NatGeo Sees No ‘Taboo’ in Teen Sex


The latest episode of “Taboo” aired last night on National Geographic Channel. It explored the issue of “Teen Sex.”

One segment introduced viewers to the Kreung people of Cambodia, who build “love huts” for their teen-aged daughters to have pre-marital sex with as many teen-aged boys as they like.

Another featured 15-year-old Australian tart Cassie Osborne and her teen-aged girlfriends, wearing barely-there dresses, practicing their sexual flirtation, looking forward to becoming some young bloke’s boy toy.

And yet another took a look at Purity Balls here in the United States, in which teen-aged girls pledge to remain pure and abstain from sexual relations until they are married.

“Taboo’s” producers were uncritical of the Kreung’s love huts. “Some argue that this gives the girls a sense of empowerment,” they noted.

They uttered nary a discouraging word about come-hither Cassie and her Aussie BFFs, apparently considering their race to lose their virginity an expression of girl power.

But they ridiculed Purity Balls, which were conceived by evangelical Christians, which encourage teen-aged girls to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God.

“Some argue that pressuring a girl to participate in a Purity Ball puts her in a position,” according to “Taboo’s” producers, “where a man is always in control of her sexuality, first her father, and then her husband.”

Moreover, said Helen Fisher, a Rutgers University biological anthropologist, “There’s a great deal of data that young girls who swear off sex tend to have sex anyway. They simply just delay it for one, two or three years. Then they impulsively go out and have sex without having gotten any sex education.”

Indeed, said “Taboo’s” disembodied narrator, echoing Fisher, “Recent studies suggest that teens who pledge to stay virgins until marriage are just as likely to have premarital sex as those who make no such pledge.”

Of course, “Taboo” provided no references for the “data” Fisher mentioned; no citations of the “studies” to which it alluded.

That’s because data and studies questioning the efficacy of purity pledges, of abstinence-only programs almost always have been ginned up by agenda-driven researchers biased in favor of sex education.

The proof of that bias is that neither Fisher, nor “Taboo” acknowledged the most impartial, most authoritative study of abstinence-only programs, which was released in 2010 in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

The researchers – whom, it should be noted, were not evangelical Christians – followed  sixth and seventh graders in two groups, one of which concentrated on abstinence, the other on contraception and “safe sex.”

Two years later, the researchers checked back with the kids. Half those learning safe sex were sexually active, while only a third of those encouraged to practice abstinence were engaged in sex.

Interestingly, the abstinence teachers were values-neutral. They never mentioned religion, morality or marriage. Had they done so, I believe the  kids who remained pure after being taught abstinence would have been three-quarters or more, rather than the actual two-thirds.

Indeed, most of our teens are living down to society’s low expectations of them.

But it’s not impossible for the under-aged to control their hormones. It’s not inevitable they are going to be sexually active. And it’s not unreasonable to expect them to abstain from sex until, at the very least, they reach adulthood.

This entry was published on July 9, 2012 at 9:18 AM. It’s filed under Morality and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “NatGeo Sees No ‘Taboo’ in Teen Sex

  1. Ashley on said:

    I watched the “Teen Sex ” epsiode and was disturbed by all three segments. Ido not condone teen sex at all so all of the segments about the Teen’s having huts to have sex in was just beyond bizarre yet it explains why Cambodian teens are trafficked. In the case of the Purity Balls I see the concept and the purpose behid it however I dont agree with it 100%. First of all biblically people should not make vows Matthew 5:33-37. If these teen girls make these vows and break them it can truly damage them and they will either fall extremely away from the faith or jsut be riddled with guilt. Another issue I have with Purity Balls is where are the boys? Why are the girls the only ones that participate. I didnt see any reference of the boys paricipating in the Purity Balls. What’s up with that? I really would like an answer

    • Jimmy Swaggart on said:

      Ashley is a whore who listens to devil’s music, rock & roll no more! what is that whore Ashley doing on the internet. The internet was invented by satan to spread ideas the church does not agree with. marijuana and rock & roll ashley! no more you whore!

  2. mauricio on said:

    i support you abb3w

  3. abb3w on said:

    The JAMA study seems to be (doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2009.267). However, I’m not sure on what basis you consider it “the most impartial, most authoritative study”. Also, it technically was not of “abstinence-only programs”, but the results of a single 24-month study on ~700 African American 6th and 7th graders who participated in one of a pair of particular programs: one abstinence-only, one more general as control.

    In contrast, the results the National Geographic program referred to are likely from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a long-term study some 15000-20000 adolescents from 1994 through 2008, such as from from the likes of Bearman and Brückner in publications such as (doi:10.1086/320295) or (doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2005.01.005). The results do indicate pledges are associated with later sexual debut, and earlier marriage, but also that they have no effect on STD rates.

    Contrariwise, the results from a smaller study by Martino et al (doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2008.02.018) indicated that if some other factors were controlled for, virginity pledges did appear to delay the onset of sex among those who were inclined to make such a pledge.

    Of course, from a policy standpoint, it may make a difference in assessment as to whether you’re concerned with whether or not kids have sex per se, or whether you’re more concerned about consequences of sexual activity such as STDs, pregnancy, and so on.

    • Thank you for your comment. The 2010 study I mentioned, published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine (which, yes, is part of the JAMA network), concluded that “(t)heory-based abstinence-only interventions” – as opposed to regiments that teach contraception and safe sex – “have an important role in preventing adolescent sexual involvement.”

      As to the studies to which “Taboo” referred, how can you say they are “likely from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health?” Neither of us has any way of knowing since the show’s producers didn’t actually cite a particular study.

      I might also mention that the longitudinal study you referenced began in 1994. It had nothing whatsoever to do with the purity pledges discussed on “Taboo” because the Purity Balls the NatGeo program featured didn’t even begin until 1998.

      • abb3w on said:

        Yes, that was part of the conclusions. Those conclusions, however, are limited in generality by the limited nature of the sample studied. There clearly are such cases, where abstinence-only may be more effective. That other studies exist with larger and more general sample populations suggesting otherwise implies that this result may be specific to the studied sub-population, or (less likely) merely a “jellybean” statistical outlier.

        I based the “likely” assessment on that being the largest and most often cited study I noticed when I poked Google scholar for references.

        While the NLSAH did not deal with the specific purity balls, neither did the JAMA-referenced study. The NLSAH study did deal with the more general case of public purity pledges, which have been around rather longer.

  4. This is a sad but true commentary on the Christophobic position of the left as well as most non-Christians. I recently had a discussion where I provided information backed up by written documentation. The other party disagreed, rambled something else that did not support there argument and then others joined the argument against me. Not one had facts because in their world, it does not matter. They keep spreading the lie.

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