…And so were most of us. 95% of all Americans have had premarital sex, according to a study (which was longitudinal, by the way) by the Guttmacher Institute.
The study, examining how sexual behavior before marriage has changed over time, was based on interviews conducted with more than 38,000 people — about 33,000 of them women — in 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002 for the federal National Survey of Family Growth. According to Finer’s analysis, 99 percent of the respondents had had sex by age 44, and 95 percent had done so before marriage.
This would tend to fly in the face of right-wing fanatics’ claims that premarital sex is somehow aberrant, abnormal or wrong; and of course it’s worth pointing out that for the first hundred thousand years (at least) of our existence as a species, everyone was having premarital sex — because the “institution” of marriage hadn’t been invented.
Oh, and by the way, roughly 30% of the US population lays claim to right-wing fanatical beliefs. Yet according to Guttmacher, a significant percentage of those very people must also have engaged in premarital sex:
Even among a subgroup of those who abstained from sex until at least age 20, four-fifths had had premarital sex by age 44, the study found.
Apparently getting full of the Holy Spirit inures one to a sense of hypocrisy.
This might tend to suggest that marriage is less important to culture than, say, writing, or perhaps the control of fire or the invention of the wheel — but I suppose if you’re ass-backward enough to believe that Earth was built in six days, it’s not a big jump from there to marriage being the only important factor in the modern world, the only thing that needs active protection.
After all, it’s not as though there’s an active genocide campaign taking place somewhere in the world right now that we could help defray; it’s not like there are starving or homeless people anywhere in the US who need help right now; our land is absolutely full of well-fed, well-educated and well-looked-after citizens who want for nothing and have universal access to the best health care in human history, free of charge.
So obviously it’s marriage that we really need to worry about, since all our other problems have been solved.
The study tends to reflect poorly on the Bush policy against sex:
“The data clearly show that the majority of older teens and adults have already had sex before marriage, which calls into question the federal government’s funding of abstinence-only-until-marriage programs for 12– to 29-year-olds,” [study author Lawrence] Finer said.
Of course, Bush’s spokesdroids are quick to deny culpability in pushing abstinence-only education, even though they’ve been doing it for more than half a decade already:
Wade Horn, assistant secretary for children and families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, defended the abstinence-only approach for teenagers.
“One of its values is to help young people delay the onset of sexual activity,” he said. “The longer one delays, the fewer lifetime sex partners they have, and the less the risk of contracting sexually transmitted disease.”
He insisted there was no federal mission against premarital sex among adults.
“Absolutely not,” Horn said. “The Bush administration does not believe the government should be regulating or stigmatizing the behavior of adults.”
Really. So the anti-gay marriage amendments are … what, exactly?
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