The Instigator
Maddy
Pro (for)
Losing
18 Points
The Contender
YaleMM
Con (against)
Winning
63 Points

"Abstinence-only" sex education has not been effective.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/11/2007 Category: Education
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,065 times Debate No: 266
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (8)
Votes (27)

 

Maddy

Pro

The US, the only developed nation who still teaches abstinence only education, has the highest rate of teen pregnancy and abortion among developed nations. The effectiveness of sexual education can also be measured by the number of STDs and STIs, which is increasing.
YaleMM

Con

Haha, I mean, yeah.
But here's an argument.

So the topic as proposed is that "Abstinence-only" sex education has not been effective. Well, effective at what?
It seems reasonable to posit a group of individuals who's primary interest was not in the short term goal of making sexual encounters healthier and safer, but in creating a culture opposed to those sexual encounters. One of the ways you could perpetuate a sex-negative attitude among otherwise reasonable people is by making sure that sex is actively dangerous. It's tough for this hypothetical-religious (or otherwise, really, I suppose they could be like just angry secularists)-group to actually create NEW dangers, so they sabotage the efforts of others to safeguard against the old dangers.

If you accept the notion that our culture is currently pretty sex-negative, and I think you should, cause it is, then you could potentially see your way clear to Abstinence Only Education being wildly successful.

You can't really teach people not to have sex, but if you waste enough time and money trying at the expense of real education you can probably teach them to be afraid of sex. Which one do people want?
Debate Round No. 1
Maddy

Pro

So, maybe in the hypothetical super-religious got what they wanted in a sex-negative society, but it hasn't markedly decreased the immorality of today's youth.
While teen births may be down, teens are still having sex. Something like 3 in 5 high school seniors are not virgins when they graduate from high school. Clearly the abstinence-only education has not scared everyone away from sex.
Because teens are having sex despite the sex-negative society, it would only be logical that we provide the knowledge and tools for them to do so safely. If more people are having safe sex and not getting pregnant or spreading STDs/STIs, it would follow that there would be less abortions and abandoned babies as a result.
YaleMM

Con

That's an interesting tack to take, but I don't think it counters my ultra-bizzare people's real concerns. The reason is that they hate sex not because it produces something they dont like (abortions, abandoned babies) but because it -is- something they dislike. Their concern isnt based in anything except their belief that sex is bad.

Now your claim as to this abstinence only education not meaningfully producing less immoral teens is another matter. This seems empirically true, but its only important if it bridges to your next claim cleanly and I don't think it necessarily does.

- Teens are still having sex despite a sex-negative culture
- Because of this, it is logical to teach them safe practice.

It would be logical for me to do that, sure, and yaknow.. for like. Anyone. But these particular hypotheticals are really very upset about sex. They don't like it. If their plan doesn't work its still the best plan going since teaching about safer sexual conduct -also- wont stop teens from having sex. This leaves only two real concerns:

- Do we care about the people abstinence only education is hurting?
- Will either plan work eventually?

To the first: no. They are sinners, right?
To the second: Safe-sex education will never lead to people not having sex. Dangerous-sex education might, if the environment got like.. really bad.

So there you have it. Crazy people, who are crazy, like crazy things.
I dont know, I guess these hypotheticals arent like, entirely without basis in reality? But whatever.
Debate Round No. 2
Maddy

Pro

But, why aren't they addressing the lack of progress towards an even more sex-negative society? Namely, a society where everyone waits to have sex until marriage and even then only do it with the intention of reproducing. What are the hypotheticals to do?

Onto the people who are hurt by abstinence-only: What if some of those victims are children of the hypotheticals? I remember seeing an article a while back that said that despite pledges of chastity and wearing promise rings, many religious teens are taking the plunge pre-nuptials. Then, the condom breaks or they think that one time won't get them pregnant. What's a hypothetical to do?

Additionally, are these hyotheticals on the fringe of society or are they the norm?
YaleMM

Con

This being my final argument, I'm going to defend my pretty wierd stand in all the ways it can be defended.

First I'll elaborate as to what it is. It's an abusive re-reading of your topic? In which I propose that because "Abstinence-only" sex education has had -effects- it must be -effective- and then I go on to outline what I think is the funniest way of looking at its effects, all the while positing a group of people who would want the effect and so who would be able to see this effect as a true success.

Then I find my own argument endearing and begin kind of defending it earnest, but only really by questioning yours. So I'll answer your last questions and then try to stick one real impact by drawing out something I said earlier.

- Why arent my hypothetical group trying to make culture even more sex negative?
- What if they are harming their children? (implied: wouldnt that make them stop?)
- Are they a fringe group? (presumably this will become a claim that we cannot legislate according to such groups concerns)

1) They are, right? Or at least, they could be. Media, teachings and practices, movie rating boards and such. Sex is pretty villified in our culture. But also, why would they need to do more to want it done at all, and advocate this kind of sexual education?
2) Nahz. If their children are sinners, then they should be hurt. But also they are probably crazily unable to believe that their children are involved in this kind of behavior and so would not have to consider that possible harm.
3) Um. Yes. But that isnt really a question that matters as to the question of "is this policy effective" unless you buy the definition of effective wherein it equals: "having created a beneficial effect as defined by the majority."

So my crazy people still stand through this round, at least up til now. They are still crazy, and still doing what they wanna do, which is make sex more dangerous. Abstinence Only education does that in spades.

But given that they are not -just- hypothetical crazy people, but also cariacatures of the christian right, there might be a real impact hiding around here somewhere. It's like, sex-education is entirely voluntary right, parents can sign kids out of it. Parents who are opposed to sex, who would want abstinence-only education, are more than likely going to sign their kids out of any sexual education that -isnt- abstinence only.

This has two possible ramifications:
1) Kids, even in an abstinence only classroom, can still ask questions of a figure of authority, so this way they have a shot at getting -some- useful information, even if 90% of these teachers are crazy psychotic and tell them lies, its more than they would have had.
2) Kids involved in -any- sexual education are more likely to talk about sex with their peergroup than kids who arent involved in any sexual education. That means that if you buy that these kids would have NO sexual education without abstinence only, because their parents wouldn't allow them to go to a normal sex-ed classroom, then they are safer with it because it creates an environment where they can talk about. Maybe get access to information that other students have.
Could this be bad information? Dunno. Maybe. But not worse than they would get not researching, not talking, and they'll be less scared. They'll have more of a shot. Crazy people like crazy things remember? So it seems like if all you can do to help kids is cater to the crazy, then that's still what you should do.

It's not great, but.
Debate Round No. 3
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by YaleMM 9 years ago
YaleMM
"but you can't tell a 14 year old to have sex, or let me show you the best way to use birth control because everyone should know the cause and effects of what hapens during sex, after...or about STD's...teen pregnancy..effects that birth control have on some women...etc"

Yes. Clearly. Everyone who is at all interest should have full and clear information as regards these subjects. Please do not take my amusing advocacy of sex-terrorism, nor my single correct impact as an actual endorsement of abstinence only education as an optimal form of sex education. It is substandard in the extreme. Ludicrously so. Sillily.
Posted by Maddy 9 years ago
Maddy
I would like to see schools teach comprehensive sexual education. Teach students about condoms, diaphragms, the pill, and other methods of birth control. I'm not saying that they should remove any mention of abstinence from the curriculum, they should let the students know that abstinence is the only 100% effective option.

Not every teen has parents as phenomenal as yours. Some teens have phenomenal parents, but don't listen to them. Some teens are great kids with not so phenomenal parents. Whatever the influencing factors might be, there are teens who are going to have sex.
Posted by tbarber001 9 years ago
tbarber001
so what do you propose schools to do? "Okay kids, today I want to teach you the importance of putting a condom on, and having sex the best way possible."

~~~Im 18, and a virgin...damn proud of that and have to say, abistinence till marriage is probably the best way to teach sex ed. I mean truly it is the ONLY 100% way to protect someone of STDs/HIV/AIDS or getting pregnant....
No, it doen't have the same effect on everyone, but you can't tell a 14 year old to have sex, or let me show you the best way to use birth control because everyone should know the cause and effects of what hapens during sex, after...or about STD's...teen pregnancy..effects that birth control have on some women...etc....i mean honestly...
I know its worked for me (not to mention i have phenomenol parents), but i also know it has worked for a lot of my friends....
Posted by Maddy 9 years ago
Maddy
I really enjoyed reading your arguments. They were absurd at times, but totally logical. Well done.
Posted by sethgecko13 9 years ago
sethgecko13
This is an interesting multi-faceted debate.

The failure of Abstinence-Only sex education is well-documented by SIECUS (www.siecus.org). Its findings echo the comments made in the debate here; that A-O education does not stop premarital sex - it only delays it, and does so with disastrous consequences (as the young people who eventually do have sex do so in a much more unsafe manner; without contraception and without protecting themselves from STDs/STIs). Not only that, but they're more inclined to try riskier forms of intercourse like anal sex because it's their distorted perspective that they'll still be keeping their "virginity."

The debate should be framed around Abstinence-Only sex education vs. Comprehensive sex education - in which case Comprehensive wins hands-down in terms of proven statistical outcomes.

It's telling that the Department of Health and Human Services under the Bush Administration has, for the past six years or so, continued to bury its own report on how things are going with the hundreds of millions of dollars it has funneled into A-O education.
Posted by mrmatt505 9 years ago
mrmatt505
I truly don't believe that abstinence works as well as other inititives, but YaleMM presented fabulous arguments and that is my reson for my decision.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Excellent counter-intuitive arguments from YaleMM. Way to turn an unwinnable argument into an easy victory: By reframing the debate. Masterful!
Posted by YaleMM 9 years ago
YaleMM
seriously keep forgetting to say thanks and stuff.

thanks and stuff.
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