Significant Drop in Teen Sexual Activity Spurs Change in Sex Ed Focus

schoolroom class
AP/Marco Ugarte
DR. SUSAN BERRY

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that finds a trend of significantly less teen sexual activity is spurring a shift in the focus of sex education from one that assumes most teens are sexually active to one that, instead, supports healthy decisions.

The proportion of high school students who have ever had sexual intercourse has decreased significantly overall to 41 percent in 2015, down from 47 percent in 2005 and 53 percent in 1995, says the CDC report.

Additionally, a significant decrease was found among ninth- and tenth-grade students, black students in all grades, and Hispanic students in three grades.

About 48 percent of black teens said they were sexually active in 2015, down from nearly 68 percent in 2005. For Hispanic teens, the drop during the same time period was from 51 percent to about 42 percent. White students experienced a decline from 43 percent to 40 percent.

The percentage of sexually active ninth-grade teens declined from about 34 percent in 2005 to 24 percent in 2015, while the drop for tenth-graders was 43 percent to 36 percent.

“The decreases in sexual intercourse by grade suggest that fewer students are having sexual intercourse during the earlier years of high school,” say the report’s authors. “This finding is especially encouraging.”

The data complement research that also shows a historic drop in teen pregnancy rates since 1991.

A top official from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) whom Breitbart News interviewed agrees the news of continued decline in sexual activity among young people is very encouraging. At the same time, however, the official states the data show record sexually transmitted diseases indicate sex education programs need to change from being focused on normalizing teen sexual activity to keeping teens healthy.

The HHS representative said:

If we know that more teens are waiting to have sex today than 25 years ago, then shouldn’t we be reinforcing those healthy decisions and building upon that? Similarly, we know that teen pregnancy rates have decreased, and yet sexually transmitted diseases and infection have increased to record levels. There’s something going on there, and we need to learn what it is and to make sure we make some amendments to the messages we’re communicating because we can’t be satisfied with those numbers. Those are the real lives of young people who are being impacted – both for the short-term and often even for the long-term:

The Trump HHS has recently announced a $10 million research project that proposes to rigorously evaluate sex education programs.

“We know some things already from science and one is the longer a young person delays sex, the more likely they are to avoid other negative consequences as a result,” HHS says. “And I’m not just talking about pregnancy here, I’m not even just talking about sexually transmitted diseases and infection. Social science research is correlative to an awful lot of other impacts that can affect the adolescent and that also can impact them throughout their life potentially.”

One of the components to be studied in the research concerns young people and their parents.

“We also want to talk to parents because oftentimes parents underestimate the impact and importance of their talking about these topics with their young people,” the official explains. “And so we want to understand where parents are struggling, what they understand, and how to bridge that so that they can become more the sex educators for their young children. This research is going to help uncover that, both from the teens’ perspective and from the parents’ perspective.”

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has given credit to artificial birth control for the lowest teen pregnancy rate in U.S. history and lowest abortion rate since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v. Wade in 1973. Her organization benefits from taxpayer reimbursement for distributing contraception.

Planned Parenthood and other feminist groups also continue with the narrative that birth control is key to women’s economic and social advancement.

HHS notes it is important for young people that sex education programs not be enmeshed with politics.

“We want their health to be improved and maintained, and the goal has to be optimal health outcomes, not something that might have an argument from a political sense, but could compromise their health as a result,” the official said. “We’re not going to go there. This is not about politics; this is about health.”

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