Monday, April 04, 2005

"I want to be a virgin until my wedding night... so only do me in the ass..."

Electroman attests that he heard statements very much like the title of this post when he was going to high school. If ever there were an argument against duping teens with misleading and uninformative sexual education programs, a study from Yale and Columbia University found last month that teens who make abstinence pledges are much more likely to engage in 'high risk' sexual behaviour, such as anal and oral sex. Boys are four times more likely to have had anal sex while those who pledged abstinence were six times more likely to engage in oral sex than teens who remained abstinent without a pledge. Abstinence pledges are a new-fangled movement by the religious right to curb sexual behaviour and STD rates in teens, and President Bush has boosted funding of abstinence-only sex ed programs in schools. The idea is that if kids make a verbal or written promise not to engage in sexual behaviour, they will be less likely to have sex and therefore will remain virginal and disease-free. Obviously this isn't the case. Abstinence only works if kids have the proper education to know what could happen, why they are being abstinent, and how to maintain safe sexual behaviour should they decide to break their pledges.

Study: Abstinence pledges may trigger risky sexual behavior NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Adolescents who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to substitute high-risk sexual behaviors that increase the likelihood of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, according to researchers who studied the sex lives of about 12,000 teens. The report by Yale and Columbia University researchers could help explain why a study by the same group last year found that despite having fewer sexual partners and getting married earlier, teens who pledge abstinence are just as likely to have STDs as their peers. The latest study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens who pledge abstinence until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse. "They substitute other non-coital sex, which, however, puts you at risk," said Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale University and one of the study's authors. Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study. Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge. The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the study found. Data from the study was taken from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The study used an in-school questionnaire administered to a nationally representative sample of students in grades 7 through 12, and followed up with a series of in-home interviews of students approximately one, two, and six years later. It was funded in part by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse in Sioux Falls, S.D., called the study "bogus," and disputed that those involved had pledged true "abstinence." "Kids who pledge abstinence are taught that any word that has 'sex' in it is considered a sexual activity," Unruh said. "Therefore oral sex is sex, and they are staying away." Millions of teens have signed written pledges or verbally promised to abstain from sex, part of a church-led effort to discourage premarital sex and the spread of disease. President Bush has boosted funding for abstinence-only education in schools. Critics say that education needs to be coupled with safe-sex education to be effective. "If adolescents only had sex in monogamous, married relationships, by definition there would be no STDs," Brueckner said, echoing President Bush's remarks in last year's State of the Union address. "But the majority of adolescents don't live like that. They do have sex." Last year, the same research team found that 88% of teens who pledge abstinence end up having sex before marriage, compared with 99% of teens who do not make a pledge.
The Bushies have to realize -- you can't think to impose morality and ignorance on people and expect good results. The most effective way to stop teen preganancies and unsafe sex is to teach kids why they shouldn't have unprotected sex and what the risks are, not keep them blind, deaf, and dumb. Kids aren't stupid. So why do some parents seem to be? Thanks to Bill Maher and Wonkette for the heads-up on the results of the study from Yale and Columbia. I swear Wonkette posted on it because I saw a link to a defunct Washington Post article this morning to it, but now I can't find the post anymore. Thanks to LabKat for the link to the oral sex article.


Anonymous Kat said...

Thanks for the link, dear. :)

4/04/2005 03:30:00 PM  
Anonymous unfurling said...

in support of your point, check out this wierdness...

4/04/2005 04:43:00 PM  
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