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Abstinence Works, Study Says — Not That It Matters

A landmark study on sex education draws a surprising conclusion. Well, you and I aren't surprised, but the media and the educational establishments are. The study found that abstinence-based sex education works better than any other form of sex ed.

The study was undertaken by University of Pennsylvania professor John Jemmott III. Six hundred sixty-two young girls were randomly assigned to one of five groups, including a control group. Some kids were taught contraceptive-based "safe sex" education; others were taught to delay having sex; some girls were given a comprehensive message that included contraceptive information. Others were given general health messages about diet and exercise.

The result? Girls who received the abstinence-only message were far less likely to begin having sex than those given "safe sex" messages — 33 percent to 52 percent — far less likely than any of the other categories. That's a huge difference.

The response to the study—which made the front page of the Washington Post — was muted, to say the least. The Post headline said, "Abstinence programs might work" — as if its editors couldn't quite believe their own story. Monica Rodriguez, a spokesperson for the very liberal Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., says the study indicates educators have a "new tool to add to our repertoire."

Wait a minute. If abstinence training works so much better than anything else, shouldn't they be throwing out all the other tools? After all, the new study doesn't just reveal the success of abstinence-based programs; it also exposes the horrific failure of programs that simply focus on so-called "safe sex."

The truth is — and this may shock you — many in the anti-abstinence crowd really don't care if "safe sex" messages work or not. For these folks, sex ed has never been about the prevention of premarital sex, pregnancy, and disease. It's about indoctrination into a Freudian worldview.

In Touchstone magazine, Patrick Fagan writes that the culture of the traditional family, based on life-long monogamy, is competing with another culture — one that is polyamorous in nature. "In the culture of monogamy," he writes, "men are anchored in their families and tied to their children and wives, through the free and deliberate focus of their sexuality."

By contrast, the culture of polyamory treasures sexual license. In fact, Fagan writes, any attempt to constrain sex "would be the antithesis of the main project of the culture of polyamory" — sexual relations when you want, with whomever you want.

That's why the culture of polyamory attempts to control childhood education, sex education, and adolescent health programs. This control, Fagan warns, "enables the polyamory culture to reach into the traditional monogamy culture and gradually dismantle it."

This is why — especially in light of the findings of this important new study — parents need to keep a close eye on what their kids are being taught. Better still, we should supplement those teachings at home with teachings that reflect the truth — that sexuality is designed not to be thrown away on one partner after another, but to nurture a deep and abiding bond between husband and wife.

And teaching this works.

Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media and print.

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