Abstinence pledges still don't work, still encourage unprotected anal sex

Yet another study confirms what we've known for a long time, abstinence education doesn't work:

The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge," but that the percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases was 10 points lower for pledgers than for non-pledgers.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose report appears in the January issue of the journal Pediatrics. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

This study follows many others which found similar results, but improves on those studies by accounting for students' pre-pledge views on sex. As the author notes, "somebody who decides to take a virginity pledge tends to be different from the average American teenager. The pledgers tend to be more religious. They tend to be more conservative. They tend to be less positive about sex. … So comparing pledgers to non-pledgers doesn't make a lot of sense." Comparing people with similar backgrounds showed that pledgers were just as likely to have sex before marriage, and had the same average number of sexual partners, but that pledgers were much less likely to use condoms.

Earlier studies found that teenagers who took virginity pledges were more likely to engage in anal sex than those who had comprehensive sex ed. And, lo and behold, anal sex is on the rise:

For instance: A new study out of the Bradley Hasbro Children's Research Center found that "anal sex is on the rise" among straight teenagers and young adults. According to a heavy-breathing report from ABC News, straight kids are having butt sex "to please a partner, to have sex without the risk of pregnancy, or to preserve their virginity."

Dan Savage, a widely syndicated sex columnist (who, as will become clear, happens to be gay) then resorts to language saltier than I usually use on this blog (on the off chance that a child would stumble onto it). Then again, anyone old enough to be reading about virginity pledges is old enough to know what's at stake, so I'll continue below the fold.

Dan continues:

I'm old enough to remember when getting fucked in the ass was considered a sex act, something that virgins, almost by definition, shied away from. But that was before kids were subjected to religious indoctrination masquerading as sex-ed. Abstinence "educators" emphasize the importance of virginity—but they only talk about vaginal intercourse because they figure if we don't tell kids about anal sex they'll never figure out what brown can do for them. But they do figure it out. And lacking accurate info, kids aren't just concluding that anal sex isn't really sex. ("Otherwise it would've been covered in our sex-ed classes, right?") Kids are telling researchers that anal intercourse, unlike the premarital vaginal intercourse they were warned about (STDs! Pregnancy! Eternal damnation!), carries no risk of disease. (I can't wait to tell all my dead friends!)

I wanted to scream and yell about this study … but then I figured, you know, fuck it. I've been ranting and raving about the idiocy of abstinence education for 10 years. Obviously I can't beat 'em, so I might as well join 'em. All my life I've had to listen to fundamentalist Christian bigots like Pat Robertson and Rick Warren—Rick Warren, Obama?—fume about all the terrible, no good, really bad sodomy gay men get up to. But I haven't been sodomizing the boyfriend all these years! I've been preserving his virginity.

I've been preserving the shit out of my boyfriend's virginity for 14 years now. If my boyfriend ever decides to marry a woman—miracles can happen!—he'll be able to wear white at his wedding. Hell, he's so pure he can wear Saran Wrap at his wedding. And his wife will have me to thank for delivering him to her with his virginity intact. (Unfortunately, the boyfriend can't preserve my virginity. As a teenager, I had actual vaginal intercourse, under duress, with an actual female's actual vagina.) But until the boyfriend meets the right girl, I'm going to keep preserving the living shit out of his virginity. His virginity isn't going anywhere—not on my watch.

There's a great deal to be said for simply parodying the absurdity of abstinence-only sex ed. The problem is, that it's putting kids' lives at risk. While this logic may even allow Rick Warren to decide that banning gay marriage doesn't actually force gay couples to live in sin (since they aren't, by definition, having sex), it leaves kids in a dangerous position, and leaves the new Congress with a clear choice:

"This study again raises the issue of why the federal government is continuing to invest in abstinence-only programs," said Sarah Brown of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. "What have we gained if we only encourage young people to delay sex until they are older, but then when they do become sexually active -- and most do well before marriage -- they don't protect themselves or their partners?"

Exactly. Anyone who continues to push abstinence-only programs is encouraging teenagers to have anal sex, and should face intense questions about that radical position.

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abstinence-only programs encourage teenagers to have anal sex

That should have been the headline from main-stream-media this morning.

Holy crap.

Wingnuts often talk about how unnatural homosexuality is, how we are constructed like a bolt and a nut with one part fitting into the other. The big hole in that argument is showing: Straights engage in anal sex as well! One of my gay friends remarked how he and his partners seem to fit together just fine.

Ha! Cappy said "big hole".

That is all.

Well, to borrow from an old SNL skit, where exactly are these young women who are into anal sex?

So are you telling me that all this "pre-marital" sex is justified and ok... and we all should just feel great that our children think they are still virgins even though they're most certainly HAVING SEX- weather in the butt or in the vagina! Give me a break!! This is just another perfect example of how our society is embracing that which has been defined as 'sin' and a 'debauchery', is now becoming the norm!! It won't be long until another STD is created and passed around...it's already brewing in the butts of our children!!! Parents I hope you're happy that you've allowed the schools, the government, and EVERYBODY else raise your children and give them a moral code that will most certainly lead to their moral, physical, and psychological demise! Even if one doesn't believe in or have faith in a supreme being, besides showing an utter lack of self-control, doesn't the common sense of sticking it anywhere and everywhere it fits seem a bit...shall we say, ludicrous for the simple sake of pleasure? And you wonder why so many "bigoted" and "intolerant" people are appalled and up in arms over the endorsement of such out rightly disgusting behavior!! IT IS NOT NORMAL. You've just justified another way to demoralize and violate yourselves for the sake of "getting off"! It's just a matter of time and we'll have a whole generation dependent upon Depends!!! How exciting!! Imagine the possibilities!

Your comprehension skills appear to lack a certain something, Cinaed67, like...logic. and reason.


Poe ... or not-Poe???

By natural cynic (not verified) on 29 Dec 2008 #permalink

weather in the butt

Forcast: Strong winds.

Try this....pull your heads out of which ever ass you have it up right now, clean the shit out of your ears, then wipe it out of your face and mouth!! Now then, give us all a good reason as to why screwing someone up the ass is so wonderful, and why anyone would consider your point of view worth more than the shit you're trying pack?!! You smell like shit, you talk like shit, you want to play in shit....Damn you're just full of it!! *lol-bunch of sickos* Go ahead, please tell us, we're all dying to know how you justify this one? Can't wait to hear it!! Ahhh, I think we all beginning to understand how so very 'argumentum ad hominem' each of your points of view are!!! Is this really this best Kansas can do? The morally indiscriminate have now justified a way to keep incest alive with out inbreeding!!!! Good for you!!!

By Disinhibition_… (not verified) on 30 Dec 2008 #permalink

Wow, and I thought YouTube comments were awful... Is this indicative of what you normally receive? You have my sympathies.

A friend of mine has the simple bumper sticker on his car that says it all: "Don't lie to kids." Can you imagine the world if that one rule was obeyed? What would the outcome be, if we told the truth to our kids?

I know this is an old one, but the comments are making me laugh so hard. How can people miss the point by that much?

Actually, though, the comments should tell you why we have stupid policies. Stupid people with stupid followers pushing stupid agendas. Or more to the point, Smart people manipulating stupid people with stupid issues. WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???

By sherisaid (not verified) on 28 Jan 2009 #permalink

Abstinence always works you goofy bastard.

I would probably not have seen Dan's post if you hadn't posted it here. Thanks for doing so, it was enlightening and I like the way you presented it. Found you through SU - thumbs up!

By Marguerita (not verified) on 28 Jan 2009 #permalink

Teenagers are going to do what they are going to do, keep them informed of the dangers and don't pull BS things like signing abstinence cards - teenagers need to free to make mistakes in order to become well rounded adults.