Most Americans think sex ed should promote abstinence, study says

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Most Americans think sex education should support abstinence, encouraging youths to wait for sex rather than just encouraging use of contraception.

As part of a study by research group Barna on American education, the research published Tuesday found some predicatable generational divides on approaches to sex, but most adults, including millennials, still back an approach to sex education that encourages waiting for sex.

Most US adults (71 per cent) said the primary message of sex education should be 'one that uses practical skills to reinforce waiting for sex', while 29 per cent said it should be 'one that says teen sex is OK, so long as they use contraception'. Among the surveyed generations millennials were the most supportive of the latter response (43 per cent), but most (57 per cent) supported waiting for sex.

Religious faith is the most significant influence on adult views of sex education, the survey found. Most self-identified Christians (78 per cent) and 86 per cent of practising Christians supported a message of waiting, while 52 per cent of non-Christians said the same.

Evangelicals were the most enthusiastic about abstinence (94 per cent) and almost all (96 per cent) said that 'even is sex is consensual and contraception is used, it is not OK for teens to have sex'.

Many of those surveyed (65 per cent), including evangelicals (74 per cent) were surprised to learn than today's teens are less sexually active than they would have been 20 years ago. All generational groups, upon hearing the statistic, were then more likely to say sex education should promote waiting for sex.

The complete Barna study can be found here.

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