I was raised with a sexually conservative mindset, thinking that sex was a good thing between couples but that I should try and wait until marriage ["7 Factors That Foster Teen Virginity, Pledge or No Pledge," usnews.com]. As I got older, I realized that I shouldn't feel like sex was completely wrong before marriage, since I finally met someone I loved enough to try it with. That relationship didn't work out, but I had many other experiences (taking precautions) before meeting my husband of 14 years (we lived together for a year before marriage, too). Sure, I'd like to see my child grow up with the idea that it's best to wait until marriage, but I won't be afraid to confront her with the truth and inform her of all the precautions she'll need to take. You have to prepare your children for any scenario. You'd do the same for any other situation in life.
Comment by Jen of MT
I find it interesting that anyone would mention, even subtly, the public-health benefits of having teens and young people act more conservatively in their sexual behavior. I'm glad it was mentioned. I've been reading statistics that 40 percent of women ages 20 to 25 have HPV, which can cause cancer and which, of course, is only one of many sexually transmitted diseases. That means a lot of men and women are spreading potentially deadly diseases and not protecting themselves or others. The public-health ramifications are great, from millions of dollars in medical treatments to even loss of young lives. A vaccine against one of these diseases is a band-aid on a larger problem. Perhaps we need a little less focus on having "positive self-esteem" no matter what our actions and a little more focus on choosing behavior that respects oneself and one's current and possibly future relationship partners, prospective children, etc. Wouldn't it be great if the media, schools, and other adults actively supported those who are trying to make the healthful, respectful choice to abstain from sexual contact while young? If there can be a gay-straight alliance at school, what can society do to encourage those choosing the very difficult path of virginity until marriage?
Comment by JG of CO
The teens who made virginity pledges not only had sex as often as teens that didn't, but they were significantly less likely to use condoms and other forms of birth control when they did. Having a negative attitude about sex and condoms doesn't lead to no sex; it leads to unsafe sex. Let's give kids all the information they need to make smart choices.
Comment by Steve of MA
This "study" is typical. They grossly skewed the results by excluding the average teen raised in a secular environment. Then, they trumpet the "results" in the media to try to make the point that pledges don't work and kids should have more "education" (read indoctrination). It is really an attack on values/religion-based families.
Comment by Heidi of CA
Why are having negative feelings about having sex a good lesson? This seems like a prescription for a future dysfunctional marriage. Sex is an important bonding component of a mature, healthy, committed relationship. I don't think instilling teens with negative feelings about sex is the solution; educating them about the life-altering ramifications of an untimely accident is.
Comment by Maggie of VA
Teens who are not predisposed to sexual activity probably are less likely to do it than those who are. No question about it. Now, how is it that somehow the mass media influence is entirely overlooked in this discussion? Sexual activity is a marketing tool, and billions are paid to use it to sell everything under the sun.
Comment by Dan of OR