What the Research Says About Abstinence Only (2008)

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Over the past 25 years, Congress has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.  However, no professional scientific study has found these programs broadly effective.  This fact sheet, compiled by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), lists several professional study published in peer-reviewed journals with their findings about abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Several interesting conclusions include:

  • According to the researchers, in communities where there are a higher proportion of pledgers, overall STD rates were significantly higher than in other settings. Specifically, in communities where more than 20% of young adults had taken virginity pledges, STD rates were 8.9% compared to 5.5% in communities with few pledgers.
  • Further research found that, among those young people who have not had vaginal intercourse,pledgers were more likely to have engaged in both oral and anal sex than their non-pledging peers.  In fact, among virgins, male and female pledgers were six times more likely to have had oral sex than non-pledgers, and male pledgers were four times more likely to have had anal sex than those who had not pledged.
  • The average age of sexual debut was the same for the abstinence-only-until-marriage participants and control groups (14 years, 9 months).

Citation:  SIECUS (2008).  What the Research Says About Abstinence Only.

Link to “What Research Says About Abstinence Only Until Marriage Programs

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