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Neill Jaico

Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

Abstinence Education VS Comprehensive Sex Education
The general public has been struggling to find the reasons towards the sexual
activity of teenagers. The sexual activities for teenagers have been increasing for years
causing several severe problems over the time period (www.avert.org). Some problems
included increases in rates of pregnancy and diseases/infections. But over time for
teenagers the only rates that have been increasing were the use of
condom/contraception and safe sex practice, while the rates of pregnancy and sexually
transmitted diseases decreased due to sex education. These sex education programs
provided teenagers with information about sexual activities and how they may have an
impact on their lives if not taken seriously. Although these sex education programs are
for the benefit of teenagers health, there have been debates and arguments pertaining
to which type of sex education is more effective in the prevention of pregnancy and
sexually transmitted diseases; abstinence only education or comprehensive sex
education. There are several attributes to each type of sexual education, along with
several statistics, that displays the strength and effectiveness of each type of sex
education. In todays society, the argument of which is more effective in the prevention
of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, comprehensive sex education or
abstinence only education, continues on.
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

The goal of abstinence only education is to encourage people not to have sex
until they are officially married. When it comes to pregnancy or coming in contact with
sexually transmitted diseases, abstinence provides 100 percent protection due to the fact
that the person is not having sex. There are other forms of birth control like condoms,
diaphragms, and birth control pills. These methods of birth control/protection work in
the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases for most cases but when
compared to abstinence, they do not provide the same 100 percent protection. Condoms
and diaphragms do break. Also females can be allergic to certain condoms, diaphragms,
and birth control pills (www.nyu.edu). If the person practices complete abstinence then
there will be no chance at all for a pregnancy or sexually transmitted disease to occur or
be spread due to the fact that there is no sexual contact.
With the topic of practicing complete abstinence, the virginity pledge comes into
play. The virginity pledge or abstinence pledge is the commitment that a person makes
to avoid any sexual contact until they are married. This pledge is found to be common
with people who have a religious background where they are already taught that sex is
only allowed after the person is married. Studies have shown that the virginity pledge
is not really effective in reducing the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
(openeducation.net). It is ineffective due to the fact that even though the pledgers have
sworn to stay virgins until they get married. This does not stop them from performing
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

other types of sex; oral and anal. Through oral and anal sex it is possible to transmit
these infections with a partner. Studies also show that pledgers tend not to use
contraception for their first experience of sex which seems like a risky move due to the
fact that they are at risk to infections when performing unprotected sex. The percentage
of the risk to infections when performing unprotected sex is not provided, but even if it
is not provided does not mean that it is not serious. Although the number of risk is not
provided, Abstinence education provides and encourages teenagers with many
different methods to not have sex until they are married. Abstinence education is
effective but it also depends on the person who is practicing abstinence. If they are
completely devoted to it then it will be effective in preventing pregnancy or sexually
transmitted diseases, but not as effective as comprehensive sex education when it comes
to the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
There have been several studies conducted to determine if abstinence only
education programs had any longing effect on the sexual behavior of teenagers. The
Cochrane Collaboration performed a study on thirteen abstinence only education
programs determining that none of the programs showed an enduring effect on the
sexual behavior of teens (openeducation.net), this research goes against abstinence only
education. This research was performed by surveys from participants of the chosen
abstinence programs. Even though this statement might display as enough proof to
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

most of the public due to the fact that the word study was included, the different
methods that was incorporated in this study should have been included as well in order
for the reader to be truly convinced that these thirteen abstinence only education
programs do not show any enduring effect on the sexual behavior of teenagers. To
add on to this study done by the Cochrane Collaboration, another study on four
abstinence only programs done by the Mathematica Policy Research Inc. stated similar
results. This research group stated, Participants had just as many sexual partners as
nonparticipants and had sex at the same median age as nonparticipants
(openeducation.net). With this statement, the research group came to the conclusion of
the abstinence programs having no effect what so ever. The research group viewed it as
if there were no programs offered at all, which is similar to the result/conclusion of the
study done by the Cochrane Collaboration. Although the addition of the study for four
more abstinence only programs might not be enough to make a conclusion, it still
provides more evidence towards the ineffectiveness of abstinence only programs.
A third study was performed by Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health with results that was the complete opposite of the
results from the first two studies. A success in preventing sexual activity to occur within
teenagers provided by abstinence only education programs was the virginity pledge.
Results from a national longitudinal study of adolescents presented 934 high school
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

students (openeducation.net) not performing any sexual activity, one of the factors
that was used by those students was the virginity pledge. Although these results do go
against the results from the previous two studies, the addition of a few statistics would
have been helpful. 934 students did not perform any sexual activity but how many
students in total participated in the study? But even though the number of the total
amount of students in the study was not included, 934 students is a large enough
sample to represent significant results.
Recent studies have presented evidence about similar results of previous studies
when comparing students that have taken the virginity pledge and those that have not
(heritage.org). The rate of sex in both groups were the same, even with the virginity
pledge it was still likely for the participants of the pledge to have intercourse. One
finding in this study was that participants of the virginity pledge were less likely to
protect themselves during intercourse. These participants were found to be less
frequent users of contraception compared to the nonparticipants. Therefore not only
were participants of the pledge just as likely to have intercourse, but they were also
more likely to have unprotected sex. With these results it makes experts come to the
conclusion of abstinence only education programs not being effective for the benefit of
teenagers health, but effective for increasing the negative attributes of teenagers
health, such as being infected with STDs or getting pregnant. Also these results go hand
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

in hand with the final finding of this entire study which is that the virginity pledges are
one of the determining factors that display if abstinence education programs are
effective at all. The government takes into consideration the pledges to make the choice
of these federal funded abstinence programs being effective or not. Even though the
pledges play a major role in this decision it would have been helpful if the author
included the other major topics that the government takes into consideration when it
comes to determining the effectiveness of the program. Also with all of the topics that
the government uses to make the decision, a pie chart could be created and displayed
showing each topic with their percentage of importance to the decision. With that pie
chart, it would be easier to see which topic holds the most importance and the lowest
importance as well as providing an organized structure of presenting each topic and
their importance in the decision of determining if abstinence education programs are
effective at all.
Comprehensive sex education is the teaching of safe sex in order to prevent
pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases to be spread. Safe sex is the practice of
protecting themselves against STDs by taking precautions. Unlike abstinence education,
comprehensive sex education promotes the use of contraception such as; condoms,
diaphragms, and birth control pills. Comprehensive sex education programs can help
the youth with decreasing the amount of sexual partners involved, frequency of sex,
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

and increasing the use of contraception. With comprehensive sex education the youth
can expect to not experience negative health issues, decrease of sexual activity, and not
likely to become sexually activity. The reason why is because comprehensive sex
education provides various methods serve as precautions to protect against STDs that
would cause serious negative health issues. There are many different kinds of
comprehensive sex education programs that are effective regardless of race, cultural,
and socioeconomic background the youth is.
Teenagers are informed on the different uses of contraception and how they are
used. Condoms and diaphragms are the same providing protection during sexual
intercourse. Depending on the brand or type of condom or diaphragms the person uses
determines the risk of the condom or diaphragms to rip or tear. When that happens,
then rates of risks for pregnancy and sexual transmitted disease increase due to the
exposure in the ripped condom or diaphragms. The birth control pills work well in the
prevention of pregnancy but not on the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.
Birth control pills interrupt the fertilization of an egg and sperm to prevent pregnancy.
There are many different birth control pills that are effective to preventing pregnancy
but they have a problem that is common with condoms and diaphragms. A con with
birth control pills, condoms, and diaphragms is that the person can be allergic to them.
There can be certain ingredients in birth control pills that cause an allergic reaction and
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

same goes with a person being allergic to certain condoms and diaphragms due to the
rubber or material being used. Even though these are contraception with the sole
purpose to prevent and provide protection from pregnancy and sexually transmitted
diseases, they do not work for everyone. With the information provided, supporters of
abstinence only education would agree that contraception cannot provide 100 percent
protection unlike abstinence; abstinence provides 100 percent protection due to the fact
that there is no sexual contact for people that are devoted to it.
The sex education that the youth is given depends on the districts of schools as
well as the teachers inside these schools. In all of the public school districts in the
United States, more than two thirdshave a policy to teach sex educationThe other
33% of districts leave policy decisions up to individual schools or teachers
(dosomething.org). In my opinion, if two third of all public schools have a policy for sex
education to be taught to the youth means that the public schools within that range will
mostly likely have a rate of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases that is lower
than the remaining 33% due to the fact that that amount of students in those public
schools would be informed on the risks of having unprotected sex, the different
methods of obtaining STDs, and the various STDs that are out there. If schools and
teachers in that 33% do not choose to have sex education as part of their policy then that
will cause the group of students in those schools to be at high risk of pregnancy and
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

acquiring sexually transmitted diseases due to the fact that those students will not be
provided with sex education (avert.org). They wont know the various and easy
methods of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy such as having
unprotected sex, fingering the female while there is semen on the finger, having open
wounds/cuts in the mouth while giving oral sex, etc Without the education of the
various sexually transmitted diseases, how they can be spread, pregnancy, and the
different ways a female can get pregnant. These students will be vulnerable to high
risks of acquiring pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Being vulnerable by not
having any sexual education will result in the students having higher rates of
pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases than the students that have sexual
education due to the fact that they are informed about the risks and dangers of
unprotected sex or sexual contact in general.

Researchers from the National Survey of Family Growth to find out the impact
of sexuality education on youth sexual risk taking for young people ages 15 19, and
found that teens who received comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely
to experience pregnancy than those who received abstinence only education
(advocatesforyouth.org). This statement displays the effectiveness of comprehensive sex
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

education over abstinence education. Also that statement discusses how with
comprehensive sex education, students will be more likely to take precautions in order
to not get pregnant when it comes to being engaged in sexual activity. A curious
thought that would come across in the readers mind would be throughout the ages of
15 19, what are the rates for each age to experience pregnancy? With the rates for each
age throughout that range, researchers can see which age is most common to experience
pregnancy, which can lead to that age being the age that lack the education of the
various ways to cause pregnancy. Each of the teens ages from 15 19 that have
comprehensive sex education will have lower rates of experiencing pregnancy than
rates of teens of the same ages that have abstinence education. Although it does present
the comparison in percentage of experiencing pregnancy, it does not present the
comparison in percentage of experiencing sexually transmitted diseases. There must be
a comparison in percentage of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases as well due to the
fact that experiencing sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy occur in similar
actions, not the exact same actions but similar. An example would be that vaginal sex is
the common way to acquire sexually transmitted diseases or cause pregnancy, but anal
and oral sex are actions that can lead to acquiring sexually transmitted diseases but not
pregnancy. This comparison in percentage of acquiring would be effective because it
will display wither or not only how teenagers with comprehensive sex education have
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

lower rates of pregnancy than teenagers with abstinence only education, but it will
display lower rates of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases for the students with
comprehensive sex education over students with abstinence only education.
Douglas Kirby, researcher for the National Campaign to End Teen and
Unplanned Pregnancy, examined studies of prevention programs with supporting
statistics. Out of the 48 comprehensive sex education programs studied, two thirds had
positive results such as reduced sexual partners, increase in condom or contraception
use, and reduced frequency of sex. Two thirds resembles more than have half of the
total whole, which means that it is more convincing to say that comprehensive sex
education programs is effective due to the fact that it is leaning more towards 100
percent positive instead of 0 percent positive. 40 percent delayed sexual initiation,
reduced the number of sexual partners, or increased condom or contraception use. 30
percent reduced the frequency of sex, including a return to abstinence, 60 percent
reduced unprotected sex (advocatesforyouth.org). These percentages altogether make
up the two thirds of the comprehensive sex education programs with positive results,
so some percentages tend to be in more than one positive result. For example: the 30
percent that reduced the frequency of sex would make up 30 percent in the 40 percent
that delayed sexual initiation, reduced the number of sexual partners, or increased
condom or contraception use.
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

Regarding the 40 percent and the 30 percent, they are made up of different
percentages. The 40 percent includes the people that delayed sexual initiation, reduced
the number of sexual partners, or increased condom or contraception use. Those three
actions are made up by their own percentages that add up to 40 percent. In some cases a
person could be involved in performing all three actions as well. Same thing goes for
the 30 percent that reduced the frequency of sex, including a return to abstinence; the 30
percent is made up of those two actions. Some people that reduce the frequency of sex
do not mean that they have devoted their lifestyle to include abstinence. The people in
that group that reduce frequent amount of sex they have is split up with people that still
have sex but just not as much as before, while for others by reducing the frequent
amount of sex they just practice abstinence. As far as the 60 percent goes, which are
people that reduce unprotected sex, they consist of people that would have sex without
the presence of condoms or contraception. The 60 percent represents the amount of
people that reduce unprotected sex, but also at the same time represents the increase of
safe sex being performed.
Sex education is necessary in order to spread the awareness of the various
sexually transmitted diseases, preventing pregnancy to occur, and the different
methods that could be utilized for teenagers to be safe and protected from harm. There
are two methods that sex education is taught to the public; comprehensive sex
Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers

education and abstinence education. Abstinence education programs promote the idea
of not having sex until marriage and encourage not to. This method works but only for
certain people. There have been many studies and cases displaying abstinence
education programs not being effective with people not having sex before marriage,
preventing sexually transmitted diseases to be spread, and preventing pregnancy.
According to certain statistics, it seems that teenagers who have been participants of
abstinence education tend to be more likely to have frequent sex and have unprotected
sex, which results in the risk of pregnancy and acquiring sexually transmitted diseases
than teenagers that are participants of comprehensive sex education. Comprehensive
sex education promotes safe sex. The statistics presented in studies on comprehensive
sex education programs display decreases in the frequency of sex in participants, the
increase in the use of condoms and contraception, and the decrease in the amount of
sexual partners. Although it is not stated as a fact that comprehensive education
programs are more effective than abstinence education programs, the statistics do a
good enough job in providing the proof for it.





Neill Jaico
Professor Forde
12/14/11
Life by the Numbers


CITED PAGE!
http://www.avert.org/abstinence.htm
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/02/evidence-on-the-effectiveness-of-abstinence-
education-an-update
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2004293974_sexed20m.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/education/03abstinence.html
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/03/education/03abstinence.html
http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-sex-education-us
http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/publications/1487?task=view
http://www.nyu.edu/shc/medservices/latex.allergy.html