Another one for the “duh” files, this isn’t exactly new news, but it’s good to repeat. Chastity pledges are bogus.
The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a “virginity pledge,” but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.
“Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior,” said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. “But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.”
In other words, chastity pledges and other such silliness do nothing to keep kids chaste, they do, however, increase the likelyhood that any sex they do have will be risky and have unfortunate consequences.
Why on earth are states (and the federal government) still funding abstinence-only education?! Uncle Sam gives $176 million of your tax dollars each year to fund ignorance as study after study comes out dispelling the efficacy of abstinence-only ed.
I consider condom and birth control use to be aspects of sexual behavior, so it seems to me that virginity pledges do make a difference—a negative one, a harmful one. It’s time to level with America’s moms and dads: It’s unlikely that your kids will save themselves until marriage—you didn’t, why should they? But if you want to make sure your kids arrive at the alter with a history of STIs and a baby or two in tow… by all means coerce them into making a “virginity pledge.”
Rosenbaum’s study isn’t the first to indicate that virginity pledges are ineffective. In 2005, a study by Yale and Columbia University researchers found that “adolescents who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to substitute high-risk sexual behaviors that increase the likelihood of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases.”
After a while, this just gets repetitious — the right insists that abstinence programs work, objective research shows they don’t. Conservatives, not satisfied, demand more objective research, which further proves abstinence programs don’t work. No evidence, no matter how overwhelming, seems to be enough.
But reality just won’t budge.
While the fact that virginity pledges and abstinence-only sex “ed” don’t stop teens from having sex is unsurprising, I doubt that even proponents are particularly surprised. They aren’t interested in abstinence, really, they’re interested in making sure “bad girls” get punished for having sex by being subject to the appropriate consequences. So it actually works as designed.