Fisher, D. A.
; Bersamin, M. M.
; Walker, S.
; Grube, J. W.
; and Hill, D. L. Journal of Adolescent Health
, vol. 41, pgs. 182-8 (2007)PURPOSE: The current study examined adolescent conceptualizations of virginity and abstinence and whether differences in adolescent definitions of these terms differed by age, gender, ethnicity, and sexual experience.
METHODS: A series of logistic regressions were conducted to examine whether gender, age, ethnicity, and sexual experience predicted whether adolescents believed that an individual was still a virgin or abstinent after engaging in genital touching, oral sex, vaginal intercourse, or anal sex.
RESULTS: Findings indicated that loss of virginity was linked primarily with vaginal and anal intercourse, while a greater proportion of adolescents attributed a loss of abstinence to other behaviors such as genital touching and oral sex as well. Sexual experience was the strongest predictor of how adolescents defined virginity and abstinence.
CONCLUSIONS: Significant differences exist in youths' definitions of abstinence and virginity. This suggests that additional attention is needed to ensure a common understanding of these terms to achieve successful sexual education and prevention programs.