The current issue of the British Medical Journal contains a study that reveals that 1 in 200 American adolescents claim to have had “virgin pregnancies.”
I’m not kidding. When I first started reading the article I thought maybe I was reading a high brow, satirical piece dripping with dry, British wit – but then I realized that the study was conducted by a group of professors from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. There went that theory.
Then I decided that these girls must have had some sort need to seek out negative attention of a parent or boyfriend– in other words, they said they were pregnant when they actually weren’t. That wasn’t right either: the girls had actually been pregnant and had given birth, but claimed they hadn’t had vaginal intercourse with anyone. Wow.
In case you’re wondering, that’s not possible — it happens in the animal world at times, but not in humans.
The young women were part of the National Study of Longitudinal Health; of the 7,870 girls interviewed, 45 claimed to have had virgin pregnancies and subsequent births. Here are some of the characteristics of the girls who claimed to have experienced immaculate conception:
- 31% of them had signed chastity pledges with their parents promising to forgo sex until marriage
- They were more likely to have had less than adequate communication with their parents about sex and birth control
- Their parents were more likely to claim their daughters would be embarrassed by such a conversation
- They were less likely to know how to use condoms and other forms of birth control than the non-virgin group
- The average age of “virgin” births was 19, as opposed to a median age of 21 for the non-virgin group
Interestingly, 60% of the young women had boys — in the general population, every year there are only slightly more male than female births (51% to 49%, respectively).