Summary: Virginity Pledges Delay First Intercourse
Adolescents who make a virginity pledge are 34% less likely to
become sexually active than peers who do not pledge.
According to a study
published in the American Journal of Sociology, over 2.5 million
adolescents have taken public "virginity pledges" since 1993. A
virginity pledge is a promise to abstain from sexual activity until
marriage. The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of
taking an abstinence pledge on the transition to first intercourse.
Researchers found that adolescents who pledge are less likely to
become sexually active than adolescents who do not pledge. The
impact of pledging also appears to be long-lasting. This study also
showed family context to have consistent and strong effects on the
timing of first intercourse. The adolescents' feelings of closeness
and connectedness to parents was shown to delay sexual activity.
Additionally, the teens' perceptions of parental disapproval of
adolescent sex was shown to delay sexual debut. The conclusions of
this study were drawn from data taken from the National Longitudinal
Study of Adolescent Health, which was collected at the height of the
virginity pledge movement, the period between 1994 and 1996.1
the Future: Virginity Pledges and First Intercourse, The
American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 106, No. 4, January 2001, pp.