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Study: Virginity Pledges Don’t Work

Confirming what many have been saying for years, a new survey finds that teenagers who pledge to forgo sexual activity until marriage were just as likely to

Anita Barnes
Last updated: Jul 31, 2020 | Dec 30, 2008

Confirming what many have been saying for years, a new survey finds that teenagers who pledge to forgo sexual activity until marriage were just as likely to engage in premarital sex as those who do not. Adolescents who take the pledge are also less likely than their peers to use birth control or condoms when they do have sex, according to the survey results. The study was published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

From Bloomberg:

The pledges, made orally or in writing, are viewed by advocates as buttressing federally funded education programs that say avoiding pre-marital sex rather than using protection will curb pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. President George W. Bush’s administration more than doubled the budget for abstinence-only education programs since 1999 to $204 million this fiscal year. More than a dozen states have rejected federal money rather than limit what is taught.

“The results suggest that the virginity pledge does not change sexual behavior,” wrote author Janet Rosenbaum, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “Clinicians should provide birth control information to all adolescents, especially abstinence-only sex education participants.”

A 2007 congressional study (PDF) found that abstinence-only programs have “no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence,” and students who participate in them become sexually active at the same age and have as many partners as students who participate in more comprehensive sex-ed programs. With Democrats set to control the presidency and both houses of Congress, these studies should spell the end for abstinence-only education.

Ironically, that could be good news for conservatives who are honest about their desire to decrease the number of abortions and curb the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases.

Anita Barnes | With over twenty years of professional experience in the design industry, I'm a web designer and front-end web developer. As a small business owner, I am familiar with the difficulties that come with running a business. One of those challenges is creating a strong online presence. One that not only represents your ever-changing brand and personality, but also appeals to your target audience. Throughout my web design career, I've built a distinct design style that emphasizes attention to detail. I assume that less is enough when it comes to design. You don't have to have all the bells and whistles only because you can. It's critical to figure out which elements are essential for getting your message through to your customers – and which ones are unnecessary. I'll assist you in sorting through the choices to see what works best for you.


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