Great News: Parents + Abstinence Education = Lowest Risk of Teen
Pregnancy and STDs
In today’s world, teens are exposed to sexual content every day, and
parents have reason to be concerned. Recent studies have found that
parental involvement and abstinence education can have a strong
positive influence over a teen’s sexual behaviors.
While going through a process of emotional growth in adolescence,
teens frequently get involved in risky sexual behaviors which expose
them to unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Researchers have found that abstinence-only sex education
intervention programs are effective in the prevention of unintended
Abstinence education, in fact, led to a 67% decrease in teen
pregnancies during the 1990's,
 and recently the
National Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that high school students
are having less sex and fewer sexual partners today than in the
education programs help young people to develop an understanding of
commitment, fidelity, and intimacy that will serve them well as the
foundations of healthy marital life in the future. Abstinence
education programs have repeatedly been shown to be effective in
reducing sexual activity among their participants. 
For example: In a one-year follow-up study of the "Choosing the
Best" Abstinence-Centered Curriculum, 2.3% fewer students were
having sex than predicted. Additionally, 54% of the teens that had
been recently sexually active before the program were no longer
sexually active one year later. 
The Best Friends Abstinence Program, found that junior high and
middle school-aged girls in the Best Friends program compared with
their peers in DC public schools are six and a half times less
likely to have sex before marriage.
Some teenagers wonder why practicing abstinence is important. As a
parent you are the one left to answer this important question. Let
your kids know that sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) are a
major health epidemic. In fact, 1 in 4 teenage girls right now has
 The only way for teens to completely eliminate the risk
of contracting an STD is by practicing abstinence and postponing
sexual involvement. Even if your teen is already sexually active,
practicing abstinence will immediately lower his/her risk of
sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy.
Preventing sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies
through abstinence also has the following additional benefits:
abstain from sex until at least age 18 are also less likely to
be expelled or drop out of high school and are more than twice
as likely to complete college when compared to teens who do not
abstain from sexual activity.
It has also
been found that teens who remain virgins until age 18 are
significantly less likely to experience divorce if/when they
Abstinence education is important in your teen’s life, but your
actions and relationships also have a tremendous influence over whether
your teen engages in a risky lifestyle behavior.
perceive that their parents strongly disapprove of them having
sex during adolescence are less likely to have sexually
transmitted infections 6 years later. 
both natural and stepfathers, can impact the age at which their
teens have sex. For example, a father who has a close
relationship with his daughter can influence her to delay her
sexual debut. 
One study found that about one-third of all children in the
United States will have lived with a remarried or cohabiting
parent before they reach adulthood. When the relationship
between a stepfather and stepchild is close, the stepfather may
actually influence his stepchild’s attitudes towards sex.
girls who have close relationships with their mothers wait
longer to have sex for the first time.
 Adolescent females whose mothers do not vocalize
disapproval of them having sex face a higher odd of being
diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection or disease. 
You can also
help your teen to make the safe choice to remain abstinent by
encouraging them to make a virginity pledge. Teens who make a
virginity pledge are 34% less likely to become sexually active
than peers who do not pledge.
remember that the friends your teen associates with will have a
strong influence on their decision. For example, one study found
that friends' religiosity is associated with delayed first sex
of religious and secular youth. 
watchful of the media exposure affecting your teen. The media has a
strong influence over your teen’s sexual behaviors:
Exposure to sexual content in music, movies, television, and
magazines accelerates white teens’ sexual activity and increases
their risk of engaging in early sexual intercourse.
Teens who view more sexual content on television are more likely
to initiate intercourse and progress to more advanced noncoital
Watching television for two or more hours per day and a lack of
parental regulation of television programming are each
associated with an increased risk of initiating sexual
intercourse among teens. 
American teens listen to between 1.5 to 2.5 hours of music a day
and researchers have found that music with degrading sexual
lyrics has been linked to early sexual behavior.
Lastly parents, remember that your relationship with your teen will
have a huge impact on their life. The closeness to fathers and
mothers in adolescence is linked with good relationships with
partners later on in adult life. 
Pregnancy Prevention: An Abstinence-Centered Randomized Controlled
Intervention in a Chilean Public High School,
Journal of Adolescent Health, 2005, pp. 64-69.
Analysis of the Causes of the Decline in Non-Marital Birth and
Pregnancy Rates for Teens from 1991-1995,
Adolescent & Family Health, Vol. 3, No. 1, March 2003, pp. 1-6.
High School Students Showing Overall Improvements in Health-Related
, 2007 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, May 2007
Best Friends Foundation, 2005, pp. 1-3.
Representative CDC Study Finds 1 in 4 Teenage Girls Has a Sexually
2008 National STD Prevention Conference, Press Release, March 11,
Sexual Abstinence and Academic Achievement,
presented at 9th Annual Abstinence Clearinghouse Conference, August
of Virginity at Age 18 with Educational, Economic, Social and Health
Outcomes in Middle Adulthood,
Adolescent & Family Health, Vol. 3, No. 4, 2005, pp. 1-9.
Adolescents’ Longitudinal Risk for Sexually Transmitted Infection,
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 159, July 2005,
Parent-Child Relationship and Opportunities for Adolescents' First
Journal of Family Issues, 27(2), pp. 159-183.
Involvement and Adolescents’ Disposition Toward Having Sex,
Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Vol. 39, No. 2 June
2007, pp. 82-89.
Influence on Teen Sex: Connections That Promote Postponing Sexual
Center for Adolescent Health and Development, 2002, pp. 1-24.
Prediction of Sexually Transmitted Diseases Among Adolescents:
Results from a National Survey,
American Journal of Preventative Medicine, 2000, 18 (4).
the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse,
The American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 106, No. 4, January 2001,
Religiosity and First Sex,
Social Science Research, 2006, pp. 924-947.
Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies,
Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents’
Pediatrics, Vol. 117, No. 4, April 2006, pp.
Sex on Television Predicts Adolescent Initiation of Sexual Behavior,
American Academy of Pediatrics, Vol. 114, No. 3, September 2004, pp.
Viewing and Risk of Sexual Initiation by Young Adolescents,
Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, Vol. 160, April 2006,
to Degrading Versus Nondegrading Music Lyrics and Sexual Behavior
Pediatrics, Vol. 118, No. 2, August 2006, pp. e430-e441.
Predicts Good Relationships with Parents in Adolescence and Partners
in Adult Life: Findings From the 1958 British Birth Cohort, Journal
of Family Psychology, Vol. 16, No. 2, pp. 186-198.
Robert. Can Abstinence Work?: An Analysis of the Best Friends
Program, Journal of Adolescent and Family Health, Vol. 3, No. 4,
Effectiveness of Abstinence Education Programs in Reducing Sexual
Activity Among Youth,
Foundation, April 8, 2002, pp. 1-12.
the Best Abstinence Centered Curriculum: Longitudinal Study
Northwestern University Medical School, Mental Health
Services & Evaluation Program.