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Published:January 3rd, 2009 09:02 EST
virginity pledges

Virginity Pledges A Dismal Failure

By Robert Paul Reyes

"The U.S. government spends more than $200 million annually on abstinence-promotion programs, including virginity pledges.

The latter approach does not work too well.

A new study of a federal survey taken in the 1990s finds that teens who took virginity pledges are just as likely as other teens to have sex before marriage. Importantly, when the pledgers broke their vows they were less likely to use birth control, including condoms."

virginity pledges

`Taking a pledge doesn`t seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior,` said Janet E. Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, whose led the study."

Robert Roy Britt/LiveScience.Com

When your alcoholic husband comes home drunk and begs forgiveness and promises to give up the booze, you take his words with a grain of salt. I once had a friend who made a vow to quit drinking almost every time he got plastered. My friends and I would place wagers on how many drinks he we consume before he uttered his pledge.

If your teenage daughter comes home for school or church wearing a "chastity ring" and pledging not to engage in sex until marriage, take her earnestness with a grain of salt.  Good intentions and chastity rings are no match for raging hormones.

Vows emanating from drunks and randy teenagers are worth as much as $3 bills, as parents we need to accept the reality that in this sex-saturated society it`s almost impossible for young people to remain chaste. Parents just think back to when you were a teenager, do you think for one moment that wearing a "chastity ring" would have prevented you from fooling around?

So what to do if your child makes a pledge not to indulge in sexual relations before marriage? Praise him for his noble intentions, and tell him that abstinence is the best way to avoid pregnancy and STD`s, but do not stop teaching him about birth control.

When a young girl gets pregnant it is a very stressful and emotional time for her, the last thing she needs is to be dealing with is guilt over a broken virginity pledge.

After a fiery sermon from a preacher or an impassioned plea from a teacher, a child may make a vow to abstain from sex. But even the Bible teaches that we shouldn`t make any vows, the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.

Not only do virginity pledges not work, but they influence kids not to use condoms and other forms of birth control. A teen who has taken a virginity pledge will be reluctant to use a condom because it will seem as a premeditated intent to break his pledge. If he doesn`t use a condom, he will rationalize his broken vow, by telling himself that he gave in in a moment of weakness.

This is not the first study that has proven that virginity pledges don`t work, the government should stop wasting millions on an approach that is an abject failure.