The opposite of what most people search the internet for...
May 9, 2018 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Parents, teachers, health educators - do you have any recommendations for online videos that teach abstinence, appropriate for a high school audience?

I'm asking this question on behalf of a friend who is involved with a school system operating under a legal requirement that all sex ed must be comprehensive and include some component on abstinence. Complicating factor: The abstinence content has to be presented/taught by someone who does not approach the topic, and is not, or does not appear to be, fundamentally motivated by religious beliefs. So: Yes to videos of teachers, doctors, health educators, etc., no to nuns, priests, etc. even if they present the topic from a purely medical- or fact-based position.

The school is refreshing their sexual education content. They've already found printed material and identified potential live speakers, but are also interested in finding some good online videos that could be included. Free is best, but some funds could be found if the material was really great.

Any recommendations?
posted by NotMyselfRightNow to Education (4 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Here's one from Planned Parenthood. PP is awesome and also can be an alienating lightning rod so this video might not be the best for a school setting. (There are very good non-PP videos, and I'll poke around some more and come back.)

As your friend evaluates videos they come across, here are some tips to watch for. Basically, the framing for abstinence in the context of good, comprehensive sex education is that:

1) It's a healthy choice. Watch your biases on both sides. About half of students in any given high school have had not had sex yet.

2) it's not always a choice (assault/abuse), so putting it as "the best" choice is pretty traumatizing for some youth.

3) Also be mindful not to alienate students who have had sex because it's not the only responsible choice.

4) As a method to prevent pregnancy and STDs, it has a high failure rate--so again, teaching respectful consent and listening skills and communication skills the young person is extremely important.

5) If there are references to "sexual risk avoidance" in any of the literature/website/"About" section/video instruction, AVOID that video. It's the new rebranding from the (unethical) Abstinence Until Marriage (AUM) proponents.

I have more thoughts but have to run for a while. (BTW, this exact issue of sex ed in schools has been my career specialization for like 10+ years).
posted by Stewriffic at 8:37 AM on May 9, 2018 [15 favorites]

Also, if you want to send me a memail and let me know what state, I might know someone your friend can consult with directly with local expertise and a birds eye view of policy and potential pitfalls.
posted by Stewriffic at 8:39 AM on May 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

OK, I looked through my go-to resources, and I was wrong. There just aren't many stand-alone abstinence videos that aren't total crap. A lot of that is b/c you can most effectively approach the topic from a health (not religious/moral) perspective by weaving it throughout the instruction. It's also less of a political approach that way. Natural matches for abstinence are topics like consent, communication skills, and decision-making.

So in lieu of videos, I'll point you to a few resources for your friend that I trust and that have been very attractive to schools, in my experience. The Rights, Respect, Responsibility curriculum is free, comprehensive, up-to-date, medically accurate, does not require training, is age-appropriate in scope and sequence, and is aligned with the National Sex Education Standards. You can also use the lessons as stand-alones. This is my #1 go-to.

FLASH is another curriculum that I like. Pros: Good quality, affordable Cons: Not free for High School level.

The state's department of education likely has someone there who your friend can call for resources. Some states have regional teacher professional development providers that can recommend resources. Different states are organized in different ways.

Hope that helps.
posted by Stewriffic at 9:30 AM on May 9, 2018 [5 favorites]

Maybe check out the Our Whole Lives curriculum? It has a faith-based component, but that’s an add-on; it’s based around US national standards for sexuality education, and education on abstinence is integrated as one possible choice students might make about sexuality.
posted by epj at 3:13 PM on May 9, 2018

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