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Pros and Cons of Abstinence Only Education

Pros and Cons of Abstinence Only Education Parents Should Know About

It is important for you to know about the pros and cons of abstinence only education, if you are planning to enroll your child into this program.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
The last decade has shown an increase in the rate of teenage pregnancy as well as cases of sexually transmitted diseases in teenagers. This has increased the need to provide sex education to students who are on the threshold of becoming teenagers. Sexual education is a program where the students are given information about the actual act of sex as well as the ways in which one can avoid unwanted pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases. However, certain conventionalists are completely against this idea and think that providing information about contraception to youngsters is equivalent of encouraging them to have sex. For them, the best way of preventing teenage pregnancy is with the help of an abstinence only education program. Nevertheless, it is important to analyze the pros and cons of abstinence only education program, before taking any decision.
Basic Concept
Though the term of abstinence only education is actually self-explanatory, it is important to know about it in detail. It is a program where teenagers are told that they should abstain from sexual intercourse till they get married. They are told that sexual intercourse before marriage is morally incorrect and should be avoided completely. Here, they are not given any information about condoms or other contraceptive methods. The advocates of this method say that as the advice of abstaining from drugs, drinking and driving, etc., has worked to prevent teenagers from indulging in such activities, it will be same in case of sex. However, does it actually work?
Pros and Cons
  • One of the biggest advantages of is that it informs teenagers that abstinence from sex is the only foolproof method of avoiding the occurrence of unwanted pregnancy. Also, it is the 100% way of staying away from any kind of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Another advantage is that it aids in preventing emotional or psychological damage. Some people who have had sex early in life have said that they regretted it and carried the guilt for a long time.
  • Apart from this, the advocates of this program are of the opinion that teaching teenagers to abstain from sexual intercourse till marriage is actually a way of helping them to build more meaningful as well as long-lasting relationships.
  • The biggest disadvantage is that there is no guarantee that this method will prevent teenagers from actually abstaining from sex. There has been no evidence regarding this. On the other hand, it has been seen that teenagers who have given this education are likely to indulge in sexual intercourse at a young age.
  • Some critics of this method say that teenagers are more likely to have sex at an early age, if they are asked to keep off it completely. If this is the case, they do not have adequate knowledge of contraceptive measures due to which the chances of pregnancy as well as STD are very high.
  • As a lot of emphasis is given to virginity in this program, there are chances that teenagers may indulge in some risky behavior like oral or anal sex because virginity is very commonly associated with vaginal sex.
We can now conclude that this method alone cannot solve the problem of teenagers indulging in sexual behavior or the problem of teenage pregnancy. The best way would be to have a combination of this method as well as sex education program, where along with the advantages of abstaining from sex, teenagers should also be given information about contraceptive methods. Parents and teachers should actually educate teenagers about taking the right decision and indulging in sexual intercourse, only when they feel that it is right.
Disclaimer: This AptParenting article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.