Abstinence classes might work: study

NZPA 03/02/2010

Educators are being asked to take another look at sex education for 11 to 13-year-old students in light of a recent study from the United States that suggests abstinence programmes could persuade young people to delay sexual activity. The report, written by researchers from Pennsylvania University and published in the Archives of Paediatric & Adolescent Medicine, found only a third of the 662 students who completed an abstinence programme started having sex within the following two years. Whereas nearly half of the students who attended other programmes, including ones that combined contraception and abstinence, became sexually active within the two-year timeframe.

…New Zealand lobby group Family First has welcomed the study and has called on the education sector to take another look at the sex education curriculum. “New Zealand parents have long supported their children being taught abstinence, self control and good choices rather than the flawed ‘we don’t want you to but here’s how anyway’ method currently short-selling our young people,” national director Bob McCoskrie said. “With New Zealand having one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the OECD, it’s time we acknowledged the importance of giving our teens the real facts of life – that postponing sexual involvement is in their very best interests. This is further evidence that abstinence-only intervention can help teenagers delay sexual activity,” he said. “The current sex education curriculum is failing to meet national standards, parental expectations, and is based on a false assumption that everyone is doing it – which they’re not. It’s time the current approach was ditched.”