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Abstinence ed is really working: oral sex safe and not really sex, say teens

[UPDATE: A House Blender shows us how well abstinence ed is working in Texas, scroll to the end of the post.]

How many ways and times can the statistics prove to the American Taliban that their values/abstinence-only sex education is not working? We’ve blogged about this nonsense here and here, just for starters.

Over $130 million was lifted from our wallets last year ($206 million has been requested this year) to continue funding crap that keeps essential sexual health information from the young people that need it most. The level of ignorance and attitudes in teens is not surprising (oral sex is perceived as less of a threat to their values and beliefs), but it’s still frightening. (AP) :

One in five U.S. teenagers say they have engaged in oral sex, an activity that some adolescents view as not sex at all and certainly less risky than intercourse, a report released Monday said.

The survey of 580 children with a mean age of 14-1/2 found 20 percent said they had engaged in oral sex, compared to 14 percent who said they had engaged in sexual intercourse. In addition, one-third of the multi-ethnic 9th graders surveyed said they intended to have oral sex within the next six months and nearly one-fourth planned to have intercourse during the period. It was more common for boys to have performed oral sex on girls than vice versa, the report said.

Previous studies and numerous campaigns aimed at deterring teenaged sex have focused on intercourse, but as many as half of adolescents experience oral sex first, the report said. The risk of transmitting infections, including HIV, is significantly less with oral sex than with intercourse but is likely underestimated by teenagers, said the report in the journal Pediatrics. Youngsters who engage in oral sex rarely used condoms or dental dams, even though herpes, hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis as well as the virus that causes AIDS can all be transmitted orally, it added.

The Alan Guttmacher Institute reports that 10-14-year-olds were six times as likely as women between the ages of 30 and 44 to have at least one repeat infection and 12 times as likely to develop two or more repeat infections of chlamydia, for example. Older teenagers also had considerably higher odds of repeat infection than women aged 30-44 (3.5-4.5).

The WaPo also reported in March that those virginity pledges touted by head-in-the-sand organizations like True Love Waits and the Silver Ring Thing are doing nothing to stop STDs either. Among the 20 percent of kids that took a virginity pledge, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying or prior to 2002 interviews. Almost 7 percent of the students who did not make a pledge were diagnosed with an STD, compared with 6.4 percent of the “inconsistent pledgers” and 4.6 percent of the “consistent pledgers.”

UPDATE: House Blender Patrick emailed me today to let me know that Texas has a lot to be proud of (ha ha) regarding teen preganancy:

Texas ranks among the 10 worst states in the nation on almost all factors related to teen pregnancy including:
· Teen birth rate 47th
· Percent change in teen birth rate 44th
· Birth rate for younger teens 48th
· Percent teen births that are repeat births 44th
· Teen births as a percent of all births 40th
· Percent of births to teens receiving late or no prenatal care 44th

Not only that, but the state plans to strip $5 million from health screening (for STDs, diabetes, cancer, just to name a few) and contraceptive counseling and shift funding to anti-abortion counseling groups. Nice.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding