Flutterby™! : Comprehensive sex ed may lower teen pregnancy

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Comprehensive sex ed may lower teen pregnancy

2008-03-25 14:40:52.971884+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

Anti-news: Comprehensive sex ed may cut teen pregnancy rates:

Using data from a 2002 national survey, researchers found that among more than 1,700 unmarried, heterosexual teens between 15 and 19 years old, those who'd received comprehensive sex ed in school were 60 percent less likely to have been pregnant or gotten someone pregnant than teens who'd had no formal sex education.

Via. Such quick one-offs have mostly dropped off my radar, but I've had a few "what the average American is learning from the mainstream media" moments recently, and sanity needs more coverage.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Sexual Culture Current Events Journalism and Media Pop Culture Education ]

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#Comment Re: made: 2008-03-25 16:21:05.33726+00 by: JT

My sociology teacher would have a heydey with sex education practices. There was a fine line between constructive and destructive teaching and sex education in my particular school crossed her particular boundary on that matter.

Commonly, the school would try to teach us not to have sex. They would impress morals on us that you were not to have sex until after you were married, and they would try to give us guidelines and folkways along the lines of how heavy petting makes a girl a slut, and if a boy respects his girlfriend, he wouldn't press her for anything more.

Needless to say, this caused some destructive behavior among teens in my school. When teaching abstinence, it seemed that the pregnancy rate went up for a number of years. When the school's policy was to press harder on the abstinence issue in the final year before the program was changed, the pregnancy rate was higher than ever.

My teacher explained that there's a biological urge to reproduce between the ages of 15 and 18, the exact ages these girls were getting pregnant (with help from their boyfriends, I'm sure). The human body, according to her, had only recently begun lasting more than 30 to 35 years on average. Usually, you had to have your children around 15 in order to raise them to adulthood. Given the high mortality rate of infants as well as the relatively high probability of death (plague, illness, war) of humans, the urge to reproduce was especially strong because of the great biological "spew my genes out as much as possible" push that every organism has.

Instead of teaching abstinence, the school taught precaution. "We know you're going to have sex, but wear a condom, take birth control pills, use diaphragms, do whatever you can to prevent pregnancy" was the new direction. It was amazing to see there were fewer pregnancies in my Junior year and none in my Senior year. In two years we had gone from more than a dozen pregnancies to none. After such a large change, many area churches (Baptists especially stand out in my memory for some reason) made a huge issue about teaching children it's okay to have sex.

Even with the figures, the baptists would have rather seen their children pregnant at 16 than to have them be told that they could have sex if they used precautions. Sex education, if used properly, can be very effective or have detrimental effects on a community. Depending on the morals and folkways of communities, schools, and outside forces (read MTV, MySpace, etc), proper education can work wonders as long as the message being given is within perceived boundaries. Abstinence seems to be just beyond that boundary for children who are fighting biological urges they don't understand or don't acknowledge.