For years supporters of two different approaches to sex education, that is pro-abstinence sex education and comprehensive sex education, have been involved in a blazing discussion. Those who advocate the first approach believe that abstaining from sex is the best way to avoid out of wedlock pregnancy, STDs and HIV. They also consider that providing children with abundant information about sex and related issues results in early sexual experimentation. However, this type of sex education does not seem to yield substantial results.
There are a number of academic reviews indicating that abstinence have little influence upon young people’s sexual behaviour. The best outcome they have been able to reach so far is encouraging teenagers to delay their first sexual intercourse in the short-term. According to studies, those young people who choose to delay their first sexual intercourse generally hold strong religious beliefs. It means that it is only efficient for a restricted group of young people and cannot be regarded as a universal solution. Moreover, research shows that those teenagers who get abstinence-based education might be less knowledgeable about STDs and HIV and their prevention than other young people. Consequently, they run a risk of ruining their health. More worryingly, abstinence-based sex education programmes are reported to misinform teenagers about the lack of effectiveness of contraception and condoms as well as to exaggerate psychological risks connected with sex and conceal information about positive aspect of sexual relationships. As a result, young people get distorted and biased ideas about sexual life.
Taking into account all these things we may say that pro-abstinence sex education appears to be inefficient. When it comes to health issues, ignorance is not blessed. Therefore, it is crucial for teenagers to be accurately informed about sex and to be able to make their own wise decisions.