Myth: Texas parents prefer abstinence-until-marriage sex education.
While it might be true that the loudest Texans, and those most offended by everything prefer abstinence-until-marriage to be taught in public schools, but that just doesn't hold true for the entire Texas population. In a 2011 survey of Texas parents, 66% stated they prefer an abstinence-plus approach to sex education taught in public schools over an abstinence-until-marriage approach ‒ that is, a program that emphasizes abstinence but also provides medically accurate information on human sexuality and contraception. That 66% includes widespread support among Texans of all political affiliations, including 65% of Republicans, 70% of Democrats and 61% of Independents. 64% of parents want this education to start in middle school. (Tortolero, 2011)
Myth: Teaching about contraception or talking frankly about sex only encourages our teens to be sexually reckless.
This is a common and reasonable concern. Thankfully, however, it is one that does not prove out in reality. In probably the most extensive study of sex education conducted to date, it was found that “no comprehensive program [that discusses the use of contraception] hastened the initiation of sex or increased the frequency of sex, results that many people fear. Emphasizing both abstinence and protection for those who do have sex is a realistic, effective approach that does not appear to confuse young people.” (Kirby, 2007)
In fact, quite the opposite. While abstinence-until-marriage programs were found to have no positive effect on teen sexual behavior, “Two-thirds of the 48 comprehensive programs that supported both abstinence and the use of condoms and contraceptives for sexually active teens had positive behavioral effects. Specifically, over 40 percent of the programs delayed the initiation of sex, reduced the number of sexual partners, and increased condom or contraceptive use; almost 30 percent reduced the frequency of sex (including a return to abstinence); and more than 60 percent reduced unprotected sex. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of the programs had positive effects on more than one of these behaviors. For example, some programs both delayed the initiation of sex and increased condom or other contraceptive use.” These are results that have never been achieved by any abstinence-until-marriage sex education curriculum (Kirby, 2007).
In the end, if parents are concerned about teens making reckless and dangerous decisions about sex, abstinence-plus programs have been shown again and again to be effective at reducing sexual activity, and dangerous sexual activity, which no abstinence-until-marriage program has been shown to do.