Quick Facts 2019: Sex Education in America, part 4
Benefits of Sexual Delay
- Sexual delay and limiting the number of lifetime partners is important to decreasing the risk of pregnancy and STDs.37
- If a male teen initiates sex by 14, he has almost a 75% likelihood of having 6 or more partners by the time he reaches 20 years of age. A teen girl has 58% likelihood of 6 or more sexual partners by age 20 if she initiates sex by age 14. That risk drops to 10% respectively if the teen waits until he or she is at least 17 years of age.38
- Sexual delay until marriage provides the optimal health outcomes, but even a shorter postponement greatly reduces the physical risks of sex.
- Delaying sex until a lifelong, monogamous, commitment (marriage) with an uninfected partner is the only way to avoid all the possible negative physical consequences of sex.
- Delaying sex appears to aid in the permanence of future marriage.39
- Waiting to have children until marriage increases the likelihood of their flourishing.40
- Waiting to have children until marriage decreases the likelihood that both parent and child will live in poverty.41
Sexual Risk Avoidance Education is Effective
- Twenty-five research studies of SRA programs show significant behavioral changes in improving teen outcomes.42
- An additional 43 studies from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) showed early stage positive attitudinal impacts that tend to predict decreased sexual initiation rates.43
- Compared to their peers, students in SRA education programs are more likely to delay sexual initiation; If sexually active, more likely to discontinue or decrease their sexual activity; and no less likely to use a condom if they initiate sex.44
Sex Education Policy
- 24 states require sex education in the schools.45
- 33 states require HIV/AIDs prevention education in the schools.46
- 35 states permit parents to opt out of sex education classes for their children.47
- 4 states require parents to opt in to sex education classes for their children.48
- 37 states require sex education to include information about SRA and 18 also require information about contraception.49 What this education looks like at the local level may vary dramatically.
- 22 states and the District of Columbia require that sex education include information about skills for avoiding coerced sex.
37U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010) National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents: Attitudes and Opinions About Sex and Abstinence. Washington, D. C.: HHS. Accessed August 29, 2011 at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/docs/20090226_abstinence.pdf)
38Moore, K. A., Miller, B. C., Sugland, B. W., Morrison, D. R., Flei, D. A., Blumenthal, C., (n.d.) Beginning too soon: Adolescent sexual behavior, pregnancy and parenthood: A review of research and interventions. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of HHS. Retrieved on March 18, 2015 from http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/cyp/xsteesex.htm Ethier KA, Kann L, McManus T. (2018) Sexual Intercourse Among High School Students-29 States and United States Overall, 2005-2015. MMWR Morb Mortal WklyRep 2018:1393-1397. DOI: http://dxdoi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm665152a1
39U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2001). Trends in the Well-Being of America’s Children and Youth, 2000. Office of the Ass.t Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Washington, DC
40Paik, A., (2011) Adolescent sexuality and the risk of marital dissolution. Journal of Marriage and Family, 73:472-485.
41U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2010) National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents: Attitudes and Opinions About Sex and Abstinence. Washington, D. C. : HHS. Accessed August 29, 2011 at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/fysb/content/docs/20090226_abstinence.pdf)
42Wilcox, B., Lerman, R., Price, J., (2015) Mobility and Money in the US States: The Marriage Effect. Brookings Institute accessed April 5, 2018 at https://www.brookings.edu/research/mobility-and-moneyin-u-s-states-the-marriage-effect/
43Ascend (2016) SRA Works. Washington DC
45Ascend (2016) SRA Works. Washington DC
46National Conference of State Legislatures. (2014). State policies on sex education in schools. Accessed March 18, 2015 at http://www.ncsl.org/research/health/state-policies-on-sex-education-in-schools.aspx
50Guttmacher Institute (2014, Mar 1,). State policies in brief: Sex and HIV Education. Washington, DC: Author. P. 4. Accessed March 18, 2015 at http://www.guttmacher.org/statecenter/spibs/spib_SE.pdf
Guttmacher Institute (2018, April 1). State Policies : Sex and HIV Education. Washington, DC: Accessed April 8, 2018 at https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/sex-and-hiv-education