Behind the Headlines of Latest Virginity Pledge Study

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Monday, January 5, 2009

Behind the Headlines of Latest Virginity Pledge Study

Last week, there was a lot of discussion about the results of the latest study on the effectiveness of teen virginity pledges. This latest study found that essentially there was no difference in the percentage of teens who have premarital sex irregardless of if they had taken a virginity pledge. This, of course raised more opposition to funding of abstinence-only sex education.

What wasn't routinely mentioned in these articles was the fact that from the same study, it was found that religious teens on average, delay premarital sex some three years compared to their non-religious peers. True, this delay was not linked to virginity pledges, nor did it lessen the percentages of premarital sex in religious teens, but I'm still choosing to take the perspective that the delay is a positive aspect.

What really should be studied more closely is how religious teens who take virginity pledges, and have positive, values-based sex education discussions with their parents fare in terms of premarital sex percentages.

Study: Religious Teens More Likely to Abstain from Sex

Religious teens lose their virginity later than those who are not religious — waiting on average three years longer than their peers, a recent study reported.

Janet Rosenbaum, a post doctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, wrote in this month's issue of "Pediatrics" that those with strong religious backgrounds became sexually active at about 21 on average —regardless if they took a pledge to remain a virgin until marriage.

Overall, religious students, regardless of whether they take virginity pledges, are more conservative than their non-religious peers. When compared against national averages, "they are having sex an average of about three years later than the average American," Rosenbaum said.

"It is something that I think can be looked on as encouraging," she said. "Kids who are choosing to be religious are also choosing to abstain."

Source: Fox News,2933,475306,00.html

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