Sex Education & Abstinence

Video: What Are Students Learning In Sex Ed?

(Focus on the Family)

In recent years, a number of studies have shown the benefit of abstinence-based sex education (also called Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) education) in decreasing the early involvement of children and teens in sexual activity. Parents can take an active role in understanding what their children are being taught at school about sex, contraceptives, and sexual topics. In shaping our children’s healthy development, parents should learn how to talk openly with their children about sex and help them form solid moral guidelines and a Biblical that will protect them from misinformation they may hear from school or peers.

Other Videos

Talking Points and Basic Information

Abstinence Education: Talking Points
Focus on the Family

Why Teach Abstinence?
Chad Hills, Focus on the Family
Encouraging and teaching sexual abstinence until marriage may be a key component in preventing and reducing teen sexual involvement.

What Your Teens Need to Know about Sex
Linda Klepacki, Focus on the Family
Talking to our teens about sexuality can be frightening, and at times may seem fruitless. But don’t underestimate your impact: You are the most important influence in your teens’ decision making. Parents must fulfill our mandate to impart our family values to our children. We must begin talking to our children about sexuality—and we must do so clearly and often.

Talking to Your Kids About Sex
Chad Hills, Focus on the Family
Parental direction is a powerful influence in our children’s lives and the future choices they will make, especially when it comes to minimizing dangerous behaviors.

Sex Is Not About Waiting
Michael Lawrence, Focus on the Family
Parents are big believers in waiting. Of course, it’s not really that they see virtue in waiting itself. It’s just that waiting ensures something more important. 

Healthy Childhood Sexual Development: An Overview
Rob Jackson, MS, LPC, LMHC, NCC, Focus on the Family
This five-part series will help you nurture and fortify your child’s sexual development.

Solomon’s Line on Premarital Sex
John Thomas, Focus on the Family
In the midst of beautiful, poetic language about the stages of a relationship that start with a glance and eventually lead to the honeymoon, the author charges us three times, “Do not arouse or awaken love until it pleases,” or, as paraphrased by Eugene Peterson in The Message, “Don’t excite love, don’t stir it up, until the time is ripe — and you’re ready.” I often point to this book when people, usually young singles, ask me about relationships and premarital sex.

HPV Vaccine – What Parents Need to Know
Janice Shaw Crouse
I sat at a picnic table listening to various mothers discussing their hectic schedules trying to keep up with teenage daughters, all on the same sports team. When one mother told of squeezing in an appointment that morning to get her daughter the HPV shot that her doctor recommended, the conversation turned to the necessity to “protect” their girls in such troubling times. I stayed quiet, hoping to learn the values guiding these parents’ decisions. Predictably, they had not thought through the issues, nor did they know the facts… 

Sex Education: Parents Want to be Primary Educators
Chad Hills, Focus on the Family
Most parents (regardless of individual and household characteristics) want parents of young people to be the primary communicators of sex-related information. This is what more research confirmed among almost all parents interviewed in a Minnesota study. Such findings remain consistent throughout the past two decades—parents want to be the primary educators of their children on the topic of sex.

Sex Education: Where Do I Start Looking for What’s Being Taught?
Chad Hills, Focus on the Family
First, start by looking at what your state requires schools to teach regarding sex education. Note whether the school requires parents to “opt-in” (meaning your children can’t receive sexuality instruction without your written permission) or “opt-out” (meaning you can remove your child from class, by submitting a request) of sex education classes and if adequate parental notification occurs.

Comprehensive Research and Articles

Evidence on the Effectiveness of Abstinence Education: An Update
Christine Kim and Robert Rector, The Heritage Foundation
Teen sexual activity is costly, not just for teens, but also for society. Teens who engage in sexual activity risk a host of negative outcomes including STD infection, emotional and psychological harm, and out-of-wedlock childbearing. Genuine abstinence education is therefore crucial to the physical and psycho-emotional well-being of the nation’s youth.

Facts about Abstinence Education
Robert Rector, The Heritage Foundation
Despite the overwhelming popularity of abstinence education, some groups seek to divert funds away from abstinence and into “safe sex” or “comprehensive sex” programs. The following facts are important to understanding any debate about the future of abstinence education.

You’re Teaching My Child What? The Truth About Sex Education
Miriam Grossman, M.D.
The principles of sexual health education are not based on the hard sciences. Sex education is animated by a specific vision of how society must change, and because of this, sex-ed curricula omit critical biological truths and endorse high-risk behaviors. The priority for SIECUS, Planned Parenthood, and Advocates for Youth is not the health and well-being of young people. These federally-funded organizations are fighting “repression” and “intolerance,” not herpes or syphilis. But when sexual freedom reigns, sexual health suffers. Our children are being taught that you can play with fire, and we are obligated to inform them of the risks they face and to teach them biological truths, even when they are politically incorrect.

Federal Government: Abstinence, Monogamy ‘Most Reliable’ in Protecting Against STDs
Rachel Sheffield, The Heritage Foundation
The federal government is now calling abstinence and monogamy “the most reliable way to avoid transmission of STDs,” rather than just “a reliable way.” This change was made in the Federal Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest version of its Sexually Transmitted Diseases Treatment Guidelines, released earlier this month. Beyond avoiding STDs, there are multiple other benefits from abstinence and monogamy.

The Abstinent Majority
Christine Kim, The Heritage Foundation
The abstinent minority has now become the majority. Over the last two decades, teens have become more likely to remain sexually abstinent. According to the 2011 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 53 percent of high school students have remained abstinent, an increase of 15 percent, and two in three are currently abstinent.

Number of Teenagers Having Sex Has Dramatically Declined
Valerie Huber, Ascend
The 28 percent increase in students who have never had sex is unprecedented and has been two decades in the making. This fact should calm the concerns of those who have suggested this good news could be merely a statistical blip. We are seeing an encouraging trend that has been sustained for more than two decades. More teens in every high school grade are waiting for sex in greater numbers than ever before. Overall, almost 60 percent of all teens have not had sex.

Empower Women: Teach Abstinence
Jennifer Marshall, The Heritage Foundation
Teen girls who engage in sex are more vulnerable to sexually transmitted disease and depression. Girls who are sexually active in high school are half as likely to go on to college as abstaining peers from the same social setting. Later, they often have more difficulty in forging the kind of lasting relationships that lead to marriage.

Assaulted by Sex-Ed
Rebecca Hagelin, The Heritage Foundation
Much of what is being taught to our young girls and boys in sex-education classes is too graphic and vulgar to be quoted in the newspaper. For that, you can blame Planned Parenthood, Advocates for Youth, and the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS). The content of sex-education programs is dominated by these groups, which instruct our children on how to perform sexual acts, including homosexuality and sadomasochism. Their materials promote a radical political agenda, are highly pornographic, encourage our children to be sexually active and are largely devoid of biological and medical information.

Science or Ideology? What Lies Behind the Abstinence Education Debate
Christine Kim, The Heritage Foundation
Abstinence education is back in the headlines, prompted by a new study that shows such intervention can reduce teen sexual activity in the long term.

Teen Sex: The Parent Factor
Christine Kim, The Heritage Foundation
Policies that discourage parental involvement, such as dispensing contraceptives to teens without parental consent, contradict the weight of social science evidence and should be opposed.

Sexual Risk Avoidance Works
Ascend (formerly National Abstinence Education Association)
A definitive report demonstrating that Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) abstinence programs work.

Sexual Behavior: Related Adverse Health Burden in the United States
S.H. Ebrahim, M.T. McKenna, J.S. Marks (2004)
As part of an analysis of the burden of disease and injury in the United States, we identified and quantified the incidence of adverse health events, deaths, and disability adjusted life years (DALY) attributed to sexual behavior.

Comprehensive Sex Education
Shannan Martin, Robert Rector, and Melissa G. Pardue, The Heritage Foundation
Sexual activity in the teen years is linked to a number of important social concerns. America is facing a rising threat of sexually transmitted diseases among teens. Teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock childbearing remain significant problems. Teen sexual activity is linked to emotional problems and depression, and there is widespread concern that casual sexual activity at an early age can lead to unstable relationships and marital failure later in life. Two basic approaches to these problems have emerged. The “safe sex” approach encourages teens to use contraception, especially condoms. By contrast, traditional abstinence education focuses on delaying the onset of sexual activity, teaches the harm of casual sexual activity, and encourages students to view sexuality as part of a process of developing intimacy and lifelong commitment. Traditional abstinence programs teach that teens should not be sexually active until they have at least finished high school and that the best life outcomes will be achieved by delaying sexual activity until marriage.

Websites, Books and Media 

Bad Sex Ed in Your School? What Parents Can Do. (Video)
Chad Hills, Focus on the Family
YOU are the primary teacher of — and greatest influence on — your own children regarding sex, not the school.

 True Love Waits (Bible Study Resources)
An Abstinence Program of Southern Baptists (Available at Lifeway)

Ascend (formerly National Abstinence Education Association)
We think youth deserve every opportunity to chart a path to their futures – one that is greatly improved when they don’t engage in risky activities, like teen sex. The decisions they make about sex can have a significant impact on their physical and emotional health, their relationships, and their future lives.

How to Bring Sexual Risk Avoidance Education to Your School
Toolkit for parents

Abstinence Clearinghouse
The Abstinence Clearinghouse serves as an affiliation network for the abstinence community. The Clearinghouse is a non-profit educational organization that promotes the appreciation for and practice of sexual abstinence through distribution of age-appropriate, factual and medically-accurate materials.

 Why Wait?: 24 Reasons for Abstinence (Pamphlet)
Why Wait? gives 24 reasons for abstinence before marriage. This pamphlet makes people think twice before risking their health and happiness on sex outside of marriage. Includes 12 biblical reasons and 12 medical reasons for waiting. Emphasizes God’s perfect plan for marriage and God’s prohibition of sex outside of marriage. Shows sobering statistics on incurable sexually transmitted diseases.

The Family Project (Small Group Bible Study)
Focus on the Family
Experience the profound impact of families through the new 12-week small group experience called “The Family Project.” From the creators of the life-changing series Focus on the Family’s The Truth Project® comes a stunning new journey to explore God’s design and purpose for your family with topics ranging from marriage and sexuality to serving God within the context of family relationships. 

Christian Ethics: An Introduction to Biblical Moral Reasoning (Book)
Wayne Grudem
How can we live in a culture that’s increasingly hostile to Christian values? How can we apply Scripture to the ethics of marriage and divorce, birth control, abortion, euthanasia, homosexuality, business practices, environmental stewardship, knowing God’s will, and other issues? Best-selling author and professor Wayne Grudem distills over forty years of teaching experience into a single volume aimed at helping readers apply a biblical worldview to difficult ethical issues.

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