Focus on the Family

National Survey: Parents Support Sexual-Risk Avoidance

A national survey shows that most parents want their children to remain abstinent until they are married. Are schools and government listening?

by Chad Hills

A newly released national survey of parents shows nearly 8 of 10 Democrats and 9 of 10 Republicans support abstinence education.

"If sex education were on the November ballot, abstinence education would win by a landslide, and not just among Republicans," said Valerie Huber, president of the National Abstinence Education Foundation (NAEF), which commissioned the survey.

Conservative perspectives toward teen sexual behavior have been falsely portrayed as strictly Republican views. But this new survey, the "Parents Speak Out Report," conducted by Pulse Opinion Research and the NAEF, shows this as a consistent value among the majority of parents. Whether parents are Republican, Democrat, conservative or liberal, parents support the highest standard of sexual risk avoidance for their children.

The fallacy of comprehensive, contraceptive-based sex education as an effective strategy is being challenged. Conversely, sexual risk avoidanceor orienting the behavior of teens toward the healthiest sexual standardsis becoming the new, most efficacious strategy.

This new survey reflects parents' concern for their children, and their children's future, in the area of sexual behavior. Instead of continuing to pour millions of dollars into the failed policy of treating the symptoms of high-risk teen sexual behavior, parents are looking toward the root of the problem, which is preventing teen sexual activity. This survey indicates that Democrats and Republicans can agree: Preserving the sexual health of their children is a policy priority. Members of Congress are beginning to embrace sexual risk avoidance as a superior strategy, as well.

Furthermore, a previous study, released in 2011, also found that parents want to be the primary educators of their children when it comes to sexuality. This was preceded by findings from another study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which was finally released to the public after prolonged pressure from CitizenLink, citizen activists and other groups.

Decades of failed policy to address teen sexual activity effectively requires the attention of parents, educators and policymakers. It's time for a new strategy. Instead of government and schools undermining the role of parents as primary sex educators, isn't it time that we work togetherto avoid sexual risks and help our future generations succeed?