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In case you haven't heard the news, an abstinence-only sex education program was found to be effective. This is the first time a rigorous study has found any abstinence-only program to have long-lasting, measurable effects. The authors were quick to point out that this is only one study and no policies should be based on it, but I have a feeling that the abstinence-only folks are jumping up and down with joy.Before they hurt themselves, however, it's important to take a closer look at the curriculum used in this research. Besides advocating waiting to have sex, this curriculum couldn't be farther from what most abstinence-only curriculum teaches. Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy pointed out that this curriculum, as opposed to most abstinence-only curriculum "did not advocate abstinence until marriage. The classes also did not portray sex negatively or suggest that condoms are ineffective, and contained only medically accurate information".So basically this curriculum followed everything that comprehensive sex ed follows except that it didn't discuss birth control and may or may not have discussed condoms. Since the participants in this study were 12 and 13 years old, I think every sex educator would agree that waiting to have sex should be the focus for any curriculum at this age. To me, this curriculum just sounds like it's basically age appropriate. (Sexually active 12 and 13 year olds might get short-changed, however). The best sex education doesn't just tell kids about condoms and birth control, it helps young people learn how to tell when they're ready, how to deal with peer pressure, and how to talk with their partner about what they want, whether that's having sex or not. Sometimes this is the part of sex ed that is easiest to leave out or do poorly in the interest of providing people with information instead of wading through tricky emotional conversations.This curriculum "involved assignments to help sixth- and seventh graders see the drawbacks to sexual activity at their age, including having them list the pros and cons themselves. Their cons far outnumbered the pros." To me this just sounds like a good decision-making exercise - one more sex education programs would benefit from including.So, the next time someone tells you that abstinence-only sex education works, make sure you remind them that intelligent, medically accurate and age-appropriate abstinence-only sex education works, not the moralistic, fear-mongering, guilt-trip that the "abstinence-only" crowd promotes.