Virginity pledgers end up in bed

Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are as likely to have premarital sex as similar teens who don’t take the pledge, a new study concludes.  However, the pledgers “are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control” when they have sex.

Researcher Janet Rosenbaum studied teens from 1996 to 2001, comparing pledgers and non-pledgers with similar characteristics on  100 variables, “including their attitudes and their parents’ attitudes about sex and their perception of their friends’ attitudes about sex and birth control.”

“This study came about because somebody who decides to take a virginity pledge tends to be different from the average American teenager. The pledgers tend to be more religious. They tend to be more conservative. They tend to be less positive about sex. There are some striking differences,” Rosenbaum said. “So comparing pledgers to all non-pledgers doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

By 2001,  there was no significant difference in the sexual behavior of those who’d pledged virginity and those who’d abstained from promises.

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  1. By focusing on the virginity issue, researchers may be ignoring the bigger issues:

    * Is there a difference in age of first intercourse?
    * Do the groups differ by number of partners?
    * Are the groups different in terms of commitment?
    * Do the groups differ in how likely they are to form a family unit following sex?
    * What are the outcomes of pregnancy?
    * What about STDs?

    Most parents aren’t just concerned about virginity; the bigger issue is clearly stating their expectations to their children, and providing support for a culturally unpopular choice.

  2. As long as the Virgin Pledgers are only having sex with each other, they won’t have to worry about the STD things.

  3. Linda:

    The study did look at the age of first intercourse, STDs and condom use (all of these mentioned in the article). There were no differences in age of first intercourse or STDs, although the pledgers were less likely to use condoms–which is apparently consistent with other research on those who are provided abstinence only education. The article does not go into all of the variables that you mention, but apparently the initial group was screened on about 100 variables to identify groups of similarly oriented young people. It also ended at a fairly young age (age 17, I believe), so it is not likely that family forming, or commitment could have been inferred.

  4. Mom in Georgia says:

    My daughter (15) has noticed that most of the Young Life and FCA officers at our school are “bad girls” fooling their parents with their offices and activities. Please don’t take this as an implication that ALL YL and FCA kids/officers are the same – just the experience this year at this school.

    Easy way to get your parents off your back and out of your ‘affairs’ – Virginity Pledge.

  5. Miller Smith says:

    Considering that sexual activity is one of the top genetic programs in every organism on Earth, a pledge by any group of organisms is just silly and a useless Endeavour on the part of society. IOW, a big waste of time and money.

    There is a reason that societies have, through history, punished unapproved sexual activity with very serious consequences to the point of expulsion and even death. Such consequences are the only actions beyond total oversight that limit the number of unwanted children in a society. Release the chains and the babies will flood us and disease will overcome us.

    If you truly want to reduce the unwanted sexual activity of children then you must have them under watch at all times. You must not have large amounts of time where the children are alone with each other. There must be a critical number of parents and adults around at all locations where children are required to be with isolation for those whom stray or rebel. There must not be ay inducements of any kind that could look attractive to a child or immature mind where having a baby seems to be a rational option.

    But we won’t do any of that any time soon, so we will wring our hands wondering what to do and wondering why each new program experiences a massive fail.

    Heck, one only has to look at the first commandment of the Judeo-Christian primary text to see that even the ‘god’ the pledgers pray to demanded that they “be fruitful and multiply.”

    When the adults abdicated their responsibility to watch over and educate their children to the government the results were never going to be good.