Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Myth of a Celibate and "Virtuous" Past

It's fascinating how the Internet can lead you into all sorts of tangents. I saw an item on Sullivan linking to an item on Reason that linked to a study on sexual behavior in the United States (and the utter failure of "abstinence only" sex education). I saw the following astonishing information:
By the way, a new report, Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, finds that most Americans have been enjoying premarital sex for a long time. To wit:

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.

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.
Well, well, well. Wouldya lookee there. Looks like most people in this country have a premarital roll in the hay despite any religious or parental warnings not to. Maybe we should gear our country's sex ed policies to the way life really is, rather than fantasies based on a world that never existed--namely, the fantasy of the celibate-before-marriage past.
Why do you think so many of our parents and grandparents are kind of "hazy" about the circumstances that caused them to get married so young?

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