Abstinence-only sex-ed defies common sense
Education policy spreads ignorance, sends confusing message to teens
By Arthur Caplan, Ph.D.
In the above article, Arthur Caplan criticizes the “hypocritical” focus of the majority of Americans on the obviously unsuccessful abstinence-only sex education programs. Recent surveys show that 70 percent of U.S. teens have engaged in oral sex by the time they reach 18, and more than 45 percent have had intercourse at least once – not to mention the number of rape cases. More than 70 percent of young women and 80 percent of young men approve of premarital sex, according to a study published recently in the Review of General Psychology.
Everyone agrees that sex education is necessary at the junior high and high school level, but the specific guidelines as to the content of sex education vary by state. In South Carolina, state law severely restricts discussion about contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. The current government, firmly in the abstinence-only camp, is wasting billions of taxpayers’ dollars on abstinence-only sex education programs. The rising spread of STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) among teens reported by the CDC proves, in part, the failure of such programs. Dr. Caplan claims that many parents who preach abstinence-only-until-marriage while their children are in high school, and promptly change their tune when the same kids begin college, themselves had premarital sex with their prospective spouses. Dr. Caplan concludes that science and common sense should be the basis of sex education rather than hypocrisy and wishful thinking.