Protect Teens with An Emphasis on Abstinence Instead of Contraception Education

By Ng Jingyang | 22 June, 2017

It is worrying to note the recent increase in adolescents who are contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs) through sex (More young people in Singapore get sexual infections; Jun 18). What is highly concerning is that adolescents in Singapore are savvy about contraception, yet intentionally choose not to use it.

This suggests that focusing on equipping teenagers with knowledge about contraception is not an effective approach to helping teenagers make wiser choices about sex.

This trend is reflected in other developed nations as well. A recent study in the UK found that reducing funding for contraceptive-focused sexuality education in schools actually reduced teenage pregnancy rates by 42.6 percent. In fact, these rates fell the most in the areas where funding was most drastically cut. The study concluded that educating teenagers about birth control may actually increase the risk among teenagers who may start having sex or to have sex more regularly because of easier access to birth control.1

A more effective alternative would be to inform and educate teenagers on how to pursue healthy, non-sexual relationships. This includes teaching them how to abstain from sexual activity in their teenage years, because of its high potential for negative consequences.

A 2015 Centers for Disease Control study reported that students who abstained from sexual contact have a much lower prevalance of most health-risk behaviours compared with students who have had sexual contact.2 Another report found that when compared to abstinent teenagers, sexually active teenage boys and girls were significantly more likely to experience emotional stress and reduced happiness, increasing their likelihood to feel depressed and to attempt suicide. Furthermore, a majority of sexually active teenagers regretted their first sexual contact and wished they had waited longer.3

From these trends, it appears that teenagers would appreciate understanding the full impact and value of abstinence, which is the only 100% way to protect them from the risks of sexual activity.

Such sexuality education would empower Singapore’s youth to make wiser, healthier choices in their teenage years. Ensuring their emotional, psychological and physical well-being in these formative years will gift them with the freedom to fully pursue their hopes and dreams for their future.

Ng Jingyang
Research Analyst,
Focus on the Family Singapore.



1 The effect of spending cuts on teen pregnancy.
2 Sexual Identity, Sexual Contacts, and Health-Related Behaviors Among Students in Grades 9-12, United States and Selected Sites, 78. Cf. Teen pregnancy rate falls 42.6 percent after UK cuts sex-ed, birth-control funding: study.
3 Sexually Active Teenagers Are More Likely to Be Depressed and to Attempt Suicide.



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