March 14, 2018

Yes, Abstinence Is Beneficial and Worth Promoting

Despite what the Guttmacher Institute insists, sexual abstinence is important to teach if we want to put America back on track.

In a recent report, the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute bemoaned the fact that during “February 2018, the Title V abstinence-only program (which expired briefly in September 2017) was renewed for two more years at $75 million annually under the new name of ‘sexual risk avoidance education.’”

The organization asserts that “abstinence-only programs do not work to deter or delay sex among young people” and is critical that “one of the most significant changes has been to rebrand abstinence-only programs as ‘sexual risk avoidance’ programs, based on the premise that young people should be held to a higher standard of behavior than merely risk reduction.”

The institute maintains that abstinence works “for activities that have inherent dangers that outweigh any potential benefits, such as cigarette smoking or drunk driving.” However, “Sexual activity is not like many other risky behaviors, which can be prevented altogether. By contrast, sexual activity is a natural and healthy part of being human, and sexuality — far from being inherently harmful — can offer pleasure and intimacy throughout one’s life, not to mention the potential for having children.” All of these talking points are either wrong, half-truths or shortsighted misguidance.

As far as the nurturing of abstinence is concerned, Michael J. New reports in National Review:

> A 2010 a study in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine analyzed over 600 African American middle-school students in the Philadelphia area. It found that students assigned to an abstinence-only program were less likely to engage in sexual activity than students randomly assigned to other groups, including a sex-education program that emphasized condom use. Similarly, a study in the Journal of Adolescent Health analyzed over 800 students from a predominantly African-American and Hispanic school district in Southeast Texas. It found that those students assigned to a sex-education program intended to delay sex were statistically less likely to have initiated sexual activity than a comparison group that attended regular health-education classes. Unsurprisingly, Guttmacher makes no mention of this.

Liberally handing out condoms is a worthless endeavor too. A 2016 study concluded that the distribution of this form of birth control augmented teen pregnancies and made sexually transmitted diseases more widespread.

The institute’s attempt to differentiate non-marital sexual behavior with other risk factors like smoking and drinking is confounding, but it makes sense from a secular point of view. If your belief is that sex is meaningless, of course casual sex will be acceptable in your eyes. But sex isn’t meaningless. It’s designed to reflect a spiritual and emotional connection inside a marriage.

That’s why we call it a half-truth when Guttmacher says that “sexual activity is a natural and healthy part of being human” and “can offer pleasure and intimacy throughout one’s life.” But again, the key is whether sexual activity has a spiritual and emotional coupling. Without that coupling, sex is meaningless in the sense that it leads to an unfulfilled, noncommittal lifestyle.

Sadly, some conservatives argue that having condoms procurable is necessary because abstinence education isn’t foolproof and sometimes hormones will simply win the day. But even if abstinence promotion doesn’t always work, it’s nevertheless the right thing to teach. It’s also an argument in favor of bolstering the discussion with a spiritual angle.

As much as the Left hates to admit it, the “war on poverty,” purging God from schools and the sexual revolution all contributed to the proliferation of sexual intercourse among teens. The most beneficial effect would be not just teaching abstinence but explaining why it matters. The reason there are risks to non-marital sex is because sexuality is rooted in God’s design for humans. You can’t dig up the foundation without serious consequences.

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