abstinence clubs on college campuses

The New York Times Magazine recently ran a story about the appearance of abstinence clubs on college campuses–a natural occurrence after 15-years of abstinence-only programs in high schools.

I had a really different reaction reading about these college clubs than I expected when I first saw the headline. After finishing the article I ended up thinking:"Oh, that’s interesting," and not: "Why is abstinence now being pushed on college kids too?"


Partly because, for the most part, pushing abstinence doesn’t seem to be what’s going on. These clubs aren’t required. Rather, they are groups that like-minded students form and join willingly. And partly, it was because the profiled students seemed thoughtful; having consciously decided not to have sex based on plenty of information and not because they were parroting the party line.

Like many people, one of my biggest concerns with abstinence-only education is the "ONLY." I have no problem if young people choose not to have sex. Clearly, for a whole lot, that is the best decision. But I get really riled up when kids are denied information about sexuality or are pressured into taking half-hearted virginity pledges.

If someone wants to belong to a group that reflects her convictions, then I say go for it. I’m glad students like the ones interviewed by the Times have found support in the often confusing college atmosphere. A chastity or abstinence club wouldn’t have been my thing in college, (for the record, I was in a group called, "Sexual Health Advocates"). But that’s one of the nice things about college, there’s usually a whole lot more to choose from than there was in high school.

What do you think about abstinence clubs on college campuses? Do you have any personal experience with them?

Posted in: Health, Sex & Relationships, The State of Sex Ed, Virginity
  • ashley

    I think this is a good idea, so long as they don't push abstinence-only on people. if not then, go ahead.

  • Elizabeth

    I read about the group referred to in the article, True Love Revolution, in another NY Times article and I've checked out their website. I don't believe that sex needs to be saved until marriage, but I do respect and agree with some of people's reasons for remaining abstinent like not getting STDs, getting pregnant, or becoming physically intimate with people you're not sure you care about deeply. But, I don't agree with their use of oxytocin as a scientific reason why girls are too vulnerable to heartbreak to have casual sex or sex with a possibly short-term boyfriend. I find that to be bullshit, that they try to back up with science.