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Abstinence- A growing trend among teens

Written by ryan. Posted in Uncategorized

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Published on March 29, 2011 with No Comments

by Donna Golob

New data released by the Centers for Disease Control confirm that the majority of teens are not having sex. According to 2006-2008 survey results released recently by the National Center for Health Statistics, 68 percent of boys and 67 percent of girls (age 15-17) have never had sexual intercourse.

According to the largest and most in-depth federal report to date on sexual behavior, sexual attraction and sexual identity in the U.S., a growing number of teens and young adults say they have never had sexual contact with another person. Among ages 15-17 in the new study, 58 percent of girls and 53 percent of boys said they have had no sexual contact, compared to 48.6 percent of girls and 46.1 percent of boys in 2002.

The survey concludes, “We find that parents and adolescents generally oppose pre-marital sex. In general, our findings indicate that adolescent attitudes about sex and abstinence are more subject to influence from parents and peers than to messages about sex and abstinence delivered in the context of classes or programs. However, adolescent receipt of information about sex, abstinence, and sexual values in a class or program was associated with increased levels of adolescent communication about sex and abstinence with both parents and peers.”

The CDC report’s final statement reads, “Given the evidence that hearing messages about sex and abstinence from more than one source increases the likelihood that adolescents hear and report these messages, a multi-pronged approach to delivering these messages to adolescents will likely be more influential than approaches focusing on a single message source. Furthermore, the study shows that parents are generally more comfortable with this type of strategy, with the majority favoring abstinence messages delivered in places of worship, doctor’s offices, schools, and community organizations.”

The new CDC report comes on the heels of another recently released report by Health and Human Services that showed the majority of teens support premarital abstinence in general and for themselves. That same survey reveals that approximately 70 percent of parents surveyed are opposed to pre-marital sex both in general and for their own adolescents.

“Fewer teens and young adults are having sex, and theories abound for why they’re doing it less. Perhaps emphasis on abstinence in the past decade has had some influence,” AP Medical Writers Mike Stobbe and Clara K. Johnson said. “The findings are sure to surprise some parents who see skin and lust in the media and worry that sex is rampant.”

We at A Positive Approach to Teen Health have always known that parents play a vital role in their teen’s choices, not just regarding sexual activity, but regarding high risk behaviors as a whole. That is one of the reasons we offer quarterly parent sessions on how to discuss current youth trends with your teen. During our Equip Empower Engage Parenting Sessions, we talk about the value of the parent’s role, the need for open communication between parents and their teens, boundary setting and more. I’m glad to finally have some sound research that backs up what we’ve been doing for the past 18 years.

PATH’s Planned Potential Curriculum for classrooms provides medically-accurate, age-appropriate information to teens regarding healthy life choices in every area of life. Discussions include the consequences of choices relating to high-risk behaviors such as drug and alcohol use, relationship violence, bullying and sex.

PATH focuses on the value of the student, his desire to succeed and what can promote or hinder that from happening. Our discussions and demonstrations go far beyond just the idea of sex. We also encourage students to discuss the information we bring to the classroom with a parent or trusted adult. In fact, many of our take home assignments include discussion points or specific questions to ask a parent or trusted adult. It’s a complete program that has the potential to bring students and parents to the table for some great discussions. For us, that’s success.

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