Teen Sex: Conservative Values Aren't Always Constructive

Illustration for article titled Teen Sex: Conservative Values Aren't Always Constructive

Bernadine Healy, M.D. of US News' Heart-to-Heart blog sounds off on what the media has "missed" in regards to the study that showed that virginity pledges are ineffective. However, Dr. Healy misses some points herself.


Dr. Healy, former president and CEO of the Red Cross sees the conservative values of both groups of teens who were studied as "traits worth noting" because they had what she sees as positive effects on the teenagers' sex lives:

The more sexually conservative teens, pledge or not, held more negative views toward condoms and birth control, though half or more used both regularly. Nevertheless, these more conservative teens had less risky sex (for example, more had had only one partner in the prior year). Perhaps most notably, they reported losing their virginity at, on average, 21 years of age. Among most youths today, sexual activity begins closer to age 17.

Waiting until age 21 to have sex may not be waiting until marriage, but it certainly does point to a grand public-health direction that would make teens healthier and parents happier.

First off, Dr. Healy gets the information about these teens losing their virginity at age 21 wrong: the study found that more than half of both groups had had sex for the first time by age 21. So basically, on average, most of these kids had had sex by the time they were 21, they were not losing their virginity at age 21.

Dr. Healy lists the conservative traits of the two teen groups as positives, including:

6. More negative feelings about having sex or using birth control

7. Strong sense of guilt about having sex, with a bit of worry about upsetting mom.

Let's see: sex guilt and negative feelings about safe sex, gee those all sound like healthy values that a licensed medical professional should be promoting!

Dr. Healy equates conservatism and religion with lowering the frequency of teen sex, therefore making it safer even if the teens are developing unhealthy attitudes and practices when sex is concerned. However, Dr. Healy doesn't note that a teen doesn't need to grow up in these types of environments in order to avoid teen pregnancy and a risky sex life; these are simply the traits of the families that were studied. In fact, blue states have the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and divorce, which shows that not only can liberals raise teens who don't get pregnant, but they can also (hopefully) teach them that sex and birth control isn't something to feel bad about.


7 Factors That Foster Teen Virginity, Pledge Or No Pledge [US News]

Earlier: No Sh-t: New Study Finds 'Virginity Pledges' Ineffective, Promoting Unsafe Sex
As Abstinence Pledges Falter, A New "Middle Class Morality" Emerges



I'm uh


a teen who is Catholic and therefore doesn't believe in premarital sex.

I think.

Although I certainly believe in birth control!

Anyway, I wouldn't take a pledge, I mean, that kinda squicks me out. But I know that I would get guilty feelings if I had sex now.

So yeah, just my input.