Abstinence works every time it's used - which isn't often.

I know a very religious person who once told me that he didn't believe in teaching 'safe sex'. To him, it meant teaching promiscuity. My understanding of his position on this matter is that he refuses to teach his children about condoms, birth control, and sexual responsibilities.

His method of teaching his children about sex included teaching them about sexually transmitted diseases, and abstinence until marriage. I rather doubt that he defined sex to his kids - which would allow his kids to use President Clinton's definition of sex.

I asked him what he proposed to do about the spread of AIDS in the world - his answer is that abstinence works every time it's used.

I agree completely.

The problem is that kids who pledge abstinence until marriage tend to 'forget' in the heat of the moment, and suddenly find out that they are ill prepared to cope.

The Harvard School of Public Health just posted a press release about an analysis of data taken from a premarital sex survey. The official publication is in the June edition of American Journal of Public Health, a peer-reviewed science journal. I've found some of the statements in the press release very interesting.
  • Adolescents who sign a virginity pledge and then go on to have premarital sex are likely to disavow having signed such a pledge.
  • Adolescents who have already had sex and then decide to sign a virginity pledge are likely to lie about their earlier sexual history.
  • Adolescents who have signed a virginity pledge after having been sexually active will underestimate the risk of sexually transmitted diseases from their previous sexual behavior. They tend to believe that they are no longer a risk of carrying STDs. Since these adolescents on average had at least two sexual partners before signing a pledge, their belief of being STD free is unfounded, and perhaps dangerous to future sexual partners.
  • The majority of Adolescents who make a virginity pledge recant their vows within a year.
The conclusion seems to be that you can't trust adolescents to accurately self-report their history of sexual intercourse. And you can't trust adolescents to maintain their virginity pledges.

Ronald Regan coined the phrase, "Trust, but verify." Perhaps we should coin a phrase in the same vein, "Sign a virginity pledge, but carry a fresh condom in your wallet anyway."

Perhaps it could save a kid's life.


Anonymous said...

From the "Medical News Today" article

[Teenagers who take an abstinence or virginity pledge] ...are more likely to engage in oral or anal sex than nonpledging virgin teens and less likely to use condoms once they become sexually active, according to a study published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health

Anonymous said...

Yea, I read that too.

Abstinence pledges don't work. It's like I heard it said on the Stephanie Miller show the other day, in my youth I took an "Anti-Abstinence" pledge, as did most of my friends.

Most of us were not able to break that pledge all through high school.

But as one of my friends told me, today's world is a much different place.