Connexions consistently, in every program, presents sexual abstinence until a long-lasting monogamous relationship from a risk vs. benefits perspective. Teens are presented with facts and guided through a framework for processing information that outlines the risks associated with sexual activity and the benefits of sexual abstinence.
Connexions presentations are a highly effective tool for helping teens make wise, responsible decisions for their future by choosing abstinence. Students are taught that their choices today can have significant implication for their future, particularly on whether and to what extent they will accomplish their goals and dreams in life.
A Better Message
After decades of promoting birth control among teens, America now has the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in the industrialized world. Clearly a better message for teens is needed. While abstinence is the safest, healthiest choice for teens and the only sure way to prevent physical risks such as pregnancy and STDs, we are additionally concerned for the emotional, mental and social health of the student. As premarital sex among teens is often associated with other related risks factors such as alcohol, drug and tobacco use, violence and truancy, helping teens choose abstinence has numerous benefits for teens and society.
Although it is often claimed that approximately half of all high school students are sexually active, the fact is that many of these teens do not want to be. Most teens surveyed regret becoming sexually active, and among sexually active teen girls ages 15-19, 1 in 3 said they were either forced or pressured into sex. (1,2) In light of these statistics, the best message that we can give to today's youth is that "regardless of what has already happened in your life you are still valuable and special, and you can start over again."
The Best Message
We know first hand that students respond well to a clearly reasoned, positive presentation of the benefits of abstinence. Having presented the principles and concepts to thousands of students in middle schools and high schools, we know that it works. We have read letters from hundreds of students and teachers alike and have listened to their enthusiastic responses. Supporting our conclusions is a national study showing that nearly all students surveyed (93%) believe that teens should be given a "strong message" that they should abstain from sex. (3) At the same time, teachers and nurses surveyed nationally say that abstinence is the "most important message" they can give to their students. (4) Today, more and more teens who have been sexually active are choosing abstinence. (5)
- The National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy. "Not Just Another Thing To Do: Teens Talk about Sex, Regret, and the Influence of Their Parents," June 30, 2000, and EDK Associates for Seventeen Magazine and the Ms. Foundation for Women, Teenagers Under Pressure, 1996.
- Moore KA, et al., A Statistical Portrait of Adolescent Sex, Contraception, and Childbearing, March 1998. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy: Washington, DC *Data based on the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth.
- The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The Cautious Generation? Teens Tell Us About Sex, Virginity, and "The Talk," April 27, 2000.
- Alan Guttmacher Institute, Changing Emphases in Sexuality Education is US Public Secondary Schools, 1988-1999. Family Planning Perspectives. v 32, No. 5 Sept/Oct 2000.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance-United States, 1999. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 2000, 49(5).