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95% of Americans had premarital sex

A reality check indeed. Does this mean that — gasp — most of these moralizing fundies have been lying and were boinking like bunnies?! I’m simply astonished that the horizontal bop has been occurring outside the bonds of holy, god-sanctioned, in-jeopardy-because-of-the-homos marriage.

More than nine out of 10 Americans, men and women alike, have had premarital sex, according to a new study. The high rates extend even to women born in the 1940s, challenging perceptions that people were more chaste in the past.

“This is reality-check research,” said the study’s author, Lawrence Finer. “Premarital sex is normal behavior for the vast majority of Americans, and has been for decades.”

Finer is a research director at the Guttmacher Institute, a private New York-based think tank that studies sexual and reproductive issues and which disagrees with government-funded programs that rely primarily on abstinence-only teachings. The study, released Tuesday, appears in the new issue of Public Health Reports.

Yes. the bible-beating moralists of Bushworld have simply had their heads in the sand, many choosing to believe that  virginity pledgesJesus-head chastity rings and scare seminars on the evils of sex. Given the fact that oral and anal sex increasing among teens. STDs are rampant and the rates of teen pregnancy, abstinence-only education deprives facts teens need to know about contraception and sexual health.

“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- to 29-year-olds,” Finer said.

Under the Bush administration, such programs have received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defended the abstinence-only approach for teenagers. “One of its values is to help young people delay the onset of sexual activity,” he said. “The longer one delays, the fewer lifetime sex partners they have, and the less the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease.”

In March, Byron Weathersbee, a chaplain at Baylor University in Waco, Texas (a school affiliated with the conservative Southern Baptist Convention), conducted a study on the effectiveness of abstinence ed and virginity pledges in Christians. Looking at these figures from the Guttmacher study, I’m sure some of the folks who talked to Weathersbee were fibbing — take a look…* 100 percent professed faith in Christ
* 99 percent attended church
* 84 percent grew up in church
* 87 percent grew up in a two-parent home
* 62 percent of males had premarital sex
* 65 percent of females had premarital sex
* only 27 percent of fundies surveyed managed to stay completely chaste, not engaging in intercourse or Clintonian “non-sex” acts.

Oral and anal sex increasing among teens. Instead of putting blinders on, Dear Leader and his abstinence-only friends need to address what represents a serious STD issue with real information and instruction.

The WaPo reported in March that those virginity pledges touted by head-in-the-sand organizations like True Love Waits and the Silver Ring Thing are doing nothing to stop STDs either.  Among the 20 percent of kids that took a virginity pledge, 61 percent of the consistent pledgers and 79 percent of the inconsistent pledgers reported having intercourse before marrying or prior to 2002 interviews. Almost 7 percent of the students who did not make a pledge were diagnosed with an STD, compared with 6.4 percent of the “inconsistent pledgers” and 4.6 percent of the “consistent pledgers.”

And look at the Lone Star State, bastion of abstinence-only education? It ranks among the 10 worst states in the nation on almost all factors related to teen pregnancy including:

· Teen birth rate 47th
· Percent change in teen birth rate 44th
· Birth rate for younger teens 48th
· Percent teen births that are repeat births 44th
· Teen births as a percent of all births 40th
· Percent of births to teens receiving late or no prenatal care 44th

Abstinence-only sex education programs don’t work. Texas teens are increasingly knocking boots after participating in these programs. One program, the ludicrous virginity pledge organization Silver Ring Thing (“A high-tech, high-energy program for teens promoting the idea of remaining sexually abstinent until marriage”) lost its funding from the Bush admin, as a result of a lawsuit filed by the ACLU back in February because it was using the funds to proselytize.

When asked about the Guttmacher findings Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America predictably dismissed them:
Any time I see numbers that high, I’m a little suspicious. The numbers are too pat.”

Hat tip, Holly Capote.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding