Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Nothing Fails Like Pledges

It turns out that abstinence pledges fail to turn horny, wreckless teenagers into non-horny, sagacious teenagers:

Teens who take virginity pledges are just as likely to have sex as teens who don't make such promises -- and they're less likely to practice safe sex to prevent disease or pregnancy, a new study finds.
While I am loath to flout the convention of holding teenage humans to higher standards than other humans, I wonder if hectoring adults into taking similar pledges would work any better?

Suppose we asked American adults to take a pledge to forswear cake, pie, brownies, fudge, donuts, cookies, ice cream, and candy between, say, Halloween and New Year's Day. No doubt sales of such items would plummet in exact proportion to the number of pledge-takers, all the more if the adults were assured that Jesus would throw pledge violators into a lake of unending fire after they die.

Or suppose we set up an arrangement whereby adults would pledge to have sex with -- if not sexual feelings for -- only one specific person for the rest of their natural lives. I wonder how that would turn out? Spectacularly well, I would guess, and no doubt all who signed on would agree with this more or less representative chastity pledge:
I will become a responsible, mature and truly loving person by keeping this pledge. I will become capable of establishing and maintaining healthy and mutually fulfilling relationships. I will contribute to the betterment of my world by not adding to its problems and by reserving my energies for positive activities rather than the undoing of avoidable mistakes.


larryniven said...

Now wait, I think that's a bit harsh. While we can definitely say now that abstinence pledges fail in one specific way, that doesn't mean we should abandon them altogether: apparently they'd make pretty decent pickup lines, if nothing else.

Dale said...

LN: "Hey baby, I'll show you my chastity pledge if you'll show me yours."