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Teens Likely to Deny Making Virginity Pledges After Sex

Conversely, retraction of sexual history common after virginity pledge and new-found Christianity

THURSDAY, May 4 (HealthDay News) -- Adolescents who take virginity pledges are likely to deny having made a pledge if they break their promise of sexual abstinence, according to a study in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health.

Janet Rosenbaum, a doctoral student at Harvard University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass., used data from waves 1 and 2 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to assess how many adolescents who had taken virginity pledges subsequently retracted them after becoming sexually active.

Among those adolescents who pledged virginity in wave 1, 53 percent denied having made such a pledge in wave 2, and those who had become sexually active were three times more likely to retract their pledge. Of adolescents who were not virgins in wave 1 and who subsequently took virginity pledges, 28 percent retracted their sexual histories at wave 2. Retraction of sexual history was almost four times more likely among those who took virginity pledges than among those who did not.

"The factors most strongly associated with retraction of a virginity pledge were becoming sexually active and abandoning a born-again religious identity. The factors most strongly associated with retraction of sexual history were becoming a born-again Christian and having newly taken a virginity pledge," the author writes.

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