Some argue that Abstinence Education programs are good for students as they highlight the benefits of abstinence. They argue that teens practice abstinence report being happier and more engaged in their academics. Additionally, this source reflects on a study done that measured the success of sex education programs. Although the research did not identify a difference between the amount of sexual activity in schools with abstinence-based programs compared to other programs, the source continues to argue that abstinence-based programs are better for society as it discourages adolescent sex all together whereas other programs simply promote contraceptives.

Supporters of abstinence-based sex education programs report an overall increase in happiness among participating students, however, critics of these programs have identified that they do little to prevent or delay sexual activity. An opposing article argues that Abstinence Education Programs are not in touch with reality and that research demonstrates their ineffectiveness. It provides research that such programs are not effective in stopping nor delaying teen sexual activity. Medical professionals have also expressed their frustrations with the current  “antithetical” methods of providing sex education as the programs are not adhering to the fundamental scientific and medicinal aspects. The author reasons that these programs rely on shame and guilt as scare tactics. It argues that a more straightforward and comprehensive approach is better for the students as being abstinence-based can cause harm to the student’s understanding of sexual activity and relationships as well. 

Although abstinence-based sex education programs are widely practiced in schools, I believe that students should be taught a more comprehensive and realistic curriculum in regards to sex education. In my opinion, abstinence-based sex education programs do not give students a complete view of sexual health and are inherently biased towards religion and politics. Additionally, these programs do not inform students of any contraceptive resources other than total abstinence. I personally do not have an opinion on whether or not teens should be engaging in sexual activity, however, if they are going to it, they have the right to be educated on how to do it safely and not be shamed for it.

“Abstinence Education Programs Are Not Effective.” Do Abstinence Programs Work?, edited by Christine Watkins, Greenhaven Press, 2014. At Issue. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/EJ3010603215/OVIC?u=onlinelibrary&sid=OVIC&xid=cb521bde. Accessed 29 Oct. 2019. Originally published as “Raising Expectations in the Rockies: Colorado’s Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage Industry and the Imperative for Real Sex Education,” SIECUS.org, 9 Sept. 2010.

Kim, Christine, and Robert Rector. “Abstinence Education Programs Are Effective.” Do Abstinence Programs Work?, edited by Christine Watkins, Greenhaven Press, 2014. At Issue. Gale In Context: Opposing Viewpoints, https://link.gale.com/apps/doc/EJ3010603214/OVIC?u=onlinelibrary&sid=OVIC&xid=ffa71f40. Accessed 29 Oct. 2019. Originally published as “Evidence on the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education: An Update,” The Heritage Foundation, 19 Feb. 2010.


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CC BY-SA 4.0 Opposing Viewpoints on Sex Education by Horyna is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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Youth Voices is an open publishing platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.

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