Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Part 1: Abstinence Some teens just say 'no' Teenagers are faced with many tough choices -- especially when it comes to sex. We hear references to it every day in the media, wonder if we are ready for it and are lectured about birth control constantly in middle and high school.

Despite the official definitions and lessons in health class, abstinence means something different to everyone. It can be interpreted to mean everything from not having any sexual contact until marriage, refraining from risky behaviors or having sex with only one person.

It is also a growing trend; of the 69 percent of school districts nationwide that have policies about teaching sex education, 86 percent promote abstinence (not having sex until marriage) as the preferred or the only option for students, according to Alan Guttmacher Institute's Family Planning Perspectives, an informational newsletter. Abstinence is also the only 100 percent sure method of birth control In today's world it is often difficult for adolescents to find an ideal and stick with it, especially when it comes to sex.

More and more, however, people are beginning to find that abstinence is right for them.

Here in Anchorage, many local teens are willing to talk about their beliefs. Sarah Beetch, a junior at Service High, said "There's life outside of high school, and I don't really want to do anything that I'm going to regret." For Lucas Paine, a senior at West High, the reasons are a bit more personal. He says, "I think it's kind of related to the saying Absence makes the heart grow fonder.' You can probably appreciate it more if you've waited for it." Surprisingly, many teens who are putting off sex until marriage are not simply embracing lessons from church; people are making decisions for themselves. Says...