in brief: almost 1 per cent of surveyed american mothers claim immaculate conception
Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found almost 1% of new mothers surveyed protest the conception of their child was immaculate.
The Like a Virgin (Mother) study looked at the pregnancy and birth processes of 7,870 women over 14 years, finding 0.8% of these claiming they didn’t have sex to get pregnant.
This figure, the researchers assert, does not include women who underwent in vitro fertilisation and artificial insemination.
The study, analysing the health data of women aged 15 – 28, also found 31% of those still professing to be ‘pure’ had signed chastity pledges.
Still, the percentage indicates a number of issues for the women, including severely inadequate sex education and – unidentified by the UNC researchers – possible sexual assault.
The research found not knowing what the birds and the bees entails or how to use contraception (particularly condoms) was a factor in the 0.8% virgin births.
‘About 28 per cent of the “virgin” mothers’ parents (who were also interviewed) indicated they didn’t have enough knowledge to discuss sex and contraception with their daughters, compared to 5 per cent of the parents of girls who became pregnant and said they had had intercourse,’ the Globe and Mail reported of the findings.
The researchers did not take into consideration the impact of sexual assault on the women’s understanding of virginity and sex. Such reasons for maintaining the idea of being a virgin include the fact that rape is violence (not sex), or the victim’s need to protect themselves if there is fear of further abuse.