This House would only teach abstinence for sex education in schools

The debate between "comprehensive sex education" (also just called "sex education") and "abstinence-only education" is long-standing in the United States, and exists in many other societies around the world that are split between more sexually progressive groups and those that generally oppose pre-marital sex. Comprehensive sex education programs, at least in the United States, generally emphasise that abstaining from sex is the safest way to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. However, comprehensive programs differ from abstinence-only programs in that they also encourage the use of condoms or other forms of contraception.   Abstinence-only programs are much more conservative and limited in scope, teaching abstinence from sex, usually until marriage, as a means of avoiding the risk of pregnancy and STDs and of enjoying other considered benefits such as a more unique sexual bond with one's ultimate partner.

When constructing affirmative and negative cases, debaters should consider the wide range of perspectives from which these issues can be understood. This debate brings together many fields of study, including sexual culture, marital culture, faith, human instincts, pregnancy, disease, and parental-school-state roles. Debaters should also be clear exactly what they are arguing for. Although abstinence-only programs are generally thought of as quite conservative, this need not prevent an affirmative team including the discussion of STIs and their effects as part of these programs. Opposition side teams should be prepared to discuss the social and value-led implications of teaching children about the threat of STIs in order to deter them from engaging in pre-marital sex.

Affirmative debaters should be prepared for Negative debaters who attempt to argue that the affirmative team should advocate fairly traditional abstinence-programs, and cannot design a program so liberal as to be nearly identical to sex-ed programs.

Debaters should also consider what age group they are discussing: the arguments for abstinence-only with young children may be substantially different than those with older teenagers. Given that the resolution does not specify the age range, it is up to the Affirmative to either defend abstinence-only in general in primary and secondary schools, or to provide solid justification for limiting the debate.


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