Roundup: Studies Show Comprehensive Sex Ed Makes a Difference


‘Family Guy’ Episode Axed
As RHRealityCheck.org
recently reported, Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, created an
episode dealing with abortion for the upcoming season. He said Fox was
unlikely to air it, and he was right. On Tuesday, Fox declined to show
the controversial episode because of advertiser concerns, according to the live feed.

Kevin
Reilly, Fox’s entertainment president, said, "We don’t censor Seth…It
was a business decision. It was fragile subject matter at a sensitive
time."

MacFarlane said he was fine with Reilly’s decision, the article said.

Studies on Sex Education

According to the Amherst Bulletin,
many studies have taken place over the years regarding comprehensive
and abstinence-only sex education programs.  In 2007, researchers from
the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy looked at
48 comprehensive sex education programs and found there was a decrease
in unprotected sex, a delay in when young people chose to have sex and
a reduction in the number of sexual partners.

Again
in 2007, Mathematica Policy Research studied abstinence-only programs.
They found that students enrolled in these programs were no less likely
to have sex than those in comprehensive sex education, the article said.

Another study conducted by the Journal of Health Communication in 2001
found that some abstinence-only efforts resulted in young people
wanting to wait until marriage to have sex, the Bulletin reported.

Change in Support

The Washington Monthly
reported that in May, Gallup released a poll that revealed 51 percent
of Americans identify as pro-life, and 42 percent as pro-choice.
According to the article,
it was the first time the majority of U.S. citizens identified as
pro-life, and it was the largest margin abortion opponents had ever
seen.

This has changed in the new Gallup report. It shows that public opinion changed after the George Tiller murder, according to the article.
It also said:

Generally speaking, there just aren’t significant shifts on this. Most
Americans oppose a constitutional amendment prohibiting abortions, and
that hasn’t changed. Most Americans want to see the Supreme Court leave
the Roe v. Wade precedent intact, and that hasn’t changed,
either. This matters far more than ambiguous labels like "pro-choice"
and "pro-life."  

OTHER NEWS TO NOTE:

August 6: Beliefnet:Is Health Care Reform Covering Abortion or Not?

August 6: THRFeed.com: ‘Family Guy’ abortion episode details

August 6: Catholic News Agency: Pro-life congress in Colombia calls on politicians to defend life and family

August 6: Fox News: Senate Dems Get High-Level Coaching for Those Townhalls  

August 6: EmpowHer: Contraceptive Use Common Among New Mothers: Study 

August 6: Washington Monthly: A SHIFT BACK ON ABORTION RIGHTS?

August 7: IPS News:Family Planning: Expand Role For Private Sector  

August 6: Lemon Drop: A New Plan B for When Things Don’t Go As Planned in Bed   

August 6: Feministing: Defying Gravity Writer James Parriott Responds   

August 6: LifeNews: Minnesota Planned Parenthood Gets Infertility Ed Grant, But Abortions Cause It

August 7: Amherst Bulletin: What the studies say    

August 6: NYTimes: Fertility Rise for Richest – Boon or Trouble? 

August 6: Times-Picayune: Marriage commission members take dim view of adoptions by same-sex couples

August 6: USA Today:Health care debate steers into abortion, euthanasia

August 6: LifeNews: Senate Confirms Sonia Sotomayor for Supreme Court, Expected to Back Abortion

August 6: The Frisky: Why Emergency Contraception Needs To Be Used For Emergencies Only

August 6: PhillyBurbs:Birth control pills during pregnancy?

August 6: Optimum Population Blog: Abortions Surge in China 

August 6: Catholic News Agency:New pro-life campaign will insist that abortion is not health care

August 6: FOX News: Would Government Health Care Fund Abortions? 

August 6: Minn Post: Maureen Reed offers vague positions on abiding and abortion

August 6: Baltimore Sun: He’s just not that into you 

August 5: Catholic Online: Include Children in the Womb in National Health Care Reform 

August 6: North Country Public Radio: Conservatives question McHugh’s pro-life cred 

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

To schedule an interview with Amy Dempsey please contact Communications Director Rachel Perrone at rachel@rhrealitycheck.org.

  • invalid-0

    Amy,

    Is it ethical for you to pick and choose the research supporting the success of condom education, while not citing any reviews that report the success of abstinence education? Or should you continue to repeat the Mathematica study over and over again as the “be all end all” of abstinence education evaluation?

    There are at least a handful of peer-reviewed studies, with rigorous statistical design, that have shown successful abstinence education interventions. Because you have failed to properly research this subject, or because you and this website are utterly biased, I’ll provide a link for a review of successful abstinence studies called “Abstinence Works 2009″ for those who are interested in more than just one side:

    http://www.abstinenceworks.org

  • http://www.sexedtheseries.com invalid-0
  • crowepps

    Comprehensive sex education INCLUDES abstinence. It usually includes abstinence as the PREFERRED or FIRST CHOICE.

    • invalid-0

      So called “comprehensive sex ed” rarely discusses abstinence, and is hardly comprehensive when it comes to telling teens why they should wait, unless you consider telling kids that watching porn and showering together are good ways to remain abstinent, which comprehensive sex ed curicula is known to do. I would PREFER my child not watch porn or shower together, but rather, learn what a healthy relationship is without having condoms discussed in the same sentence. Thank you!

  • invalid-0

    So called “comprehensive sex ed” rarely discusses abstinence

    I don’t know where you got your definition of “comprehensive sex ed,” but it’s clearly not the one we use here. Please educate yourself on the subject before leveling criticism. The sound-to-noise ratio in the comments is low enough already.

  • crowepps

    Was startled by your description of the curriculum of "comprehensive sex ed" and took a few moments to google up an actual example for eighth grade which I’ve excerpted below.  Nothing there about porn or co-ed showers that I could see. 

     

    By the end of the designated grade level, the student should be able to:

    * Define terms related to human sexuality

    * Define stereotyping and discuss generalizations regarding sexual identity

    * Examine factors that influence stereotyping and generalizations regarding sexual identity* Explore how cultural and family values affect relationships and marriage

    * Explore the effect of family stress and divorce on the family and society

    * Describe the process of pregnancy and birth, recognizing the importance of prenatal care for the mother and fetus

    * Discuss the effects of hormonal changes on the body and on behavior throughout the life cycle

    * Analyze the influence of peer pressure and other factors on an individual’s decisions regarding sexual behavior

    * Analyze consequences of sexual activity

    * Examine myths and misconceptions about human sexuality

    * Discuss the social, emotional, and economic impact of teenage parenting

    * Discuss how family values, culture, religious views, and other factors influence family planning

    * Identify abstinence from sexual intercourse as the most effective means of pregnancy prevention

    Abstinence

    A. Define and describe

    B. Only 100% effective means of pregnancy prevention

    C. Only 100% effective means of preventing sexually transmitted diseases

    D. Preservation of self-concept/self-esteem

    1. you decide when and if you want to become sexually active

    2. consider the consequences and you make a decision

    3. only you are responsible for your own behavior

    E. Before marriage and for teens it is the best choice

    * Identify and describe methods of pregnancy prevention

    Identify and Describe Methods of Pregnancy Prevention

    A. Abstinence

    25

    B. Periodic abstinence (rhythm method)

    1. calendar

    2. basal body temperature

    3. mucus billings method

    C. Withdrawal

    D. Barrier methods

    1. spermicidal preparations

    a. foams, creams, jellies – used alone/used with

    other barrier methods

    2. condom male/female

    3. diaphragm

    a. cervical cap

    E. Birth control pills

    F. Implantable hormone (Norplant)

    G. Injectable hormone (DES)

    H. Intra uterine devices (IUD)

    I. Surgical methods

    1. vasectomy

    2. tubal ligation

    http://www.teachthefacts.org/Grade8_Field_Test_Revised.pdf

     

  • invalid-0

    Here are a couple of so called “comprehensive sex ed” and their examples of abstinence. I would never define these activities as abstinence, but apparently they do:

    1) Making Sense of Abstinence: Lessons for Comprehensive Sex Education

    “Imagine someone has decided to be ABSTINENT. According to your own definition of “abstinence,” circle the following sexual behaviors you believe a person can engage in and still be ABSTINENT.” Among the choices: “reading erotic literature; cuddling naked; mutual masturbation; showering together; watching porn; talking sexy”.” (Making Sense of Abstinence, p 15)

    2) Making a Difference

    Abstinence may include “sexually pleasurable things without having intercourse (e.g. masturbation, kissing, talking, massaging, having fantasies, etc)” (Making a Difference!, p 113)

  • invalid-0

    I can only assume, then, that you consider abstinence to be nothing less than being completely chaste and celibate.

  • invalid-0

    So now that you have been proven wrong, you are interested in what abstinence really is and what I think?

    Abstinence from sex means abstaining from sexual contact, either oral, anal, or vaginal sex. Mutual masturbation, showering together, or watching pornography can certainly lead to sex, thus, that is why abstinence education curiculum does not encourage this. Neither do they encourage giving condoms as gifts, playing “find the condom on my body” games, or have condom races where students practice putting condoms on artificial genitalia as quickly as possible. Oh, and they don’t tell kids that condoms won’t protect against skin-to-skin STIs like herpes, HPV, and Chlamydia…how is that comprehensive?

    The problem with condom education (sorry, comprehensive) is that any student who is told that abstinence is best, but if you do, wear a condom, is being given a mixed message. It’s like saying, “don’t do drugs” but if you do, use a sterilized needle. We are telling them it’s OK to take part in dangerous and illegal activity (remember, in most states you have to be 16 to have sex, in others, 18).

    Not only that, scientific peer-reviewed studies show that early sex is associated with depression, suicide ideation, and other risk-taking behaviors.

  • invalid-0

    In the sex-ed curriculum I received, the message wasn’t abstinence is best’, but ‘wait until you’re ready, and when you are here’s what you should know’. Abstinence was touted as the best way to prevent pregnancy and STI transmission. But we’re all going to have sex some day, and so we weren’t told we shouldn’t have sex, rather the message was that it shouldn’t be taken lightly and we shouldn’t allow others to push us into it before we’re ready. We also learned about contraception in virtually every form (including the ones that don’t work well, and why) so that when we DID–not if, but when–have sex we would be able to make informed decisions.
    Anyways, sure those activities can lead to sex. They can also be ways to satisfy ones sexual urges, thus placating the hormones without actually engaging in intercourse.

  • invalid-0

    Well, abstinence does talk about sex in the confines of a monogamous healthy relationship; it talks a whole lot about what healthy sex is and what healthy sex is not. Unfortunately, comprehensive sex ed does not make those distinctions, and discusses sex as merely a physical act. Many of these curiculums give youth the idea that if they use contraception, then it’s OK and they’re safe from pregnancy and STIs, which is far from the truth. Did you know the typical failure rate for the pill over a year for a teenage girl is 50 percent? For condoms, it’s 70 percent. And this is according to Guttmacher, the research arm of Planned Parenthood. They also do not address the emotional and psycholgoical consequences of early sex. Nor do they tell youth that those who engage in early sex with multiple partners are more likely to be unfaithful to their long-term future partner. They also fail to talk about the process of pair bonding. For example, I have never heard of comprehensive sex ed discussing Oxytocin and the attachment it produces. Another key difference here is that sex or sexual preference does not define who we are as people. It is one part of us. Abstinence education stresses the whole person, comprehensive, the sexual or physical person.

  • invalid-0

    Unfortunately, comprehensive sex ed does not make those distinctions, and discusses sex as merely a physical act.

    Um, no—it does talk about healthy sexual attitudes and practices, and does not discuss sex as “merely a physical act.” You might want to, you know, look at real-life comprehensive sex-ed programs before spouting off nonsense.

    Many of these curiculums give youth the idea that if they use contraception, then it’s OK and they’re safe from pregnancy and STIs, which is far from the truth.

    Contraception and barrier methods can reduce the risk of pregnancy and STIs, so they do make sex safer, though never 100%—comprehensive sex ed discusses this. There is no one arguing that “contraception makes sex safe” without those qualifications.

    Did you know the typical failure rate for the pill over a year for a teenage girl is 50 percent? For condoms, it’s 70 percent.

    If people don’t know how to use contraception, then it’s not going to work for them. This is exactly why comprehensive sex ed is important—teaching proper use of these methods is what gets the effectiveness up.

    They also do not address the emotional and psycholgoical consequences of early sex.

    What consequences? What evidence do you have that “early sex,” in and of itself, has (negative) emotional and psychological consequences? Sure, if someone has sex before they’re ready for it, that can be bad—which is why comprehensive sex ed stresses the idea that you should never do it before you’re ready (e.g. by letting someone pressure you into doing it). If someone is sexually abused at a young age, that’s bad too (and sex ed in the earlier years addresses this). But “early sex,” without any such factors?

    Nor do they tell youth that those who engage in early sex with multiple partners are more likely to be unfaithful to their long-term future partner.

    Well, of course they don’t. This is a claim with no scientific backing. Comprehensive sex ed curriculums are based on facts, not conservative talking points.

    They also fail to talk about the process of pair bonding. For example, I have never heard of comprehensive sex ed discussing Oxytocin and the attachment it produces.

    Do you think P.E. courses should discuss how muscle fibers contract, too? The only way this could be relevant is the silly idea that a woman who has too many sexual partners “exhausts” her supply of oxytocin, and then later has difficulty forming long-term bonds—and that’s just another unscientific/conservative talking point.

    Another key difference here is that sex or sexual preference does not define who we are as people. It is one part of us.

    Tell that to everyone who has ever discriminated against sexual minorities. Like abstinence-only programs, who either ignore these altogether (by only discussing heterosexual relationships) or flat-out denigrate them (“homosexuals are mentally ill AIDS magnets!”).

    Abstinence education stresses the whole person, comprehensive, the sexual or physical person.

    You should look into a real-life comprehensive sex ed program one of these days. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised.

  • invalid-0

    Since you do not seem to believe that I know what I am talking about, i’ll defend myself with scientific, peer-reviewed sources. If you actually knew what you were talking about, instead of relied on talking points, you could do the same.

    “If people don’t know how to use contraception, then it’s not going to work for them. This is exactly why comprehensive sex ed is important—teaching proper use of these methods is what gets the effectiveness up.”

    The adolescent breain is not captable of correct and consistent contraception use, which is why their failure rates are so high!

    1) Giedd, J.N., Blumenthal, J., Jeffries, N.O., Castellanos, F.X., Lie, H., & Zijdenbos, A. (1999). Brain development during childhood and adolescence: a longitudinal MRI study. Nature Neuroscience, 2(10), 861-863.

    2) Crosby, R.A., Sanders, S.A., Yarber, W.L., Graham, C.A., & Dodge, B. (2002). Condom Use Errors and Problems Among College Men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 29(9), 552-557.

    What consequences? What evidence do you have that “early sex,” in and of itself, has (negative) emotional and psychological consequences? Sure, if someone has sex before they’re ready for it, that can be bad—which is why comprehensive sex ed stresses the idea that you should never do it before you’re ready (e.g. by letting someone pressure you into doing it). If someone is sexually abused at a young age, that’s bad too (and sex ed in the earlier years addresses this). But “early sex,” without any such factors?

    There are numerous studies that have shown the harmful psychological effect of early sex.

    1) Waller, M.W., Hallfors, D.D., Halpern, C.T. Iritani, B.J., Ford, C.A., & Guo, G. (2006). Gender differences in associations between depressive symptoms and patterns of substance use and risky behavior among a nationally representative sample of U.S. adolescents. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 9(3), 139-150.

    2) Hallfors, D. D., Waller, M.W., Bauer, D., Ford, C. A., & Halpern, C.T. (2005) Which comes first in adolescence – sex
    and drugs or depression? American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 29(3), 163-170.

    “Well, of course they don’t. This is a claim with no scientific backing (future indelity because premarital sex). Comprehensive sex ed curriculums are based on facts, not conservative talking points.”

    Really, a conservative talking point? See the objective science below.

    1) Teachman, J. (2003). Premarital sex, premarital cohabitation, and the risk of subsequent marital dissolution among women. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 65(2), 444-455.

    2) Kahn, R., & London, K.A. (1991). Premarital sex and the risk of divorce. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 53(4), 845-855.

    “Do you think P.E. courses should discuss how muscle fibers contract, too? The only way this could be relevant is the silly idea that a woman who has too many sexual partners “exhausts” her supply of oxytocin, and then later has difficulty forming long-term bonds—and that’s just another unscientific/conservative talking point.”

    Research finds that girls have their most intense love with their first romantic partner. Additionally, when the attachment from Oxytocin is spead with multiple partners, the pair bond is weakened. Additionally, Ocytocin increases trust between humans; too much of it released with many sexual partners decreases trust among sex partners.

    1) Jankowiak, W., & Fischer, E. (1992). A cross-cultural perspective on romantic love. Ethnology, Vol. 31(2), 149-155.

    2) Carter, C. (1992). Oxytocin and sexual behavior. Neuroscience Biobehavior Review, Vol. 16(2), 131-144.

    3) Kosfeld, M., Heinrichs, M., Zak, P.J., Fischbacher, U., & Fehr, E. (2005). Ocytocin increases trust in humans. Nature, 43(5), 673-676.

    “Tell that to everyone who has ever discriminated against sexual minorities. Like abstinence-only programs, who either ignore these altogether (by only discussing heterosexual relationships) or flat-out denigrate them (“homosexuals are mentally ill AIDS magnets!”).
    Abstinence education stresses the whole person, comprehensive, the sexual or physical person.
    You should look into a real-life comprehensive sex ed program one of these days. I think you’d be pleasantly surprised.”

    I won’t even address this claim, because it’s ridiculous. The simple fact is, if you actually knew your research you wouldn’t have made the claims that you did. Unfortunately, you are ignorant of the science that backs up all the things that abstinence education teaches. So, next time you challenge someone, you better make sure that you have your facts straight, because clearly you are talking out of your ignornance and bias.

  • invalid-0

    I apologize for the spelling errors…I wrote that last post very quickly and didn’t get a chance to proof read it. Hope that everyone can still understand the points.

  • invalid-0

    The adolescent breain is not captable of correct and consistent contraception use, which is why their failure rates are so high!

    You cite studies showing that brain development continues into adolescence, and then claim that this means teenagers are incapable of using contraception correctly. The studies you cite do not support this claim. (I suppose you also claim that the minimum driving age should be raised to 18 or 20, because teenagers are incapable of following the rules of the road?)

    There are numerous studies that have shown the harmful psychological effect of early sex.

    Er, you mean substance abuse and risky sexual behavior. Which sounds to me like a big point in favor of comprehensive sex ed.

    Really, a conservative talking point? See the objective science below.

    From Teachman: “Results suggest neither premarital sex nor premarital cohabitation by itself indicate either preexisting characteristics or subsequent relationship environments that weaken marriages. Findings are consistent with the notion that premarital sex and cohabitation limited to one’s future spouse has become part of the normal courtship process for marriage.”

    Research finds that girls have their most intense love with their first romantic partner. Additionally, when the attachment from Oxytocin is spead with multiple partners, the pair bond is weakened. Additionally, Ocytocin increases trust between humans; too much of it released with many sexual partners decreases trust among sex partners.

    The only statement here I see supported by a modicum of science is “oxytocin increases trust between humans.” Everything else is conservative extrapolation to hold up the Leave it to Beaver family as the pinnacle of human existence.

    I won’t even address this claim, because it’s ridiculous. The simple fact is, if you actually knew your research you wouldn’t have made the claims that you did. Unfortunately, you are ignorant of the science that backs up all the things that abstinence education teaches.

    The studies you cited either don’t support the points you’re making, do so only after significant ideological extrapolation, or contradict you entirely.

    So, next time you challenge someone, you better make sure that you have your facts straight

    Yes, you should.

  • invalid-0

    I can spend all day picking a part your arguments with the research I have. You have ignored many of the articles I provided, and read only the abstracts of others. I could give you much more to prove your wrong, but, I already have given enough. You, on the other hand, don’t have any evidence to prove me wrong.

    If you are so confident that you’re right, why don’t you provide me scientific evidence based on quantitative studies to disprove my points? Unfortunately, you cannot.

  • invalid-0

    I can spend all day picking a part your arguments with the research I have.

    Sorry, Family Research Council “research” doesn’t count.

    You have ignored many of the articles I provided, and read only the abstracts of others.

    That’s apparently more than you bothered to do.

    You, on the other hand, don’t have any evidence to prove me wrong. If you are so confident that you’re right, why don’t you provide me scientific evidence based on quantitative studies to disprove my points? Unfortunately, you cannot.

    Correct. Because I am not well-versed on the research myself. But I do know someone who is, and organizations that are. (Jodi, are you reading this? Could I trouble you for a few links? I know you’ve done this too many times, but I’m having a hard time finding some of your past excellent comments here…)

  • invalid-0

    You’ve got to be kidding! I’m not going to debate all of your liberal friends…and I don’t know what family research council research is. The only place I get my research is from scientific peer-reviewed journals. But apparently, those are filled with “conservative talking points”…get real! You have no idea what you’re talking about. And for the record, that Jay Teachman study said that women who didn’t have sex and cohabitate with their eventual husband (you know, those that have sex with multiple partners prior to marriage and have multiple cohabitations) have much higher rates of future divorce. It really is early sex with multiple partners that is destroying the future pair bond. I think if you do your research you’ll figure this out.

  • invalid-0

    women who didn’t have sex and cohabitate with their eventual husband (you know, those that have sex with multiple partners prior to marriage and have multiple cohabitations)

    ….Um, you sure about that? Because from how you phrased it, I don’t know if he’s talking about women with multiple sex partners, or women who ‘saved themselves’ for marriage. And if he meant the latter, that would change the argument drastically.

  • invalid-0

    Sorry, I meant to say “women who had sex and cohabitated with their eventual husbands” didn’t have higher rates of subsequent divorce. It was those who had multiple sex partners and multiple cohabitations that had higher subsequent divorce.