Why Teach Abstinence

Why Teach Abstinence

The goal of abstinence education is risk elimination, not risk reduction. Youths need to be taught to abstain from all risky behavior, including all pre-marital sexual activity, for abstinence is the only 100% effective means to prevent pregnancy and spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

For generations, schools and communities have shared the goal of teaching values and character development to the next generation. Character traits which have been upheld as the norm for children and adolescents include responsibility, courage, fairness, honesty, respect, and self-control. It has been long assumed that such efforts would improve the human condition, add deeper meaning to life, and affirm the dignity of all individuals.

A half century ago, modesty and sexual morality were also included among values widely taught to youths, and abstinence-until-marriage was the expected standard of behaviour. But a significant cultural upheaval in the 1960s and 1970s - often referred to as the "sexual revolution" - led to widespread public questioning, if not outright abandonment of these values.

The fallout from this dramatic shift in values have been profoundly negative, both for the individual and society as a whole. Growing rates of divorce, teen pregnancy, abortion and single-parent families have become a matter of public record. The rising tide of sexually transmitted diseases, including some that were unknown to previous generations, have reached alarming proportions - often with permanent or even fatal consequences.