The American College of Pediatricians has recently issued a statement saying that teens need to be taught to refrain from having sex until they are married. It recommends that schools should no longer teach what has been called “comprehensive sex education”, which avoids telling teens not to have sex, but rather when they have sex they should use so called protection. The college’s position is not based on any kind of moral or religious reasoning. Rather upon a very common sense principle that prevention in the first place is far better than just reducing the possibility of harm of a particular activity.
Looking at the physical effects of sex activity for teens the statement reports:
By every measure, adolescent sexual activity is detrimental to the well-being of all involved, especially young women, and society at large. Children and adolescents from 10 to 19 years of age are more at risk for contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) than adults.2 This is due to the general practice of having multiple and higher risk sexual partners, and to the immaturity of the cervical tissue of girls and young women. The CDC recently stated that of the 19 million new cases of STIs annually reported in the United States, 50 percent occur in teens and young adults under 25 years of age.3 Twenty-five percent of newly diagnosed cases of HIV occur in those under 22 years of age.4 This translates into one in four sexually active female adolescents being infected with at least one STI.5
The college’s report also considers the psychological damage of teenage sexual activity.
Even if sexually active teens escape acquiring sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and becoming pregnant, few remain emotionally unscathed. Overall, one in eight teens suffers from depression,10 and suicide has risen to become the third leading cause of death for adolescents, paralleling the rise in STIs within this population.11 Infection with an STI has long been recognized as a cause for depression among teens. More recently, however, adolescent sexual activity alone has been acknowledged as an independent risk factor for developing low self-esteem, major depression, and attempting suicide.12 In studies that controlled for confounding factors, sexually active girls were found to be three times as likely to report being depressed and three times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent girls.13 Sexually active boys were more than twice as likely to suffer from depression and seven times as likely to have attempted suicide when compared to sexually abstinent boys.14 This is not mere coincidence. Scientists now know that sexual activity releases chemicals in the brain that create emotional bonds between partners. Breaking these bonds can cause depression, and make it harder to bond with someone else in the future.15
Its analysis of the “comprehensive sex education” programmes that takes place in many schools cites practises that are actually promoted. It is shocking to imagine that schools would be teaching these things to our young people. There is lots of good information in the report and is worth reading for anyone interested in the topic. You can find it at: http://www.americancollegeofpediatricians.org/Abstinence-Education.html.
Although not stated, the report shows that even from a purely natural point of view, traditional sexual morality makes sense and is the best way for human beings and will lead to happiness even on a purely natural level. Practising abstinence until marriage is really part of the natural law. We don’t even need God to reveal these things to us. Traditional sexual morality is really woven by God into our very nature. We have to help your young people find these truths which are part and parcel of their human nature.
1Freedman, L.P. “Censorship and Manipulation of Reproductive Health Information.” Coliver, S, ed. “The Right to Know: Human Right Access to Reproductive Health Information.” Philadelphia, Penn.: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995: 1-37. qtd. in Hendricks, Kate et.al. “The Attack on Abstinence Education: Fact or Fallacy?”
Medical Institute for Sexual Health, 2006.
2US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Trends in Reportable Sexually Transmitted Diseases in the United States, 2007. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; January 2009; available at: http://www.cdc.gov/std/stats07/trends.htm.
4Sulak, PJ and Herbelin, S. “Teenagers and Sex: Delaying Sexual Debut.” The Female Patient; Vol. 30, May 2005, p30.
5Oral Abstract D4a – Prevalence of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Bacterial Vaginosis among Female Adolescents in the United States: Data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2003-2004; presented at the 2008 National STD Prevention Conference; March 11, 2008; available at: http://www.cdc.gov/stdconference/2008/media/summaries-11march2008.htm#tues1
10Meeker, Meg. Your Kids at Risk. Regnery Publishing, Inc., Washington, DC, 2007, p. 68
12 Hallfors DD, Waller MW, Ford CA, Halpern CT, and Brodish PH, Iritani B. “Adolescent Depression and Suicide Risk: Association with Sex and Drug Behavior. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 27 (2004): 224-230.
13McIlhaney, J and McKissic Bush, F. Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children. Northfield Publishing, Chicago. 2008, p.78.
15Ibid pp. 77-78.