Everyone loves cheeseburgers, well, okay not everyone. For instance, I don't really love cheeseburgers. But, the point remains that most kids love cheeseburgers and if you keep them thinking about cheeseburgers then they won't have sex. If they eat cheeseburgers, then they won't have sex. If they don't have sex they won't catch STDs.
So simple that it is the hypothesis upon which $1.5 BILLION in abstinence-only sexual education is based. Unlike the cheeseburger hypothesis, which would actually take into account how kids think, abstinence-only is a complete failure.
Roughly $1.5 billion in federal grants to state education authorities have been distributed to finance abstinence-only curricula since the Clinton administration. But some states, like California, Wisconsin and Ohio, have stopped accepting the grants because the money is tied to a mandated abstinence-only message that studies have shown to be largely ineffective.
The problem with that message, Masters said, is not that adolescents ignore it. In her survey of 365 young people ages 12 to 15, she found that many had a positive view of abstinence, and those who did had less chance of having sex during the following 12 months.
But there was a catch. So-called “sex intention” powerfully modified “abstinence intention.”
In a range from 1 to 3, with 3 being the highest intention to abstain or to have sex, teens who scored very low on their sex intentions (1s) were not likely to have sex regardless of their abstinence intentions. But among teens with high scores (3s) on their sex intentions, those who also held the highest abstinence intentions were actually most likely to have sex.
Teenagers who do not want to have sex think abstinence is a great idea and don't have sex. Well, duh.
But, teenagers who want to have sex and think it is a great idea not to, to be abstinent...they're having sex. In fact, those who think it is a GREAT idea to be abstinent, really think it is a GREAT idea to have sex shortly afterwards. What is the consequence of abstinence-only education?
Other research has shown that many teens who take a so-called “virginity pledge,” do wind up having sex before marriage. The danger is that “those teens may not have the information and tools, once they are having sex, to make the healthiest choices,” said Schuster, also author of "Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They’d Ask).
Then, of course, there is the idea of old, white men coming up with "abstinence-only" sexual education. See, old white men don't have the same idea of sex that teenagers have. From a journal article entitled "The definition of abstinence."
A teen's definition of sexual activity most often does not include oral or anal sex. Abstinence only programs vary widely as to how they define sexual behavior and may be contributing to misinformation about STD transmission. Unknown is the extent to which declining teen pregnancy rates are due to non-coital activities replacing vaginal intercourse.
Now, imagine how many fewer STDs would have been spread if the United States Government had handed out 3 BILLION free cheeseburgers to horny teenagers.