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Sexual abstinence Sexual abstinence (also known as continence,) is the practice of refraining from some or all aspects of sexual activity for medical, psychological, legal, social, financial, philosophical, moral or religious reasons. Asexuality is distinct from sexual abstinence and celibacy, which are behavioral and generally motivated by factors such as an individual's personal or religious beliefs.History

The ancient world discouraged promiscuity for both health and social reasons. According to Pythagoras (6th century BCE) sex should be practiced in the winter, but not the summer, but was harmful to male health in every season because the loss of semen was dangerous, hard to control and both physically and spiritually exhausting, but had no effect on females.

This idea may have been merged with Zoroastrian ideas of good and evil in a philosophy known as gnosticism, which influenced Christian and Islamic attitudes to sexual activity. Western attitudes

Historically, there has been a swing from the sexually liberal end of the Industrial Revolution to the chaste values of the early Victorian period.[citation needed] This was then followed by a new puritanism from the late Victorian era to the mid-1900s.[citation needed] This important transformation often colors discussion of sexual behavior in the later 20th century. World War I began a return to sexual freedom and indulgence, but more often than not, the appearance of conforming to the earlier moral values of abstinence before marriage was retained[citation needed]. With the conclusion of World War II, the societal importance of abstinence declined swiftly[citation needed]. The advent of the first oral contraceptive pill and widely available antibiotics suppressed many consequences of wide and free sexual behavior[citation needed], while social morals were also changing. By the 1970s, abandonment of premarital chastity was no longer taboo in the majority of western societies, and the reverse became true. To have experienced a number of sexual partners before marriage became the new norm[citation needed]. Some cultural groups continued to place a value on the moral purity of an abstainer, but abstinence was caught up in a wider reevaluation of moral values.

During the early 20th century, prominent feminist and birth control advocate Margaret Sanger argued that abstinence from sexual activity led to greater endurance and strength, and was a sign of the best of the species:

"Though sex cells are placed in a part of the anatomy for the essential purpose of easily expelling them into the female for the purpose of reproduction, there are other elements in the sexual fluid which are the essence of blood, nerve, brain, and muscle. When redirected in to the building and strengthening of these, we find men or women of the greatest endurance greatest magnetic power. A girl can waste her creative powers by brooding over a love affair to the extent of exhausting her system, with the results not unlike the effects of masturbation and debauchery." [Sanger 1920, p. 46]

In some cultures, those who infringe the rules regarding chastity may be ostracized.[citation needed] Social re-acceptance can sometimes be regained by marriage between the two. In the West, in the mid-20th century, there was a stigma attached to being a 'one-parent family,' and an illegitimate child could be legitimized by the marriage of the parents[citation needed]. (This latter is still the case in many Western countries, though the lifting of legal penalties and social stigma regarding illegitimacy has rendered this irrelevant to social acceptance.)Long-term abstinence

Lifelong (or at least long-term) abstinence, often associated with philosophical or religious asceticism, is distinguished from chastity before marriage. Abstinence is often viewed as an act of self-control over the natural desire to have sex. The display of the strength of character allows the abstainer to set an example for those not able to contain their "base urges." At other times, abstinence has been seen as a great social skill practiced by those who refuse to engage with the material and physical world. Some groups that propose sexual abstinence consider it an essential means to reach a particular intellectual or spiritual condition, or that chastity allows one to achieve a required self-control or self-consciousness.Abstinence as a lifestyle

Although many individuals abstain from sex for reasons such as religion or morality, for some individuals, sexual abstinence is a lifestyle choice. Those individuals who fall into this category may have a dislike of sex (antisexualism), or are simply not interested in it (asexuality). They may view sex as an unnecessary part of human life. As with other lifestyle choices, this attitude toward sex and relationships can vary greatly. Some who choose such a lifestyle still accept sex for reproduction, some engage in romantic relationships, and some engage in masturbation.Historical views on abstinence

Throughout history, and especially prior to the 20th century, there have been those who have held that sexual abstinence confers numerous health benefits. For males, lack of abstinence was thought to cause a reduction of vitality. In modern times, the argument has been phrased in biological terms, claiming that loss of semen through ejaculation results in a depletion of vital nutrients such as lecithin and phosphorus, which are also found at high levels in the brain. Conservation of the semen allegedly allows it to be reabsorbed back into the bloodstream and aid in the healthy development of the body. Along these lines, the noted German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche spoke of the positive physiological effects of abstinence: "The reabsorption of semen by the blood ... perhaps prompts the stimulus of power, the unrest of all forces towards the overcoming of resistances ... The feeling of power has so far mounted highest in abstinent priests and hermits" (quoted by Walter Kaufman in his classic, Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist, p. 222). Before the "sexual revolution" of the 1960s, it was commonly believed by members of the medical profession that numerous mental and physical diseases in men were caused primarily by loss of nutrients through seminal discharge, and that the deliberate conservation of this substance would lead to increased health, vitality, and intellectual prowess. This also applied to masturbation, which were also thought to lead to bedwetting and hairy palms.

Some advantages in favor of sexual abstinence were also claimed by Walter Siegmeister, better known as Dr. Raymond W. Bernard A.B., M.A., PhD, an early 20th-century American alternative health, esoteric writer, author and mystic, who formed part of the alternative reality subculture. In his essay entitled Science discovers the physiological value of continence (1957) he states:"[I]t is clear that there is an important internal physiological relation between the secretions of the sex glands and the central nervous system, that the loss of these secretions, voluntarily or involuntarily, exercises a detrimental effect on the nutrition and vitality of the nerves and brain, while, on the other hand, the conservation of these secretions has a vitalizing effect on the nervous system, a regenerating effect on the endocrine glands[,] and a rejuvenating effect on the organism as a whole."Possible physical effectsSee also: Sexual intercourse#Benefits

Sexual abstinence diminishes the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases but prevents one from obtaining the health benefits of sex.

Queen's University Belfast tracked the mortality of about 1,000 middle-aged men over the course of a decade. The study, published in 1997 in the British Medical Journal found that "men who reported the highest frequency of orgasm enjoyed a death rate half that of the laggards". The report also cited other studies to show that having sex even a few times a week may be associated with the following: improved sense of smell; reduced risk of heart disease; weight loss and overall fitness; reduced depression; the relief or lessening of pain; less frequent colds and flu; better bladder control; and better teeth. The report cited a study published by the British Journal of Urology International which indicated that men in their 20s can reduce by a third their chance of getting prostate cancer by ejaculating more than five times a week.Possible psychological effects

There have been numerous studies indicating that excessive repression of the sexual instinct leads to an increase in the overall level of aggression in a given society. Societies forbidding premarital sex are plagued by acts of rage and tend to have higher rates of crime and violence. There may be a link between sexual repression and aggression, insensitivity, criminal behaviour, and a greater likelihood of killing and torturing enemies. Premarital chastity

In most cultural, ethical, and religious contexts, coitus within marriage is not considered to be opposed to chastity. Some religious systems prohibit sexual activities between a person and anyone other than a spouse of that person, as have, in the past, legal systems and societal norms. In such contexts, sexual abstinence was prescribed for unmarried individuals for the purpose of chastity. Chastity has been used as a synonym for sexual abstinence, but they are similar but different behavior and restrictions.Modern abstinence movementsAbstinence-only sex education

Abstinence-only sex education is a form of sex education that teaches abstinence from sex, and often excludes many other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. Education programs which focus exclusively on abstinence have hardly been shown to delay sexual activity. Such programs promote sexual abstinence until marriage and often condemn the use of contraceptives. Comprehensive sex education, by contrast, covers the use of contraceptives as well as abstinence.

Organizations such as SIECUS have called abstinence-only programs "fear-based," and "designed to control young people’s sexual behavior by instilling fear, shame, and guilt." Author Judith Levine has argued that there might be a natural tendency of abstinence educators to escalate their messages: "Like advertising, which must continually jack up its seduction just to stay visible as other advertising proliferates, abstinence education had to make sex scarier and scarier and, at the same time, chastity sweeter." (Harmful to Minors, p. 108)

In spite of these criticisms, federal government support has made abstinence the de facto focus of sex education in the United States, so that opponents frequently adopt the line that abstinence education is acceptable only if it is combined with other methods, such as instruction in the use of condoms, and easy availability thereof. Most nations of Western Europe use more comprehensive measures, and in sharp contrast to the heated discussion in the U.S., abstinence is hardly discussed as an educational measure.

A U.S. federal government-promoted abstinence-only program was aimed at teens in 1981 in order to discourage premarital sex and unwanted pregnancies. However, recent studies conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, showed ineffectiveness of this program. The Responsible Education About Life Act was introduced by Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Christopher Shays (R-CT) to support age-appropriate sexual education. This program is focused to provide teenagers with science-based information on sexual health, so that they can make a sound decision regarding their sex-life.

In 2006, the George W. Bush administration expanded abstinence programs from teens to adults, by introducing programs to encourage unmarried adults to remain abstinent until marriage. Family-planning advocates and researchers denounced the program as unrealistic, due to the rising age of first-time marriage in the United States.

In 2010, University of Pennsylvania researchers released a model study showing that abstinence programs can be effective. The study randomly assigned some middle-school students to an eight-hour abstinence curriculum and others to sex-ed programs that included contraceptives and mixed messages. Penn researchers found that the abstinence-only offering reduced subsequent sexual activity by one-third more than other programs.

Popularity and effectivenessSee also: Sex educationThe advent of AIDS helped build a more favorable view of abstinence. However, a review of 13 U.S. sex-abstinence programs involving over 15,000 people by Oxford University found that they do not stop risky sexual behavior, or help in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy. Recently, the United States Congress also found similar results in a study conducted by Mathematica Policy Research on abstinence. Currently, there are also issues as to what abstinence means: is it an abstinence from sexual intercourse, or from sexual behavior? Movements such as True Love Waits in America, which ask teenagers to refrain from sex before marriage, are heavily subscribed, but surveys of sexual behavior indicate an increase in the popularity of oral sex.Chastity in religions

Some religions regard Chastity as a virtue expected of faithful adherents. This usually includes abstinence from sex for the unmarried, and fidelity to a marriage partner.

In some religions, some groups of people are expected to remain unmarried and to abstain from sex completely. These groups include monks, nuns, and priests in various sects of Hinduism, Buddhism and Christianity. Chastity is required of the respective sacerdotal orders. The Shakers, on the other hand, impose chastity in the form of celibacy for all members, even forgoing procreation such as the case with the castration cult.Christianity

Many Christians teach that sexual intercourse is meant to take place within the context of marriage, and that sexual abstinence is the norm outside of that. But for married couples, Paul of Tarsus wrote that they should not deprive each other, except for a short time for devotion to prayer.

Catholicism defines chastity as the virtue that moderates the sexual appetite. Unmarried Catholics express chastity through sexual abstinence. Sexual intercourse within marriage is considered chaste when it retains the twofold significance of union and procreation. See also the Evangelical counsels.

The Orthodox Church teaches chastity until marriage. But even then, in accordance with the teaching of the Apostle Paul, periods of abstinence are encouraged among married couples. Traditionally, Orthodox spouses abstain from physical relations on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays the eves of Great Feasts and throughout the four lenten periods (Great Lent. Nativity Fast, Apostles' Fast and Dormition Fast).JudaismFurther information: Abstinence in Judaism

Judaism forbids intercourse outside marriage (which is termed zenuth or promiscuity), but has no ideal of chastity. Within marriage abstinence is also required during and following a woman's menstruation. The husband is not allowed to deprive sex from his wife, even if she is not fertile (known as mitzvat 'onah').Islam

Islam forbids intercourse outside of marriage;like Judaism the term is Zina/ Zena. however, maintaining celibacy as an act of piety is not mentioned, while marriage for all who are able is strongly encouraged. Abstinence is practiced during the time of a woman's menstruation. Abstinence from sexual intercourse is also practiced from dawn to dusk during days where fasting is observed. Also in the time of Hajj people are not allowed to have sexual relationships, because their body has to stay pure while performing pilgrimage.Hinduism

The Hindu tradition of Brahmacharya places great emphasis on abstinence as a way of harnessing the energy of body and mind towards the goal of spiritual realization. In males, the semen (Veerya) is considered sacred, and its preservation (except when used for procreation) and conversion into higher life-energy (Ojas) is considered essential for the development of enhanced intellectual and spiritual capacities.

The blending of sexual and spiritual is portrayed in Hindu iconography, as seen in ubiquitous phallic and vaginal iconography in Hindu temples and for instance in the Kharjuraho and Konarak medieval temples, where thousands of couples having sex in endless positions, and with the gods, are carved in deep bas-relief. However, these depictions of sex are not generally understood to be a license for free sexual practices, but are instead meant to celebrate procreation as an integral part of existence in the universe. In actual practice, there is a strong societal taboo against pre-marital sex for both males and females, which still exists today in Hindu cultures.[citation needed]Chastity belt

A chastity belt is a locking item of clothing designed to prevent sexual intercourse. They may be used to protect the wearer from rape or temptation. Some devices have been designed with additional features to prevent masturbation. Chastity belts have been created for males and females, ostensibly for the purpose of chastity.

Abstinence-only sex education Laura Bush with an AIDS orphan at a center in Zambia that promotes abstinence and faith for youth.Abstinence-only sex education is a mostly American form of sex education that teaches abstinence from sex, and often excludes many other types of sexual and reproductive health education, particularly regarding birth control and safe sex. This type of sex education promotes sexual abstinence until marriage and avoids discussion of use of contraceptives. Comprehensive sex education, by contrast, covers the use of contraceptives as well as abstinence.

Evidence does not support the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education. It has been found to be ineffective in decreasing HIV risk in the developed world, and does not decrease rates of unplanned pregnancy when compared to comprehensive sex education. It does not decrease the sexual activity rates of students, when compared to students who undertake comprehensive sexual education classes.

The topic is controversial in the United States, with proponents of abstinence-only education claiming, in spite of existing evidence to the contrary, that comprehensive sex education encourages premarital sexual activity, and critics arguing that abstinence-only education is religiously motivated and that the approach has been proven ineffective and even detrimental to its own aims.Description

Abstinence-only sex education teaches children to abstain from sex as the sole method of avoiding pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. In the U.S., States may apply for federal funding of abstinence-only sex education programs. To be eligible for funding programs must satisfy requirements given under the Social Security Act:(2) For purposes of this section, the term "abstinence education" means an educational or motivational program which—(A) has as its exclusive purpose, teaching the social, psychological, and health gains to be realized by abstaining from sexual activity;(B) teaches abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage as the expected standard for all school age children;(C) teaches that abstinence from sexual activity is the only certain way to avoid out-of-wedlock pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other associated health problems;(D) teaches that a mutually faithful monogamous relationship in context of marriage is the expected standard of human sexual activity;(E) teaches that sexual activity outside of the context of marriage is likely to have harmful psychological and physical effects;(F) teaches that bearing children out-of-wedlock is likely to have harmful consequences for the child, the child’s parents, and society;(G) teaches young people how to reject sexual advances and how alcohol and drug use increases vulnerability to sexual advances; and(H) teaches the importance of attaining self-sufficiency before engaging in sexual activity.Discussion

Proponents of abstinence-only sex education argue that this approach is superior to comprehensive sex education because it emphasizes the teaching of morality that limits sex to that within the bounds of marriage, and that sex before marriage and at a young age has heavy physical and emotional costs. They suggest that comprehensive sex education encourages premarital sexual activity among teenagers, which should be discouraged in an era when HIV and other incurable sexually transmitted infections are widespread and when teen pregnancy is an ongoing concern.

Opponents and critics, which include prominent professional associations in the fields of medicine, public health, adolescent health, and psychology, argue that such programs fail to provide adequate information to protect the health of adolescents. Some critics also argue that such programs verge on religious interference in secular education. Opponents of abstinence-only education dispute the claim that comprehensive sex education encourages teens to have premarital sex.[6] The idea that sexual intercourse should only occur within marriage also has serious implications for people for whom marriage is not valued or desired, or is unavailable as an option, particularly LGBT people living in places where same-sex marriage is not legal or socially acceptable. According to Advocates for Youth, abstinence-only sex education distorts information about contraceptives, including only revealing failure rates associated with their use, and ignoring discussion of their benefits.

Another problem for abstinence-only sex education is the definition of abstinence. Santelli (2006) notes that there is no strict definition of abstinence within the US federal government guidelines for teaching abstinence only sex education, using a mixture of non-specific terms, like “postponing sex” or “never had vaginal sex”, while also using moralistic terms like "virgin", "chaste", and "making a commitment". This has resulted in some sexual activities, including mutual masturbation, oral sex and anal sex, being considered outside of the scope of abstention from sex.Effectiveness

Evidence has not supported the effective use of abstinence-only sex education. It has been found to be ineffective in decreasing HIV risk in the developed world, and increases the rates of unplanned pregnancy.

According to SIECUS, the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, an organization that promotes comprehensive sex education in the United States, a "...study, conducted by Mathematica Policy Research Inc. on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found that abstinence-only-until-marriage programs are ineffective." In 2007, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy published an overview of policy and research on "programs designed to prevent teen pregnancy and STD/HIV" titled Emerging Answers 2007. The report included a comprehensive metastudy examining research on the efficacy of abstinence-only as well as comprehensive sex education. Despite "[t]wo less rigorous studies suggest[ing] that abstinence programs may have some positive effects on sexual behavior", Emerging Answers concluded that "studies of abstinence programs have not produced sufficient evidence to justify their widespread dissemination." In contrast, the report judged the evidence for comprehensive sex education favorably, finding it effective for a wide range of students.

A federally-funded University of Pennsylvania study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine found that only one third of sixth- and seventh-graders who completed abstinence-focused programs had sex within the next two years, compared to nearly half of the students who attended other classes, including ones that taught combined abstinence and contraception. Critics pointed out that the abstinence program used in the study was not representative of most abstinence programs; it did not take a moralistic tone, encouraged children to delay sex until ready instead of until married, did not portray extramarital sex as inappropriate, and did not disparage contraceptives. The sample groups were also exclusively African-American and therefore not demographically representative of the entire population.

A 2010 report by the Guttmacher Institute pointed out that pregnancy rates for teens 15-19 reversed their decline in 2006, near the peak of the Abstinence Only campaign in the United States. Sarah Kliff of Newsweek pointed out that there was no corresponding "indication of an uptick" in teen pregnancy rates when abstinence-only sex education funding was increased during the Clinton years, but in fact a small decline. James Wagoner, president of the nonprofit group Advocates for Youth, blames the poor quality of Bush era abstinence-only programs as compared to abstinence-only programs under Clinton's administration for the difference in outcomes.

Virginity Youth by French painter William-Adolphe Bouguereau. White has traditionally been associated with ritual purity, innocence and virginity. Virginity is the state of a person who has never engaged in sexual intercourse. There are cultural and religious traditions which place special value and significance on this state, especially in the case of unmarried females, associated with notions of personal purity, honor and worth. Like chastity, the concept of virginity has traditionally involved sexual abstinence before marriage, and then to engage in sexual acts only with the marriage partner.

Unlike the term premarital sex, which can refer to more than one occasion of sexual activity and can be judgment neutral, the concept of virginity usually involves moral or religious issues and can have consequences in terms of social status and in interpersonal relationships[citation needed].

The term originally only referred to sexually inexperienced women, but has evolved to encompass a range of definitions, as found in traditional, modern, and ethical concepts. Heterosexual individuals may or may not consider loss of virginity to occur only through penile-vaginal penetration, while people of other sexual orientations often include oral sex, anal sex or mutual masturbation in their definitions of losing one's virginity. Furthermore, whether a person can lose his or her virginity through rape is also subject to debate, with the belief that virginity can only be lost through consensual sex being prevalent in some studies.

Virginity pledge Virginity pledges (or abstinence pledges) are commitments made by teenagers and young adults to refrain from sexual intercourse until marriage. They are most common in the United States, especially among Catholic and Evangelical Christian denominations.

The efficacy of virginity pledges has been extensively studied. Some studies have found that virginity pledges may be effective at delaying vaginal intercourse, but that they are ineffective in reducing the incidence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) because pledgers may replace vaginal intercourse with other sexual activities, such as oral sex and anal sex;[1][2] other research, however, has suggested no such substitution among pledgers, though pledgers may partake in vaginal or oral sex.[3] Virginity pledges may also reduce the likelihood of contraceptive use once pledgers decide to engage in sex.[1] Though studies have reported this and found that pledgers are more likely to remain virgins by age 25 than those who do not pledge and that those who do become sexually active report fewer sexual partners,[1][2] at least one study found no difference in the sexual behavior of pledgers and non-pledgers after controlling for pre-existing differences between the groups.[3]History

The first virginity pledge program was True Love Waits, started in 1993 by the Southern Baptist Convention,[4] which now claims over 2.5 million pledgers worldwide in dozens of countries.[5] A torrent of virginity pledge programs followed.

Another prominent virginity pledge program was the Silver Ring Thing (SRT) which started in 1995 has been featured in hundreds of media reports worldwide. In 2005, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services because it believed SRT used tax dollars to promote Christianity.[6] SRT presented a two-part program, the first part about abstinence; the second about how the Christian faith fits into an abstinence commitment. The ACLU claimed federal funding given to this program violated the separation of Church and State.

On August 22, the department suspended SRT's $75,000 federal grant until it submitted a "corrective action plan." In 2006, a corrective action plan was accepted by the department, the lawsuit was dismissed and SRT received its Federal Funding.

Virginity pledge programs take a variety of stances on the role of religion in the pledge: some use religion to motivate the pledge, putting Biblical quotes on the cards, while others use statistics and arguments to motivate the pledge. Advocacy of virginity pledges is often coupled with support for abstinence-only sex education in public schools. Advocates argue that any other type of sexual education would promote sex outside of marriage, which they hold to be immoral and risky.Studies

There have been numerous peer-reviewed studies of virginity pledges with varying results. Four of the five peer-reviewed virginity pledge studies and the non-peer-reviewed study discussed below use the same federal data, the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), in which 13,000 adolescents were interviewed in 1995, 1996, and 2000. The other peer-reviewed study used a study of virginity pledges in California.

The first peer-reviewed study of virginity pledgers (by sociologists Peter Bearman of Columbia and Hannah Brueckner of Yale) found that in the year following their pledge, some virginity pledgers are more likely to delay sex than non-pledgers; when virginity pledgers do have sex, they are less likely to use contraception than non-pledgers.[1] This study found, however, that virginity pledges are only effective in high schools in which about 30% of the students had taken the pledge, meaning that they are not effective as a universal measure. Their analysis was that identity movements work when there is a critical mass of members: too few members, and people don't have each other for social support, and too many members, and people don't feel distinctive for having taken the pledge. This study was criticized for not being able to conclude causality, only correlation, a criticism which applies to all studies of virginity pledges thus far.[7]

A second peer-reviewed study, also by Bearman and Brueckner, looked at virginity pledgers five years after their pledge, and found that the pledgers have similar proportions of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and at least as high proportions of anal and oral sex as those who have not made a virginity pledge. They deduced that there was substitution of oral and anal sex for vaginal sex among the pledgers, although the data for anal sex without vaginal sex reported by males did not reflect this directly.[1][2] This study also estimated that male pledgers were 4.1 times more likely to remain virgins by age 25 than those who did not pledge (25% vs. 6%), and estimated that female pledgers were 3.5 times more likely to remain virgins by age 25 than those who did not pledge (21% vs. 6%). The study also noted that those who pledge yet became sexually active reported fewer partners and were not exposed to STI risk for as long as nonpledgers.[1][2]

A third peer-reviewed study — by Melina Bersamin and others at Prevention Research Center, in Berkeley, California — found that adolescents who make an informal promise to themselves not to have sex will delay sex, but adolescents who take a formal virginity pledge do not delay sex.[8]

A fourth peer-reviewed study — by Harvard public health researcher Janet Rosenbaum published in the American Journal of Public Health in June 2006 — found that over half of adolescents who took virginity pledges said the following year that they had never taken a pledge.[9] This study showed that those who make the pledge but have sex are likely to deny ever pledging; and many who were sexually active prior to taking the pledge deny their sexual history, which, it is speculated, may cause them to underestimate their risk of having STIs.

A fifth peer-reviewed study, also by Janet Rosenbaum published in the journal Pediatrics in 2009,[3] found no difference in sexual behavior of pledgers and similar non-pledgers five years after pledging, but found pledgers were 10 percentage points less likely to use condoms and 6 percentage points less likely to use birth control than similar non-pledgers. Rosenbaum's study was innovative for using Rubin causal model matching, instead of relying on regression analysis, which makes potentially untrue parametric assumptions. According to Rosenbaum, past research findings that virginity pledgers delayed sex may have been affected by their statistical method's inability to adjust fully for pre-existing differences between pledgers and non-pledgers: pledgers are much more negative towards premarital sex prior to even taking the pledge, so would be predicted to delay sex even if they hadn't taken the pledge. Comparing pledgers with similar non-pledgers is the only way to be certain that the effect comes from the pledge rather than the pre-existing greater beliefs of pledgers that sexuality should be restrained to the matrimonial context.[10]Examples

True Love Waits 1993 pledge read as follows:[11]"Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, those I date, and my future mate to be sexually pure until the day I enter marriage."

True Love Waits more recent pledge reads:[12][13]"Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a Biblical marriage relationship."

True Love Waits recent pledge (2009):"I am making a commitment to myself, my family, and my Creator, that I will abstain from sexual activity of any kind before marriage. I will keep my body and my thoughts pure as I trust in God's perfect plan for my life."
(quote on card) "It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his/her own body in a way that is holy and honorable." 1 Thess 4:3-4



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