Buggered Mind of Neale Sourna, The

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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Virginity Pledgers More Likely to Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior

Virginity Pledgers More Likely to Engage in Risky Sexual Behavior

3/18/2005 10:25:00 AM

To: National Desk

Contact: Adrienne Verrilli of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S., 212-819-9770; Web: http://www.siecus.org

NEW YORK, March 18 /U.S. Newswire/ -- A study released in the March 18, issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health by Hannah Bruckner of Yale University and Peter Bearman of Columbia University shows that young people who took "virginity pledges," public promises to remain virgins until marriage, are nonetheless at risk of engaging in unsafe sexual practices.

The research found that "pledgers" have the same rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) as their peers who had not pledged. Not only were pledgers less likely to use condoms to prevent STDs, they were less likely to seek medical testing and treatment, increasing possibility of transmission.

Furthermore researchers concluded that some pledgers engaged in alternative sexual behaviors in order to preserve their virginity. In fact, among those who had not had vaginal intercourse, pledgers are more likely to have engaged in both oral and anal sex than their non-pledging peers. The research shows that among virgins, male and female pledgers are six time more likely to have had oral sex than non-pledgers, and male pledgers are four times more likely to have had anal sex than those who had not pledged.

"This research confirms what we have known for a long time," said Bill Smith, vice president for public policy at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the U.S. (SIECUS). "Teens, regardless of whether they have a taken a virginity pledge, are engaging in behaviors that put them at risk for STDs and unintended pregnancy. It is vitally important that we provide all teens with the information and skills they need to protect themselves," Smith continued.

Virginity pledges are the cornerstone of many federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Since 1982, the U.S. government has spent over a billion dollars on unproven abstinence-only-until-marriage programs. Of that billion, $620 million dollars has been spent in just the last seven years. Under the leadership of President Bush there has been a continued expansion of investment in these programs with $168 million allocated in Fiscal Year 2005 alone. Now the President is seeking an all-time high of $206 million in his proposed Fiscal Year 2006 budget. These programs are prohibited from discussing contraceptives except in the context of failure rates and have never been proven effective.

"Not only do virginity pledges not work to keep our young people safe, they are causing harm by undermining condom use, contraception, and medical treatment," said Smith. "Enough is enough. It is time for lawmakers to stop pushing their ideological agenda at the expense of young people and fund comprehensive and medically accurate sexuality education programs that work," Smith continued.

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To view the report, go to: http://www.jahonline.org/ or http://www.iserp.Columbia.edu

http://www.usnewswire.com/

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/© 2005 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/

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