Virginity Pledges Don’t Work

The Jonas Brothers may lose their virginity sooner than they had planned — and maybe they’ll make some Jonas Bastard Babies while they’re at it. A recent federal study has discovered that teens who pledge virginity until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who don’t promise to wait until they’ve got a ring on it. They’re also much more likely to screw without condoms and other forms of birth control. “Taking a pledge doesn’t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior,” said study author Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking.” In fact, the number of students who reported condom use during sex was about 10 percent lower for those who had taken the pledge.These findings come as Congress and the Obama administration are about to reconsider the more than $176 million in annual funding for abstinence-focused sex-ed programs. “This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs,” says Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. “What have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until they are older, but then when they do become sexually active — and most do well before marriage — they don’t protect themselves or their partners?”

Predictably, proponents of such programs are up in arms over the study, dismissing it as “flawed.” Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association claims: “Abstinence education programs provide accurate information on the level of protection offered through the typical use of condoms and contraception. Students understand that while condoms may reduce the risk of infection and/or pregnancy, they do not remove the risk.” Seems like they’re getting that message loud and clear. [MSNBC]

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