Does Abstinence-only sex ed work?

sex_education_.jpgThere has been a great amount of conjecture over the years that the best kind of sex education for youngsters is Just-Don't-Do-It. The only problem with this, University of Georgia researchers now say, is that it does not work:

States that prescribe abstinence-only sex education programs in public schools have significantly higher teenage pregnancy and birth rates than states with more comprehensive sex education programs, researchers from the University of Georgia have determined.

The researchers looked at teen pregnancy and birth data from 48 U.S. states to evaluate the effectiveness of those states’ approaches to sex education, as prescribed by local laws and policies.

“Our analysis adds to the overwhelming evidence indicating that abstinence-only education does not reduce teen pregnancy rates,” said Kathrin Stanger-Hall, assistant professor of plant biology and biological sciences in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences.


“This clearly shows that prescribed abstinence-only education in public schools does not lead to abstinent behavior, said David Hall, second author and assistant professor of genetics in the Franklin College. “It may even contribute to the high teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. compared to other industrialized countries.

The entire study, which points up the need for comprehensive sex education in the U.S., is available in the online in the journal PLoS ONE.