Although the virginity pledge was connected with delay of some sexual practices overall, researchers attribute much of that result to the pledgers’ religious and conservative upbringing.
A new study looking at virginity pledges—promises made by teenagers to wait until marriage for sex—has found that such promises largely fell flaccid, as sexual behavior of pledged teens was little different than non-pledgers, and that, hilariously, a whopping 82 percent, five years later, had either forgotten or denied taking the pledge.
As many as one in eight teens in the United States may take a virginity pledge at some point, vowing to wait until they’re married before having sex. But do such pledges work? Are pledge takers more likely than other teens to delay sexual activity?
A new study suggests that the answer is no. While teens who take virginity pledges do delay sexual activity until an average age of 21 (compared to about age 17 for the average American teen), the reason for the delay is more likely due to pledge takers’ religious background and conservative views—not the pledge itself.
According to a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, pledge takers are as likely to have sex before marriage as other teens who are also religious, but don’t take the pledge. However, pledge takers are less likely than other religious or conservative teens to use condoms or birth control when they do start having sex.