Fewer teens are having sex. Newsweek finds a few who aren't doing it
Teen sex sells—but will teen abstinence? Newsweek will find out as it puts "The New Virginity: Why More Teens Are Choosing Not to Have Sex" on its cover. "Rejecting the get-down-make-love ethos of their parents' generation, this wave of young adults represents a new counterculture, one clearly at odds with the mainstream media and their routine use of sex to boost ratings and peddle product," write Lorraine Ali and Julie Scelfo.

The Centers for Disease Control says about 60 percent of high school seniors have had sex, but the number of high school students who said they've had sex has dropped precipitously, from 54 percent in 1991 to 46 percent in 2001.

"It's clear that religion plays a critical role in this extraordinarily private decision," says Newsweek, "But there are other factors as well: caring parents, a sense of their own unreadiness, the desire to gain some semblance of control over their own destinies." The magazine profiles six teens who have decided to wait, and gives each of them respect.

"Most of them didn't feel like outcasts, and I was a little surprised at that," Ali says on Newsweek On Air. "Most of them were not [outcasts] because they were willing to speak about it. They weren't shy about it, they weren't embarrassed by it. And I really don't think they see themselves as trendsetters either. It's such a personal choice for them. It's not a political move."

Indeed, one thread that appears in the cover piece is that abstinence is not necessarily tied to modesty (something at odds with the recent thesis by author Wendy Shalit). One of the women profiled is a Miss Hawaiian Tropic beauty queen who poses in bikinis and models at Harley-Davidson ...

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