Saying no: Why some choose abstinence

By Shaya Rogers, Features Reporter

Jaden Cowboy, a senior at Native American Community Academy High School, said she is committed to remaining a virgin until marriage because she wants sex to be meaningful and special.
“I just think it’s some¬thing really special and you should wait and share it with somebody that you really care about and that you love,” she said.
Cowboy said she thinks people her age are too focused on sex and should let it come naturally.
“I think they take it too lightly, for younger people my age, I think they just do it just to do it, some do it out of love, I’m not sure, but I feel like they just rush it,” she said.
American society is sexually driven and sexual references included in movies, music and media can make it seem like people should be having sex all the time, she said.
“I feel like there is too much because it puts a lot of pressure on how we are supposed to be, that we should be doing it,” she said.
Seeing sex all around her just makes her feel more proud of the prom¬ise she has made to herself, she said.
“I feel like it’s part of me, part of who I am and I wouldn’t want to change it just to be like everybody else,” she said.
She does not date and does not think dating should be an important part of her life yet, she said.
Looking for someone to share herself with is not a priority and she wants to leave it alone until it hap¬pens naturally, she said.
“I just don’t want to rush it because when it’s time it’ll be time, when I’m supposed to learn about that it’ll come along when it’s supposed to,” she said.
When she does start dating, she said she does not mind if the person she is with is a virgin or not, as long as the person respects her beliefs and has similar values.
“I don’t really think it matters to me just as long as they’re on the same page as me and they understand where I’m coming from and they don’t pressure me about it,” she said.
She does not feel much pressure from others because she has good support group among her family and friends, she said.
“No matter what, I’m proud that I’m a virgin and I’m not embarrassed of it, there’s nothing to be ashamed of just because I’m not that experienced in that area of my life yet,” Cowboy said.

Sex by the numbers

The rise of abstinence has changed pregnancy and STD/STI rates in New Mexico. Here are a list of sta­tistics from the New Mexico Department of of Health.

There are 19.7 million new STIs cases every year in the US.

In 2008, there were 22.1 million women and men aged 15 to 24 years diagnosed with an STD/STI

Less than half of adults ages 18 to 44 have ever been tested for an STD/STI other than HIV/AIDS.

Each year, one in four teens contracts an STD/STI.

About half of all new STDs/STIs in 2000 occurred among youth ages 15 to 24.

 

 Virginity

Virginity is on the rise, 27 percent of 15- to 24-year-old men have never had sexual contact (oral, vaginal, or anal) with another person.

Average Age youngest age for women to have sex 16 years.

Twenty-one percent of women in their 20’s haven’t had a sexual encounter yet, but by age 23 more than 95 percent of women have had sex.

Average age youngest age for men to lose their virginity is 17 years.

By age 19, more than 80 percent of men have lost their virginity. By age 25 more than 97 percent of men have had sex.

 Pregnancy

 

 Pregnancy rates for teenagers aged 15 to 19 fell 40 percent from 1990 to 2008.

Rates for black and Hispanic adolescents also fell, but are still two to three times higher than white teenagers.

Rates among 18- and 19-year-olds were 19 percent lower than the 30-34 age groups in 2008. In 1990 they were 41 percent higher.

Abortions have declined to 19.4 per 1,000 in 2008 from 27.4 in 1990, with about 400,000 fewer abortions.

 

 STD/STIs

 

 There are 19.7 million new STIs cases every year in the US.

In 2008, there were 22.1 million women and men aged 15 to 24 years diagnosed with an STD/STI

Less than half of adults ages 18 to 44 have ever been tested for an STD/STI other than HIV/AIDS.

Each year, one in four teens contracts an STD/STI.

About half of all new STDs/STIs in 2000 occurred among youth ages 15 to 24.

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