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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Virginity Pledges

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Surprise, most teens do not keep virginity pledges! According to another recent article in the Washington Post, teens who take virginity pledges are just as likely to have sex as teen who don't make such promises, but they are less likely to use condoms and birth control to prevent sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy.

The latest research to document this phenomenon was published in the January 2009 issue of Pediatrics and reflected results from 934 high school students. Dr. Janet Rosenbaum, from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health matched students who had taken a virginity pledge with those who had not and after five years found no difference between the groups on how many had participated in oral, anal, or vaginal sex before marriage. The groups had the same average number of sex partners and had started having sex at the same age.

So, when will abstinence-only education be dismantled? How many of these articles have to be published before schools, parents and politicians agree that teens should be encouraged to delay sexual activity but also need to be well-educated about the importance of preventing sexually transmitted infection and early pregnancy?
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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.

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