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nosexI love it when science backs up common sense. A report commissioned by the Bush administration was released a few weeks ago (quietly, on a Friday) that states that abstinence-only education has no effect on delaying or preventing sexual activity before marriage. The good news is that it also doesn't have the harmful effects of increased STI rates that previous studies had found. Still, it's heartening to know that tactics based on shame and paternalism won't work on teenagers. Why this study wasn't commissioned before we spend $1.5 billion dollars on funding this kind of education is something I think this country will come to regret for a long, long time.As a child in a pro-abstinence household, I came by my sex education like so many others - the hands on approach. I was lucky to have someone who knew their stuff to explain things to me and as such, I probably got a more honest education that many of my peers (and my class had a really fun lab!). Still, the isolation I felt could have easily been avoided and the stigmatization that abstinence-only programs foster around sexually active teens is extraordinarily damaging, to say the least. After years of feeling shameful about any sexual act before marriage, do we honestly expect that shame to go away once a wedding ring appears? I have no problem with people waiting until they get married to have sex if that's their decision. I just want that decision to be made with the most accurate information possible so that whenever people decide to have sex, it can be the best sex possible.RH Reality Check has a great analysis of and commentary on the report. It's a great summary for anyone who doesn't want to read the entire 173 page document. There's also a very interesting post about abstinence only programs in Africa on a blog called Talk to Action.