Saturday, May 17, 2008

Abstinence education specifics, part 2: young adults

Abstinence education to young adults --- that is, people in and especially after college --- is the main genre I'm looking at because it faces the interesting challenge of how to address a mature adult readership. Some of the differences of opinion over abstinence education seem to be an issue of sheltering vs. not. People even repeat lines to the effect that "Age N is too young to teach about condoms." That is, these people don't object to teaching condoms eventually. They just don't think age N is the right age for it. And certainly that's a view everyone can relate to to some degree: many parents have age benchmarks for various pieces of knowledge. With young adults, there's no question of sheltering. Most have gone to secular colleges, had friends who were sexually active, had multiple opportunities to be sexually active, and have had physical intimacy and chances are have had sex.

Unlike middle and high school students, young adults are also not a captive audience and can be more sophisticated in their critiques. Not only do they have a choice whether to be abstinent, but they have a choice whether to switch to a more progressive church or to stop going to church at all.

Federal abstinence education funds now target up to age 29, so it's also an age group which is policy-relevant.

I'll talk about a couple books in the next post.

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