The National Survey on Family Growth released a report yesterday on sexual behavior, sexual attraction, and sexual identity in the U.S. Of all the trends profiled in this report, one has captured the attention of most media: abstinence is on the rise among young adults. As the Washington Post reported:
Among the findings of a sweeping federal government survey of American sexual behavior is one that may surprise those bewailing a permissive and eros-soaked popular culture: More than one-quarter of people interviewed in their late teens and early 20s had never had sex.
And the number was growing.
The latest round of the quaintly named National Survey of Family Growth found that among 15-to-24-year-olds, 29 percent of females and 27 percent of males reported no sexual contact with another person ever - up from the 22 percent of both sexes when the survey was last conducted in 2002.
"The public's general perception is that when it comes to young people and sex, the news is bad and likely to get worse," said Bill Albert, chief program officer of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, an advocacy organization in Washington.
The seventh and latest round of the survey, first done in 1973, provides a corrective to that view.
"Many, many young people have been very receptive to the message of delaying sexual activity," Albert said. "There's no doubt about it." He added that the nearly 40 percent reduction in teen pregnancy since the 1990s - which experts attribute to both increased condom use and increased abstinence - represents "extraordinary progress on a social issue that many once considered intractable."
That young adults see the value of abstinence may be a surprise to some, but around Citygate's offices it's what we've been focused on for the last few months. I've been working with director Suzanne Taylor on her film, The Road We Know, which is about a group of young adults in Botswana who are facing the second-highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in the world and boldly advocating for behavior change in a culture where it's taboo to talk openly about sex and disease. I'd like to introduce them to you through two short videos: an opening excerpt where their passion for their message is evident and the current production trailer for the unfinished film.
If you like what you see, you can become a patron of the film through Indiegogo. Your support would be so meaningful to us! Please help us spread the news about the film. Any financial and prayer support would be wonderful in these final stages of film production!
Photo: A production still from THE ROAD WE KNOW.