Abstinence Plus-Education

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Thesis Statement:

Abstinence-only sex education tells teenagers not to have sex at all; however, there is more to sex education that teenagers need to know about besides "no sex" as the only alternative.

Working Outline:

I. Teaching abstinence-only to teenagers is unrealistic.

a.Telling teens to not have sex at all actually encourages them to do it just to prove they can.

b. This type of education has resulted in riskier behavior by teenagers.

c. This program stresses to teens that this is the only acceptable behavior.

II. Abstinence-only education does not stop teens from having sex.

a. Teenagers from ages fifteen to nineteen have had sexual intercourse.

b. The percentage has risen 11% to 19% from 1988 to 1995.

III. What needs to be taught in sex education?

a. The combination of abstinence-only and other safe methods.

b. Positive discussions of contraception use should be taught along with abstinence-only education.

IV. The different types of contraceptives that teenagers should be taught and how to use them.

a. The use of condoms properly.

b. The use of birth control pills by teenage girls, how to use them, what they protect against and what they do not protect against.

c. The consequences if condoms and birth control pills are not used properly.

V. Inconclusive studies on comparing sex education and abstinence-only.

a. Research available on the different sex education programs.

VI. How sex education should be taught and by whom.

a. Teachers.

b. Parents.

Abstinence-only education tells teenagers not to have sex at all; however there is more to sex education that teenagers need to know about besides being taught "no sex" as the only alternative.

Roffman (2001) argues that, "abstinence-only sex education programs are unrealistic because they fail to properly educate teens in how to protect themselves from the risks of sexual activity". When teenagers are told not to do something or they are wrong for doing it, they will do whatever it is just for spite, to prove they can. Teenagers can (and most do) act out of rebellion, therefore; they need to be taught how this type of behavior can be dangerous to themselves through more sex education classes. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (1999) argue, "abstinence-only programs stress that abstinence is the only acceptable behavior, therefore; it fails to provide information regarding pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease (STD) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention".

Abstinence-only education does not stop teenagers from having sex. Although, we as adults tell teenagers it is not right to have sex before marriage, does not mean they are not going to do what they want to. The National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (1991) states, "more than half of all teens fifteen to nineteen years old in the U.S. have had sexual intercourse and the percentage of teen girls who have engaged in sexual intercourse before age fifteen has risen for 11% in 1988 to 19% in 1995". This evidence shows that abstinence-only education does not prevent teens from having intercourse and acting irresponsible; it also proves that even with teaching teens to use condoms and use contraceptives will prevent pregnancy either.

There are more topics that need to be addressed with teenagers and sex, besides abstinence. Teenagers have to be taught about other ways to protect themselves from diseases and becoming parents too soon. Lippman (2000) reports, "many school districts teach abstinence-plus, which involves talking to students about contraceptive and safe sex while advising them that the preferred option to abstain from sexual activity until marriage". We, as adults, need to offer teenagers these other options to try to keep them safe and teach them how to make wise decisions. Besides just telling the teenagers about condoms and birth control, we need to explain how to use them properly....
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