PDA

View Full Version : Like A Virgin? A Lot More Than You Might Think.



Gingersnap
01-07-2009, 02:26 PM
Like a Virgin: The Press Take On Teenage Sex Yes, attitudes do make a difference in behavior.

By WILLIAM MCGURN

The chain reaction was something out of central casting. A medical journal starts it off by announcing a study comparing teens who take a pledge of virginity until marriage with those who don't. Lo and behold, when they crunch the numbers, they find not much difference between pledgers and nonpledgers: most do not make it to the marriage bed as virgins.

Like a pack of randy 15-year-old boys, the press dives right in.

"Virginity Pledges Don't Stop Teen Sex," screams CBS News. "Virginity pledges don't mean much," adds CNN. "Study questions virginity pledges," says the Chicago Tribune. "Premarital Abstinence Pledges Ineffective, Study Finds," heralds the Washington Post. "Virginity Pledges Fail to Trump Teen Lust in Look at Older Data," reports Bloomberg. And on it goes.

In other words, teens will be teens, and moms or dads who believe that concepts such as restraint or morality have any application today are living in a dream world. Typical was the lead for the CBS News story: "Teenagers who take virginity pledges are no less sexually active than other teens, according to a new study."

Here's the rub: It just isn't true.

In fact, the only way the study's author, Janet Elise Rosenbaum of Johns Hopkins University, could reach such results was by comparing teens who take a virginity pledge with a very small subset of other teens: those who are just as religious and conservative as the pledge-takers. The study is called "Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers," and it was published in the Jan. 1 edition of Pediatrics.

The first to notice something lost in the translation was Dr. Bernadine Healy, the former head of both the Red Cross and the National Institutes of Health. Today she serves as health editor for U.S. News & World Report. And in her dispatch on this study, Dr. Healy pointed out that "virginity pledging teens were considerably more conservative in their overall sexual behaviors than teens in general -- a fact that many media reports have missed cold."

What Dr. Healy was getting at is that the pledge itself is not what distinguishes these kids from most other teenagers. The real difference is their more conservative and religious home and social environment. As she notes, when you compare both groups in this study with teens at large, the behavioral differences are striking. Here are just a few:

- These teens generally have less risky sex, i.e., fewer sexual partners.

- These teens are less likely to have a teenage pregnancy, or to have friends who use drugs.

- These teens have less premarital vaginal sex.

- When these teens lose their virginity they tend to do so at age 21 -- compared to 17 for the typical American teen.

- And very much overlooked, one out of four of these teens do in fact keep the pledge to remain chaste -- amid much cheap ridicule and just about zero support outside their homes or churches.

Let's put this another way. The real headline from this study is this: "Religious Teens Differ Little in Sexual Behavior Whether or Not They Take a Pledge."

Now, whatever the shock that might occasion at CBS or the Washington Post, it comes as no surprise to parents. Most parents appreciate that a pledge of virginity -- a one-time event that might be made at an emotional moment in a teen's life -- is not some talisman that will magically shield their sons and daughters from the strong and normal desires that grow as they discover their sexuality. What these parents hope to do is direct these desires in a way that recognizes sex as a great gift, which in the right circumstances fosters genuine intimacy between a man and a woman and at its freest offers the possibility of new life.

Interesting. :)

WSJ (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123120095259855597.html)

RobJohnson
01-07-2009, 03:54 PM
In some peer cirlces the pressure is encouragement to stay pure, and it helps many young people do just that!

biccat
01-07-2009, 04:23 PM
In some peer cirlces the pressure is encouragement to stay pure, and it helps many young people do just that!
In (one of) my circle of friends during High School, the idea of having sex in High School was ridiculed.

We certainly weren't a bunch of religious nuts or outcast dorks. Both guys and girls were included, and most dated regularly, either in multiple relationships or long standing ones. No matter the circumstances, most of us were virgins, and proud of it.

And this was during the '90s!

linda22003
01-07-2009, 04:25 PM
In (one of) my circle of friends during High School, the idea of having sex in High School was ridiculed.



We would have ridiculed that too, in the seventies. Those wooden desks were uncomfortable.

biccat
01-07-2009, 04:28 PM
We would have ridiculed that too, in the seventies. Those wooden desks were uncomfortable.

Had they invented wooden desks when you were going to high school? I figured they would have used piles of rocks.

linda22003
01-07-2009, 04:29 PM
Nope. Those would be uncomfortable, too.

biccat
01-07-2009, 04:32 PM
Nope. Those would be uncomfortable, too.
How this country ever got through that decade, I have no idea.

Must have been lots and lots of acid.

noonwitch
01-07-2009, 04:51 PM
In (one of) my circle of friends during High School, the idea of having sex in High School was ridiculed.

We certainly weren't a bunch of religious nuts or outcast dorks. Both guys and girls were included, and most dated regularly, either in multiple relationships or long standing ones. No matter the circumstances, most of us were virgins, and proud of it.

And this was during the '90s!


I know what you mean. None of my friends in high school were having sex with their boyfriends-there were some girls who were, though. The ones who only had sex with their boyfriends only were not looked down on, but the ones who got around were ostracized as sluts. This was in 1978-82.

One of my friends got pregnant in 10th grade-she disappeared for the rest of the year, had her baby, gave it up and came back her junior year. 2 girls graduated with visable baby bumps, but they did graduate. My older brother's sometime girlfriend was a bit slutty (my brother had sex with her in our basement once, while both sets of parents were playing cards upstairs), but she was so nice that other girls didn't hate her for it. She's the one who got me to go to Young Life, too, which is kind of ironic. As I had a brother who was only one grade ahead of me and known to beat up boys who flirted with me, very few boys in school wanted to deal with that. I usually dated guys from other schools, for that reason.

wilbur
01-07-2009, 04:54 PM
I know what you mean. None of my friends in high school were having sex with their boyfriends-there were some girls who were, though. The ones who only had sex with their boyfriends only were not looked down on, but the ones who got around were ostracized as sluts. This was in 1978-82.

One of my friends got pregnant in 10th grade-she disappeared for the rest of the year, had her baby, gave it up and came back her junior year. 2 girls graduated with visable baby bumps, but they did graduate. My older brother's sometime girlfriend was a bit slutty (my brother had sex with her in our basement once, while both sets of parents were playing cards upstairs), but she was so nice that other girls didn't hate her for it. She's the one who got me to go to Young Life, too, which is kind of ironic. As I had a brother who was only one grade ahead of me and known to beat up boys who flirted with me, very few boys in school wanted to deal with that. I usually dated guys from other schools, for that reason.

I can't say it was much different in high school as it seems to be in adult hood.

Guys who sleep around are looked on as cool, suave, doing-what-guys-do, cute, manly, etc

Girls who sleep around are dirty, filthy, whores, bad news, sluts, tramps, skanks, bitches, trash, etc

Gingersnap
01-07-2009, 05:21 PM
I can't say it was much different in high school as it seems to be in adult hood.

Guys who sleep around are looked on as cool, suave, doing-what-guys-do, cute, manly, etc

Girls who sleep around are dirty, filthy, whores, bad news, sluts, tramps, skanks, bitches, trash, etc

It's not quite that simple or it isn't anymore, anyway. There are plenty of male sluts around and they aren't very highly regarded except by their fellow sluts. As for girls or women being considered skanks, well, you have to do more than just have a busy dance card to be a skank. Skandom goes way beyond promiscuity.

There have been some interesting studies on high school sexual behavior over the last few years but they don't get much notice in the media because the conclusions look racist and elitist. Basically, academically motivated students from middle class homes with ambitious parents delay reproductive sex for a long, long time. They also have fewer non-reproductive sexual encounters. This appears to be due to parental pressure. It's mostly white and Asian parents promoting the pressure currently.

noonwitch
01-08-2009, 09:27 AM
[QUOTE=Gingersnap;99124]It's not quite that simple or it isn't anymore, anyway. There are plenty of male sluts around and they aren't very highly regarded except by their fellow sluts. As for girls or women being considered skanks, well, you have to do more than just have a busy dance card to be a skank. Skandom goes way beyond promiscuity.QUOTE]


Skankdom-I love the word!

When I think of the epitome of skank, I think Courtney Love.

Gingersnap
01-08-2009, 09:52 AM
Skankdom-I love the word!

When I think of the epitome of skank, I think Courtney Love.

See, this is my point - Courtney is a lot more than just easy. She has many other qualities that elevate her to skankdom. :D

Loogie
01-09-2009, 01:00 PM
Great story, Gingersnap.

An interesting fact about that study, which was not mentioned in all of the slobbering liberal mainstream-media, is that those that took a vow of abstinence delayed sex until 21, which is 5 years later than those that didn't.

That fact is HUGE, in that 17 year-olds are still adolescents and 21 year olds are adults.
Adults are more likely to make better decisions overall.

Also: you folks talk as if skankdom is a bad thing...hey, it has uses... ;o)

wilbur
01-09-2009, 02:33 PM
One thing I didnt see mentioned anywhere... did both or either groups pledgers/non-pledgers receive abstinence only education? The study certainly shows the pledge doesnt mean much, but I wonder what kind of education they received.

Gingersnap
01-09-2009, 03:01 PM
One thing I didnt see mentioned anywhere... did both or either groups pledgers/non-pledgers receive abstinence only education? The study certainly shows the pledge doesnt mean much, but I wonder what kind of education they received.

The study abstract doesn't say. However, since most sex ed programs are comprehensive or comprehensive with a nod to abstinence as the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease, it's clear that comprehensive sex education also fails most health goals. STD rates are rising among teens even as vaginal intercourse rates are dropping among the academically ambitious.

Impulsiveness, perceived invulnerability, and drinking are all high level contributors to teen sex. Comprehensive sex ed doesn't really address these issues in a way that solves them. Most teens who contract diseases, have unwanted pregnancies, or suffer from emotional problems because of sex have had plenty of instruction on contraception, disease prevention, and peer pressure. It simply doesn't seem to work unless the teen has priority goals that make sex too risky. Most teens don't, of course.