Study: Majority Of Young Evangelicals Have Pre-Marital Sex

 

Written by Tanya Somanader, a ThinkProgress blogger

The religious right has a heavy-hand in conservative politics, particularly in an election year. Christian presidential candidates like Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX), Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) all tout their Christian credentials and signed the pro-life pledges to court the evangelical vote. But there is one traditional position that even young Christians are abandoning: the purity pledge. According to a recent study, 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults have had sex, only 8 percent less than the general unmarried adult population:

One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.

While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.

This surprisingly high percentage should land a blow to the political canon of the religious right-wing. As chief proponents of abstinence-only education, religious right-wing organizations insist that delaying sex until marriage “is the only 100 percent effective way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and out-of-wedlock pregnancy.” Health experts, however, note that evidence suggests such programs “are even harmful and have negative consequences by not providing adequate information for those teens who do become sexually active.” Studies have not found that abstinence-only programs cut pregnancy rates, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), or even the age when sexual activity begins.

Without proper sexual education, sexually active young adults are more likely to have unintended pregnancies or contract STDs. Family planning health centers like Planned Parenthood, however, are dedicated to addressing these needs. Indeed, Planned Parenthood’s chief services are sexually transmitted diseases testing and treatment as well as contraception. These services help Planned Parenthood prevent “more than 620,000 unintended pregnancies each year.”

Because unintended pregnancies are the primary reason women seek abortions and at least half of American women will experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45, the religious right might appreciate the important role such centers play helping preventing the chief evil of abortion. Instead, right-wing Christian organizations are dedicated to defunding and demolishing places like Planned Parenthood.

The policies that the religious right and its Republican champions often tout may play well at the pulpit. But, as more and more Christians abandon long-held stances on sexual intercourse, these policies will be an increasingly outdated and even dangerous position for the faithful.

This post was originally published by ThinkProgress.

 

Related Stories:

Teens in Sexual Relationships Are Less Likely to Act Out

New York City Mandates Comprehensive Sex Education

New Line of Tween Panties Promotes…Abstinence?

 

Photo from Courtney Carmody via flickr creative commons

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100 comments

peggy p.
peggy p.4 years ago

Yet another reason for young people to lie to adults ... Is how the adults view what the younger should be doing ... And judge...

Leia P.
Leia P.4 years ago

noted

Jerry C.
Jerry C.4 years ago

Does that include m/m and f/f young evangelical couples?

Lisa Gagnon
Lisa Gagnon4 years ago

"This surprisingly high percentage should land a blow to the political canon of the religious right-wing."
When did FACTS ever affect them?
I remember sitting through several abstinence lectures, where children were told they should only have sex with other virgins. That would work, because it would soon make these gullible fools extinct. Of course, those advocating this strategy are mating like minks--any time, any place, any reason, and no protection. Hypocrites!

Shawn A.
Shawn A.4 years ago

Conservative 'Christian' right-wingers have brains?
Sex is natural, marriage and abstinence are not. Humans were having sex long before some idiot thought up religion as a way to control the population. The more sexually repressive a religion is, the more likely to create sexual aberrations (Catholic priests and altar boys). People are going to have sex. Get over it and move on.

joe lee C.
Joseph c.4 years ago

Teaching teenage children 'Abstinence Only' is like telling a hungry crocodile "don't you dare doing anything to that cute kitten I've placed inside your cage."
Conservative 'Christian' right-wingers---where are your brains?

paul grabenstein
paul grabenstein4 years ago

I hope they used protection.
Sex is for everyone who cares to partake.
Share the pleasure!

Miriam Nathan
Miriam N.4 years ago

Wow! Who would have guessed?? So, what else is new ?... Oh dears, someone here missed the Sixties ( perhaps they were all in the moon along with the astronauts ?) or did anyone think that from "free love" and "make love, not war" facts of life would go backwards towards the XXI century ? Well, some things HAVE gone backwards, I must recognize, but the young will forever be young - and normal - no matter how hard all the hypocrites, especially the religious ones, try to wash their brains.... Thank God for that .

Jane Barton
Jane Barton4 years ago

Chris G. Chris G.
9:06AM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

"@ Robert G - you make a great case for the reason why religion should play no part in schools, government, etc. As you point out, one simply needs to ask an atheist how to behave in this world. It proves the point that one should not need a mythical figure to be a good human, ultimately, the mythical figure is merely a crutch so one doesn't have to think for her/himself and therefore does not need to take responsibility for her/his actions. The most unchristian-like humans I've encountered in life are the most intolerant, meanspirited, conniving, lying, cheating, cruel, abusive humans - who call themselves christians. Religions have waged wars on society since the beginning of religious idolatry and yet so many humans still battle for rights to call their religion the one and only true religion. Isn't it tragically ironic to everyone that religions must wage wars to begin with."

The definition of "religion" is "hypocracy". All religious people are "holier than thou" and of
course "purer", well 20% purer anyway. haha I agree Chris, the Christians I have encountered are the most intolerant, meanspiritied, conniving, lying, cheating, cruel, greedy,
abusive people I have ever met. But they are going to "heaven" and I'm not. haha I don't want to go to any heaven where they area. haha

Chris G.
Chris Guy4 years ago

@ Robert G - you make a great case for the reason why religion should play no part in schools, government, etc. As you point out, one simply needs to ask an atheist how to behave in this world. It proves the point that one should not need a mythical figure to be a good human, ultimately, the mythical figure is merely a crutch so one doesn't have to think for her/himself and therefore does not need to take responsibility for her/his actions. The most unchristian-like humans I've encountered in life are the most intolerant, meanspirited, conniving, lying, cheating, cruel, abusive humans - who call themselves christians. Religions have waged wars on society since the beginning of religious idolatry and yet so many humans still battle for rights to call their religion the one and only true religion. Isn't it tragically ironic to everyone that religions must wage wars to begin with.