I used to post here years ago, and read something in Psychology today that made me think of comming back.
They had a blurb about a study that has proven that teens who make virginity pledges are likely to break the pledge within a year, and that they are less prepared when their first time comes. Meaning, the don't practice safe sex and use condoms or other forms of birth control. The study also found that about 50 percent who claimed to have kept their oath practiced oral sex regularly.
we learnined in health class that people had three different ways to think about sex yes I will have sex no I will not have sex and I am not sure if I will have sex
and that the last one was the most dangerous since those were the poeple who didnt use protection or practise safer sex. The people who were sure they wanted to have sex were more often prepared and the people who chose not to just didnt have sex.
We never learned about using protection for oral sex in health class. We never learned about oral sex though. Just it was kinda mentioned and that was it.
And that's really a big part of the problem. Too many people -- kids, parents, tearchers and school administrators -- seem to think that oral, or even anal, sex aren't actually sex, because it isn't your traditional penis-in-vagina penetration, so therefore, it certiantly can't carry a pregnancy risk or -- more importantly -- a STD risk. It's a mindset, IMHO, that has been perpetuated for years, and really, is one that should come to an end.
To addend what Etch brought up, a lot of schools and religious-based lobbiest groups use the "virginity pledge" as a means to ensure abstience, which they usually back up with an education program strictly based upon abstience. So, really, the big problem is that a great many of those who do in fact pledge to keep their virginity aren't informed of safer-sex choices and practices, so when they realize they're ready (or, even not ready but proceed anyway) for sex, they don't have the knowledge that is vital for their sexual safety.
------------------ Tim, as in "Donate" Scarleteen Advocate
Several studies have shown those results over the years. Chastity campaigns through history have always had similarly disastrous results.
Heck, I could be dating and sleeping with all the women I'd like right now and have a "chastity pledge" and I'd be as chaste as a good majority of the folks making them.
...which is to say, not very chaste at all.
The trouble with that approach is the either/or. Imagine what people could learn if given the clear message that however many or little boundaries they need/want are all EQUALLY okay, for any reason they choose, and that most of the time, there are ways of managing any degree of limits and boundaries safely, sanely and ethically.
Of course, it might also help if we all were to approach sexuality without thinking it ditry, approach men and especially women's sexual bodies as something other than conquests or possessions, if we were all able to make sexual choices and not need validation or reinforcement for them outside ourselves ... the works.
And plenty of us do. One can only hope that in due course, the majority will come back round to it: these things tend to cycle a lot.
In defense of those who make virginity/chastity pledges and actually KEEP them, there are those who do. I think one reason that many go back on their pledges is that their either didn't fully think it out in the first place, to decide if they were sure they were ready to promise something, or that they only did it because many others were or to make themselves look admirable or self-disciplined. I signed a pledge (True Love Waits, to be specific) when I was 12, and for the past 6 years I have kept it. My boyfriend never actually signed anything, but he made a mental pledge as well, and has kept it for all 17 years of his life. I think another problem that teens who make purity pledges make is that they ONLY have rules regarding sex. Anything up until that point is "okay", and "other stuff" happens a lot, sex seems like not such a big deal. To avoid this, me and Chris, even after 9 months, don't even kiss a whole lot, or allow our hands to wonder over each others bodies and the like. I even know teens who won't even date till they feel they are mature enough to enter into a relationship that could result in marriage (basically, a life-long commitment).
I agree that it's frustrating to find out that someone who has pledged purity/virginity/chastity is engaging in oral sex. To me, I just wonder why they don't go all the way, since they're already so close. But anyways, being the pro-waiting advocate I am, I couldn't pass up the chance to defend those teens who pledge, sincerely mean it, and sincerely try every day to abide by it. I know several guys, most of whom are high school seniors now, who have maintained their pledges even when their guy friends have been doing whatever they please. I also know several girls (although most of them are a bit younger) who have stuck to their pledges so far.
Finally, I think one thing that those who implement abstinence programs forget is follow-up. You can't just hand someone a card, have them sign it, and think they'll be able to remember or maintain it until it has been fulfilled. Over the past several years, I have been around encouraging adults and even other teens who have kept the pledge fresh in my mind and important to me. As much as I don't want to admit it, I may have given in some time along the way if I didn't continually have someone guiding me.
quote:I think one reason that many go back on their pledges is that their either didn't fully think it out in the first place, to decide if they were sure they were ready to promise something, or that they only did it because many others were or to make themselves look admirable or self-disciplined.
But I get the impression that this often happens because of the way many programs push abstinence - it's not "decide not to be sexually active before marriage if you've thought it through and feel that's the right decision for you", it's pushed as "this is what everyone should be doing and you'll be cooler and better and morally superior if you do it".
If people are pushed into taking virginity pledges (or making any other sort of commitment) through that sort of external pressure, not because it's what they actually feel is right for them, it's not suprising that for many of them it doesn't "stick".
On the other hand, if programs pushed the idea that people should think seriously and go for what they feel is right for them, then they'd have to acknowledge that different people will come to different decisions, and that not everyone is going to have "abstinence until marriage" (or even marriage, full stop) as a goal to begin with.
[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 09-04-2003).]
I went through a program (I think it was true love waits) With my best friend at her church when I was 15. In this program I was told that sex can be degrading to women unless they are married. How its against God. How if you engage in premarital sex you WILL get STDs and pregnant. They also said condoms and birth control are essentially myths. They handed us candy bars and said we should keep these until we get married, and I can't even remember the reason why. I was told sex can't be satisfying unless you are married.
I decided not to finish the program because they were telling us to be abstinent for reasons I felt very uncomfortable with. I was the only drop out.
And out of the 10 or so kids in that program, only 2 are still abstinent today. (this was about 3 years ago.) One has had a baby girl at the age of 17 with a guy who she barely knew. Another (my best friend actually) Ended up unprepared for sex and never used a condom. She ended up feeling horribly guilty for breaking her pledge, then two weeks later had an unprotected 3some with two guys she just met off the internet. She didn't even know that birth control was available at planned parenthood a 1.5 miles from her house.
All of these people seemed wholehartedly into their pledges at the time they made them.
I am not saying people don't keep their pledges. What I am saying is that a lot of these kids are totally unprepared for what is ahead of them. Bluefreak, you seem like one of them who is prepared.
And I find it offensive to say its not pleasurable before marriage, making love with my boyfriend is one of the most satisfying activities for me right now. I also think its rediculous that they find birth control unnecessary after marriage. What if you dont want kids? Sex is more than just procreative, and teaching is as simply that can have dangerous consequences, which is what this is all about.
Also, schools which have abstinence only sex education have higher rates of teen pregnancy. On a smaller scale, I went to such a school district for my last 2 years of highschool. One teacher didnt follow the rules and taught about birth control, and how sex is something that some teens will do and they need to be informed. He kept tabs on all his students and he never had a pregnant teen student who didnt plan to get pregnant. The other teacher had 5 students pregnant by their senior year (just in my class) because all he ever said about sex is don't do it. But that is definately not scientific, just anectdotal.
I'm with Bluefreak on this one. There are definately many great advantages to abstinence and sexual purity. Many religions are hard-core against pre-marital sex, and when their followers make a vow of abstinence, they are also promising sexual purity, which somewhat varies person-to-person, but would almost deifantely exclude oral sex. These people who make vows and either break them or take them to the edge really didn't know what they were doing, or else just didn't care. And I also don't think that more sex ed is the answer to lowering pregnancy rates and STD's. Most teens already know the consequences, and encouraging sexually active teens to use condoms and birth control rather than to quit sleeping with each other only leaves more room for error. Sexual intercourse is one of the most intimate things a man and a woman can share, and most teens aren't ready for that kind of emotional baggage. Balancing encouraging abstinence with educating about safe sex is what I consider the best way to go. But that's just me.
------------------ Work like you don't need the money, love like you've never been hurt, and dance like no one's watching
Thing is, most studies and historical evidence from the current and previous attempts at chastity campaigns, Amish, as well as studies on sex ed over the last few decades, show us clearly that sex ed IS what works, especially when it's put in an environment in which sex of all sorts is not made taboo, and when that environ is pragmatically based, rather than based in moral judgements or a very wide brush of generalities about sexual experiences and relationships that just don't hold water outside individual experience. The pregnancy rates, for instance, have never been lower since the 50's than during the peak of comprehensive sex education. These last few years following the most recent chastity campaigns, and the removal of national funding for comprehansive sex ed, have only shown us a rise in the rates of pregnancy and STIs among youth.
And what those studies also show us -- as well as every day at a site like this one -- is that most teens very much do NOT know and truly understand very much about human sexuality, safer sex and birth control at all.
To boot, LOTS of things can be very intimate. And most people through their lives find that heterosexual intercourse is no more or less so than not only other sexual activities, but than other aspects of relationships in general. As well, let's do remember that many of us on the planet aren't in heterosexual realtionships, so statements like, "Sexual intercourse is one of the most intimate things a man and a woman can share," just aren't relevant.
As an addition, biologically speaking, adolescents are going to be sexually active in various ways. They have been since the dawn of humankind, and as we've evolved, that's only happened later, not earlier: it is a biological imperative -- in terms of reproduction and mating and bonding in general -- for members of a species to be sexually active during their most fertile years.
I agree, providing the information and teaching folks about readiness and encouraging them to wait for sexual activities until they're ready IS the best way to go. But the thing is, you can't generalize readiness, the same way you can't generalize what is or is not intimate experience.
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