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The Purity Promise

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These days, young stars are sacrificing sex in favor of virginity vows. Momlogic explores this modern movement -- and what it means for teens everywhere.

What's the latest accessory to grace the bodies of teens wearing barely-there skirts and tummy-bearing tops? Purity rings. Selena Gomez, the 15-year-old star of Wizards of Waverly Place, wears one on her left ring finger that says: "True Love Waits." And the pop group the Jonas Brothers (Kevin, 20, Joe, 18, and Nick, 15) don silver metal bands to signify their promise to God to remain virgins until marriage.

American Idol winner Jordin Sparks says of her ring: "My parents gave me a purity ring and talked to me about waiting until I'm married to have sex. It wasn't forced; it just made perfect sense. It's going to be awesome to say to my husband that I waited my whole life for him."

These stars seem to want to prove they can be young and have fun without sacrificing their beliefs. And although this celebrity pledge may inspire young teens to wait until marriage, the numbers show they are just a reflection of a booming trend. Over the past decade, the number of Web sites selling purity rings has skyrocketed. In fact, sociologists found more than one in eight American teens have made a virginity vow to God.

K-Mart now sells gray, yellow, and blue sweatpants that proclaim in what they call "bold abstinence screen print" a logo that reads "True Love Waits" on the crotch and butt of the pants. And there's a new magazine geared toward junior high and high school students called Just For Girls, which encourages "abstinence living."

The good news: Studies have shown that purity pledges lower the risk of early sexual activity and teen pregnancy. The bad news: Researchers have also found that girls who make purity pledges were six times as likely to engage in oral sex than virgins who hadn't taken a pledge, and were also less likely to use a condom the first time they go all the way.

What do you think of purity pledges: good idea or a waste of time?

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69 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous March 30, 2010, 1:52 PM

I love how no one seems to think it is possible to respect yourself, and your body while having sex. There is nothing wrong with sex, even outside of marriage, it can still be in a loving, mature relationship even if that relationship does not last forever.

Our culture is not sex saturated, so much as saturated with lies and exaggerations, in part because sex has always be a taboo to talk about.

Yes, it feels good, yes it has risks, risks that can be dramatically reduced pair with educated birth control use.

If for your own personal or religious reasons you choose not to have sex, great, but that isn’t the only healthy sexual attitude either.

Throwing a ring at teenagers doesn’t count for jack squat, what does count is being open, honest, understanding, and teaching them the truth about sexual health.

julia April 18, 2010, 2:41 PM

i’m 13 and have worn a purity ring since i was 11, and i know plenty of people my age who have ALREADY lost their purity, so i think the pledge and idea is great especially in this present day!

Hailey June 1, 2010, 2:00 PM

Stop saying “Its okay to wait until your in love” and “Sex is healthy, even outside of marriage”… Thats not true. Look at all of the people out their that have shared themselves with a partner that they ‘were in love with’ and have gotten STDs.
I’ve made the commitment of with-holding sex until I have married (I was 10) because I feel my husband is special and deserves a gift for being my REAL AND TRUE LOVE. I am not going to share my body with a guy I know I won’t marry since I’m a teenager (turning 15 this year) because guys my age aren’t looking for anything serious.
I might be the ‘40 year old virgin’ until I marry but I know that that special someone is out there for me and when I find him, I will reward him greatly.
Oh, and another thing. People that make the choice (themmselves) of waiting until marriage, have a deep self-respect and high sef-esteem of their whole being. Stop criticizing us just because YOU didn’t wait. Thanks.

Katie's Mom June 3, 2010, 11:15 AM

I totally agree with “Anonymous”
I happen to believe that organized religion causes more problems than it solves in this world (hey, it’s what I believe - I don’t say you shouldn’t believe what you want 8^) Linking sex to religion and judging people based on an expectation of blind faith (if “God” say so it must be right) just does not make sense to me.
People need to think for themselves, educate themselves, and teach their children to do the same. Doing anything because someone tells you that “God” says so just doesn’t make sense. After all, if there is a God, she gave us the ability to think and use free will - didn’t she?

Missy June 3, 2010, 11:58 AM

Well, keeping yourself for the right one sounds nice, but I guess everybody knows that nowadays a lot of people don’t do that any more. I’m 17 at the moment and still a virgin, and I don’t think that’s going to change easily, because my parents have always thougth me to honor myself, not because I would have made some promiss to God, that some people are bound to break, but because I am worth the guy who doesn’t just jump onto me to have sex. I do not think you have to have a purity ring and make a promiss to God to decide to not sleep with anyone till you are totally dedicaded to whoever it is you are with. And that can be before marriage, but in my opinion, you should allready be married in your heart. O dear, that just sound overly romantic, but I guess you get the point?

O and oral sex is sex too, so I don’t consider that ‘keeping’ your promiss to God, it is just avoiding your promiss by doing such a stupid thing.

15 yr Grl June 23, 2010, 2:42 AM

I know nobody’s commented in a long time, but I just wanna say - my mom talked to me about Purity when I was 11 years old. I’m 15 and a virgin. I don’t have a boy friend, I wear modest clothes, and I set boundaries that I will NOT break. Including waiting till marriage. I have friends who have waited too, and they are very happy people. No parents deprives their children of any experience or joy by teaching them to Wait, because teens choose it for themselves. I choose to wait - even for my first kiss. I have had dreams about my children, my future husband, and my life when I get older, and it excites me - I don’t want to let anything get in the way of that, because I know that not being fully commited to my husband - even now - might limit our devotion. Plus, I love Jesus Christ and He’s warned me to be careful and not to get physically involved with anyone… YET. I am waiting, and I hope you all are too.
It’s your life, don’t mess it up. (Sex is not the same as Love - and ‘til you are ready to give Your whole love to someone, sex needs to wait.)

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babyblue August 27, 2010, 11:50 AM

@15yrGrl-Much respect to you. Keep following Christ and make HIm your #1 priority. I’m in my mid-twenties and will soon get married. Yes, still a Virgin, b/c I have waited for the right one to be my wife, and respect my body as well. Overall, I Love God and want His blessing in my marriage. I know it’s WORTH the wait. Wait on the Lord and He will answer.

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