Virginity Lost, Experience Gained
Your expectations may determine how losing your virginity will affect you down the line.
What Is the Impact of Virginity Pledges?
Teens who take virginity pledges become sexually active later than peers who
don't; however, much depends on their age and environment, according to an
NICHD study conducted by sociologists Peter S. Bearman, PhD, of Columbia
University in New York, and Hannah Brueckner, PhD, of Yale University in New
The study, reported in the American Journal of Sociology, analyzed
data collected in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add
Health), a comprehensive survey of 90,000 students in seventh through 12th
Pledgers were more likely than non-pledgers to be religious, of Asian
ancestry, lower scoring on a verbal vocabulary test, and involved in a romantic
relationship. Pledging had little impact on teens 18 and older, but 16- to
17-year old pledgers delayed sex significantly compared with non-pledgers.
In an environment in which a high percentage of students took virginity
pledges, the pledge had little effect on delaying sexual activity. The
researchers observed that the pledge had more impact if it is made by a
While delaying sex can have a positive impact on reducing sexually
transmitted disease and unwanted pregnancy, the research showed that when
pledgers became sexually active, they were less likely than non-pledgers to use
What happens when a teen breaks the pledge? The research showed they
experienced no greater loss of self-esteem than non-pledgers who lost their