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.