Saturday, December 11, 2004

Results of Study on Teen Sex

A government survey released yesterday showed a number of interesting findings about teenage sexual activity.

  • More teenagers are waiting longer to have sex.
  • More teenagers who ARE sexually active are using contraception.
  • More teenagers who report using contraception say they use two forms of contraception: one to prevent pregnancy and one to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
  • More boys than girls (by a small margin) are postponing sexual activity.

Obviously, everyone who looks at the results of this survey will have their own take on why these changes are occurring. Certainly, advocates of abstinence-only programs will have a field day taking credit for more teenagers postponing sexual intercourse. But abstinence alone clearly is not the only factor; if it were, we would not be seeing the overwhelming majority of sexually active teens saying they use contraception. The lesson here, in my view, is that the most effective sex education programs combine the abstinence-until-adulthood message with medically accurate and comprehensive information about contraception to prevent pregnancy and life-threatening diseases for those teenagers who do choose to have sex.

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