Tuesday, December 30, 2008

You Know How I Know You're Gay?

You took a virginity pledge and thought it would actually work:

As many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they're married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?

A new study suggests that the answer is no. While teens who take virginity pledges do delay sexual activity until an average age of 21 (compared to about age 17 for the average American teen), the reason for the delay is more likely due to pledge takers' religious background and conservative views -- not the pledge itself.

According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don't take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.

How many more studies like this one do we need to conduct before people get it through their thick skulls that abstinence-only education and virginity pledges don't work? I understand that many people are religious and their religions try to enforce a bunch of illogical and archaic rules on them but this is irrefutable, scientific data, people! Hard numbers trump hopeful wishes! The human sex drive is one of our strongest and most powerful biological motivators; it's how our species has been able to successfully propagate our genes over the eons to become the big-brained, Earth-dominant species we are today (which also goes a long way towards explaining why it feels so damn good).

So yeah, let's flail against millions of years of evolution by trying to follow some outmoded rules in a heavily edited book written by some sexually repressed people a few thousand years ago and see just how well that works out in a modern society. Oh wait, we know exactly how well that works out: kids inevitably end up having sex anyway but are now woefully undereducated about contraception and birth control, leading to increased rates of pregnancy and abortions amongst unmarried teens.

I've never understood why the same people who are so vehemently against abortion rights for women are for the most part also the same ones who fight comprehensive sex education tooth and nail; I would think that reducing the amount of abortions in our society by the most effective means available would be as important to them as they proclaim but their repeated heedless actions in this respect seem to prove otherwise. Maybe this is why I have such a hard time taking organized religions seriously most of the time: besides the fact that I don't believe that innate human sexuality is somehow wrong or a sin, I just can't summon the requisite levels of hypocrisy and irrationality these organizations usually seem to require of their followers.


Van Zan said...

Often virginity pledges are called "purity pledges" ... and I don't need to list to you the notions and prejudices that are implicit in that term.

So here we are - in the social conservatives Utopia of denial followed by self-denial - at school everyday, learning grammar, math, history, sport, the national anthem...
...but surrounded by a kind of conspiracy to just let us find out about THAT OTHER THING by some random process.

It just doesn't make sense. If your society does not help transition adolescents to maturity through some kind of program, ritual or education, you're going to have a heap of trouble, one way or another.

Knowing about fucking... is a fucking important difference between being a kid and a grown-up!
There HAS to be some organized education around that to settle all the myths about storks or how your mom just found you at the supermarket one day.

Later, once you have the facts, and if it's in your personality to want to wait till you're married... well that's fine.
That carries risks too - which your pastor really isn't going to be able to help you with. But all choices carry some risk.

Anonymous said...

I have so many counter thoughts to this post that they'll simply have to wait for another day. I don't really know where I stand - formally - on what we need to teach in schools. My thoughts mostly revolve around the rest of your scattershot rant.