May 09, 2006

Virginity Pledge, Smirginity Pledge!

Found here: Pandagon

Like Tbogg says, lying about sex is as American as baseball and apple pie. A quick perusal of the culture of virginity fetishism will tell you that it’s a system where there’s a great deal of incentive to lie and not really much incentive to tell the truth. After all, if you pledge to stay a virgin, you get a lot of attention and some nice jewelry and if that pledge is a lie, it’s not like anyone is going to finding out you’re fucking on the sly. But on top of that, a recent study shows that the main issue with virginity pledges is they are easily made but also easily broken.

So easily broken that according to A recent study:
"Recanting virginity pledges: The analysis also found that 52 percent of adolescent virginity pledgers in the 1995 survey disavowed the virginity pledge at the next survey a year later. Additionally, 73 percent of virginity pledgers from the first survey who subsequently reported sexual intercourse denied in the second survey that they had ever pledged."

Again, no big surprise. Virginity pledges are a front-loaded incentive campaign without any back end enforcement. Generally speaking, if you bait someone with a bunch of goodies, you have to be able to hold them accountable for their promise when they try to weasel out of it later. Like, you know, the way credit card companies work. But there’s no real incentive to stick to the pledge once taken.Luckily, your average wingnut isn’t weighed down with common sense or willingness to look at the facts. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women of America has looked at the facts and decided they’re wrong because she have even better “facts”.

Here's some "facts" from Concerned Women of America (read: Stepford Wives of the GOP):

This new finding by Harvard is misleading and deceptive.

Ironically, this statement that the study is misleading and deceptive is in itself a misleading and deceptive statement. The study isn’t deceptive nor is it misleading. It’s just inconvienent, which is another ball game altogether.

Here's some more "facts":
Those who have committed to saving sex for marriage are to be congratulated and encouraged, said Dr. Janice Crouse, CWAs Senior Fellow of the Beverly LaHaye Institute.

Even if you assume, which I most definitely do not, that there’s a good reason to wait to have sex until you get sucked into a legal contract that’s hard to get out of, this still isn’t a logical statement that Crouse is making. Her desire to congratulate the minority of people who wait until marriage to have sex doesn’t magic the rest of us back to virginity anymore than my desire to congratulate people who never picked up smoking to begin with magics the nicotine out of cigarettes.

Time for more "facts":
This study is in direct contradiction with the trends we have been seeing in recent years both teen pregnancies and teen abortions are down, and evidence indicates these trends are related to increased abstinence among teens.

Except Abstinence wasn’t a factor in the change in the pregnancy and abortion rate, actually. Apparently, the growth in injectable hormonal birth control had a lot more to do with it, which makes sense because it’s probably the best way to prevent pregnancy without having devices around that could be seen by a parent.

But, that doesn't stop th Stepford Wives from lying.
Lie #1:
"Those who make virginity pledges have shown greater resolve to save sex for marriage. At the same time, those who have not made a conscious decision to abstain from sex are more likely to engage in premarital sexual activity."

In other words, girls who don’t want to wait for marriage are less resolved to wait for marriage than those who want to wait for marriage. Or, since we are discussing lying here–girls who don’t care what you think about their sex life are less likely to tell you what you want to hear than girls who are afraid you’ll think they’re sluts.

Crouse must have been a great mom if her idea of proof you’re not lying is that the lie she heard sounded better than the truth.

Lie #2:
"Abstinence education is the only effective tool for teaching young men and women the dangers of promiscuous behavior."

Actually, darlin', it's the only effective way to ensure you get pregnant teens.

Ah, no wonder they don’t care that the kids taking virginity pledges are lying or will lie about it later. They have no qualms about lying themselves. The most effective programs for spreading information on the dangers of promiscious behavior have got to be the ones that dramatically slowed down the HIV transmission rate in the 80s and 90s–you know, the ones where a combination of warnings about sleeping with people you don’t know well and education about condom usage were employed? That’s not abstinence-only and it worked.*

Lie #3:
"Pre-marital sex, especially with multiple partners, greatly increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies."

This statement is self-evidently false. The wedding ring doesn’t actually decrease your fertility and therefore has no effect whatsoever on your possibility of getting pregnant if you don’t use contraception.

"Not to mention the emotional impact of sexual intimacy."

Not to mention my fabulous recipe for queso. CWA mentions this but has nothing to say about it, I notice. Typical conservative weasel words–an attempt to imply that you can’t love someone if you ever touch a cock, but without coming out and saying it because straightforward language increases the chance that people will realize how stupid your beliefs really are.

Lie #4:
"The Harvard report is wrong."

Evidence to contradict the Harvard report should look something like this: “We have studies showing that kids stick to the virginity pledges because we secretly followed them with a camera to demonstrate that they do.” Or some other way to demonstrate that they have counterevidence that kids are telling the truth in the face of actual evidence that kids are lying.

So, evidence number #1 that Harvard’s report is wrong:
"I know numerous couples who have saved sex for their wedding night."

A few couples have told Crouse they waited and that means that a study showing most people don’t isn’t true. Because a few couples Crouse knows=most people in America.

Evidence #2 that the Harvard report is wrong:
"Research is clear that it is the best recipe for marital happiness and well-being."

This works in the same way that when I say, “Research shows that pink unicorns cheer people up,” means that everyone has a pet pink unicorn.

Evidence #3 that the Harvard report is wrong:
"Abstinence-until-marriage is a beautiful promise that should be encouraged and promoted."

Again, I disagree with her assertion that abstaining from sex is so great, but even if you agree, her point makes no sense. “Eating 5 servings of vegetables a day is good for you and should be promoted,” isn’t evidence that people actually eat 5 servings a day. Saying that it would be nice if it rained today won’t make it rain today.

Abstinence works and condoms work to slow down disease transmission, but both methods only work if they are used properly. Comprehensive sex education is like giving kids a seat belt and telling them to drive safe, whereas abstinence-only is like telling them to drive safe and then praying really hard they don’t get into a crash. The problem is that inconvienent studies show that prayer doesn’t work very well either.

*Which reminds me of something else that bugs the ever-living shit out of me about abstinence-only education. It’s the dictionary definition of heteronormative. Telling people to wait until marriage is a prettified way of telling gays and lesbians they can never have sex at all.

My favorite comment on the article:

"My girlfriend astutely pointed out that, psychologically, virginity pledges made by tweens are just as likely to backfire as to accomplish anything. After all, being a teenager is all about rebellion and carving out an identity for yourself that isn’t an extension of your parents’ will. What better way to do so than to break that stupid virginity pledge you made to your dad when you were twelve and didn’t have any idea what you were saying? "

Here's the thing, fundies and their Stepford Wives - PEOPLE WILL HAVE SEX WHETHER YOU WANT THEM TOO OR NOT. Now, I know this is painful for your pure and moral ears to hear, but the truth must be faced. People are going to get it on. Teenagers are going to get it on. So which is perferrable to you - A) a pledge given too early for the child to know what they are pledging too, and in the presence of a parent that they do not wish to disappoint that is discarded - or better yet, loopholes are found (like oral or anal sex instead of vaginal - well it's maintains virginity, doesn't it? Crafty kids you got there) - the instant Daddy isn't around. Or, B) comprehensive logical education that teaches kids about the dangers along side the ways to prevent them so that they are armed with the information of how to protect themselves, instead of paying meaningless lipservice to unrealistic and childish ideals?

I know what you're going to pick. You don't like education, (sex, scientific or anything else non-biblical) and that's OK. Just please teach your kids to use computers so that they don't mess up my 2 a.m. order at McDonald's, K?