A recent survey shows that many teens in "comprehensive sex education" classes feel pressured, from the instruction their receiving, to have sex.
The survey, conducted in July by the Barna Group, reveals that about 40 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds feel their contraceptive-focused sex ed classes make sex seem like an expectation. In other words, says Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association, those teens are feeling more pressure from their sex ed classes to have sex than from their dating partners.
"When you make comments [like] We know you're going to have sex, but just try to do it safely – what kind of message is that sending?" Huber asks. "Well, according to these teens, it's sending the message: We expect you to have sex."
The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program (comprehensive sex ed) is contraceptive-based; in contrast, the Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) approach is abstinence-based. Currently 95 percent of funding goes to the latter, leaving only five percent for abstinence.
The NAEA executive director, who argues "now is the time to send a healthier message to America's youth," is grateful Congress is now considering parity for both programs.
"We have a real opportunity between now and when Congress decides how to fund the government next year for them to make a policy correction," Huber offers. "This new information [from this survey] should give them a sense that we're wrong-headed and we can right this ship before it's too late."
She also finds it disheartening that President Obama doesn't support the SRA approach when it comes to sex education.