Sunday, January 28, 2007

From The Guttmacher Institute


The vast majority of Americans have sex before marriage, including those who abstained from sex during their teenage years, according to “Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954–2003,” by Lawrence B. Finer, published in the January/February 2007 issue of Public Health Reports. Further, contrary to the public perception that premarital sex is much more common now than in the past, the study shows that even among women who were born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 had sex before marriage. (bolds are mine)

The new study uses data from several rounds of the federal National Survey of Family Growth to examine sexual behavior before marriage, and how it has changed over time. According to the analysis, by age 44, 99% of respondents had had sex, and 95% had done so before marriage. Even among those who abstained from sex until age 20 or older, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44.

“This is reality-check research. Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades,” says study author Lawrence Finer, director of domestic research at the Guttmacher Institute. “The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12–29-year-olds. It would be more effective to provide young people with the skills and information they need to be safe once they become sexually active—which nearly everyone eventually will.”

Indeed, while the likelihood that Americans will have sex before marriage has remained virtually unchanged since the 1950s, people now wait longer to get married, so they are sexually active and unmarried for much longer than in the past. During this period, Dr. Finer concludes, young adults have an especially great need for accurate information about how to protect themselves against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections

First off, I must thank the delightful Susie Bright for tipping me off to this study first. The thing that leaps out to me is that we have yet another example of religious conservatives (or, as I prefer to call them, intrusive asshats) taking an engraved in stone falsehood as their premise. We have never been a chaste nation folks. Some of our founders (most notably Hamilton) were born out of wedlock, far many more were conceived out of wedlock and legitamized by a quick wedding. As my grandmother from Ireland used to say, "First babies can come at any time. After that, it's usually nine months." So, while the President must be robbing the treasury from somewhere (oh, yeah, he's stiffing some poor school districts that fail his testing benchmarks) to get the half billion dollars he's spending to preach abstinence to 19 to 29 year olds (using the irrepressible Ms. Bright again) who aren't going to do it anyway.

The part that makes me weary and feeling old is that they do this all the time. They start with a bald faced lie, like, "We were founded as a Christian Nation" or "The controversy surrounding Darwin's theories is clear" and then, even in the face of all the facts that prove their basic premise to be a lie they will still persist.

This is the kind of imaginary friends magical thinking that gives us an Attorney General who can deny that Habeas Corpus is a constitutional right. After all, the constitution says that it should not be suspended except under the most extreme circumstances, it never says explicitly "You have the right." Jayzus Horatio Christ Sleeping in the Goddamn Pews! Next, when confronted with a pattern of logic that leads one to realize that it wasn't explicity granted because it had its foundation in Common Law the great unwritten list of things that just are because they should be, he says "Well, I don't believe that it's so."

The facts don't care what you believe. (warning, this next part comes straight from a lecture by Victor Davis Hanson, look away if the man offends you) "History is by its nature, amoral."



Blogger pissed off patricia said...

Anything to make nice with his fellow assholes. Bush and his administration would say and do anything to keep this 30 some percent in his corner. Does anyone in this administration care who screws who? No! Not only no, but hell no. Just like everything else this administration does, it's all total bullshit!

Ps...No, we did not discover this new exercise of having sex before marriage. No one taught it to us and we didn't discover it. Hormones can take the credit for that and I think everyone who ever lived had some.

6:21 AM  
Blogger Pogo said...

MB, Is there really anyone who needed to see this research to know it's true? I grew up in the middle of the Bible belt, dated Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and even a couple of evangelicals, and this certainly comes as no surprise to me...One of the old pieces of conventional wisdom for hormone crazed teenaged boys was that if you weren't getting laid, date a Baptist minister's daughter - if that didn't solve your problem, you were hopeless.

BTW - nice to see you PoP. You & Mr.PoP doing alright?

8:11 AM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

yeah, i was very grateful for the comdemnations i got from the mormon elders in high school. i was a "half breed" and already a professional musician who played "places where decent people do not go." when it came to the classification of forbidden fruit they put me pretty much at the top of the tree. i would constantly tell them how full of shit their god and they were (mainly because this was before the prophet of the church had gotten the revelation from god that black people weren't inferior and being punished for crimes against god by the color of their skin) and the girls loved it. one mormon bishop mcCook told me while i was waiting for his daughter to come down, "my bible has ten commandments and i can see that you probably break six of them daily." i just grinned.

9:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you haven't yet read this, it's more ammunition for you.

- oddjob

9:53 PM  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

thanks oddjob. it's a very interesting piece.

10:34 PM  
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11:14 PM  

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