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Love makes teen sex less academically harmful, study says – CNN.com

Posted: August 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Briefs | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

A new study has "raise[d] some doubts about abstinence-only education programs that link all types of adolescent sex to a wide variety of problems for teens." The study, conducted by Eric Grodsky and Bill McCarthy and released at the annual American Sociological Association's meeting, found that teen sex is not inherently a bad omen for educational achievement. "The authors say students who have sex only with romantic partners have generally similar academic outcomes as students who abstain from sex," CNN reports. The study highlights the reality that the context of sexual activity greatly affects the outcome, positively or negatively. It revelaed "students who describe their sexual activity in terms of 'hook-ups,' 'friends with benefits' or 'bed buddies' are more likely to suffer a negative impact on their education," such as an increased chance of dropping out of school or a lower overall GPA. In other words, sex isn't the problem, lack of mutually rewarding relationships is. Duh!

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Update: We learned thanks to Heather Corinna that, as the media is wont to do, this study was severely misrepresented by journalists all over the place. In her analysis, Heather writes: “Some reporting and discussion of the findings suggests that big differences were found with academics for young people who had sex in non-romantic contexts and those who either have not had intercourse or who have done so in romantic contexts. But the study and the authors’ comments don’t appear to make that statement at all.” There’s a lot more, such as the fact that despite media reports to the contrary, the study never uses the word “causes” to indicate any harmful connection between teen sex and academic achievement, nor does it actually ever use the word “committed” to describe the relationships studied. Poor media reporting about sex and young people, and about young people’s sexuality in particular, is incredibly—infuriatingly—common.



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