Printer Friendly

"Normalizing" premarital sex.

A new study conducted by Lawrence Finer, research director at the Guttmacher Institute, claims that 95 percent of Americans have had premarital sex, and that this rate extends even to women born in the 1940s.

The report, entitled Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954-2003, has received media attention that rivals the publication in 1948 of Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male. There is, in fact, a common link to both reports. Kinsey's work was funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. And the Guttmacher Institute is a special affiliate of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, which has been funded lavishly by members of the Rockefeller family and the Rockefeller Foundation since its founding (under its original name, the Birth Control League of America) in 1916.

From Planned Parenthood's point of view, a study helping to create the public perception, especially among impressionable young people, that almost everyone has engaged in premarital sex, and that there's really nothing wrong with doing it, is actually good for business.

The new Guttmacher report frankly admits that its purpose is to discredit sexual abstinence programs (e.g., "Due in part to government support, private advocacy efforts to promote abstinence until marriage are also gaining prominence and political clout.") and substitute its own agenda in their place ("The results of the analysis indicate that premarital sex is highly normative behavior.").

Although there is little doubt that the rate of premarital sex has increased since the onset of the "sexual revolution" in the late 1960s, many individuals find the report's findings incredible. Janice Crouse of Concerned Women for America expressed skepticism: "Any time I see numbers that high, I'm a little suspicious. The numbers are too pat."

Especially questionable is the report's statement: "Among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sex by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44." Anyone familiar with American culture of the 1950s and even the first half of the 1960s recalls the social ostracism that awaited young ladies who did not wait for marriage. In the 1957 hit song, "Wake Up Little Susie," the Everly Brothers sang about a couple who had missed their curfew after falling asleep in a movie theater. They lament: "We fell asleep, our goose is cooked, our reputation is shot."

Moreover, in the days before the FDA approved "the pill" in 1961, premarital sexual activity, if it was as widespread as the Finer report suggests, would have unquestionably resulted in a very high rate of out-of-wedlock births and/or pregnant brides at the altar. Yet, there were relatively few out-of-wedlock births or pregnant brides during those days--as any of us, this writer included, old enough to remember the pre-1960s would recall. In fact, single-parent families were also relatively uncommon.

If high-school and college girls in the days of Father Knows Best were as promiscuous as those of recent years, why did the annual birthrate per 1,000 unmarried girls aged 15-19 triple between 1960 and 1994, even as abortion went from being illegal almost everywhere to being available everywhere?

Why did the survey extend to age 44, since the median age of a first marriage for women in the United States in both 1950 and 1960 was 20.3? It is likely that these results included many women born as early as 1939 that married as virgins at around age 20 in the 1950s, but later became either divorced or widowed. This pattern is suggested by the statement: "Even among those who abstained until at least age 20, 81% had had premarital sex by age 44."

The folks at Guttmacher would have us believe that the virginal brides of the era popularized by Doris Day were a myth. But the study's erroneous view of America prior to the sexual revolution of the 1960s should cause us to question what the study says about America today. I don't doubt that there's more promiscuity than there used to be. But is it really as commonplace as the study claims?

The Guttmacher report concludes: "Almost all Americans have sex before marrying. These findings argue for education and interventions that provide the skills and information people need to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases once they become sexually active, regardless of marital status."

Which reminds us of the wise old maxim: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics."
COPYRIGHT 2007 American Opinion Publishing, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:THE LAST WORD
Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Date:Jan 22, 2007
Previous Article:Global-warming alarmists try to freeze out skeptics.
Next Article:Turning our country into a banana republic.

Related Articles
Sexual wisdom.
Illegitimacy, postwar psychology, and the reperiodization of the sexual revolution.
Strengthening tradition for sexual morality.
Sex wars.
Accounting for abstinence.
Pregnant Catholic preschool teacher fired.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters