‘Virgin Births’: 1 in 200 Pregnant Women Claim They Didn’t Have Sex.
Despite what the preponderance of nativity scenes on display this time of year might suggest, it seems that there’s actually a savior born on the regular here in the U.S. New research published in the British Medical Journal finds that roughly 1 in 200 pregnant young American women claim to be virgins. Researchers looked at a study from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health that followed nearly 8,000 young women from adolescence onward, for 14 years, tracking all sorts of information about their lives, their beliefs, and their reproductive histories. If the women in the study reported having gotten pregnant before reporting having had sexual intercourse, they were counted. Out of 5,340 who reported a pregnancy, 45 claimed to be pregnant without admitting, to researchers at least, that they’d ever had sex.
The characteristics of the pregnant virgins are not surprising in the slightest. They were nearly twice as likely as the pregnant nonvirgins to have taken a pledge to remain abstinent until marriage, a religious ritual that sprung up in the 1990s in the U.S. and spread like wildfire in conservative circles. They were also younger, on average, than their nonvirgin peers, around 19 at the time they gave birth, compared to 22 for the nonvirgins. Parents of virgin mothers, who were also interviewed, reported higher levels of stress and inability to discuss sexual health issues with their children.