Virginity Pledgers Have Lower STD Rates and Engage in Fewer Risky Sexual Behaviors
The Heritage Foundation, 06/14/05
For more than a decade, organizations such as True Love Waits have encouraged young people to abstain from sexual activity. As part of these programs, young people are encouraged to take a verbal or written pledge to abstain from sex until marriage.
An article by professors Peter Bearman and Hanna Bruckner in the April 2005 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health strongly attacked virginity pledge programs and abstinence education in general. The article stated that youth who took virginity pledges had the same sexually transmitted disease (STD) rates as non-pledgers. It also strongly suggested that virginity pledgers were more likely to engage in unhealthy anal and oral sex. The report garnered widespread media attention across the nation. A reexamination of the data, however, reveals that Bearman and Bruckner’s conclusions were inaccurate. Moreover, in crucial respects they deliberately misled the press and public.
Other highlights from the article:
- It is junk science, a willful deception of the American public.
- On average, individuals who took virginity pledges as adolescents were 25 percent less likely to have STDs as young adults than non-pledgers from identical socioeconomic backgrounds.
- Pledgers are also less likely to engage in sex while in high school, less likely to experience teen pregnancy, less likely to have a child out-of-wedlock, less likely to have children in their teen and young adult years, and less likely to engage in non-marital sex as young adults.
Read the full story here.