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95% of Americans Have Had Premarital Sex

Posted on Dec 19, 2006
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A new study of 38,000 Americans has found that 95 percent had premarital sex, challenging the wisdom of the abstinence-only sex education programs favored by the Bush administration.  According to the study’s author: “It would be more effective ... to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active—which nearly everyone eventually will.”

The study also determined that engaging in premarital sex to be fairly consistent from the 1950s on, refuting the claim that people were simply less sexually active before marriage in the good old days.


The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people—about 33,000 of them women—in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer’s analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.

Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.

Finer said the likelihood of Americans having sex before marriage has remained stable since the 1950s, though people now wait longer to get married and thus are sexually active as singles for extensive periods.

The study found women virtually as likely as men to engage in premarital sex, even those born decades ago. Among women born between 1950 and 1978, at least 91 percent had had premarital sex by age 30, he said, while among those born in the 1940s, 88 percent had done so by age 44.

“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12- to 29-year-olds,” Finer said.

Under the Bush administration, such programs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

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By michaelmccoy, May 6, 2012 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sex outside of marriage is not good. Unwanted pregnancies. Sexually transmitted diseases. Basically
premarital sex is poverty. You set your self up for
poverty when you do this. I grew up christian and I
still have my values and my focus. You cannot be distracted and let anything get in the way of your
goals. You are not protected by Gods plan when you
have premarital sex. So staying pure and following
gods lead is the answer.

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By michaelmccoy, May 6, 2012 at 10:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sex outside of marriage is not good. Unwanted pregnancies. Sexually transmitted diseases. Basically
premarital sex is poverty. You set your self up for
poverty when you do this. I grew up christian and I
still have my values and my focus. You cannot be distracted and let anything get in the way of your
goals. You are not protected by Gods plan when you
have premarital sex. So staying pure and following
gods lead is the answer.

Report this

By Maylee, March 3, 2012 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I believe that there is a God and that, that God loves us so much that He created
one special person for us. There will be a lot of people who may say they love
you, but if you’re not married, it’s still wrong. Pre-marital sex is wrong, no
matter who it’s with, no matter how old you are, and no matter whether you are
“ready” or not. God created sex to be a beautiful thing between two married
people. The Bible says it plain and simple whether you want to accept it or not.
If pre-marital sex was a good thing that God wanted, then why are there so
many consequences? Why is there so much guilt? I hear a lot of people saying
examples like they wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it and they wouldn’t
buy a house without going inside first, well a human being is not a car or a
house. That analogy is not even accurate with the subject at hand. There is only
one right, whether you choose to follow what God set as right, is your choice.
Although all that I’ve said, if you’re reading this and you have had pre-marital
sex, you also need to know that you have the opportunity to be set free from
your past and start over. To become pure again. Just ask Jesus into your heart
and ask him to forgive your sins…Jesus loves you and wants you to follow Him.
The rules God has set are not to hurt us, but to protect us and bless us.

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By Breanna, October 20, 2011 at 11:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a very difficult topic for me. When I was in high school and lived with my family, I vowed to be abstinant and wait for marriage. I also had a family that belived in God and taught me that it was wrong to have sex before marriage. I was 18 when I lost my virginity. I moved out to go to college and within the first week I had lost all the morals taught to me for so many years. I had alot of regret and I was VERY ashamed of myself. Within the first month of college I was a partier and had 3 one night stands. Pretty low I know. I was on the wrong path and I knew it. I blame it alot on the way I was raised, but I also knew better. I was raised in a strict household and never got to do anything. Not even with my girl friends. It was like I was a zombie. I have made alot of mistakes in my lifetime and I regret alot of things I have done. I finally found the right man and I hope to someday marry him. He found out about me because I was becoming known around the college as “easy” a word I never thought Id let myself be called. It was hard on me when I was told the things people said about me. I cried for hours and time after time. We started dating and within 1 week I gave in although he told me he would wait. I didnt know what a real relationship was, he said he loved me and I didnt believe it. We have been together now for over a year and we are going strong.

I never thought Id have sex before marriage. It was a reality check when I got out into the “real world” and had to face things like sex, drugs, and alcohol…which I had no problem facing in high school. Yeah, I have sex and yes I drink from time to time and I hate to admit but I have smoked weed once. All of these are things I never expected from myself. But I have learned my lesson and if I could change anything, I would change the fact that I had premarital sex. I have guilt about it everyday, but I still do it. Is it wrong to keep doing it if you have already done it? This is the question I have no answer to. I am writing an argument paper for my college English II class and I am going to chose this topic. I am against it. Even though I have made the mistake, I want to help teach young teens about the risks and help them understand that it is not as cool as everyone makes it seem. I want to help them to understand that if they say they love you and they mean it, they will wait. My boyfriend told me he would wait, but I gave in. So girls, just as much as guys, want to have sex even if not being pressured.

Thank You, and Have a wonderful day.

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By Beth, February 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is sex wrong if you are certain you will marry the person and just want to show them how much you love them? I realize that god wants us to wait for marriage but I already know I’m going to marry him, hes just being deployed to Afghanistan soon and we can’t get married now. I also realize there are other ways to show your love for another but I just don’t see what is wrong with it if I know I’m going to marry him.

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By steve, October 11, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So,  after all of these responses,  it is amusing to me that no one
addresses God or the Bible directly. So far mostly what I’ve heard is you
need to test drive first and try a shirt first and see if there is chemistry
first….etc. and what I’ve also read is people are going to do what they are
going to do and most are going to have sex and many will choose to be
gay or lesbian, too. All of this is common senseand most of it is just
people simply are out to please themselves, do what feels good to them, 
do what they think is right. Oh and the one about that generation is over
is cute.

What hasn’t been mentioned is that though all these schools of thought
are widely accepted as well as keeping pure before marriage is still
respected widely, it really doesn’t matter what you feel or wwant or what
scientists say or what society feels. Right and wrong is based upon God.
Just the fact that we are debating the issue is proof that God exists.

For people that don’t believe in God they will scoff at this,  but God says
hat he who says in his heart there is no god is a fool. And whoevr doesn’t
believe in God is obviously going to say don’t judge and whatever you feel
is okay etc because an aetheist makes up their own rules. Evolution can’t
explain right and wrong and vague claims that right and wrong are just
invisibly obvious like don’t kill makes things incredibly unclear on basically
every subject. Like murder is wrong. Duh. But many support and debate
the death penalty. Stealing is wrong. Duh. But what if one is starving in
another country and no one has food to spare and no welfare or food
shelter?  Etc. 

That’s why God made rules that are simple.

Most people disagree with the Bible but that doesn’t mean that it makes
it wrong. It is the best selling book of all time and has not and can not be
proved erroneous.

God also has set eternity in all of our hearts. Meaning we all have a feeling
somewhere in us that there is more to life than life and death.

Sadly most will say Biblical virginity until marriage is an old generational
tradition and judgemental and most will deny God and do what they want
and it will be widely accepted.

But truth is from God and just because we have desires we want to fulfill
before marriage and just because we want to test drive a woman before
having to keep her doesn’t prove anything except we disregard Gods pure
law and we are selfish sinners.

Its funny that most have said try the shirt on and test drive the car etc
but no one mentioned if they would rather buy a used car that’s been
beaten on many times and dirty and tried out and stretched out alot or
buy a shirt that’s had other peoples sweaty pits in it and stretched and
worn for stains and stained,etc. You are all looking at it the wrong way.

And lastly, ya many people who do wait still commit adultery and divorce
etc. But it still doesn’t make things right or wrong. No one has mentioned
where right and wrong come from.

But we all know. Just because we want to deny it rules and we don’t like
its rules doesn’t matter.

All it proves is that we aren’t naturally good. We are naturally sinful and
Jesus is the Saviour we all need to be redeemed to heaven.

Most people reject the Bible before studying it. That’s like saying I hate
that movie before seeing it. No one does that rationally.

Most scholars and scientists reject it as well. But most haven’t studied it.
Its like as much as we know its true the last thing I want to do is be
proven wrong or told to do something I don’t want to do or I don’t agree

Premarital sex is wrong. It is sinful. Just depends upon whether u even
care or not or if u just want to be your own god or think God isn’t real
then find out when u die that maybe you shouldn’t have been so selfish
and respected the rules and laws of the one who made u which are pure, 
loving,  just and true.

Food for thought.

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By George AA, November 30, 2009 at 9:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

its unchristian to have sex before marriage, and girls are not t-shirts and trying something is not always right. let me tell you something, how many time have you gone to a store tried a shirt and then decided that you are going to buy it but you want another piece of that shirt and not the one you tried. i mean it was used before by you and that make it undesirable plus if you used it before how many have used it beside you, and how many will use it after you if you didin’t buy it.

this applies to girls. if you are fucking before marriage that means that she had fucked before and likely will continue fucking after.
most studies show that 60% of American men have had an extra marital affair at some point, and 40% of women too. 
50% of marries ends up with divorce.

i am afraid that western societies have turned in to porn-houses, men can no longer control their urges and women have became prostitutes.

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By helloseattle, February 19, 2009 at 11:41 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

ultimately, i think that saving sex for marriage is great but like everyone has said, you need to try a shirt first.

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By bkj, October 27, 2008 at 7:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

get a life poeple

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By Pajazetovic, October 27, 2008 at 6:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Ok people some of you have taken this way too far, ahum Ugk and Augie. First of all Augies, everyone including women have their own opinion and is entitled to it. You can never take that away from people, and you can never change that. For example I think that sex for money is wrong and disqusting, but that is your own opinion. Plus how do you expect anyone to take you seriously when you say that premarital sex is “wrong” but money for sex is god? WTF? Second, how many people have been vergins when they got married but then went outside their marriage?? A LOT!! Lets take Nick Lachey and Jesica Simpson for example. Just because you are a virgin does not mean you can make your marriage and your problems work and last.

And then there is people like you Ugk. People like you scare me! Stop blaming and hating the world for your problems and depression or whatever the hell is wrong with you. This is not the movie 40 year old virgin. This is real life and people choose to do things they want to do. I can most cartainly guess you hate every single homosexual. GET OVER IT!  Whatever generation you grew up in is over. You cannot decide for others.  Maybe people like you canno control their own lufe so they are tring to control everyone elses. And STD’s are not only caused through sex.

And last but not least, according to Sternberg’s Triacrhhic Theory of Love, Love includes 3 things:
Passion( physical, sexual attraction), Intimacy (warmth, closeness and sharing), and Commitment ( intent to stay together). Translation, sex is a normal and healthy part of a relationship. Its the best part of a relationship, along with communication and commitment.

So in conclusion people stop freaking out.

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By Katie, September 22, 2008 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

That last comment was addressed to “ugk” by the way.

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By Katie, September 17, 2008 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’m pretty sure that I have never spread a disease. . . condom anyone? I have a few questions for you. First of all do you have any sources to back up all your statements (that are credible and not bias in any political or religious manner) or are you just on a conservative extremist christian rant? STD’s actually tend to be on the decrease because public schools are beginning to abandon the abstinence rule of thumb and teach about effective contraceptives. Also judging by the biological knowledge of humans, I doubt children will be having sex. The average person can’t even feel sexual arousal to a year or two after the onset of puberty. I agree with you that a relationship does take hard work and communication hence why anyone who isn’t a whore, will most likely have the “our we ready” discussion with their partner. When to have sex is such a personal question that it can not be set to limitations of married or not, the fact is you’re ready when you’re ready, and as long as your honest with yourself it shouldn’t matter whether or not your married. May I also point out that the anger, violence, and depression you point out is also a little more false than it is true. The united states is in a lower percentage of viloent crimes than it ever has been in the past. Don’t believe me? Poke your nose around the U.S. census bureau once and while. I’m sorry but I can’t have much respect for someone who can’t back up an argument or for that matter even state it without throwing in completely irrelevant slander and vulgarity. If you’re going to debate do it respectfully. I do not think any less of someone if they choose to be abstinent and I doubt anyone else on this comment wall does as well. I’ve only had one sex partner, I’m not married, though I intend on marrying my current boyfriend, does that make me a cowardly std spreading slut? Must I even ask what your views are on homesexual relationships? Judging by your previous posts I doubt they are that insightful. I’m sorry but if your in love, your in love no matter the sex of your partner and should gays and lesbians never express their love physically simply because most state legislature doesn’t allow them to be wed? I don’t know, just some thoughts to ponder.

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By augie, May 20, 2007 at 9:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was talking to two of my friends who including me were virgins when married. Excluding the liars, I think we comprise the 5 percent minority. I hear that men are on a marriage strike.  They don’t want to get married. Fine,I think women need to stop having sex with men until they marry us. I know if my husband dies. I am at least getting the going prostitution rate. Why should I do it for free? To all you test drivers out there, I am sure you will
find some women out there to do it with you. I personally would rather be alone. I am sick of woman who sleep with men in hopes they will get some attention. They when the men won’t marry them, they say okay let’s live together. The women end up begging for a permanent relationship. As for the few smart women out there, either marry us, or pay us cash. No more free sex.

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By Ben Takin, January 24, 2007 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


You are wound too tight—I think you need some sex.

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By ugk, January 24, 2007 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You are all a bunch of extremely selfish people who are each individually responsible for the rise and spread of disease. No contraceptive protects against the new STDs. New STDs are discovered all the time and most promiscuous people have some form or another without even realising it. Yes there have been promiscuous people throughout history e.g Vatsyana (author of Kama Sutra), Don Juan etc. But now everybody seems to be engaging in it and in another 10 years or so children (forget teen agers) will start doing it. Because every motherfucker is so busy trying to satisfy their insatiable desires, they dont realise that in the long run everybody is going to suffer. I am convinced that STDs will wipe humans out eventually. Making a relationship work requires hard work and a clear communication and not to mention a subdued ego. Therefore some abstainees may find that their married relationship runs into trouble. There are some seriously misguided people who seem to suggest that having orgasmic sex with many partners will make them better marriage material. You all know deep inside that what you are doing is wrong! But your egos are so inflated that you wont admit you are all miserable. Just because people say that they are happy being promiscuous tells me that they are filthy liars. You want to go around pretending that you are all happy healthy fully fnctional adults. Guess what? You are all a bunch of fucking liars who are trying to drag innocent teenagers and young adults into the pile of shit you are swimming in. Over 90% of adults are promiscuous and society is going downhill! You make the connection. You can tell me everything is fine but on a day to day basis i see violence , anger , depression, failed marriages resulting in under parented kids etc etc etc. Immoral behaviour plays a major role in this.
I have nothing polite to say to all these filthy scum who are destroying other species aswell as our own. Our parents generation in the sixties/seventies decided to break away from restriction. Now it is time that some intelligent and brave people in my generation stand up and change the flow of the river. Of course people will criticise our efforts as well as the pathetic losers leaving comments here.
That idiot who said that abstainees never have orgasms is probably speaking for himself/herself. Married couples can have amazing sex as they begin to understand their bodies better. Yes abstaining wont create a magical loving relationship but hard work and communication will. This is certainly the option for brave and strong young people. It takes tremendous courage to take pride in saying you are an abstainee. Only cowards jump into the bandwagon. I dont agree with the bush admin though. They are immoral enough to invade another country and then preach morals? I dont think so.

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By Polly Ester, December 21, 2006 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“I’d never buy a car without test driving it first, never buy a house without going inside… Long-term (especially life-long!) commitments need to be examined from all angles before you make them or you’re bound to screw up and regret it later”

Nothing in life can be guaranteed 100 percent—that’s why they have “Lemmon Laws.”

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By Spinoza, December 20, 2006 at 10:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

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By Spinoza, December 20, 2006 at 10:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The sexual urge is very powerful and it makes no sense to not enjoy sexual activity while at the same time not being promiscuous and therefore preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

Don’t forget to have an orgasm on Dec 22, the universal orgasm day and anti war surge!

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By John Doe, December 20, 2006 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I’d be amused if this was actually shocking news to anyone ~ even to the religious right and the NeoCons who fantasize that abstinence actually works.

I enjoyed my first real sex at 18 with the woman who has been my wife for 36+ years.

What I find absolutely stupifying is this country’s (current administration’s?) position on sex education. Why would you NOT want to provide both contraception and related information for teens? What part of preventing pregnancy and disease do you NOT understand?

We should keep shoving the Netherland’s teen pregnancy statistics down the NeoCon’s throats until they choke.

People are going to have sex. Period.

What’s truly dismal are the divorce statistics. People are obviously not mature enough to understand what is required in a long term relationship. The woman thinks she’ll change the man, the man thinks the woman will never change, and both are fools.

What’s needed is a more mature sense of tolerance and less me-first selfishness. The sex will take care of itself. More couples are likely separated over arguments involving money or non-mutual interests than sex.

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By Rodney Matthews, December 20, 2006 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

And the other 5% are liars.

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By vet240, December 20, 2006 at 1:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I always find it amazing when scientists prove the obvious.

I likewise find it amazing that so many followers of so many faiths who profess their belief in a higher power seem to take great relish in damning a behavior that is most obviously ordained.

I’m sure many of the worlds religious followers will continue to teach that Killing is ordained(As approved by humans), but humans have also determined that God was wrong on the issue of procreation so keep it in your pants young people!

It’s all about procreating people. The world is just one big Womb!

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By Jeanne, December 20, 2006 at 1:29 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The Republicans in Congress are so phony. Give me a break. No sex before marriage. Not only do they have sex before marriage but a lot of them have sex with multiple partners after marriage. I’m sick of their holier than thou attitude.

AND…tell me who can get married these days of no insurance, lack of job security, rising cost of everything. A lot of people are just trying to make ends meet.

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By C Quil, December 20, 2006 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

They had to do a study on this?

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By james j, December 20, 2006 at 10:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Where do i Sign up

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By Sam, December 20, 2006 at 10:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Before getting married, people should make sure they have romantic chemistry, share simillar life goals and ideals, familiarize themselves with the bad and the good of their partner, live with them to ensure they can live together without going crazy…

If you are choosing one person to be with for the rest of your life, why wouldn’t you be sure that the sex you’ll be having is as amazing as the rest of the relationship??

I’d never buy a car without test driving it first, never buy a house without going inside… Long-term (especially life-long!) commitments need to be examined from all angles before you make them or you’re bound to screw up and regret it later.

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By HeadlessHessian, December 20, 2006 at 6:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It was meant to happen.  Mother Nature wants it to happen.  I don’t see the surprise here.  What I do see as obvious is the stupidity of the Shrub Administration and its religious bent.


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By Polly Ester, December 19, 2006 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“Leslee Unruh, who runs a South Dakota-based organization promoting abstinence-only education, contended that increasing numbers of young people were open to remaining chaste until marriage.”

South Dakota seems to be the Mecca of religious mullahs—who promote abstinence, and then tried but failed to pass a ban on ALL abortions—-theological retribution or better known as misogyny.

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By Fadel Abdallah, December 19, 2006 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Congratulation Americans on insisting to have your virgins as soon as possible here on earth!

While some other cultures are stereotyped about the desire of some few to get “seventy heavenly virgins” after some act of self-sacrifice for a cause they strongly believe in, Americans, in larger numbers, seem to believe and practice the concept that one pie in hand is better than seventy pies in the sky.

The question to this writer’s inquisitive mind is, “Which value system is worse?”

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By Quy Tran, December 19, 2006 at 9:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No big deal ! When you want to buy a shirt you need to try it first.

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