Over the past decade, the percentage of high school students who say they are virgins has risen significantly, according to a report published on Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last year, the report found, high school virgins outnumbered those who had engaged in sexual intercourse, 54 percent to 46 percent. A decade earlier, the percentages were the opposite. The study, based on self-reported data from more than 10, high school students, also found other evidence of more conservative sexual behavior.
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It seemed to Fredell that almost no one had sex in Colorado Springs. And then Fredell arrived at Harvard. From the start, she told me, she was awed by the diversity of the place, by the intensity, by the constant buzz of ideas. There were so many different kinds of people at Harvard, most of them trying to change the world, and everyone trying to figure out what they thought of everyone else. Use a new condom if you want to have sex again or if you want to have a different type of sex. She did nothing about it until her sophomore year.
More in High School Are Virgins, Study Finds
Welcome to The Edit. Sign up here to get it in your inbox. Before I arrived to Stanford my freshman year, I had imagined the type of life I would have on campus. Movies about college made me think that hookups and one-night stands would be the norm. Freshman orientation featured students telling us about their sexual experiences on campus, and throughout the year, resident assistants lined the hallways of our dorms with bowls of free hard candy and condoms.
While making assertions that the hook-up culture pigeonholes young men and women into sexual roles with which they may not be comfortable, students like Janie Fredell and Leo Keliher are marketing equally destructive images of ideal sexual behavior. Sexual preferences and desires are personal and should not be subject to the moral compasses of our compatriots. Long before Freud, Victorian American health reformers like Sylvester Graham, John Todd and Mary Gove Nichols focused on sexuality as the key to the self and the domain of self-control; the rhetoric of the new chastity recapitulates that of the Victorian reformers with astonishing fidelity.