Now here's a shocker: Anew study finds that men who make "virginity pledges" get plenty of "social support to abstain from sex before the wedding night," but once they get married, they no longer feel comfortable talking about all that sex they're finally allowed to have. They've been taught to think of extramarital sex as "animalistic and foul," but of the Marriage Bed as a place of sacred beauty, and so they often find themselves conflicted about sex. For some reason.

The study, presented by University of Washington sociology PhD candidate Sarah Diefendorf at the American Sociological Association meeting last week in San Francisco, found that sex after marriage can be a source of confusion for male virginity pledgers:

"They spend the first 20-something years of their lives being told that sex is wrong," Diefendorf told Live Science. "They're expected to make this transition from the beastly to the sacred, but they don't really have the tools to be able to do that effectively."

Imagine that!

Most previous studies have focused on chastity vows that take place in "mass-pledging events" like the not-bizarre-at-all "Silver Ring Thing," where kids go to a well-lit Christian dance party and get a ring with a Bible verse. Such approaches have turned out not to be especially effective in preventing or delaying teen sexual activity. And while there's been a lot of attention paid to those hyper-creepy "purity balls," where girls pledge to their fathers that they'll stay virgins until given away (vomit), Diefendorfer looked instead at efforts aimed at young men. She found that small groups that provide frequent meetings and opportunities for participants to discuss the battle against "temptations like pornography, masturbation and premarital sex" actually have a pretty good record of helping young men remain "pure":

In 2008, Diefendorf first conducted several interviews with men in one such small group, called The River, which was formed at the Message of Truth, a nondenominational mega-church in the Southwest. The group of 15 men met weekly to support each other in their struggles to remain abstinent, and many became close friends.

"They have these unbelievably honest and open conversations about sex and sexuality and various struggles with that," Diefendorf told Live Science.

The group also set up "an intricate system of accountability" in which the men would text each other to ask "Are you behaving?" and checking up on each other to make sure they weren't watching porn, fooling around with girls, or spending too much time in their bunks, if you know what we mean (and we think you do).

Problem is, when the men got married, that fine system of support for not-sexing vanished, and they found they had no corresponding network for questions about marital sex -- it was supposed to be sacred, but also not talked about. In follow-up interviews in 2011, Diefendorf found that while 14 of the 15 men in her study group had married and remained friends, they no longer talked about sex.

"The church teaches, before marriage, keep it in the light — they want these men to be talking about these issues so that they maintain their pledges," Diefendorf said. "But post-marriage, the church teaches: keep it in the dark."

And hey, big surprise -- the men said that they felt discussing their sacred marital boning would be disrespectful to their holy sexy wives, but they also were uncomfortable talking about sex with those wonderful gals who they'd stayed pure for. And darn it, some of them still thought impure thoughts about other women or even wanted to view porn, and now their saltpeter support group was no longer available. Again, we know that you are simply astonished to learn this.

Diefendorf concluded that, while many aspects of their marriages may be fulfilling and rewarding, "when it comes to their sex lives, that's where they are struggling."

It should be noted that the Live Science piece on Diefendorf's research generated several comments from readers who wanted the world to know that their monogamous Christian marriages are the happiest and sexiest possible, including one manly testimony from a gentleman who said that he was 32 and a virgin when he got married, never needed an oath or a support group, and was never confused about sex. Outside of marriage, he said, it leads to "STD's, broken hearts, regret, and unwanted pregnancies," and inside of marriage, it's "something very special and wonderful" and holy. The commenter closed his note with this proof of what a Studmuffin For Jesus he is: "now if you'll excuse me, I need to go find my wife and take care of business. LOL!" His wife then presumably read his comment and panted, "Take me now, you magnificent Godly stallion."

We thought it only fair to provide that important counterpoint, which proves that sociologists are trying to destroy the family.

[Live Science]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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