Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs

by TChris

Promises are easier to make than they are to keep. That's particularly true when the promise is to remain abstinent. Teens who make the pledge often start searching for loopholes, and that, according to a new study, explains why they are just as likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases as are other teens.

The latest study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens pledging virginity until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse. That behavior, however, "puts you at risk," said Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale and one of the study's authors.

The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the study found.

Of course, if teens were taught about safe sex options in addition to the benefits of abstinence, they'd be less at risk -- but that doesn't matter to the "abstinence only" crowd. An earlier report questioning the value of "abstinence only" education is discussed here.

< Making Judges Safe | Court: Martha Stewart Must Be Resentenced >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#1)
    by TChris on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 11:17:35 AM EST
    Doc, if there were a way to reduce the risk of smoking, it would be foolish to withhold that information from smokers, even if some recipients of the information might be encouraged to continue smoking. This is about efficacy and public health, not Christian values.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#2)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 12:26:12 PM EST
    Doctor Ace, It's absolutely true that if no one slept around, std's would not spread. It's also true that if everyone would just learn to love each other and get along, the world would have no more war. Now, can we get back to reality? The fact is that "abstinence only sex education programs" are emphatically not Christian. They're just a joke. An educational program that includes, among other things, information on abstinence plus how to use birth control/contraception does indeed work to limit what both most of America and sane conservatives want, namely out of wedlock pregnancies and the spread of std's. And the younter they start to learn this the better, I suspect. My daughter's school starts sexuality education in the 3rd grade. Seems reasonable. That way, it's completely demystified, so when she becomes sexually active as a teenager, she won't feel a moment's hesitation to use a good contraceptive. Oh, and Doctor Ace? Yes, I expect her to have a very healthy sex life before she's married. I'm sorry you didn't, but we all don't have to be so unlucky.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 12:56:45 PM EST
    Sodomy is still a crime on the books in many states, no matter what the SC said. The same people who push abstinence, are creating a generation of sodomy lovers. Ironic.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 12:58:42 PM EST
    Doctor Ace: Smoking is not the most powerful biological urge, sex is. THAT is the difference. Smoking may be addictive once you are a smoker, but I have never felt a strong urge to smoke. But nature provided all of us with an urge to procreate, and it starts in the teen years. Can't believe I bother with logic.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 01:12:40 PM EST
    If "they're gonna do it anyway", why bother, right? No. If they're gonna do it anyway, we just want to make it safe.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 02:11:56 PM EST
    Abstinence is 100% guaranteed to prevent the transmission of STDs. Just like not getting behind the wheel while drunk is 100% guaranteed to prevent a fatal-drunken car crash. Maybe we should offer Drunk Drivers advice on how to drive drunk, as long as they're going to take the risk? And Tristero - I too, would expect your daughter to have a very 'healthy' sex life before she's married, seeing that she's being taught about sex in the THIRD GRADE!?

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#7)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 02:56:59 PM EST
    We just need to include abstinence of oral and anal sex in those abstinence-only education classes. Make sure the kids understand that they are violating God's laws and will incur STDs from that behavior as just punishment. Spend a lot of time deconstructing President Clinton's statement that he "did not have sex with that woman" and make it clear that the kids understand that oral and anal sex is sex. Problem solved. (Oh maybe we should arrest the kids that continue to have sex and disqualify them from federal student loans. This approach has worked very well for "illicit" drugs)

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#9)
    by aw on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 06:26:17 PM EST
    If they can't learn all about STD's they probably don't understand completely why they are being told to abstain.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#10)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 07:24:56 PM EST
    Dr. Ace, your biological argument is a little lacking. When we are talking about instinctual drives, keeping alive is probably number one but that is more of avoiding immediate danger not long range thinking about if I engage in risky behavior will it have a consequence. So yes, if someone has to chose whether not to have sex in the middle of a drive by shooting or to run for cover, then yes they will chose to save their lives. Other than that, they have very strong urges to choose the sex. Horse - I think a more useful analogy is that we teach kids not to drink, we lecture them about not partying and doing drugs. We also tell them if you do, designate a driver. If people willingly engage in risky behavior, we can give them tips for reducing the risks.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#11)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 07:38:22 PM EST
    What is wrong with third graders starting sex ed? My church has a program for sexuality education that begins with third graders. That is the age when kids first starting asking questions among themselves about sex. I don't get the impression that you anti-sex ed people have much of a sense of what they teach in sex ed. It isn't like they pull out pornos to watch and discuss. My first sex ed class was when I was in fifth grade. We learned about the apparatus (very helpful for us girls who started getting our periods over the next few years) and the biology of sex. Very science-y. In junior high we learned about STDs, presented as very repulsive and yucky and a real turn off to the idea of sex being sexy. If anything, sex ed made you not want to have sex for awhile. When learning about STDs we learned about contraceptives - we all knew what condoms were already, and the pill (my best friend explained that to me in third grade - I told you that was the big year for questions), but we learned about the rest of them and their effectiveness (and abstinence of course). It was all very clinical and since none of us were even thinking of having sex yet (we were a fairly prudish junior high!), it didn't feel at all like an encouragement to have sex. It seemed very abstract. It was like when we learned about foreign policy and were asked what should the president do for this situation we all had answers but it was just good advice for someone else who was living a totally different life than us. So I think it actually makes more sense to teach this stuff before kids are wanting to have sex if you don't want it to sound like you are endorsing sex. But anyway, I don't think sex education at a young age is automatically inappropriate. It is all in how it is presented.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#12)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Mar 19, 2005 at 09:07:33 PM EST
    Can't believe I bother with logic.
    because you relish the facts which lead to truth! a liberal trait, not uncommon in the right but easily ignored! horse whose name is well known, typical wingnut thought, it's been proven that teens will have sex, acting as if something does not exist, does not make it not exist. get a clue.
    This approach has worked very well for "illicit" drugs
    come out of fantasyland! let logic prevail. some trolls have no agenda, they just want attention, probably becasue they have no one to have sex with, why, they know nothing about it.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#13)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 02:19:23 AM EST
    horse with no name "Abstinence is 100% guaranteed to prevent the transmission of STDs." Yes, and if we all learn to love and respect each other, there'd be no war. (Just typing that bring...sniff!...tears to my eyes.)

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#14)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sun Mar 20, 2005 at 07:13:20 PM EST
    Isnt this like the DARE program? Kids who were apart of DARE werent any less likely to do dope than those who didnt? I think parents need to start being parents and fathers especially need to be in thier childrens lives. Honestly I dont think women can raise children as well as fathers can after a certain age.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#15)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 21, 2005 at 06:12:40 AM EST
    Don't the wingers realize abstinence goes against every natural human instinct? I have no problem teaching kids about abstinence, but abstinence only education is Peter Pan never never land stuff. Wake up and join the human race, of which sex is a major, essential component.

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#16)
    by Johnny on Mon Mar 21, 2005 at 08:21:20 AM EST
    yeah, some people feel ignorance is best. In our culture, sex is everywhere and sex is glorified, and every ignorance pledge has to compete with a continuous assault on our sexuality at every turn. short of locking kids in a basement with no TV, no net, and absolutely ZERO contact with other humans, the ignorance pledge will fail time and time again. My daughter is 4 years old, and we have already started talking to her about sex and love and life... because she asked! I have also told her how her food is used and excreted and why... Sex is only an issue because some puritan alcoholic wife beaters decided that since it feels good and people can do it for non-procreational reasons... ban it!

    Re: Study: 'Abstinent' Teens and STDs (none / 0) (#17)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Apr 06, 2005 at 09:56:20 AM EST
    Abstinence is the only way!! sex before marriage causes 1. a 50% higher devorce rate 2. a condom only stops 50% of the aids virus 3. If you can not wate intill marriage for sex, then the studies have show you are up to 70% more likely to cheat on your partner