Teens who pledge virginity

Teens who take virginity pledges just as likely to have sex, less likely to use protection.

Teens who take virginity pledges are not less sexually active than those who do not pledge. However, they are less likely to protect themselves against disease and pregnancy during sex.

In a new study, "Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers," researchers analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on high school students who at the beginning of the study had never had sex or taken a virginity pledge. Students who reported a pledge in the second year of the study were matched with non-pledging students so pledgers and matched non-pledgers did not differ on over 100 pre-pledge characteristics.

Five years after pledging, pledgers and matched nonpledgers did not differ in premarital sex, sexually transmitted disease, and anal and oral sex activity. Pledgers had 0.1 fewer past-year partners, but did not differ in the number of lifetime sexual partners and age of first sexual experience. Pledgers were ten percentage points less likely to report using condoms in the past year than matched non-pledgers, and also less likely to report use of any form of birth control.

The study authors recommend that clinicians provide birth control information to all adolescents, especially virginity pledgers.

To view the abstract, "Patient teenagers? A comparison of the sexual behavior of virginity pledgers and matched nonpledgers" click here.

More in Student Hygiene