While doing research for a sex education editorial, I came across a statistic that genuinely shocked me: 97 percent of Americans have sex before marriage. By the age of 20, 75 percent of Americans have had premarital sex.
I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I thought it would be lower? I really shouldn’t be surprised though, seeing as we live in such a pleasure-seeking culture. What is even more surprising is this high of a premarital sex rate has essentially been the case for decades. So should anybody really be surprised that the United States continues to have one of the highest teen birth rates among developed countries?
More often than not, as is the case in Nebraska, schools are teaching students that sex is wrong so they shouldn’t do it. Whether that is your personal belief or not, the majority of teenagers don’t care. We’re not teaching students what they will ultimately need to know when the majority of them have premarital sex. Safe sex practices are not part of many abstinence-only sex education classes therefore teenagers are not learning how to prevent pregnancy. Not surprisingly, out of the 750,000 teen pregnancies that occur each year in the United States, 82 percent of them are unintended and over 25 percent end in abortion.
I’m a sucker for statistics but I know that there’s always more to the story than a bunch of percentages. However, in this case I really think the numbers speak for themselves.