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03/10/2004

To the Virgins, to Make Much of...well, something

Hard on the heels of Monday's orgy of confession comes this timely little news item:

Virginity pledgers' STDs not reduced

A researcher says 'Just say no' doesn't work in the long term, after finding that the rates of sex diseases for teens who pledge virginity until marriage and for those who don't are similar.

PHILADELPHIA - Teenagers who make a one-time pledge to remain virgins until marriage catch sexually transmitted diseases about as often as those who don't pledge abstinence, according to a study of the sex lives of 12,000 adolescents.

Those who make a public pledge to delay also wind up having fewer sex partners and get married earlier, the research shows. But the two groups' STD rates were statistically similar.

(Full story here.)

Item 1: Asking a teenager to be sexually abstinent is an awfully tall order. Asking a teenager to sign a public virginity pledge borders on insanity. When I was fifteen, I didn't even want to tell my parents what I did in school that day, much less announcing to the world my plans for sexual congress.

Item 2: The study found that teens who took a virginity pledge were less likely to use condoms than teens who planned to have sex, and suggested that would-be virgins paid less attention in sex education classes because they didn't expect to need information about safe sex and STDs.

Item 3: The study also found that would-be virgins married earlier than their peers who were under no such delusions. Just what America needs: a lot of torqued-up adolescents marrying young without first being sure they're compatible with their mate.

Item 4: The headlines that ran with this story in various outlets made my day: Virgin teens 'have same STD rate'. Study: 'Virgin' teens get STDs. Study examines STD rates of teen virgins. Like a virgin, but still with STD. I think "virgin" in quotes is a particularly nice touch. Do you think the copy chief at the Associated Press has a sense of humor?

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