The failure of abstinence in sexual politics 2005-03-21

According to a report by Yale and Columbia University researcheers many who pledge abstinence are at risk for STDs.

Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study. Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge.

I'm not the slightest bit surprised by this - they're comparing people of which a large part are likely to have pledged abstinence because of expectations from relatives and social groups around them.

What is most worrying though is this bit:

The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the researchers found.

Again, this is not really surprising, as if you've been pressured into pledging abstinence you're not very likely to be in an environment where you have learned about the risks of STD's and pregnancy or where you are willing to take the risk of your parents and other relatives and "friends" finding out about your sexual escapades.

Abstinence didn't work previously in history, and there's no reason to believe it will work now - unless you force girls to commit to checks to verify their hymen is intact or similar barbaric practices.

It is quite damning how few "succeed", though:

Last year, the same research team found that 88 percent of teens who pledge abstinence end up having sex before marriage, compared with 99 percent of teens who do not make a pledge.

Nice work. So instead of having as many teens having sex, but being well informed about STD's and way of protecting themselves, you instead have a slightly lower number having riskier sex and going into their first sexual experiences largely clueless about the risks and consequences.

The hypocrisy of religious groups that are highly likely to be "pro-life" abortion opponents supporting "sexual education" programs that make unwanted teen pregnancies more likely is what I find most absurd.

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