The American College of Pediatricians (the College) calls attention to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that reveals almost 60% of high school students today have never had sex. This represents an increase of 28%* since 1991. Amazing news! It demonstrates clearly that Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), or sexual abstinence, is a relevant message for youth and a goal they can achieve.
With the onset of puberty comes a natural interest in and attraction for sexual activity. The decision to engage in recreational sexual activity or delay until marriage is one of the most important decisions a youth will make. Sexual activity has powerful effects upon each participant’s mind, emotions and physical body that can yield life-long negative consequences.
We also know from a new report on teen behavior by the CDC (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/data/yrbs/results.htm) that Comprehensive Sex Education (CSE) is failing. Teens who do choose to engage in sexual activity are using less birth control; sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are on the rise, as is adolescent depression, sometimes referred to as the emotional STI. Sexual abstinence is the only behavior choice that offers adolescents 100% protection against the triple epidemic of depression, STIs and teen pregnancy due to early sexual debut.
The College urges all physicians, mental health professionals, educators and legislators to join parents in promoting sexual abstinence to youth as an attainable goal that is clearly the best for children. Many resources available to achieve this are found on the American College of Pediatricians website page, Sexual Responsibility (https://www.acpeds.org/parents/sexuality/sexual-responsibility-2).
*(The percentage increase is determined by dividing the new stat (58.8%) by the 1991 stat (45.9%). This equals 1.28 or an increase of 28%.)