Thursday, March 24, 2005

Be careful what you wish for

According to a long-term study of 12,000 adolescents published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health,
[t]eens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases[, AP reported last Friday]. ...

[T]eens pledging virginity until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse. That behavior, however, "puts you at risk," said Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale and one of the study's authors.
What's more, the pledging group was both less likely to use condoms during their first experience and less likely to get tested for STDs, which likely goes a long way toward explaining a previous finding that the rate of STDs among pledgers was as high as among the general adolescent population. Oh, any by the way,
[l]ast year, the same research team found that 88 percent of teens who pledge abstinence end up having sex before marriage, compared with 99 percent of teens who do not make a pledge.
As usual, the simple-minded, ignorance-celebrating nostrums of the right are a failure at everything except demonstrating the Law of Unintended Consequences.

Footnote, Don't Confuse Him with Facts Div.: The article also quotes Leslee Unruh, president of the National Abstinence Clearinghouse, as calling
the study "bogus," disputing that those involved had pledged true "abstinence."

"Kids who pledge abstinence are taught that any word that has 'sex' in it is considered a sexual activity," Unruh said. "Therefore oral sex is sex, and they are staying away."
"I did not have sex with that abstainer."

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