Sex Education: Abstinence Or Knowledge

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate July 2001

download word file, 4 pages 3.0

Downloaded 43 times

Human beings as a species are sexual in nature. Reproduction is the basis of natural selection and evolution, so in order to increase reproductive success a species tries to impregnate as many females as possible. This increase in pregnancies leads to an increase in birth rates, which in turn leads to an increase in future reproductive opportunities. These practices are unacceptable in present day society and have caused many problems. Teenagers have the highest rates of contracting sexually transmitted diseases and over forty percent of teenage girls have unplanned pregnancies (Mitchell 305). The center for Population Options reported that the United States spends over twenty billion dollars each year on the consequences of unplanned pregnancies. This apparent conflict of interests has led to different methods of intervention. The interventions at times have been extreme, ranging from female circumcision, to chastity belts, and even death.

The most common form of intervention today is knowledge.

Sex education is a non-violent intervention that at present is being widely used to control adolescent sexual behaviors (Mitchell 307). The controversy is in what method to use in education to influence adolescent sexual behavior. Contemporary sex education programs focus on either exclusively stressing abstinence or comprehensive school based sex education.

Abstinence is defined as not having sexual intercourse prior to marriage nor engaging in those sexual behaviors that are precursors to or substitutes for sexual intercourse (DeGaston 266). The abstinence programs state that sexual activity in the context of marriage is to be the standard and that children are to be warned about the harmful psychological and physical effects of sex outside of marriage (Olsen 632). These advocates believe that sex outside of marriage is morally wrong. Their values say that sex, when performed outside of marriage, is a mortal sin. W.J. Bennett believes that there...