Sexual Abstinence/Delayed Sexual Initiation

Abstaining from sex and/or delaying sexual initiation are important outcomes for sex education programs, although these outcomes may be difficult to achieve (Silva, 2004). Delaying sexual initiation is a reasonable goal when working with youth who have not generally begun to engage in sexual behavior. Increasing sexual abstinence is a reasonable goal for programs working with any population of sexually active teens.

Data on this indicator are typically obtained via self report questionnaires and may be collected at regular intervals, such as at the beginning, middle, and end of a program. If participants, on average, do not delay or abstain from sexual behaviors, program managers may want to assess problems related to program design, implementation, and quality.

By ChildTrends

Surveys / Assessments


Sources Cited

Silva, M. (2004). The effectiveness of school-based sex education program in the promotion of abstinent behavior: A meta-analysis. Health Education Research, 17, 471-481. Retrieved from