Sunday, November 25, 2007

Purity Balls and teen abstinence

Apparently, tis the season for follow-ups.

In this earlier post I talked about teen abstinence and how's it's not effective at preventing teen pregnancy.

This story caught my eye.

In the US, about 10% of boys and 16% of girls have taken the virginity pledge. It’s little wonder this is so popular — organisations that promote sexual abstinence get substantial funding from the government.

Not exactly high numbers. Even with Federal funding, it doesn't seem like it's that popular of a program. Still, to each their own.

So, how's that working out?

Columbia University’s Peter Bearman and Yale’s Hannah Br├╝ckner have carried out one of the largest studies on teenage sexual behaviour, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. According to this, 88% of the young people who have pledged to remain virgins until their marriage do have sex earlier.

And later in the article:

The US’s Guttmacher Institute has discovered through research that the highest percentage of teenage pregnancies occurs in Mississippi, Arizona and Arkansas — the religious states where sexual abstinence is promoted as the only option.

It seems that teenagers who have taken the virginity pledge have just as much anal and oral sex, as a means of avoiding vaginal sex, as their peers who haven’t taken the oath.

To most people, I don't think this is a shock. Humans are wired for sex as a means of propagating the species. Duh.

When we ignore that, we as a society suffer through higher rates of unplanned pregnancy among young people.

I'm old enough to remember the criticism of liberals as out of touch with human nature. It's hard, now, to not apply that same criticism to those who promote abstinence as the only means of preventing unwanted pregnancy.

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