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Sex Education And Teenagers


bluebell

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This article is written by a doctor on why sexual education in schools that focuses on safe sex rather than no sex doesn't work.

I thought it was interesting because he doesn't come at the issue from a religious angle but just uses facts on how teaching kids about safe sex doesn't decrease the rate of teenage pregnancy or teenage sexual diseases and focuses instead on the need for adults to admit that and stop spending so much time, money, and energy on something that's not doing any good.

It's refreshing to see an article on this topic that isn't so agenda driven.

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Bluebell:

According to SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, an organisation that promotes comprehensive sex education[11] in the United States,[12] a "...study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective."[13] In 2007, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy published an overview of policy and research on "programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy and STD/HIV" titled Emerging Answers 2007.[14] The report included a comprehensive metastudy examining research on the efficacy of abstinence-only as well as comprehensive sex education. Despite "[t]wo less rigorous studies suggest[ing] that abstinence programs may have some positive effects on sexual behavior", Emerging Answers concluded that "studies of abstinence programs have not produced sufficient evidence to justify their widespread dissemination." In contrast, the report judged the evidence for comprehensive sex education favorably, finding it effective for a wide range of students.

A federally-funded University of Pennsylvania study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that only one third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed abstinence-focused programs had sex within the next two years, compared to nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that taught combined abstinence and contraception.[15] The study has been called "game-changing" by supporters of abstinence-only sex education[who?]. Critics pointed out that the abstinence program used in the study was not representative of most abstinence programs; it did not take a moralistic tone, encouraged children to delay sex until ready instead of until married, did not portray extramarital sex as inappropriate, and did not disparage contraceptives. The sample groups were also exclusively African-American and therefore not demographically representative of the entire population.[16]

A 2010 report by the Guttmacher Institute pointed out that pregnancy rates for teens 15-19 reversed their decline in 2006, near the peak of the Abstinence Only campaign in the United States.[17] Sarah Kliff of Newsweek pointed out that there was no corresponding "indication of an uptick" in teen pregnancy rates when abstinence-only sex education funding was increased during the Clinton years, but in fact a small decline.[18] James Wagoner, president of the nonprofit group Advocates for Youth, blames the poor quality of Bush era abstinence-only programs as compared to abstinence-only programs under Clinton's administration for the difference in outcomes.[19]

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there is currently good evidence that a more robust sex education curriculum would decrease the undesired results of teenage sexual activity. The evidence can be found in Montana Meth Project which uses graphic images to discourage meth use, from neutral sources I have read that the project is seeing success.

When I was in Health class in highschool, we were shown graphic images of what STDs did to the body. We were also taught how to prevent those STDs. Teaching teenagers about sex and how to protect themselfs does not create a desire to have sex. The God given chemical makeup of just about every human being creates a desire in teenagers to have sex.

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We were shown those images too, which convinced us that STD's were definitely something to avoid, but it's harder to convince a teenager that their boyfriend or girlfriend might actually have one.

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there is currently good evidence that a more robust sex education curriculum would decrease the undesired results of teenage sexual activity. The evidence can be found in Montana Meth Project which uses graphic images to discourage meth use, from neutral sources I have read that the project is seeing success.

When I was in Health class in highschool, we were shown graphic images of what STDs did to the body. We were also taught how to prevent those STDs. Teaching teenagers about sex and how to protect themselfs does not create a desire to have sex. The God given chemical makeup of just about every human being creates a desire in teenagers to have sex.

The montana meth project's message is 'Not Even Once', so i don't know that it's possible to compare the 'no risk' idealogy taught in the project to the 'reduced risk' idealogy taught in sex education classes that focus on safe sex rather than abstinence.

Besides that though, the project actually hasn't been all that successful. You can google it, but here is one article that discusses the realities of the results of the project.

Here

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Bluebell:

According to SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, an organisation that promotes comprehensive sex education[11] in the United States,[12] a "...study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective."[13] In 2007, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy published an overview of policy and research on "programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy and STD/HIV" titled Emerging Answers 2007.[14] The report included a comprehensive metastudy examining research on the efficacy of abstinence-only as well as comprehensive sex education. Despite "[t]wo less rigorous studies suggest[ing] that abstinence programs may have some positive effects on sexual behavior", Emerging Answers concluded that "studies of abstinence programs have not produced sufficient evidence to justify their widespread dissemination." In contrast, the report judged the evidence for comprehensive sex education favorably, finding it effective for a wide range of students.

A federally-funded University of Pennsylvania study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that only one third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed abstinence-focused programs had sex within the next two years, compared to nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that taught combined abstinence and contraception.[15] The study has been called "game-changing" by supporters of abstinence-only sex education[who?]. Critics pointed out that the abstinence program used in the study was not representative of most abstinence programs; it did not take a moralistic tone, encouraged children to delay sex until ready instead of until married, did not portray extramarital sex as inappropriate, and did not disparage contraceptives. The sample groups were also exclusively African-American and therefore not demographically representative of the entire population.[16]

A 2010 report by the Guttmacher Institute pointed out that pregnancy rates for teens 15-19 reversed their decline in 2006, near the peak of the Abstinence Only campaign in the United States.[17] Sarah Kliff of Newsweek pointed out that there was no corresponding "indication of an uptick" in teen pregnancy rates when abstinence-only sex education funding was increased during the Clinton years, but in fact a small decline.[18] James Wagoner, president of the nonprofit group Advocates for Youth, blames the poor quality of Bush era abstinence-only programs as compared to abstinence-only programs under Clinton's administration for the difference in outcomes.[19]

I think the Dr.'s points are valid. Teenagers who have access to contraceptives and education are still getting pregnant and STDs in large numbers. Regardless of whether or not one is for or against sex education, it's just not working.

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Bluebell:

You'd be surprised at what teen-agers don't know about sex. Here are just a few of the most common misconceptions.

* You cant get pregnant the first time you have sex.

* You cant get pregnant if you have sex standing up.

* You cant get pregnant if you have sex in the bath.

* From the boy – I’m too young to get you pregnant.

* From the boy – a condom wont fit me.

* From the girl – I cant get pregnant when I just finished my period.

* From the boy – you cant get pregnant if I pull put before I ejaculate.

* You cant get pregnant if your parent is a heroin addict.

* I didn’t sleep with him I stayed awake.

* From a boy – if you have sex right before her period it will all get washed out.

* You cant get pregnant if you jump up and down after having sex.

* You wont get pregnant if you wash your hair straight away after having sex.

The cure for ignorance is not more ignorance, but good quality education.

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Bluebell:

You'd be surprised at what teen-agers don't know about sex. Here are just a few of the most common misconceptions.

* You cant get pregnant the first time you have sex.

* You cant get pregnant if you have sex standing up.

* You cant get pregnant if you have sex in the bath.

* From the boy – I’m too young to get you pregnant.

* From the boy – a condom wont fit me.

* From the girl – I cant get pregnant when I just finished my period.

* From the boy – you cant get pregnant if I pull put before I ejaculate.

* You cant get pregnant if your parent is a heroin addict.

* I didn’t sleep with him I stayed awake.

* From a boy – if you have sex right before her period it will all get washed out.

* You cant get pregnant if you jump up and down after having sex.

* You wont get pregnant if you wash your hair straight away after having sex.

The cure for ignorance is not more ignorance, but good quality education.

I agree. I think you might be pushing the idea that all the ideas you have listed are valid excuses that a significant number of teenagers have truly believed (many of these i heard about when i was in middle school and they were well known 'myths' that kids made fun of even then), but i agree that education is important. I'm not against sex ed. I'm against us putting our heads in the sand about the results of sex ed.

The issue is that some teenagers STILL have these ideas even AFTER they have had sex education. The education isn't impacting them. Many still have the 'it won't happen to me' mentality regardless of how many times someone has told them 'it could happen to you'.

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The trouble begins with the education aspect. If we are not allowed to judge, then we cannot say "do not have sex". So you end up teaching people how to do something (that they want to do), and then they of course learn how to do it. Many young people see sex education (do it safely) as a type of permit... "I am educated so I know what I am doing" when in fact they tend to be immature about what sex is and what its for. Now you can't call it sacred, so it is common. You can't say it should only be with someone you love, because a 14 year old will always think they are in love, and the decision resides in his or her own mind. These are part of the problems we face when sex education is taught. There is no real education on the consequences (sure a few std pics and what not, but those are viewed as little more than horror flicks). We never hear of the struggles in the programs for unwed mothers. Indeed unwed mothers are now considered popular and have been for some time (Remember Murphy Brown and the flack the VP got for saying it was wrong portraying an unwed mother as an option). Sex education is missing a vital component, that is the moral authority of how and when to use it. I would rather have mandatory sex education for parents in teaching their children what to do and not do, than I would for children who are taught by society what to do and not do.

Ever teach a child how to shoot and then walk away, leaving him/her with a loaded gun? How would you feel? That the it was a successful lesson? Or do would you feel better with supervising people around that child who knew the consequences? I think this is one reason sex education doesn't work, whether it is abstinence driven or not.

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bluebell:

I know of no other cure.

We're not going to scare them out of do it. The biology is just too strong for that. Most parents of teen-agers that I know would take a dim veiw of morality being taught in the public schools. So what are we left with? Teaching the mechanics and letting overworked and overstressed parents to teach the morality. I think the best we, as a society, can do under the circumstances is to educate about how to prevent pregnancy, and disease as much as possible, and let and encouraged parents to take a greater role in their own kids lives.

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It doesn't ensure that they drive responsibly. We have many laws and people in place that tell young people what good driving is and bad driving. Especially parents when the child comes home with a fender bender. Sex education doesn't have that support.

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Jeff K.:

We have many people that TRY to tell teen-agers about the consequences of unprotected sex. Just as we many whom TRY to tell teen-aged drivers not to get into car wrecks. But they still have wrecks, and sex.

Hollywood didn't invent sexual desire. That is as old as mankind itself. I don't believe that any law of man can stop teen-agers from having sex. They've been doing that for a very long time now. What we can do in the public square is give them enough information that they at least don't get pregnant, or get diseases. Some of which are fatal. Inside the home parents get to decide what if anything they teach their children about sex.

What is the alternative? Ignorance never was bliss, and a LOT of parents feel overwhelmed by the emotions of teaching their own children about sex.

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I would say that schools generally have a habit of telling parents to toe the school line or not get involved. After they get your PTSA money, you pretty much become a ghost.

You say we have "many people" that TRY to tell teens about the consequences. I would counter that we have relatively FEW people that tell teens when compared to the television shows we watch.

Hollywood didn't invent sexual desire. That is as old as mankind itself. I don't believe that any law of man can stop teen-agers from having sex. They've been doing that for a very long time now. What we can do in the public square is give them enough information that they at least don't get pregnant, or get diseases. Some of which are fatal. Inside the home parents get to decide what if anything they teach their children about sex.

Hollywood magnifies the desire and acceptance of sex. You don't seem to understand that it isn't the "laws" that stop such things, they never has. But society does play a part stronger than "law". And Hollywood pushes the attitude that sex is ok in all circumstances, that hooking up is a fine amoral exercise of our natural proclivities. And when focused on youth which are naturally naive and irresponsible with such a strong desire, it overwhelms anything a few people in society might tell them, including scary pictures.

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I don't think that 'we know it doesn't work, but what else can we do?' is a valid option. I especially don't think it's good justification for all the rhetoric behind sex education.

If something isn't working then we need to admit it, change it, and experiment with new things until it does. We don't need to become entrenched in defending it.

I think that's what the Dr.'s point really is. We are making laws and creating contention in our schools to impliment something that doesn't even work. We need to stop justifying or minimizing our failure as a country with this issue and spend time figuring out what actually will help.

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I would say that schools generally have a habit of telling parents to toe the school line or not get involved. After they get your PTSA money, you pretty much become a ghost.

You say we have "many people" that TRY to tell teens about the consequences. I would counter that we have relatively FEW people that tell teens when compared to the television shows we watch.

Hollywood magnifies the desire and acceptance of sex. You don't seem to understand that it isn't the "laws" that stop such things, they never has. But society does play a part stronger than "law". And Hollywood pushes the attitude that sex is ok in all circumstances, that hooking up is a fine amoral exercise of our natural proclivities. And when focused on youth which are naturally naive and irresponsible with such a strong desire, it overwhelms anything a few people in society might tell them, including scary pictures.

I think you have a valid point.

How much graphic sex ed. existed in the 1960's? What was the rate of teenage pregnancy or STDs? I'm guessing we had less unwed mothers and sick teenagers in this country at the same time that we had less graphic sex ed. classes.

That should be our first clue. If a lack of graphic sex ed. classes didn't cause the problem, then more graphic sex ed. classes isn't going to cure it.

The crux of the issue, as i see it, is our culture's attitude about teenage sex. As long as kids believe that teenage sex is a legitimate part of the growing up process, no amount of graphic sex ed is going to stop the teenage pregnancies or STDs. Teenagers are risk takers and have immature brains. Education isn't going to override those facts when society is telling them 'just do it-it's no big deal'.

I don't think most adults have a clue about what teenagers are exposed to. Try watching MTV sometime-it's shocking. I accidentally saw the first episode of the show 'Awkward' and am still a little bit stunned. In the 10 minutes that i watched a girl had sex with a boy at a summer camp afternoon dance-they showed them having sex and how the girl, losing her virginity in the maintance shed to a guy who barely knew her name, didn't care at all that this was how her first time was. The act was given all the emotional depth of changing after gym class-though they did throw some sex ed in-the girl did comment in her head about how she was smart enough not to go 'bareback'.

THis was a show on in the afternoon-this wasn't MTV even trying to be scandalous. It was just a run of the mill show about being a teenage girl. You can't show teenagers this kind of thing over and over again and NOT impact their view of sex.

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Jeff K.:

I don't believe Hollywood is all that much of a magnifier. Is it life reflecting art, or is it art reflecting life? That I don't know as we'll ever know. However my parents(and my school) taught me not to believe everything I saw on television or at the flickers. There is an old saying "They can do anything in Hollywood". CGI just makes it all that much more intense.

By the time a average child starts school they have witnessed on The Tube thousands of murders, and lord knows how many other killings, knifeings, and assorted mayhem. But the actual incidents of these crimes is going down. So there isn't a direct cause and effect here.

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By the time a average child starts school they have witnessed on The Tube thousands of murders, and lord knows how many other killings, knifeings, and assorted mayhem. But the actual incidents of these crimes is going down. So there isn't a direct cause and effect here.

In most cases of violence, there are portrayed negative consequences associated with them....at least in what I watch, which I admit is likely pretty mainstream. OTOH, mainstream TV does not typically show imo negative consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage or long term committed relationships.

Using just number of portrayals of acts and not the context they are presented in will not yield an effective picture of influence.

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Jeff K.:

I don't believe Hollywood is all that much of a magnifier. Is it life reflecting art, or is it art reflecting life? That I don't know as we'll ever know. However my parents(and my school) taught me not to believe everything I saw on television or at the flickers. There is an old saying "They can do anything in Hollywood". CGI just makes it all that much more intense.

By the time a average child starts school they have witnessed on The Tube thousands of murders, and lord knows how many other killings, knifeings, and assorted mayhem. But the actual incidents of these crimes is going down. So there isn't a direct cause and effect here.

You and I will have to disagree strongly on the issue of cause and effect. But the appeal of sex is strong and much more manifest than the appeal of violence. Premarital sex and teen sex is also presented as a positive aspect of life, a rite of passage. Television makes those who do not engage in the practice seem inferior or somehow dysfunctional. And yes television does have influence, were it not so advertising agencies for TV would be almost non existent.

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Jeff K.:

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I never said tv doesn't have an effect. It obviously does. What I disagree with is that there is a significant cause and effect ratio. Given the amount of violence on the tv, there would have to be a much higher violence level on our streets than the statistics show.

No doubt sex sells. It sells everything from cars to refrigerators.

The glamorization of violence is also as old as man himself. Violence also sells. The US is the largest arms merchant in the world. But I don't see a direct cause and effect of tv/hollywood there.

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Are jokes about virgins or guys acting embarrassed that they are virgins that unusual in your experience that you need a CFR?

I guess he has not experienced what my three boys and to a lesser extent my four girls have in their public school. Not giving "it" up is a sure ticket to being accused of homosexuality.

My .02 on the OP. If you are depending on public schools or the media to teach your children about sexuality or what is normal in society you are already waaaaay behind the pack.

I have found abstience + information ++ being a good example (faithful to spouse, no porn, showing respect to children and learning the meaning of the word "no" at an early age) works wonders in combating the slease merchants and perverts. It isn't perfect and kids do fail from time to time with temptation but it sets the bar high and the behavior follows.

It also helps that when the kids do fall short of perfection we don't freak out and they are welcome to talk to us about their struggles.

I have given up on the public schools, the APA or any other social organization protecting children to any degree but saving them from overt abuse (and even then).

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CFR.

In attempt to appeal to the teenage audience, films tend to present situations in adolescence to which the teens may relate. Some situations and scenarios film-teenagers stereotypical deal with include high school, parties, relationships, social groups and cliques, and parental conflict. The most prevalent themes of teenage life in films seem to be sex and the losing of one’s virginity, consumption of alcohol and illegal substances, and rebelling in every way imaginable. In the eyes of Hollywood, these are the cornerstone of adolescence, with the latter three being teens’ primary focus. While these situations do makeup a large amount of a teen’s life, films exaggerate the role some of these things play in a teen’s life. This not only gives adolescents a bad reputation, but also provides teens with a false perception of what their lives should resemble.

Lets see, in my youth there was Porky's, American Pie, Big Bang Theory, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Gossip Girl (and the rather cold way Jenny loses her virginity), the list goes on.....

With the abundance of sex shown in recent films, teens are given the impression that their lives are not normal unless they are having sex. If sex is something they are emotionally invested in, they are likely to view these films, remember important parts of the film, and possibly apply what they remember to their own lives. The 2007 comedy Superbad follows two seniors three weeks before high school graduation as they try and lose their virginity and find girlfriends for the summer. With the primary focus of the film being sex, an adolescent watching the film who relates to the characters may get the impression that he or she needs to be partaking in the sexual activity the characters mention. Exaggerated scenarios such as this could alter the teen’s psychosocial development as he or she struggles to meet the expectations presented by Hollywood.

University of San Francisco

The possible impact these media portrayals can have on the overall teen population is huge. The exaggerated depictions of adolescence in films not only gives teens a false impression of what their lives should be like, but also gives them a bad reputation in the eyes of adults. This can affect the teen’s psychosocial, emotional, and cognitive development. Films are not without their benefits for teens as well, however, as they provide adolescents with an example of how to act and respond to situations which may be foreign to them. They also give the adolescent a safe form of entertainment that can keep them out of trouble for a few hours of the day. The portrayal of teens on television and in films is a double-edged-sword, as the films can negatively affect the development of teens and their reputation, but can also help guide adolescents in their journey towards adulthood.
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Jeff K.:

I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I never said tv doesn't have an effect. It obviously does. What I disagree with is that there is a significant cause and effect ratio. Given the amount of violence on the tv, there would have to be a much higher violence level on our streets than the statistics show.

No doubt sex sells. It sells everything from cars to refrigerators.

The glamorization of violence is also as old as man himself. Violence also sells. The US is the largest arms merchant in the world. But I don't see a direct cause and effect of tv/hollywood there.

See my post above. Violence isn't driven by hormones and violence does not self identify, nor does it release endorphines. It is a poor comparison.

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