The chastity pledge or virginity pledge is an influential aspect of American culture with significant impacts on the lives of adolescent girls and young women today. An estimated 2.5 million teens and young adults have taken the chastity pledge and committed to sexual abstinence until marriage, including pop culture stars Miley Cyrus, Jordin Sparks, and the Jonas Brothers. Yet despite the popularity of chastity pledges, the program continues to spark debate and controversy among critics and supporters of abstinence-only education, particularly with regards to their effectiveness in preventing teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) contraction, or sexually transmitted infection (STI) contraction. Current research on chastity pledges offers contradictory results at best.

The first chastity pledge program emerged in 1993 from a Southern Baptist ...

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