Does abstinence education produce greater abstinence? Is it an exercise in futility to encourage children to abstain from sex?
Framing the questions in these terms tends to ignore the more salient question: is it better or worse for a child, that is, a high school student, to abstain from sex.
And, how can you measure the advantages or disadvantages of an early introduction to sex?
Today, the New York Times reports on a study that proved, unambiguously, that children are better off if they abstain: “A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has found a decided link between celibacy and good grades. Among high school students who earn mostly A’s, 32 percent have had intercourse, compared with 69 percent of their peers with D’s and F’s.” Link here.
The study also shows that children who get higher grades are significantly less likely to lubricate their hookups with alcohol or drugs.
Of course, it may be that smart children are smart enough to work harder on their studies, to gain more satisfaction from their schoolwork, and therefore have less time or need for hookups.
The Times also emphasizes another study that does not just limit itself to a comparison between abstinence and hooking up, but that extends the question to include children who are sexually active within relationships.
And here, the answer is unsurprising: “Another cautionary tale — a new study called ‘Sex and School: Adolescent Sexual Intercourse and Education,’ from sociologists at the University of California, Davis, and the University of Minnesota — concludes that while teenagers who hook up have lower grades and college aspirations, sex within a romantic relationship is generally ‘academically harmless.’ Romance, it seems, prevails: committed lovers and abstainers were statistically alike.”
The next time a sex positive feminist tells you that hooking up is therapeutic, as we debated a while back on this blog, send her to these studies. Of course, that assumes that she will be swayed by the facts.