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If last year's hit movie "American Pie" is correct, the pursuit of the first sexual experience is still a defining theme of youth. The comedy chronicled the antics of four high school friends who vow to lose their virginity by prom night. But for a minority of teens and 20-somethings, virginity is not only a defining characteristic, but, in some cases, even hip.
April 12, 2007
Re "Abstaining from federal sex-ed funds," April 8 Since when does intolerant religious dogma dictate the national policy on sexual education for our children? Since President Bush and Republicans forced an abstinence-only agenda on states for federal funding. The stated goal: Achieve chastity for our hormonally active children. I would have had to lock my six daughters in their rooms for the duration of their teenage years to achieve this goal. The absurdity of the abstinence-based programs became apparent last year when the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a memo stating that states "must not" promote contraceptive and condom use to receive funding.
May 17, 1986
Hurray for Abstinence! Thank you for running the article by Cal Thomas (Editorial Pages, May 5), "Why Not Tell Teen-Agers to Avoid Premarital Sex?" I'm no longer a voice crying in an indifferent wilderness, beginning to feel hopelessly out of date. For years I have spoken and written to friends and acquaintances in the youth welfare field, both locally and nationally, urging them to start a national movement with the theme of "Abstinence, not Abortion!" And in the last year I've changed it to "Abstinence, not Abortion or AIDS."
At the YMCA in this northern outpost of Appalachia is a rarity: a federal social program that President Bush wants to beef up. A group of teens and preteens is gathered in a windowless cinder-block room playing a game called "basket of consequences." A boy whose flattop looks like freshly mowed grass reaches into a basket, pulls out a plastic egg, cracks it open and takes out a picture of a ghost.
February 12, 1995
Re "For Drinkers, Is Abstinence All There Is?" (Jan. 31): Who but an alcoholic would want to return to "moderate drinking"? Four martinis a day is moderate? On June 23, I'll have 18 years of abstinence. Why on Earth would I risk the life I've achieved just so that I can return to counting drinks, my favorite occupation for the 35 years before that? I have never met a problem drinker who does not secretly believe himself or herself to be one of that 1% who can safely give up abstinence without fear of relapse.
December 29, 2008 | TIMES WIRE REPORTS
Teenagers who pledge to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who do not promise abstinence, and they are significantly less likely to use birth control when they do, according to a study. The new analysis of data from a large federal survey found that more than half of youths became sexually active before marriage regardless of whether they had taken a "virginity pledge." The percentage who took precautions against pregnancy or STDs was 10 points lower for pledgers than for nonpledgers.
April 3, 2001
I was glad to see "Churches Confront Sex Addiction" (March 30), taking up a sensitive subject. I was also sad, though, being reminded that as a culture we flip back and forth between compulsive, irresponsible sexuality and stern, tense abstinence: "sex recovery." What's missing is the lifting up of a lovely sexual intimacy in a lasting relationship as one of several possible ideals in a satisfying and productive life. TOM ARMBRUSTER Orange
January 3, 2011 | Tami Dennis / Tribune Health
Sexually transmitted diseases -- so easy to get, so difficult to remember how or when. That's not quite the conclusion of a new study published Monday in Pediatrics, but suffice to say: Don't take a young adult's claim of abstinence as proof he or she is disease-free. (The same may well hold true for older adults, but this study was limited to the young variety.) Researchers at  Emory University analyzed data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and tested 14,012 of the respondents (with their permission)
August 2, 1986
Teaching sexual self-control is a very legitimate option with a desirable goal. Not only does sexual abstinence avoid pregnancy, it also avoids sexually transmitted diseases and a lot of possible emotional instability. Proper promotion of abstinence emphasizes the proper role of sex, that of enhancing a long-term love relationship. It is not "ignoring" teen-agers' sexuality, as you claim. Rather, making contraceptives easily available gives a covert permission to go ahead and "indulge."
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