The Centers for Disease Control have some definitive things to say about high school students who abstain from sex. According to their new research, teens who say no to sexual activity make widespread and dramatically different health behavior choices than other kids.
The scope of this research and its conclusions got my attention.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are not known for conservative bias in their research and reporting, so this is big news. The CDC study analyzed the content of detailed Youth Risk Behavior Surveys of high school students from grades nine to twelve. The surveys were conducted by the CDC, state and large urban school districts, and state and local education and health agencies.
The surveys dealt with 118 health-related behaviors. Of particular interest were 18 violence-related risk behaviors and the results were dramatic.
The CDC split the students into different groups:
• Teens who were sexually active in exclusively heterosexual relationships
• Teens who were sexually active in heterosexual, bi-sexual and same-sex relationships
• Teens active in only same-sex sexual relationships
• Teens who were not sexually active
Researchers analyzed each group in the context of violence-related risk behaviors.
These risks included but were not limited to: alcohol or drug use, texting while driving, driving when drinking or riding with someone who has, fighting, bullying other kids, or smoking.
According to the study, in most all 18 cases, teens who engaged in heterosexual sex had a higher rate of engaging in violence-related behavior than those who abstained from sex. Further, teens active in heterosexual, bi-sexual and same-sex relationships had a still higher rate of exposure to risk behavior, and those who engaged in same-sex sexual activity exclusively had the highest rate of all in making the least healthy behavioral decisions.
Yet in the face of repeated evidence that sexual abstinence is healthier for America’s youth, saving sex for marriage is routinely mocked and criticized. Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi at a Netroots Nation event made the reckless statement that abstinence “is dangerous to the health of our young women and men.”
Abstinence has been labeled as ineffective, unattainable and nothing more than a religious agenda imposed on a secular society. However, none of that is true and the latest CDC research is one more example of a growing body of evidence that shows abstinence not only works, it’s also healthy for America’s youth who practice it.
Importantly, the CDC has a recommendation of what you should do with this latest information. They encourage you and others to share the results far and wide so America’s youth can be empowered to make decisions that will help them be healthier and happier citizens.
And Life Issues Institute has additional tools to help you be an effective advocate for abstinence.
As the executive producer and host of our weekly television program, Facing Life Head-On, we dealt with the issue of abstinence on more than one occasion. Teens Making Healthy Choices won a Regional ©Emmy Award for its abstinence-based message. Waiting for the Ring received high praise for realistically dealing with a sensitive issue. And don’t overlook our website that has a wealth of resources on this topic.
One resource works better than all the others. Evidence consistently shows that parents are the most effective influence on a teen’s decision to abstain or delay sexual activity. So parents everywhere, keep encouraging your children (or grandchildren) to save sex for marriage. Science is on your side.