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Abstinence-Only Sex Education Essay


The problem of effective sex education is one of the major problems of the contemporary educational system and contemporary society at large. In fact, it is really important to educate students in order to minimize possible risks they may face in their sexual life, especially in the result of the ineffective sex education. In this regard, the views on sex education vary dramatically. On the one hand, there are supporters of the wide implementation of special educational programs where students could learn basics of their sexual life with the emphasis on the safety of sexual relationships, especially among teens, and the necessity of contraception. On the other hand, there are supporters of abstinence-only sex education, which, in contrast, stand on the ground that education should promote the idea of abstinence as the best preventive measure of possible problems teens may face in their sexual life. However, in actuality, the effectiveness of the latter approach seems to be quite arguable because of the significant changes in the contemporary socio-cultural life.

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First of all, it should be said that the abstinence-based education primarily targets at the minimization or, to put it more precisely, the elimination of any sexual contacts of teens until they reach the age of maturity. In fact, such a goal seems to be quite contradictive to the natural process of development of human body, especially in the current socio-cultural context. What is meant here is the fact that the maturation of teenagers occurs consistently faster than it used to be in the past and the cases of early maturity are not rare. In this respect, it should be said that the average age of sexual maturity tends to decrease that means that contemporary teens get ready to the sexual life physically at the earlier age than a few previous generations, for instance. As a result, the major goal of abstinence-based education contradicts to the natural needs and instincts of teens, which deprivation may lead to the inadequate behavior of teens and the risk of disobedience or violation of norms imposed by abstinence-based education is extremely high.

In such a situation, it is even possible to argue whether the abstinence of teens is correct at all. Naturally, the early sexual contacts of teens may lead to serious problems in their development and their consequences may be undesirable, such as early pregnancy, for instance, because they threaten to the health of teens. On the other hand, it does not necessarily mean that the abstinence of teens will solve this problem. In fact, the promotion of abstinence may lead to the protest of teens simply because they do not want to obey to the existing social norms that is natural at their age and, secondly, they can hardly cope with their natural needs. As a result, abstinence becomes a kind of violence over psychology and physical development of teens that naturally opposes the counter-action and leads to the violation of the norms of abstinence by teens.

Thus, teens, being educated and growing up in a liberal and democratic environment, would hardly limit their personal freedom under the impact of the abstinence-based education which rather provokes the opposition and disobedience than the reduction of sexual activity among teens and leads to their ignorance concerning sexual activities.

DiClemente R. Predictors of risky adolescent sexual behavior. Med Aspects of Human Sexuality April 1990:39.
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