Study: Many virgins take other risks
Report suggests those who pledge abstinence try other sex
Friday, March 18, 2005 Posted: 6:00 PM EST (2300 GMT)
NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- Teens who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are more likely to take chances with other kinds of sex that increase the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, a study of 12,000 adolescents suggests.
...which attracted my attention for reasons that will be known to my friends, I'm obliged by the declaration contained within it to post the following, which I wrote to CNN:
This respects the story "Study: Many virgins take other risks" in the Health section. It's a great story in concept: who wouldn't be interested?
But there are two problems. First, in this statement: "Millions of teens have signed written pledges or verbally promised to abstain from sex, part of a church-led effort to discourage premarital sex and the spread of disease. President Bush has boosted funding for abstinence-only education in schools." What exactly does "church-led" mean? Which church? George Bush's church? George Bush is the _President of the United States_, not the head of a church, whatever he may seem to want to be. My church does not endorse _any_ such policies, nor does it lead _any_ such initiatives. You can say that it's led by _some religious_ groups, and that's fine. But there's not one church, and George Bush _as president_ speaks for no church, however he may want that to change.
Second, don't quote things like this unless you're willing to be a more aggressive news organization, which by your mission statement you are not: ""If adolescents only had sex in monogamous, married relationships, by definition there would be no STDs," Brueckner said, echoing President Bush's remarks in last year's State of the Union address. "But the majority of adolescents don't live like that. They do have sex."" I agree with Brueckner, and I'm thrilled to see CNN print irony. But do you really want irony? Brueckner's is not a "statement" per se! Note: the implication that adolescents might commonly be married under the abstinence regime; the fact that as a Yale sociologist Brueckner is certainly aware that many STDs are transmitted by means other than "sexual" contact; and the glossing over of the question of what it would mean to conservative religious folks for kids to be having sex in monogamous, but _not_ married, relationships. Brueckner is an _assistant_ professor, like myself, which means she's still idealistic, still trying to change the world. Watch out for assistant professors; we are crafty!
A copy of this email will be posted at my blog, "Croatan."