Study: Teens who pledge abstinence at risk for STDs
March 22 2005 12:00 AM ET
Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests. The report by Yale and Columbia University researchers could help explain their earlier findings that teens who pledged abstinence are just as likely to have STDs as their peers. The latest study, published in the April issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health, found that teens pledging virginity until marriage are more likely to have oral and anal sex than other teens who have not had intercourse. That behavior, however, "puts you at risk," said Hannah Brueckner, assistant professor of sociology at Yale and one of the study's authors.
Among virgins, boys who have pledged abstinence were four times more likely to have had anal sex, according to the study. Overall, pledgers were six times more likely to have oral sex than teens who have remained abstinent but not as part of a pledge. The pledging group was also less likely to use condoms during their first sexual experience or get tested for STDs, the researchers found.
Last year, the same research team found that 88% of teens who pledge abstinence end up having sex before marriage, compared with 99% of teens who do not make a pledge. (AP)