Below is a paper I just did regarding abstinence based education. I did it for a course I am in. I still have about 24 hours before I have to pass it in. Comments or suggestions are appreciated but certainly not expected, as are highlighting any grammar errors. The Fallacy of Abstinence Education Many parents cringe at the thought of their teenaged children having sex. Trepidation about their daughter becoming pregnant, or their son impregnating a young girl, is behind many parent’s primary sexual fears. Besides pregnancy, many parents also worry about their teenaged children contracting or sharing sexually-transmitted infections. Additionally, some parents simply do not want their teenaged children having sex because they feel they are too young, or for religious or cultural reasons. In many school districts in Canada, and more so in the United States, these concerns have culminated to the point that many schools now teach abstinence as the primary message in school-based sexuality education programs. This approach, however good its intentions, is misguided and fallacious. I submit to you that the very reasons why abstinence is taught as the primary message in school-based sexuality education programs are the precise reasons why it should not be. It should be noted that for these purposes abstinence refers to the practice of voluntarily refraining from sexual intercourse, it does not include sexual acts such as digital stimulation or oral sex. Abstinence is a perversion; it is deviant from orthodox human behaviour. Any educator who teaches students abstinence is the only sexual behaviour appurtenant to teenagers is doing a tremendous disservice to the taxpayers who pay their salary. It is my personal belief that abstinence is the most appropriate form of sexual behaviour for teenagers, but it most certainly is not the only form of teenage sexual behaviour. Sexuality education programs that go beyond the shackles imposed by abstinence based programs, henceforth referred to as comprehensive sexuality education programs or CSEP, have many critics. The primary ammunition that many critics use to denunciate CSEP is the assertion that by giving teenagers an encompassing amount of information regarding sex will simply serve to encourage teenagers to engage in it. This is a flimsy argument. Providing teenagers with information and literature about subjects serve merely to inform and educate, it does not serve to manipulate. Do history teachers worry that they are turning students into neo-Nazis when they teach the Second World War? Do parents worry that their teenager will turn into a homicidal manic anti-Semite after reading Mein Kampf? It is absurd to give serious consideration to either of the aforesaid possibilities, yet we are led to believe by the critics of CSEP that the teacher who educates students about the proper way to put a condom on is turning their students into sexual beings earlier than they would have otherwise. In this respect, an erroneous educational double standard has arisen. Some teenagers are going to have sex regardless of what is, and is not, taught in school. I propose to you that CSEP is what benefits these students and society as a whole, best. If teen pregnancy truly is the primary fear that parents and proponents of abstinence based sexuality educational programs hold, then ways to prevent pregnancy should undoubtedly be covered in sexuality education programs. True, abstinence is the best way of avoiding pregnancy, but if some teenagers are going to have sex regardless of what their teacher or parent tells them, then they should be properly informed about other ways to prevent pregnancy. Consider what would upset a parent more: that their fifteen year-old daughter is having sex but is educated about the topic and does not become pregnant, or that their fifteen year-old daughter is having sex and is not educated about it and becomes pregnant. Many teenagers are having sex, but there are also many teenagers who are not having sex. CSEP still benefits these students; the reason for this is because like their peers, virtually all these students will have sex at some point in their life. When this point arrives the comprehensive sexuality education they received in school may serve to help them make more informed decisions regarding their body. Contrary to what some believe, individuals do not magically become sexually informed the moment they move out of their parent’s home, or turn twenty, or marry. At some point individuals have to learn about sexuality. This can occur at school under the guidance of educated professionals, or it can occur through other means, such as internet sites or word of mouth. Given the two options, it is my contention that the former is the preferential. Personal experiences shape everyone’s values and beliefs. As an undergraduate I had the opportunity to serve as a resident assistant for two years. During those two years my colleagues and I were entrusted to provide guidance to approximately 1 400 freshmen. Surveys would indicate that about half of these freshmen (700) were virgins when they moved into my residence. In my estimation, which is based on anecdotal, observational, and intimate evidence, I would calculate that about half of these virgin freshmen (or about 350) lost their virginity during their first month of university, many during the first week itself. It is my belief that many of these newly sexual individuals did not have a proper education or knowledge of sexual issues. I am not aware of any pregnancies that occurred in my residence, but sexually-transmitted infections did run rampant. It is my predication that if these students had a more thorough sexual education in junior and senior high school, the rates of sexually-transmitted infections would have been much lower. Although many of these sexually-transmitted infections can be cured just like the common cold, some, such as herpes, cannot, and reside in the individual as life-long, latent viruses. It is debatable to what extent a CSEP may have helped prevent these individuals from contracting a life-long virus like herpes, but certainly the odds are higher than a student who received abstinence based sexuality education. My final argument against abstinence based sexuality education programs concerns religion. Many parents push abstinence on their children and expect school teachers to do the same, because of their religious beliefs. In their opinion, sex is sacred and something that is shared between two married people. The problem with this approach is that we live in a secular society; this is Canada, not Saudi Arabia. Religious interference of any persuasion and of any degree has no place in schools that are funded by a secular government. CSEP educators have no desire to offend anyone’s religion, but it is their inalienable right and duty in a secular country to inform and educate students about all aspects of sexuality, regardless of a student or parent’s religious persuasion. To encapsulate, sexuality education in schools is a controversial issue. It is my belief that much of the reason behind this is because many parents are inherently uncomfortable with the thought of their teenaged son or daughter having sex. However, just because a parent may not want to think about their teenager having sex, some teenagers may be having sex regardless. With this in consideration, it is my proposal that teenagers be given the most comprehensive sexual education as possible, covering topics such as pregnancy prevention and sexually-transmitted infections. This comprehensive sexual education not only serves sexually active teenagers, it will also come to serve non-sexually active teenagers when they do become sexual active later in life.