Friday, May 19, 2006

Go For It, Teenagers!

A recent study conducted by Janet Rosenbaum of the Harvard School of Public Health and appearing in the American Journal of Public Health resulted in many interesting findings, and naturally, even more interesting implications. The study surrounded "virginity pledges" in general. You know, those things where you vow not to have sexual intercourse until marriage...yeah, those.* Officially, the study described them as "a public or written pledge to remain a virgin until marriage."

The first thing they discovered was that the majority of the teenagers recanted their pledge within the first year. And those who were at one time sexually active and later took the pledge, were more likely to lie about their past sexual histories. And 73% of the ones who did have sex during their virginal tenure later lied about having pledged entirely.

However, the craziest thing Ms. Rosenbaum discovered was that the teenagers who had sex then refused to acknowledge it because of the new pledge actually believed that their new sexual history (read: we're virgins again!) was true...thereby grossly underestimating their risk for STDs. And anyway, all the girls I knew in high school that who were trying to preserve their virginity were still having oral and anal sex. Plenty of it.

Ms. Rosenbaum also wrote: "It's very tempting to craft stories about what may have been going on in these adolescents' minds as they changed their recollections, but [the] survey data doesn't give us enough information to substantiate the stories."

So, it seems that the teenagers who decided that being a good God-fearing Christian wasn't exactly the coolest thing to be were, like, totally kidding about all that lame virgin stuff.

*(I remember when these first came around my high school. I looked at the paper and saw intercourse and marriage and thought "well, none of this applies to me.")

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