By Hilary White

WASHINGTON, December 19, 2007 ( – A new American study has implied that any or all types of “sex education” significantly delays the start of sexual activity in teens. But what some news media is downplaying is that the research made no distinction between abstinence education and more mainstream “comprehensive” sex education based on contraception.

In the study, students were understood to have received sex education if they had either or both types of instruction.

The study, published in the January issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, says that male teens who received “sex education” in school were 71 per cent less likely to have sexual intercourse before age 15. Similarly educated female teens were 59 per cent less likely. The researchers found that sex education reduced by 91 per cent the risk that African-American females in school would have sex before age 15.

The data used was from an older survey, the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, and included a sample of 2019 never-married males and females aged 15-19 years.

MSNBC news began the media coverage with the headline, “Sex education found to increase abstinence in early teens”. The MSNBC report, however, made no mention of the fact that the study had not separated abstinence education with the type of education that has been criticized as actually encouraging young people to engage in sex before marriage.

Wendy Wright at Concerned Women for America called the study, and the media’s reaction to it, “another example of shoddy research and misleading summaries”.

Wright told that research appears frequently in which the press release or the summary will indicate one thing but the actual text of the study shows something different. “This is another example in which there appears to be a concerted attempt to claim that all ‘sex education’ has positive results when the study itself does not prove that,” she said.

“By mixing two opposite kinds of sex ed results it imposes the positive results from abstinence onto the comprehensive sex ed which up to now has shown no proof of encouraging young people to refrain from sexual activity”.

Find a full listing of LifeSiteNews' coverage of the Ontario government's explicit sex-ed program here.