Below are examples of what young people are taught in some of the most commonly used abstinence-only-until-marriage curricula. Prior to Fiscal Year 2010, the federal government had spent over one billion dollars on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. All of the examples come from curricula that were used in programs previously supported by federal funds.
Discouraging Condom Use
“Game Plan does not promote the use of contraceptives for teens. No contraceptive device is guaranteed to prevent pregnancy. Additionally, students who do not choose to exercise self-control to remain abstinent are not likely to exercise self-control in the use of a contraceptive device.”
Game Plan, Coach’s Clipboard, p. 27
“Even more widespread than disease are the emotional scarring and deep wounds that come out of broken relationships. No matter how strong a condom is, it won’t protect you from a broken heart.”
Game Plan, Student Workbook, p. 36
“Safe sex is not: sex with a condom—condoms and other barriers do not make sex physically safe—you can still get pregnant or get a disease. You can also get hurt emotionally because research shows that the relationship is not likely to last and the sexual partner will leave you for someone else.”
HIS, Teacher’s Manual, p. 9
“Condoms can never protect someone from the emotional problems that can result from multiple sexual partners and premature sexual activity.”
Worth the Wait, Section 6-20.41
Containing Medically Inaccurate Information and Distorting Facts
“AIDS can be transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.”
Reasonable Reasons to Wait, Teacher’s Guide, Unit 5, pg. 19
(In truth, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be transmitted only through direct exchange of bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk.)
“Cervical cancer is positively correlated with promiscuous behavior and kills approximately 5,000 women a year.”
RRTW, Student Workbook, p. 119
“Any kind of sexual activity can spread STDs from one person to another.”
Game Plan, Coach’s Clipboard, p. 32
“Condoms are hailed today as the answer to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unwanted pregnancies. The facts are, however, that condoms don’t always prevent pregnancy and are ineffective against some of the most common, and most serious, STDs, such as human papilloma virus.”
Game Plan, Student Workbook, p. 36
(In fact, the most recent research available suggests that young women who use condoms are 70% less likely to contract HPV.)
Promoting Gender Stereotypes as Fact
“Men sexually are like microwaves and women sexually are like crockpots...men respond sexually by what they see and women respond sexually by what they hear and how they feel about it.”
WAIT Training, Workshop Manual, p. 194
“Girls need to be aware they may be able to tell when a kiss is leading to something else. The girl may need to put the brakes on first in order to help the boy.”
Reasonable Reasons to Wait, Student Workbook, p. 96
“Guys say sex is more physical, that they are driven by hormones and peer pressure. Girls say sex is an emotional experience, involving strong feelings.”
Choosing the Best LIFE, Leader Guide, p. 6
“Males will often have their first intercourse experience with a woman to whom he feels no particular attachment while females tend to have their first sexual experience with a man they love and may want to marry.”
Worth the Wait, Section 5-11
“Deep inside every man is a knight in shining armor, ready to rescue a maiden and slay a wicked dragon. When a man feels trusted, he is free to be the strong, protecting man he longs to be.”
Choosing the Best SOUL MATE, Leader Guide, p. 51
The tradition of lifting the veil shows that “the groom [is] the only man allowed to ‘uncover the bride,’” and demonstrates “her respect for him by illustrating that she [has] not allowed any other man to lay claim to her.”
Why kNOw?, 7th grade, p. 60
“Males and females are aroused at different levels of intimacy. Males are more sight orientated whereas females are more touch orientated. This is why girls need to be careful with what they wear, because males are looking! The girl might be thinking fashion, while the boy is thinking sex. For this reason, girls have a responsibility to wear modest clothing that doesn’t invite lustful thoughts.”
Heritage Keepers, Student Manual, p. 46
Using Fear and Shame to Motivate
“The only safe sex is in a marriage relationship where a man and a woman are faithful to each other for life.”
Game Plan, Student Workbook p. 38
“Each time a sexually active person gives that most personal part of himself or herself away, that person can lose a sense of personal value and worth. It all comes down to self-respect.”
Choosing the Best PATH, Teacher’s Guide, p. 7
“The positive association between abstinence and higher academic performance is likely to be due to the fact that both behaviors are fostered by important underlying personality characteristics.”
Aspire, Teacher’s Guide, p. 80
The consequences of pre-marital sex include “guilt, disappointment, worry, depression, sadness, loneliness, and loss of self-esteem.”
Choosing the Best JOURNEY, Leader Guide, p. 25
“[A sexually active teen] may turn inward, fail to develop healthy interests and relationships, fail to develop a personal, independent identity, experience feelings of betrayal that can lead to rage.”
Choosing the Best LIFE, Leader Guide, p. 8
In an exercise entitled “A Rose with No Petals,” the teacher is told to “hold up a beautiful rose.” Students are then told to pass the rose around the room with each student removing a petal. When the rose no longer has petals, the teacher must “share that the rose represents someone who participates in casual sex. Each time a sexually active person gives that most personal part of himself or herself away, that person can lose a sense of personal value and worth. It all comes down to self-respect.”
Choosing the Best PATH, Leader Guide, p. 7
“There will never be any form of birth control or protection that will teach faithfulness, trustworthiness, responsibility, and commitment.”
Why kNOw?, 6th grade, p. 34
“WARNING! Going on this ride could change your life forever, result in poverty, heartache, disease, and even DEATH.” It goes on to say that many “will board this ride and come out losers.”
Why kNOw?, 6th grade, p. 26
“If an adolescent is sexually active, he is no longer a challenge or different from the crowd. After a while, the teenager is no longer respected.”
RRTW, Teacher’s Manual, p. 3.27
“If [a girl] has been involved in sexual activity…sexually, she is no longer a virgin, she is no longer pure, unspoiled, fresh.”
HIS, Teacher’s Manual, p. 9
“But did you know that sexual activity outside of the commitment of marriage could put YOUR FUTURE at risk?”
Heritage Keepers, Teacher Manual, unnumbered page
Promoting One Lifestyle and Shaming Non-traditional Families
“When couples live together outside of marriage, the relationships are ‘weaker, more violent, less [equal], and more likely to lead to divorce’” and “People who live together before marriage experience ‘significantly more difficulty in their marriage with adultery, alcohol, drugs and independence [not wanting to depend on each other for anything] than those who do not live together.’”
Heritage Keepers, Student Manual, p. 26
“Teens in both one-parent and remarried homes typically display more deviant behavior and commit more delinquent acts than do teens whose parents stayed married. Studies show that two married, biological parents have the means and the motivation to appropriately monitor and discipline boys in ways that reduce the likelihood that they will pose a threat to the social order.”
WAIT Training 80/20 Manual, p. 44
“Sex can be only physical, or it can be part of a meaningful, committed relationship in a marriage.”
Choosing the Best PATH, Leader Guide, p. 32
“Unhealthy marriage and divorce are not random. By making good choices, developing my character, and learning healthy relationship skills now, I can greatly increase my chances of having a healthy, stable, lifelong marriage.”
Aspire, Teacher’s Guide, p. 56
Using Biased Language about Abortion
Possible side effects of abortion include “increased risk of breast cancer and infertility,” and “guilt over the decision to take the life of another human being, anxiety, coldness, depression, flash backs, eating disorders, drug abuse, and concerns over being able to have another child when ready.”
HIS, Teacher’s Manual, p. 42
“These two young parents put their child’s interests ahead of their own. If a young parent [would] rather kill their child than put it up for adoption it’s an indication of selfishness and lack of visions for their child.”
RRTW, Teacher’s Manual, p.8.21
The curricula referenced include:
- A.C. Green’s Game Plan (2007), written by Scott Phelps and Libby Gray, distributed by Abstinence and Marriage Education Resources, Glenview, IL.
- Aspire: Live Your Life. Be Free (2006), written by Scott Phelps, distributed by Abstinence and Marriage Education Resources, Glenview, IL.
- Choosing the Best PATH (2006), Choosing the Best LIFE(2006), Choosing the Best JOURNEY (2006),and Choosing the Best SOUL MATE (2004), written by Bruce Cook, distributed by Choosing the Best, Inc., Atlanta, GA.
- Healthy Image of Sex (2008),written by Pamela L. Jones and Sheri Few, distributed by Healthy Image of Sex, Lugoff, SC.
- Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education I (2004),written by Anne Badgley and Carrie Musselman, produced by Heritage Community Services, Charleston, SC.
- Reasonable Reasons to Wait, (2002-03), written by Maureen Gallagher Duran, distributed by A Choice in Education, Chantilly, VA.
- WAIT (Why AM I Tempted) Training (2003), written by Joneen Mackenzie, distributed by WAIT Training, Denver, CO.
- WAIT( Why AM I Tempted) Training 80/20 Manual (2009),produced and distributed by WAIT Training, Denver, CO.
- Why kNOw? (2002),written by Kris Frainie, distributed by Why kNOw Abstinence Education Inc., Chattanooga, TN.
- Worth the Wait (2003),written by Dr. Patricia J. Sulak, published and distributed by the Scott & White Sex Education program, Temple, TX.
Updated November 2010