Study: Abstinence Pledges Ineffective

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Are virginity pledges, common in some abstinence-only sex education programs, effective? Research from Johns Hopkins says no, they might even be dangerous.


Photo: Ina Centaur

Even Second Life has some abstinence messages, apparently.

A recent article in The Washington Post reports on a study published in the January issue of Pediatrics related to the effectiveness/ineffectiveness of abstinence-until-marriage pledges. The study conducted by researchers from Johns Hopkins University found that teenagers who made pledges to remain abstinent until marriage were just as likely to have non-marital sex, but less likely to use condoms or other forms of birth control once they did start having sex.

CNN has another summary of the study or you can visit the Pediatrics web site to find the original article.

This work further emphasizes the importance of providing teenagers and young adults with accurate information about their bodies and about sexuality so that they can best be prepared to reduce their risk of HIV and other STIs.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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