Friday, April 13, 2007

Abstinence Doesn't Work for Students

Another nail was hammered into the coffin lid of abstinence programs today as a study was released. has the details:

Students who took part in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not, according to a study ordered by Congress.

Also, those who attended one of the four abstinence classes that were reviewed reported having similar numbers of sexual partners as those who did not attend the classes. And they first had sex at about the same age as other students -- 14.9 years, according to Mathematica Policy Research Inc.

The federal government now spends about $176 million annually on abstinence-until-marriage education. Critics have repeatedly said they don't believe the programs are working, and the study will give them reinforcement.

A government sponsored study undercut the government-led abstinence campaign. But of course, these kinds of evidences will never dissuade those who have faith in these programs:

However, Bush administration officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study. They said the four programs reviewed -- among several hundred across the nation -- were some of the very first established after Congress overhauled the nation's welfare laws in 1996.

Officials said one lesson they learned from the study is that the abstinence message should be reinforced in subsequent years to truly affect behavior.

Please, Mr. Bush. Shut the fuck up. You are wrong. This is only one of countless pieces of evidence that shows that safe sex education beats the snot out of abstinence only education. Go pray somewhere and leave us evidence lovers the fuck alone.

Mathematica then did a follow up survey in late 2005 and early 2006. By that time, the average age for participants was about 16.5. Mathematica found that about half of the abstinence students and about half from the control group reported that they remained abstinent.

"I really do think it's a two-part story. First, there is no evidence that the programs increased the rate of sexual abstinence," said Chris Trenholm, a senior researcher at Mathematica who oversaw the study. "However, the second part of the story that I think is equally important is that we find no evidence that the programs increased the rate of unprotected sex."

You abstinence lovers are done. Kaput. Finished. This weekend, I'm going to celebrate this latest victory with lots of safe sex! I suggest my readers do the same :)


Sacred Slut said...

Stuff like this frustrates the hell out of me. I get so angry at people who are so wedded to their theories that they won't look at the evidence. Urgh!! I suspect that what's worse is that it does a lot of harm in terms of kids getting pregnant for lack of information about birth control.

Happy Friday the 13th! Enjoy your weekend! ;)

vjack said...

If only it were that easy! Look at all the evidence for evolution, and we're still in a situation where something like a third of our fellow citizen reject it. This is the real power of delusion - evidence to the contrary makes little difference.

Heather Annastasia said...

See, this is my problem with western theology; it's a sin to be human.

So stop it!

I mean it, kids, knock it off!

Stop being human this instant!

(They're not stopping, I think we need to tell them again.)

breakerslion said...

Similar studies have been done on a form of teaching called "direct Instruction". The studies showed that anywhere it was used, grades went up. The method is steadfastly banned by Public School administrators on the grounds that it "stifles a child's creativity". There is nothing creative about 2+2=4, or Pi, or the atomic weight of Hydrogen. I'm convinced that this dogma exists because the purpose of primary education is not to educate, but rather to provide juvenile day care, and produce ignorant sots that will swallow the river of superstitious sewage that flows from the control freaks in charge.

If abstenance education is another unproductive rat hole down which to pour education dollars, don't expect it to disappear any time soon.

beepbeepitsme said...

People who rely on abstinence are less likely to be prepared when they falter FROM abstinence. In other words, they are less likely to be prepared to participate in safe sex.

They are less likely to use condoms in order to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and they are less likely to use contraception.

Aaron Kinney said...

I agree with all of you.

Abstinence is a kind of anti-sex-education. They teach you to not do it, and that its bad, and thats all.

REAL sex education involves real information about it, not scare tactics. Teenagers are about as likely to refrain from sex as they are likely to refrain from trying alcohol or staying out past their curfew.

Aaron Kinney said...

The Christian troll RRS Jr came back in and posted more perverted nonsense. Therefore, I had to turn on comment moderation.

beepbeepitsme said...


Send him over to my website. I like a troll visit or 2.

Sacred Slut said...

breakerslion - I totally agree. That is why people from our parents' and grandparents' generations, when they had strict rote learning, are/were much better educated than kids today. My grandmother only made it through the 8th grade, yet I've hired MBAs from USC who couldn't write as well. Forget about modern high school grads - most can barely operate the machine at the local McD's.

It's a lot easier to control an ignorant, illiterate, superstitious population.

Wade said...

ok - so I get that there's no use in trying to use sex ed that consists of only abstinence. The Bush administration is a bunch of idiots if they think that they can look at the data you've mentioned and "not draw any conclusions".

But, does that mean that abstinence doesn't belong in our sex ed programs at all? Why not say: "Don't have pre-marital sex! But if you end up trying it (because, as studies show, the vast majority will), here's the way to do it safely."

I feel like that's what I got in school, anyway.

(sorry if this is a double post - I'm not sure if it's going through)

Aaron Kinney said...


Point taken. Actually I have no problem with advising people of the "safety" of being abstinent. The problem is when abstinence is taught as an exclusive method while condemns and the like are demonized, which is what abstinence education entails.

Additionaly, abstinence education -if it were included with regular sex ed- would be superfluous at best. That is because this study shows that abstinence students dont stay abstinent.

Sex is just too natural and too much a part of who and what we are for 99.9% of people to resist trying it.

ecualegacy said...

Actually, what the study showed was that the same number of students remained abstinent regardless of which program they received. Clearly, this abstinence program failed. But are we asking why? I understand from the papers that the abst prog was given only at a young age and with little or no reinforcement. I wouldn't expect any sex ed program to succeed if that's all it offered. I'd say it would be worth it to try reinforcing the message more often.

I don't actually know what the abst progs teach in addition to "sex before marriage is a dumb idea," but I would be in favor of explaining the whole array of options, simply because I don't trust kids further than I can throw them.