Friday, February 12, 2010


"It is the first randomized controlled study to demonstrate that an abstinence-only intervention reduced the percentage of adolescents who reported any sexual intercourse for a long period," according to a statement by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where the study's lead researcher John B. Jemmott III is a professor.

The news last week about an abstinence program finally working - working! - has astounded and discomfitted many in our field. Does it mean the right was ... right?

As with all studies, you have to dig deep to really find out what was really going on. Connect for Kids has done a good job at doing that. And it turns out that the abstinence progam being studied was far from the traditional, moralistic variety. And there's news in that for everybody - for people in our field, who want to decrease the incidence of teen pregnancy and risky sex, and for those who championed abstinence-til-marriage approaches, which warned (absurdly) that sex before marriage was "likely to cause psychological harm.'

Is there a middle way? Say, 'sex only when you're ready'?

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