Jonas BrothersThe Jonas Brothers were on to something when, a few years ago, all three of them publicly pledged to remain virgins until they got married. Because now, new research from the Centers for Disease Control shows that the percentage of virgins has risen over the last 6 years. Twenty-nine percent of women and 27 percent of men surveyed, from the ages 15 to 24, had never, ever had any sexual contact. No anal. No oral. None.

Wow. Both the Jonas Brothers and I were ahead of our time. Okay, well, I’m 45 and lost my virginity back when I was 20. So, I’ve been having sex for most of the last 25 years but still, I was a trendsetter because back then, most everybody my age had already been deflowered.

I know why I waited so long before I had sex and it wasn't for religious reasons or that I was saving myself for marriage. It was a combination of being a late bloomer, not having a boyfriend until I went to college, being afraid of boys, and being shy. And I was glad I waited because when the big night came, I shared it with someone that I truly cared about. After, my roommates and I celebrated with cheap champagne and pizza. A year later, he broke my heart.

But with stories in the media of middle schoolers having sex and kids growing up too fast, who are these virgins and why are their numbers growing? The survey doesn't cover the why but I'm going to guess that the cause is a combination of things including:

  • The very public purity pledges made by the Jonas Brothers and other Disney stars such as Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus. Even if the pledges don't hold true anymore, they still got the topic out in the open.
  • Gardasil, the vaccine that prevents four types of HPV infections that can cause cervical cancer, was approved in 2006. Parents who have their sons and daughters vaccinated are having more conversations with their kids about sex.
  • Societal norms are changing enough so that talking openly and honestly with your kids about sex is a must, not a choice.

And as the mother of two kids in middle school, I'm glad for the changing statistics. Though I know my kids will do what they want to do regardless of what I hope for. All I can do is help educate them about sex: the joys of it and the dangers of it. And hope that I did a good job.

What do you think has caused the increase in people waiting longer to have sex?


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