religious on Human Trafficking
Catholic Online

Chicago law firm fights for civil rights, against death culture
Matt C. Abbott

Fr. Cantalamessa - The Pharisee and the Publican
Catholic Online

Media Benefits and Dangers
Catholic Online

On the Call to Martyrdom
Catholic Online

'You Alone Are The Lord': A Brief Summary of Catholic Teaching
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

John Crosby on Von Hildebrand's Understanding of the Person
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Ambrose of Milan
Catholic Online

On Peace, Missions and Justice
Catholic Online

Address of Holy See on Religious Liberty
Catholic Online

Recovering subtle signs of our Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 'Populorum Progressio'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On St. Eusebius of Vercelli
Catholic Online

Christ's Parable About the Need to Pray Always
Catholic Online

Prostitution: Legal Work or Slavery?
Catholic Online

Escaping Poverty: Interview With Archbishop Silvano Tomasi
Catholic Online

Congratulations to His Eminence John Cardinal Foley!
Hugh McNichol

Giving Ourselves Completely to Mary
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

The 'Courage' to go 'Beyond Gay'
Matt C. Abbott

When Bioethics Turned Secular
Catholic Online

Confession Comeback
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Hilary of Poitiers
Catholic Online

Reemergence of Global Catholic Identity!
Hugh McNichol

Father Cantalamessa on the Leap of Faith
Catholic Online

Month of the Rosary
Catholic Online

Why Technology Needs Ethics
Catholic Online

Cardinal Lozano Barragán on Future of Health Care
Catholic Online

How Can Catholics Understand Mary as Co-Redemprix, Mediatrix of All Graces and Advocate?
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

New Saint Book is Visually Stunning and Filled with Detail
Lisa M. Hendey

Papal Homily in Velletri
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa Analyzes Relationship
Catholic Online

Wednesday'a Audience - On St. Cyril of Alexandria
Catholic Online

Holy See Address to U.N. General Assembly
Catholic Online

Homily From Red Mass in Washington
Catholic Online

Pope Remembers Cardinal Van Thuân
Catholic Online

Faith in Politics
Catholic Online

The brave monks of Myanmar
Chris Anthony

On Lazarus and World Hunger
Catholic Online

Fighting the Good Fight: Resisting Temptation
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Media frenzy buries U.N. goals

Holy See Statement on Climate Change
Catholic Online

China's Seven Sorrows
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On Chrysostom's Social Doctrine
Catholic Online

Vatican Message to Muslims for Ramadan
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the First World and Lazarus
Catholic Online

Angels, God's Messengers in a world of fragile peace and Broken promises!
Hugh McNichol

Memo to Mrs. Clinton: Why Not Baby Bonds When Life Begins?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Reorienting the Mass
Catholic Online

Report Card on Religious Freedom
Catholic Online

On Wealth and Poverty
Catholic Online

A Response to Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great'
Catholic Online

Vetoing children's health care?

The ideal family
Joseph Sinasac

Who does the judging?
Dennis Heaney

One mistake away

The Big House ban

In praise of the parish

Text of the USCCB statement for Respect Life Sunday 2007

The Outstanding Purity of Our Blessed Mother
Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Educated flock

Religion and politics

Facing a door to the future
Dennis Heaney

A long debate

Who Are the True Progressives?
Deacon Keith Fournier

Petraeus offers a dose of reality

Insurgence
Robert Storr

Papal Address at Vespers
Catholic Online

Papal Coat of Arms Still Relevant
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Address at Heiligenkreuz Abbey
Catholic Online

On Loving Jesus as Mary Did
Catholic Online

Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos on 'Summorum Pontificum'
Catholic Online

Wednesday's Audience - On the Trip to Austria
Catholic Online

Father Cantalamessa on the Joy of Fatherhood
Catholic Online

Commentary on Artificial Hydration and Nutrition
Catholic Online

Vatican on Nutrition to Patients in Vegetative State
Catholic Online

Benedict XVI's Q-and-A Session With Youth in Loreto
Catholic Online

Take a Risk, Follow Your Call: the challenge of a lifetime!
Sisters of Bon Secours

Papal lessons

Family matters

Lessons from a tragedy
Dennis Heaney

Shopping blues
Joseph Sinasac

Marriage Breakdown: Expensive and Divisive
Catholic Online

Her darkness was a warning

Wednesday'a Audience - Gregory of Nyssa on Perfection
Catholic Online

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, First Corinthians 1:17-25
17 After all, Christ sent me not to baptise, but to preach the gospel; ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 33:1-2, 4-5, 10, 11
1 Shout for joy, you upright; praise comes well from the ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 25:1-13
1 'Then the kingdom of Heaven will be like this: Ten wedding attendants ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 26th, 2016 Image

St. Teresa of Jesus Jornet Ibars
August 26: Foundress of the Little Sisters of the Poor. Born ... Read More