The most frequent reason teenagers give for abstaining from sex is that the behavior is against their religion or morals, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Oct. 12.
Among the 57 percent of girls and 58 percent of boys ages 15-19 who said they had never had sex, 41 percent of girls and 31 percent of boys chose “against religion or morals” as their main reason for not having had sex. Teenagers were least likely to choose “don’t want to get a sexually transmitted disease” as the reason for not having had sex, the CDC said.
“Adults have to decide whether teenagers are like barnyard animals, incapable of moral decision-making and at the mercy of primal urges,” Richard Ross, cofounder of the True Love Waits abstinence movement, said. “Adults who tend to believe that assume all we can do is try to prevent some of the consequences of their amoral behavior.”
Early True Love Waits leaders stood in opposition to that sentiment and instead told teenagers, “We have great respect for you. In the power of the Spirit, we believe you are perfectly capable of choosing values, making promises and keeping those promises,” Ross said.
“That was a completely different message than they were hearing in school, and they rose up in historic numbers to embrace what they were hearing,” Ross told Baptist Press. “Then, here we are, 17 years later, and the government asks the teenagers not having sex why they live that way. And by a wide margin the students tell us it is all about their faith and not so much about their biological fears.”
The response choices for the in-person interviews of more than 4,600 teenagers were: “against religion or morals,” “don’t want to get pregnant/get a female pregnant,” “don’t want to get a sexually transmitted disease,” “haven’t found the right person yet,” “in a relationship, but waiting for the right time” and “other.”
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Source: Erin Roach, Baptist Press