Teen Chastity Vows Don't Last?

Filed in Gather News Channel by on December 30, 2008 0 Comments

A new study released Dec. 29 found that a popular method of promoting abstinence — pledging to remain a virgin — doesn’t appear to be the answer. To reach this conclusion, Janet Rosenbaum, a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed information gathered from nearly 1,000 teenagers, of which approximately 30% took a virginity pledge. Parsing the data, Rosenbaum found that the teenagers who took chastity vows were just as likely to have premarital sex as their peers—and significantly less likely to use protection.

Five years later, pledgers and non-pledgers don’t differ at all in their sexual behavior. That includes oral and anal sex, which previous studies had speculated might be used as substitutes for vaginal intercourse. In this data, that seems not to be upheld. They don’t differ in their age of sexual initiation; both groups initiated around 21 years old. That shows that this is quite a conservative group, because that’s four years later than the American average.

Read the rest of the story at Time.com.

It doesn’t surprise me that teenagers who take virginity pledges are just as likely to have premarital sex as the ones who don’t. But I am surprised that the average age in both groups is 21. Most people (male and female) that I knew in high school had sex much earlier than that. We were probably a lot closer to the American average of 17. Many of us were married and/or had kids by the time we were 21. 

I wonder how they picked the 1000 teenagers used in the study?

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