Talking to your kids about anything is a great idea, and talking to them about sex is an even better idea. However, telling them to wait until marriage may not only get them to roll their eyes and tune out, but studies show those who pledge to wait till marriage merely exchange vaginal intercourse for more risky behavior. Nevertheless, in another occasion of thumbing his nose at science, the Bush administration yes-men at the Department of Health and Human Services are wasting your tax dollars on a TV advertisement for just this kind of behavior.
"[T]eenagers who take "virginity pledges" ... are more likely to engage in oral or anal sex than nonpledging virgin teens and less likely to use condoms once they become sexually active..."
The study, which began producing results as long ago as 2004, shows these pledgers are sexually active but don't understand the continuum of risk among sexual behaviors including oral and anal sex and sex with professional sex workers.
Here's a pix below from the video, and the ad is available here:
According to Medical News Today,
The gap between pledgers and nonpledgers for high-risk behavior was statistically significant, with 2% of virgins who did not pledge reporting engaging in anal or oral sex, compared with 13% of those who did pledge [a 650% increase] (Washington Post, 3/19). According to [study scientist Hannah] Bruckner, the pledgers' increased likelihood of substituting oral or anal sex for vaginal intercourse puts them at risk of contracting STDs, according to Bruckner. Among virgins, boys who had pledged abstinence were four times as likely to have engaged in anal sex as those who did not pledge, and pledgers overall were six times as likely to have engaged in oral sex as teens who were virgins but did not take a pledge, the study found. In addition, teens who made virginity pledges were less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience and were less likely to get tested for STDs, the study found.
Peter Bearman, the chair of Columbia University's Department of Sociology, who co-authored the study with Hannah Bruckner of Yale, told CBSNews.com: "The point is, substantively, that if you knew someone who pledged, and you knew someone who didn't pledge, you had no basis for thinking that one of them would have an STD over the other," said .
"It's a tragedy if we withhold from these kids information about how not to get STDs or not to get pregnant," said Dorothy Mann, executive director of the Family Planning Council, an organization dedicated to reproductive health services.
This is another shot across the bow from the administration to our nation's once-mighty scientific community to serve an ideology. The casualties in the well-documented War on Science include global warming to prevent deadly climate change, stem cell research to prevent debilitating disease, and Plan B pharmaceuticals to prevent abortion even while the FDA Commissioner buys up regulated company stock.
"Our national policies will not be revoked or modified even for scientists. If the dismissal of ... scientists means the annihilation of contemporary ... science, then we shall do without science for a few years."