Teen Chastity Vows Don't Work

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"By the grace of God, the love of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, we pledge to keep ourselves sexually pure.
We pledge, from this day forward, to look at, listen to, think about, and participate only in activities that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy as outlined in Philippians 4:8.
We pledge to do whatever we can to encourage each other to do the same."

The purity ball is a place where daughters, age 12 and up, pledge to remain virgins until marriage and their fathers promise to help them remain chaste. The "True Love Waits" movement reports over 2.4 million teens have taken the pledge. The Bush government has funded abstinence programs to the tune of $176 million annually.

A new analysis of data, collected by the federal government's National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, and published in Pediatrics, shows chastity commitments made by teens don't seem to work.

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The researchers gathered detailed information from 11,000 students in grades 7 through 12 and followed them over time. They matched students on 100 variables and then compared those who took the virginity pledge with those that did not take a pledge in 1996. It didn't matter if they took the pledge or not. By 2001, they found 82% of those who took the pledge had broken it. More than half of both groups had engaged in sexual activity and they had an average of 3 sexual partners whether they took the chastity pledge or not. No difference!

They did find one difference, however. Unfortunately the kids who took the pledge were less likely to use a condom or any other form of contraception.

It's about time to re-look at government funded abstinence programs. It has already been shown that 80% of the curricula used in these programs provide distorted information about birth control and STDs with scientific errors and blurring of religion and science.

I am so looking forward to a new administration in 2009.

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Comments

I actually took a pledge to stay pure, and I have been able to stick to it. So have the other 15 people who took it with me. I think the main problem is that the majority of the people who take the vow do not take it seriously enough, and/or they do not understand the full reasoning behind it. It's not just for abstinence's sake. The vow is supposed to be taken in conjunction with the rest of God's word. Most people do not realize that, and as such break the pledge. They do not realize the seriousness of breaking a vow to God or breaking one of his laws - namely, do not be sexually immoral.
I only have a few questions, for my anonymous fellow teen. 1. How many of you're fellow pledgers didn't keep their vow, and when they finally did, do you think they remembered a condom? 2. I have never even been kissed, so sexual temptation isn't a big deal for me, but do you have a boy/girlfriend? How do they feel about your vow? 3. Since you have made this pledge in 'conjunction with the rest of God's word', does that mean you follow all the commandments extra-special close?, because as a christian, I thought that we were supposed to do our best follow all of God's commandments regardless of the pledges we make to our fathers. 4. Finally, I noticed your use of the phrase 'sexually immoral', and I couldn't help but wonder what that means to you. Under the strictest terms, that would mean you couldn't even talk to someone who might tempt you and bring you into sin. Much looser, just as long as you didn't actually have sex with the person, you could sit next to them naked and not break your vow. I hope that you think a little about what you have pledged and how that really affects your life. As for me, I will keep my conversation with God open, and look to him when I need guidence. I'll also be safe when I finally find my special someone. Use a condom, it's not a sin.
Really Doctor, I think you're missing the point! The choice to remain abstinent until committed (ie, marriage) is not scientific. It's a good idea, a noble thing to consider, and no less a HOLY choice. I'm so glad you pointed out yet another of the Bush administration's many qualities, to recognize the value in standing up for and investing in solid, moral priniciples such as abstinence from sex before marriage. Regarding your statistical approach to discredit the merits of "True Love Waits"... like so many others who attempt to rationalize poor behaviour, it doesn't matter how many percent DO or DO NOT wait until marriage, ALL will be judged by the One who commands and guides our life decisions. The Author of Phillipians 4:8 is not President Bush or the fine gentle folk who started this program and God does not use statistics or relative comparison to measure your and my worth. Besides, if you have any children of your own, doesn't it hit you as shocking how much they know about sex by age 12?! Doesn't it bother you that this is true due to the spread of programs found on MTV, VH-1, and in teen magazines which nominalize - that's being too mild - mock the power and joy of sexual bonding?? One example strikes me about overly permissive societies... it's happening as we speak. Have you tried to get a loan for anything since October 2008? In our lifetime, have you ever witnessed an investment as safe as a mutual fund "crash" as much as 75-80% in less than six months? Do you know a family that is suffering from a brutal period of lay-off, lost their home, or hard earned business due to the current economic crisis? This crisis grew out of permissiveness and greed. Housing bubbles burst, wealth created by intellectual bubbles burst, and ALL bubbles burst! You know this, right? The same God who commands purity is also the God who allows us to choose and the same God who accepts us unconditionally through Jesus Christ when we fail miserably. Something tells me you're familiar with this doctrine. If not, simply research the Bible to understand how simple Christianity is to understand, believe, and trust. "True Love Waits" is one of NOT ENOUGH programs that need support by doctors and others that have enough sense to realize how BIG the sexual "bubble" has become in our Nation.
The girls go dancing with their FATHERS and pledge their virginity to them? Freud would fall off his couch!
Sex and exploration are a natural part of the aging process. These pledges are a public display that has no effect on the pressures that are exerted by peers and boy/girlfriends. Sex education is what's needed to prevent STD's as well as a rise in teen birth rates. I am a parent of a boy and a girl, and I would prefer they be educated (which I do make an effort to do), than become infected with AIDS or some other STD. If someone is going to remain a virgin until marriage, it is a personal (and private) choice, and they should be able to keep their choice regardless of pressure, but for those that do not or can not wait, EDUCATION is what's needed.
Both my husband and I took purity pledges before ever meeting each other. We waited until marriage to have sex, and when we finally consumated our relationship it was the most beautiful and fulfilling thing ever. We've been married a year and a half now, and the sex just keeps getting better.
My question, is if it worked for you and your husbin . Are you sure both of you were'nt looking for someone that hadnt lost there virginity.
I feel this is so stupid to make kids do this. I belief with kids being able to talk about sex and what comes with it to the parents would be so much better. Kids in this country can not talk to there parents about sex it is all hush hush. When my son was 15 and talked about girls all the time I took him to get condoms . I did not tell him it was ok to have sex so early and to think about it before he does anything but I wanted to make sure he knew what to do and to use a condom if he choose to have sex. He knew no matter what he can always talk to me. When i got divorced I was told i had no moral standards because i made sure my daughter used birth control at 17 and my son has condoms. OMG what a bunch of crap...................my kids turned out well. They knew they can ask me anything and they can talk to me about everything. If we as parents talk to the kids and not just criticize there actions we would come a long way. How many kids get pregnant and are scarred to death to tell there parents. How many stories you read about baby's being thrown away or killed from teen age mothers who feel they have no choice because Mom and Dad are gone be so mad with them. Don't just hand out rules and regulations, don't make your kids pledge to something they cant keep, talk to them keep a open channel and make sure they do know they can always talk to you about sex or anything else for that matter. I know it is not easy to hear your child say they had sex but rather then running around screaming and yelling try to sit down with them and talk about this. Give them facts, guidance and explain ...you might be amazed how far you can go with this approach.
I wanted to comment specifically on your submission. I am one who, although raised during the sexual revolution of the sixties, was able to--by choice and intent--remain a virgin until I married at age 34. I was tempted many times and crossed some lines I shouldn't have, but by God's grace I never "went all the way" until I married. I attribute this to the very thing you mentioned in your note: my mother and my grandmother teaching me at a very young age that sex is beautiful and wonderful when done in the context it was meant for: as an expression of love between two people committed to each other in marriage. But they also told me that outside of marriage, it only lead to heartache and trouble and that they never wanted to see me in such heartache. Later, when I learned about STDs, pregnancy, etc. I understood what she was talking about. Contrary to what you said, I always knew that my mom would love me and would help me no matter what mistakes I made, but she somehow was able to put it "into" me in such a way that I never wanted to be in that situation. What a gift she gave me! I never had to deal with sexual diseases, teen pregnancy, the wrenching choice of abortion, nor did I experience rejection in love because I wouldn't "do it". I was taught to expect respect from the guys I dated, and amazingly, they gave it to me! Rather than feeling like a piece of meat, I had respect for myself as a woman and a person. In short, my mom helped give me the inner strength to believe that it was possible and desireable to live like this, and to stand up against the pressures of the culture and be strong. I am a very lucky person.
All i have to say is your an amazing mother.
Teaching abstinence in no way encourages children to have sex. It's important to be taught. What happened to our country's values? Giving out birth control to 12 year olds is just not right. It's fine to teach both in the schools, but encouraging sex is wrong. Purity pledges work if that's what the child wants. Parents cant expect not to raise their kids with values and expect they will remain abstinent by pledging to do so. It's a good idea, but forcing kids into in or acting like remaining abstinent until marriage is unrealistic is just stupid.
Wherever you set your sights is the path you take. I'm in my 20's. People are bombarded with sexuality across the media today - it's exhausting to try to avoid it! My only sister is 15. I'm very grateful she fills me in on what she goes through. Yet, it's disturbing - I was there just last decade and it's 5 times as bad!! It's the desensitization that has me concerned. I think the exposure is creating a tug-of-war between "moving with the times" and having more conservative values, such as purity. If you are the latter, boy do you have your work cut out for you! And YET, the feeling of accomplishment/strength is all the greater. Education is empowerment......yes, I agree that STD awareness should be there, not to mention, myths about sexuality. One of the basics: condoms, any contraception, can be a false sense of security...... Do people really think that only those who don't use a condom have STDs???
The good Doctor, seems to be a typical creature of our modern materialistic culture in which all that is profound and spiritual is disolving into narcissistic sludge He therefore misses the point of all this. Chastity is a religious value, kind of like loving your enemies. Most people don't do either, but the few that do, influence the culture for the better because they have learned how to place the needs of others above their own, by learning how to say no to themselves. So Doc, just keep handing out the the pill, anti-biotics and viagra, while working on those vaccines by which to save us from ourselves. And then give prozac to those who understand at some level that their self serving lives are inconsistent with the selfless qualities, that even animals exhibit in nature; qualities that make us feel good about ourselves without the prozac. You see even animals care for and nurture their own, by instinct, while we indulge our sexual instincts to the max forgetting they are only a part of a bigger picture, then kick our own offspring to the curb as nuisances or distractions from our quest for the good life, that is if we don't abort them first. When we finally finish the plunge over the proverbial cliff, the good doc will find out whether in the end there will be a day of judgment which will call him to account for the chaos he helped facilitate. Of course he doesn't believe in God, like the blind don't believe in color. So for now, ignorance is bliss; but someday there may be hell to pay.
How can we expect kids to take a pledge of purity and keep it when the media tells them what a stupid idea it would be. Shows like gossip girl and the like glorify the sex as just another thing to do like go to the mall. It seems every show/movie glorifies porn like it is just another subject in school, without realizing the damage it does to young minds. It is a slow fade when it comes to these things. The media started "sneaking" in these little references and inuendo to our everyday lives and know we just accept it as a norm when it isn't or shouldn't be. Sex is a beautiful thing created for marriage, I see the importance of that now. No I was not a virgin when I was married and I regret that because it lessens mine and my wife's relationship every day. My advice, parents love your children, talk to them about your mistakes and how every decision has a consequence, good or bad. Talk to your kids about sex and how it should be shared only in a marriage relationship. Have a happy and blessed New Year
I was raised during the sexual revolution in the sixties. However, my mom and grandmother taught me at a very young age (4 or 5) after a family member got "in trouble", that sex is a beautiful thing in the context of marriage, as an expression of love between two people who are committed to one another. They taught me that outside that commitment, though, it caused nothing but heartache and trouble. I was too young to understand sexual diseases, rejection, the idea of being used as a piece of meat so they did not go into that then. But I internalized what they were saying because 1) they were able to talk about it openly and 2) they were serious about it 3) they reinforced that message my whole life and went into the details when I was old enough. I faced many pressures as a teenager in the sexual revolution, and crossed some lines I shouldn't have many times, but by God's grace I was able to remain a virgin by intent and choice until I was married at age 34. I never had to deal with sexual diseases, unwanted pregnancy, the wrenching choice of abortion or rejection in love because i wouldn't "do it." I retained a sense of value and worth as a woman because I expected (and received) respect from the men I dated. I think you do your child a disfavor by not teaching them that living like this is possible. Frankly, many people for generations were able to live like this, because their parents showed them the example, expected it from them and also because it was supported in the culture. Sadly, our culture undermines those of us trying to teach our children that it is possible and desireable to have self-control. So everytime I hear of an initiative in our culture that tries to support us in this, I am truly grateful. That kids don't keep the vow has as much to do with a culture that says "See, you can't do it. It doesn't work!" as anything. I suspect that there are many parents who were unable or unwilling to live a "chaste" live themselves, so they don't really believe it can be done, and feel confirmed when "research" says "See, it can't be done.' But it can. It's hard work nowadays, but if you teach your child the value of it and support them and believe with them, it can be done.
It seems that fathers who insist on their daughters to take a pledge to be 'pure' are putting unrealistic demands on them. I find it lovely that the fathers seem to show a great interest and attention to their daughters- but how realistic is this to expect daughters (and sons for that matter) to abstain in this society? Sexual energy is as very powerful thing and being constantly bombarded with sexual images in this society can be an unbearable pressure for young people. Along with teaching abstinence, parents need to prepare their children to handle guilt that most inevitably comes with breaking such a pledge. The guilt and 'shame' most fundamentals teach can be tremendously crippling and damaging to a person's Psyche. If a son or daughter breaks such an unrealistic pledge the parents need to love that child unconditionally, and not shun or ostracize them. How many of those parents abstained from sex before marriage? Not many. Pledging can cause people to marry too early for fear of 'breaking the pledge.' After pledging, I married to early to a man I truly did not completely know and suffered a horrible marriage for 14 years. Parents- re-think this idea, please.
"I'm so glad you pointed out yet another of the Bush administration's many qualities, to recognize the value in standing up for and investing in solid, moral priniciples such as abstinence from sex before marriage." Yes. I too believe that it doesn't matter whether a program works, it only matters that it's morally sound. So what if there's a high failure rate? Your high-falutin' statistics don't shake its great, good, ineffectual message! The millions of dollars thrown at this program aren't going to waste because, though 82% goes in a black hole, that other 18% brings young people closer to God. Don't you think that's worth it, Doctor? Likewise, I think we should implement the following programs as well: 1) Bring back prohibition. Abysmal failure or not, it was a step in the right direction. 2) Ramp up public decency laws. What's with the teeny tops and short shorts young girls are wearing these days? The government should shut those irreligious clothing companies down! Let's follow the example of those African governments and start arresting those tight-jean-wearing hussies, too. 3) Ban evolution from science classrooms and put the 10 commandments back on those walls. Our children need to know that the Bible is 100% historically accurate and that daily checking Justin Timberlake's webpage will land them in hell. The job of the government, after all, isn't to look after the people, but to carry out God's will. Screw all those people who are weak and 'behave poorly'--they'll just be judged in the end anyway, and there's no reason to try and change things to make their lives better.
It's hard for me to come to a decision on this one. Yes we want to instill strong values in our kids, but at the same time teenagers do deserve complete, accurate, medical information. I don't believe abstinence only education is what is contributing to the high teen sex rate in this country. I believe its because today's society has made sex casual- media, parents, peers, etc. all send the message that sex is "no big deal", you shouldn't have to suppress a "natural human desire," and its okay for two people to "give themselves to each other" if they are "soulmates."I know so many people who have sex with one person all the time but insist that they are still "just friends." It's very disheartening. I think the most that schools can do is provide students with a sex education curriculam that emphasizes abstinence and good decision making skills(about 85% of it) and the other 15 % can be spent on TALKING about contraceptives, and the harsh realities of teen pregnancy, and stds. I don't agree with passing out birth control, discussing "safe" foreplay methods (i.e mutual masturbation, etc), and showing kids how to use condoms. Whats wrong with just talking about the options and showing them how they can be obtained rather than handing them out? We have seen throughout history that in most situations the middle way is the best way. Being too one sided (too liberal or too conservative) just doesn't work. Same goes for sex education. Expecting kids to avoid pre marital sex is unrealistic and teaching kids everything there is to know about sex might end up encouraging kids who were otherwise planning on waiting to think "hmmm, maybe sex is okay as long as Im protected." So law makers and other professionals really need to sit down and think of an educational plan that is effective and which combines both ideas of abstinence and comprehensive sex ed. rather than just one or the other.