An Open Letter to a Wavering Virgin

An Open Letter to a Wavering Virgin In this Letter, Mary Beth Bonacci is responding to a letter from a Herald newspaper reader, written on behalf of a friend… I got a letter from a friend of yours today. She said you're being "tempted," and she's worried about you. She asked me to help her help you to be strong. I could start by telling you the things you probably already know. Sex in the 90's is dangerous. You might get pregnant – no matter how you try to "protect" yourself. And sexually transmitted diseases are no longer a possibility but a probability if your partner's ever been with anyone else. Chlamydia can destroy your fertility. The sexually transmitted human papillomavirus (HPV) leads to [several types of] cancer. AIDS will kill you.  Each is an epidemic, not an occasional rare complication. And the condom does nothing to prevent the first two, and fails over 31% of the time in preventing AIDS. You've probably heard all of that. It may have scared you for a while. It should. But I bet, in the end, it's not enough to scare you out of doing it. There are a lot of forces pressuring you into sex, even if you're unaware of it. TV and movies, for starters. Virgins are hard to come by on prime time TV. Sure, 90210 has Donna, but how attractive does her lifestyle look next to Dylan and Kelly, or Brandon and whichever ex-girlfriend/ older woman/new girl in town he happens to hook up with on any particular episode? The sexually active crowd look like they're having a...

Parents Speak Up! Campaign & 4parents.gov

Speaking to Kids 'Early and Often' The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has unveiled its "Parents Speak Up" national campaign to help parents talk with youth about waiting until marriage to have sex. In addition to public service announcements (click below for "Talk to Me"), the campaign encourages grassroots involvement and offers a web site to better equip parents with age-appropriate information and communication skills. "The 'Parents Speak Up' campaign was developed based on research that indicates youth look to their parents for guidance when it come to making decisions about sex," said Dan Schneider, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families. "When families encourage open communication, and teens live in an environment where values are clearly expressed, they are more likely to follow those values." Studies show that nearly nine of 10 teens say it would be easier for them to avoid sexual activity if they have more, and more open, conversations with their parents. It's critical to address with youth the issue of waiting until marriage for sex and, to be effective, this message must be broached "early and often."   "Early" in order to reach your children before they are bombarded with contrary ideas from the culture. "Often" to reinforce the unwavering message you want your child to receive, to affirm expectations, and to keep the lines of communication open. FRC strongly endorses this new HHS campaign. Additional Resources 4Parents.gov: Talking to Your Pre-Teen or Teen About Waiting http://www.4parents.gov/talkingtoteen/index.html   PARENTS SPEAK UP While you've probably heard a great deal about the Mathematica study that "proves" that abstinence programs don't work (never mind...

March 2007: Abstinence / Sexual Activity

Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood Sexualized Ads, TV, Music Videos, Billboards, Harm Girls' Mental Health…  Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood Teens who start having sex significantly earlier than their peers also show higher rates of delinquency in later years, new research shows. A national study of more than 7,000 youth found that adolescents who had sex early showed a 20 percent increase in delinquent acts one year later compared to those whose first sexual experience occurred at the average age for their school.  In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years. In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years. Stacy Armour, a doctoral student in sociology at Ohio State University, co-authored the study with Dana Haynie, associate professor of sociology at Ohio State . Their results appear in the February 2007 issue of the Journal of Youth and Adolescence. The researchers used data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. An initial survey was conducted in 1994-95 of students from across the country in grades 7 to 12. These students attended 132 high schools and their "feeder" middle schools. This study included students who reported they were virgins in this first survey. They were then surveyed again one year later, and a...

Heritage.Sex.Depression.Suicide.I

A report shows that sexually active teens are far more likely to be depressed and to attempt suicide than those who hold off until marriage. More than a quarter (25%) of teen girls who said they were sexually active also said they had been depressed "a lot of the time" or "most or all of the time" in the previous week, compared to 7.7% of girls who said they weren't sexually active. And, 60.2% of girls who refrained from sex said they were "never or rarely" depressed, compared to just 36.8 percent of sexually active girls who were never or rarely depressed.   For boys, 8.3% of those who were sexually active reported problems with depression, compared to just 3.4% for those who weren't.   Girls who were sexually active were 3 times more likely to say they had attempted suicide than those who weren't. Sexually active boys were nearly 9 times more likely to have attempted suicide. The majority of teens who had become sexually active admitted they'd started too soon and expressed regret. [Sex, sadness and suicide, Heritage Fdn., 3Jun03; data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, 1996, for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and 17 other federal agencies. The in-home survey (given with parental permission) interviewed 6,500 people 14-17 years...

Parents' Vigilant Watch Helps to Delay Teen Sex (APAM,8/05)

Teenagers whose parents keep a close eye on their comings and goings may hang on to their virginity longer, a new study suggests. This parental influence was particularly strong among girls, according to findings published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study included 307 14- to 18-year-olds who had not yet had sex. Researchers led by Dr. John A. Sieverding, who was with the University of California, San Francisco at the time, interviewed the teenagers about their attitudes toward sex and whether they intended to have sex in the next 6 months… They also answered questions about their friends’ sexual behavior and whether their parents “successfully” kept tabs on where they were when they were not at home. Overall, the study found, teenagers whose parents truly knew their comings and goings were less likely to intend to have sex in the near future. When the researchers interviewed the teens again 6 months later, some said they had started having sex — particularly those who had said they intended to do so. A parent’s watchful eye had a stronger influence on girls’ intentions, even among those with a “favorable attitude” toward sex, the researchers found. Parents who successfully monitor their kids, as opposed to those who try but fail, may be better communicators, according to Sieverding and his colleagues. Parents and children, they point out, must have an open, truthful relationship in order for parents to know where their kids are and whom they are with. Parents who are “skilled” in communication, the researchers note, may also be more successful at instilling their beliefs about sex in...