Put this in the “Nobody Could Have Predicted” File:
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence and are significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they do, according to a study released today.
The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a “virginity pledge,” but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.
It’s no surprise that the pledges don’t work, but I would also suggest that it’s no surprise that the kids who take the pledge are less likely to use birth control or condoms. After all, those taking the pledge are not a cross-section, they are drawn primarily from that sector of our population that believes in promoting ignorance, especially about sex and sexually transmitted disease. Add the hostility of those same groups to birth control in all forms, and it’s no surprise that the lapsed abstainers are less likely to be prudent. It’s actually a wonder that the disparity is so small.