English 10, Period 7
23 May 2014 Abstinence
In the United States, forty-six percent of all high school age students, and sixty-two percent of all high school seniors, have had sexual intercourse. Abstinence, which is a self-enforced restraint, has been the most popular teaching method in schools or homes. Adolescences are encouraged to delay their sexual activities, but they are not taught contraception and the proper way to have ‘safe sex.’ Ever since 1909, doctors have been trying to improve the percentage rate in contraceptives. Yes, abstinence is the most effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, but why can’t teens also have the knowledge of other ways to prevent diseases? (ProQuest12) Teenagers do not understand the emotional and physical impact it has on their lives. Various teens try to make pledges, but most of them fail because of the lack of obligation to hold themselves to it. This creates a problem with commitment development and self-esteem is lowered because they are not confident in themselves to finish something they have started. Therefore, teaching only abstinence is ineffective because of the lack of knowledge about contraception, pledges becoming useless and it is starting to lower self-esteem.
The lack of sexual education is becoming a major issue because teenagers are not being taught about contraception’s or how to have safe sex. Sexual education programs were first introduced to public school systems in 1913. Since then, this form of education has been a debatable topic among many people. Now, abstinence has become the main form of sex education curriculum. Yet, abstinence is the only one-hundred percent way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies, but teachers should not teach abstinence-only instruction. Teenagers need to know about all aspects of sex, and parents may not feel comfortable talking to their children about this specific topic. A writer at Kansas State University makes a great point by implying, “I always hear that we shouldn't teach comprehensive sex ed because it teaches kids that it's "okay" to have sex. It's like banning seat belts because they teach drivers that it's "okay" to crash your car” (Hampel 1). For teenagers who are already having sex, will not know what risks they are encountering. If some teenagers are already having sex, then it should be essential that another form of sexual education be taught instead of abstinence-only. It would be redundant to teach these teenagers about abstinence if in fact, they are already having sex with someone.
Abstinence classes sometimes have teens sign pledges to avoid sexual relationships before marriage. Many of those who pledged do not keep the full commitment of no sex before marriage. For instance, pledging is more of a trend rather than a matter of deep commitment, and if they are not deeply committed, then it means nothing. A witness to this action expresses, “Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior” (Rosenbaum 1). Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage, are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence. The pledgers are less likely to use condoms and other forms of contraception when they do, according to a study released recently. Another new study conducted by researchers at the University of Washington, men who take virginity pledges may struggle with long-lasting issues with sex, even after they are married (ThinkProgress 1). So, this could greatly affect many people later on in life. This commitment could become too much for one person, but once they do not follow through, they are just hurting themselves.
Self-esteem is defined by how a person feels about his or herself. It determines if you are satisfied with certain aspects of your life, for example, your appearance, your personality, your abilities, and even your relationship with others. Self-esteem plays