U.S. states that preach abstinence-only education based on Christian values end up with sky-high teen pregnancy rates and scores of guilty young people wondering What Jesus Would Do with their purity rings. A new study in the American Sociological Review found that evangelical virginity-pledgers could learn a thing or two from Muslims and Hindus, who are the most likely to actually abstain from premarital and extramarital sex instead of just lying about what went down in the basement over the weekend. What's their secret? Really pretty "True Love Waits" t-shirts? Nope: legal and religious coercion, gender segregation, and never showing any lady skin, ever.
"All major world religions discourage sex outside of marriage, but they are not all equally effective in shaping behavior," Amy Adamczyk of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, one of the study's co-authors, told the Religion News Service. She said she was inspired to conduct the study, which included data from 31 developing nations collected between 2000 and 2008, after conducting separate research which found that countries with large Muslim populations had low rates of HIV and AIDS. "I was trying to figure out why that would be," she said. Unfortunately for progress, she did not find that the rates were thanks to excellent sex-ed programs, affordable access to contraception, and an overall healthy attitude towards sexuality. Instead, it turns out that being afraid that you'll be damned/incarcerated if you bone without a ring on it doesn't have an awesome effect on your libido.
Those looking for casual sex partners online should try "advanced search"ing for Chosen Ones: a whopping 94 percent of Jews who participated in the study reported having premarital sex, followed by 79 percent of Christians, 65 percent of Buddhists, 43 percent of Muslims and 19 percent of Hindus. 4 percent of married Jews said they had cheated on their spouse, compared to 3 percent of Christians and less than one percent of Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists.
The study's authors determined a few reasons for the disparity: Muslim and Hindu men and women interact less often, Muslim religion prohibits any form of zina (fornication or adultery) and some countries legally enforce that tenet, and, because — in the words of Rev. Paul Sullins, a sociologist at the Catholic University of America, "The burqa really works."
"When you cover your women head to toe with cloth to keep them from being viewed by men outside their family, and you keep them strictly segregated from men throughout their growing years until they get married, you're going to have less premarital sex," he said. And, often, a widespread misogynist mentality and increased rates of violence against women, among other notable negatives. But no dirty sex!