The Post Chronicle
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Science
Published: Jan 1, 2009
Sexting Cell Pics: Miley Cyrus Purity Pledge and Chastity Vows Study
by Staff

Sexting has arrived. The days of passing notes in class are a thing of the past and young teens are now turning to their cell phones and the Internet to communicate.

It's no wonder that teens signing Purity pledge and chastity vows to remain a virgin until marriage are likely to engage in premarital sex and more likely not to use birth control, U.S. researchers report.

The analysis of federal survey data found more than half of teens became sexually active before marriage regardless of a "virginity pledge," The Washington Post reported Monday.

The texting and camera features available on most phones, and a permissive society, have lead to 'sexting.' What is sexting you ask? It's exchanging sexual images on cell phones.

Miley Cyrus is the most famous to have been involved in "sexting" when racy images intended for her boyfriend at the time were leaked by someone who hacked her phone. She also wears a promise ring of purity.

Then there was Vanessa Hudgens and Antonella Barba. And most recently, Cheetah Girl Adrienne Bailon.

Experts say "sexting" is becoming an all too common practice for many teenagers, who often think it's no big deal to send racy photos via email or text. Many consider it nothing more than sending a flirty note.

According to researchers at Rochester Technology of Institute almost one-third of teens in grades 10-12 have sent or received sexual content online and they utilize cell phones.

"Taking a pledge doesn't seem to make any difference at all in any sexual behavior," said Janet Rosenbaum of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. "But it does seem to make a difference in condom use and other forms of birth control that is quite striking."

Rosenbaum said she compared 289 students who were 17 years old on average in 1996, when they took a virginity pledge, with 645 who didn't take a pledge but otherwise showed similar attitudes about sex and birth control. By 2001, Rosenbaum found 82 percent of those who had broken their no-premarital-sex promise and and there was no significant difference in the proportion of students in both the pledgers and non-pledgers engaged in sexual activity.

"It seems that pledgers aren't really internalizing the pledge," Rosenbaum told the Post. "It seems like abstinence has to come from an individual conviction rather than participating in a program."

She said she found about 24 percent of those who had taken a pledge said they always used a condom, compared with about 34 percent of those who had not. The finding could be attributable to what teens learn about condoms in abstinence programs, she said. (c) tPC (c) UPI

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