Talk about your peanut butter & chocolate combos…

by alphamonkey on May 31, 2007 · 4 comments

in Uncategorized

Slate’s Hanna Rosin reviewed Mark Regnreus’ ’Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers‘ in her book review column yesterday, and I have to say it’s a hell of a read.

There’s been much statistical work done on the merits of abstinence-only education and virginity pledging (spoiler: they so don’t work), but a book that actually breaks down the influence religion truly plays in teenagers’ sexual behavior is a pretty fascinating subject.  Here’s a fun fact for you

[Evangelical teens] tend to lose their virginity at a slightly younger age—16.3, compared with 16.7 for the other two faiths [Catholicism and Protestant]. And they are much more likely to have had three or more sexual partners by age 17.

Terrible, I know, but I find that fact to be more than a little hilarious in the ironic sense.  No data yet on how kids raised to worship the Ageless One (Cthulu) do, so I guess I need to hold off on buying into all the literature.

Here’s a tip: Don’t do a google image search for ‘teens’ + ‘sex’ and expect anything back you could publish

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  • Thewellis

    damn and i thought this was about weird sandwich experiments….well it could be…

    in this country there is a heavily state influenced education programme about sex education, yet we have the highest teenage pregnancy rates in europe. we also have one of the highest alcohol consumption rates in europe, and considering you can legally drink at an earlier age (5 under parents supervision at home)in this country… i wonder if these things are connected?

  • theeruditefrog

    Being one of those Evangelical types myself, the second page of the Slate article does show that the teens behavior depends on how important their faith is to them – which makes sense really.

    The first part of the article feeds you the ‘look at those hypocrites’ line – which seems a bit of a cheap lure to me.

    (Beware the statistic, as the man who put his head in an oven and feet in a freezer found out!)

  • .alphamonkey.

    That’s a valid point, but it doesn’t negate the statistical find; namely, that abstinence and promise programs don’t deter teens from having sex. Indeed, one statistic left out of that article is that teens who enter those programs contract STDs at a slightly higher rate than those who go through more comprehensive sex education programs.

    I didn’t post that as a means of knocking anyone’s faith, but rather to help debunk the myth that abstinence programs are effective in keeping kids from having sex.

  • theeruditefrog

    Probably mis-read the stats myself.

    I think this line stood out for me: “one group stands out: the 16 percent of American teens who describe religion as “extremely important” in their lives. When these guys pledge, they mean it”. Does it mention what the ‘normal’ non-religious stats are?

    On the STD issue I would guess there was more naivity on the part of ‘Religious’ teens?

    I kind of wonder about the abstinence programs, could they have the same effect at dieting – in that they focus the mind on the very thing you are trying to avoid?

    I guess there are also plenty of pressures against this movement than there are ones encouraging teens to abstain.

    Good post alphamonkey.

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