Texas Teenage Virgins

Last night we watched Texas Teenage Virgins. Thanks to ex-Governer George bush, it’s apparently illegal for schools to teach sex education. This, of course, is leading to soaring rates of teen pregnancy, but the religious right are insistant that they are doing the right thing. Teens are encouraged to take a “purity pledge” saying that they won’t have sex until they are married. Sixteen-year-old-stepdaughter and I watched in complete amazement. Of course it was unintentionally funny in many places[1] but ultimately it is deeply scary.

Sixteen-year-old-stepdaughter has some great views on christianity in general. And she has no worries about expressing them.

TV Narrator: Teenagers in Texas talk to god to give them the strength to keep their pledge.
16-y-o-s: Talking to god is a bit pointless, he’s not going to answer.
Me: well christians would say that he talks to them.
16-y-o-s: They’re such liars.

[1] One teenage boy described his personal method for sticking to the rules as “stay out of the box”. By this he meant an imaginary box box drawn round a woman’s torso. I don’t think he knew the other meaning of “box”.


  1. The strange and scary thing is not that the fundies have these sick opinions about sex — we all know that the Christian religion is strongly opposed to any form of sexual freedom — but that nobody dares to speak up against them. Weird country indeed.

  2. You’re right. We were expecting to see some coverage of the teens who refused to conform. But there didn’t seem to be any.There were, however, a few undefunded health workers who were struggling to keep up with the rising tide of teenage pregnancy. There didn’t seem to be any abortion, just lots of young people with ruined lives.

  3. Funny….Why isn’t this documentary on in the U.S.?

    Dave has an interesting account of a documentary on rising teenage pregnancy in Texas. It strikes me odd that with the “liberal” media in the U.S., why this wouldn’t get aired here.

  4. oh, that reminds me of ‘Sex and the holy city’… US is adjusting itself to it’s southern neighbors.It’s a SHAME that women had to struggle for centuries to re-gain the right over their own bodies, and now THIS.

  5. There was one song they played on the soundtrack and I would really like to know what it was. the lyrics played “let me tell yuo what its like, being young middle class and white” any ideas?

  6. Hi. I live in Britain, but am originally from Lubbock, Tx. I left Lubbock long before Bush came up with this new chastity policy. I havent read much into the new policy on sex-ed, but I remember back in school we were given just as much sex-ed as any other state or city. Just so, I havent been back to Lubbock in years (the massive number of brain washed Christians freak me out), so I can’t say I’ve seen the increased number of pregnancies over the past few years. I don’t think I beleive the facts the show gave about being the worst city in the nation for teenage pregnancies. I respect the British people in that they have more of an open mind on most issues like this, but there was a bit of an exaggeration on the pregnancy issue.I read a post on some forum this morning about the show being televised in Wales last month. A girl by the name of WickedWelshWitch was criticizing the Americans (namely the Texans) for such a ridiculous policy leading to a ridiculous pregnancy rate…I laughed. While I agree totally with her on behalf of the issue, I live in Caernarfon, N. Wales and believe me, never in my life have I seen such an incredible number of highschool mothers. Im not criticizing, but merely making the point that while the whole Christian-Chastity thing isn’t working, neither are a few other ideas. Like I said, I was raised in Lubbock my whole life as a Christian and I have to admit, I was scared to death of the vagina. It was marriage, or hell when it came to sex. Thats the Lubbock policy. As a matter of fact, it’s pretty much the policy of the entire southern part of the country, or the bible belt.Anyway, I still have my purity ring I recieved at fifteen, and its of no use to me because I am no longer a virgin. The funny thing is, I left Lubbock and went to Wales a year later only to lose my virginity to my wife from Caernarfon, N. Wales. I see both sides of the story perfectly, and quite frankly the Christians need to lighten up.

  7. Hi I’m Caerys and I’m the WickedWelshWitch who commented on the tv programmePlease to know that you are in my home country, Zac although I now live in Lancashire.

  8. The song that goes, “Let me tell you what it’s like, being male middles class and white”, is Rockin’ The Suburbs by Ben Folds.

  9. I noticed that nobody brought up the legal ramifications of Bush’s take on sex education in schools. Isn’t the city committing an illegal act by keeping vital, life saving information from its citizens? There has to be a law to combat this measure.Furthermore, the preacher said in the documentary, “you don’t want to use a toothbrush someone else has used.” If you can avoid it, yes, it’s true, but people are not toothbrushes and sex is a natural act.I was sort of disturbed by what that virgin couple said they did before partaking in the act. They prayed. I wonder what was said:”Thank you,God, for the Booty we are about to receive. May it enrich our lives and may we be fruitful and multiply our orgasms. In your name we pray AMEN? “I guess!I am a lapsed Catholic but even I recognize blasphemy when I see it.(awkward giggle) Why not pull out the cross and use it as a sex toy? Quite a line to cross!I can’t believe their line of thinking. My parents never told me about sex because, as my mother recently put it, when she married it was a different time and it would be like the blind leading the blind. Mom is about as traditional and as “old school” as you can get. However, she was smart enough to sign me up to take a sex education class in public school… IN TEXAS!!! It was a very educational class because the instructor EMPHASIZED abstinence. He pushed this hard. However, he was realistic and he went a step further. He offered us options because he pointed out that some would not be able to resist the temptation of “the Box” as one of the boys in the documentary so kindly put it.This teacher made sure we knew what we could use to protect ourselves so that we would not have any unwanted pregnancies or, worst yet, any STD’s. He very matter of factly said that sex is not something to die for and certainly not something that should turn your world upside down.My mother recently shared with me that she never regretted signing me up for that class because at least when I did decid to have sex, I would be more prepared than she ever was. THAT WAS A BLESSING!A parent’s job is to protect his/her child. These parents are killing their children. Actually, if you really wanted to get technical, they are abusing and killing their children with IGNORANCE.There is no excuse in this day and age for this kind of behavior.Ignorance is not bliss, it’s dangerous.

  10. I just saw this documentary. I thought the young people did an excellent job explaining their choice about abstaining from pre-marital sex. While it was clear that the producers found this point of view odd, I admire the fact that they allowed the speakers to express themselves.Hearing them, it’s clear that they are not ignorant about sex, or about choices concerning engaging in sexual activity. They make the choice that is 100% safe, and find strength in their faith to assist them in this (and many others, I’m sure) part of their lives.

  11. I have so much negative to say about the documentary, but I can hardly say a thing! Everything isen’t about Jesus, he doesn’t even exist! It’s unbelivable why people think “Jesus” wants us to wait until we are married. It’s the most naturally thing in the world, to have sex. It’s not something we have to wait to do just because we aren’t pure after doing it. We need sex to survive, it’s a part of every human!

  12. I’m sad to see so much intolerence in the comments on this page. Choosing abstinence is an informed, not ignorant, choice for a 100 %, works-every-time approach to sexual health.Many often tout the reliability of condoms, but admit they don’t approach the 100% reliability of abstinence. For example, if you had the opportunity to have protected sex with someone you knew had AIDS, would you? If you hestitate in your answer, you’ve proven my point.Most disturbing is the intolerence expressed here for the religious beliefs of the young people in the documentary. Narrow minded, “believe-as-I-do” types are causing much trouble in our world today, although they would have you believe they hold the tolerant, progressive attitude. I have the utmost respect for the beliefs expressed by the participants in the documentary and feel certain they would not be as intolerant of the posters on this site as the posters have been of them.

  13. Virginity pledges

    I’ve just finished watching the Channel Four documentary Texas Teenage Virgins on TVNZ. It appears to be at least a year old, but makes for an interesting episode from what appears to be a television series on religion. It’s almost…

  14. I really do not believe the teenagers of Lubbock abstain through their own beliefs and wishes. Watching the documentary it was clear that they were brainwashed when they were at a vulnerable age by a man who used fear and terrorised them into obeying, backed by a church who did not believe in them having free choice. They were led to believe that condom’s had a massive failure rate and were not introduced to any other forms of contraception. Those preaching to them were too scared of the choice they might make if they were given alternatives.If you have seen the documentary you will notice that a lot of the teenagers changed their minds as they grew and especially when they escaped from the churches influence and learnt to think for themselves.A true decision has to be informed and weighted and if they are only taught one side of the argument then they cannot truly have made a decision.

  15. Teenagers in Lubbock, and all over the world (I bet even in Great Britain) abstain from premarital sex completely of their own informed choice. They are not brainwashed, but have knowledge of the medical and emotional risks of premarital sex (protected or otherwise) and simply choose differently than their peers.Some of those who abstain do so because of their religious beliefs. They do not seek to “escape from the churches (sic) influence” but seek to draw closer in their relationship with God and his purpose for them in this world.The vast majority of these teenagers who abstain also have BOTH sides of the argument, obtained through their homes and churches. That they choose to abstain seems to bother some people.

  16. I have no problem at all with teenagers listening to fair interpretations of both sides of the argument and coming to the decision to abstain from sex. I think they are weird but I have no problem with that.But I honestly don’t believe that the teenagers I saw in this documentary were making an informed choice. I think religious pressure they were under means that they were effectively brainwashed into making their choice. From what I saw, there is nothing even close to intelligent debate on the subject in the churches of Lubbock.

  17. Everyone has drawn their conclusions about Lubbock and these kids and the churches of Lubbock based on what was presented in this documentary. A dangerous assumption (too little information), but understandable, as I doubt many on this board have visited Lubbock.Sort of like me making assumptions about Liverpool because I own several Beatles albums.Could it be the filmmaker had her own agenda?That said, I praised the director for letting the kids talk. I’ve seen the documentary many times now and if you just listen to the kids (and get over your possible disbelief that they feel this way) you will hear reasoned, sincere discourse.Brainwashed? No. Religious pressure? Try religious belief.

  18. Rico,Firstly, as I said before, those teenagers could not be making informed decisions as (with the exception of the lucky few who attended the clandestine sex education classes) they have not heard both sides of the argument. They’ve just heard distorted statistics about condom effectiveness and stupid analogies about toothbrushes.Secondly, religious belief is brainwashing. That’s what religion is for. It’s social control. You can’t possible honestly think that a reasonable person would believe in an all-powerful invisible sky-pixie if they hadn’t been pre-conditioned to that belief since childhood. Can you?

  19. dav,Revealed way too much information about yourself with that post, I’m afraid.As I have stated here before, I’m amazed at the religious intolerence expressed by some on this site. This narrow-minded point of view is creating the most divisive culture in our world today. Look at recent history in so many parts of the world and review the results of the intolerence expressed here.Second, I know many of the UK citizens can not be so provincial as the opinions expressed here. When you can, please travel. Seek out other cultures and opinions other than what you have grown up with. Open your mind. Meet and talk to people different from yourself.I’ll check back when you’ve had a chance to do this. God bless you in your travels!

  20. Rico,You continue to ignore my main point – which is that most of the teenagers in Lubbock have not made an informed choice as they haven’t been given unbiased information from both sides of the argument.But instead you decide to turn to personal attacks. I really don’t want to get into a pissing contest with you but I’d be very surprised if you’ve been to as many countries as I have.I am not particularly anti-religious. I have no problem at all with people believing what they want in the privacy of their own home. My problem comes when they try to impose those beliefs on other people. Especially when people in authority like parents and teachers impose religion on children before the children have the logical capacity to question the obvious fairy stories.

  21. I saw this documentary in religious studies class about two years ago, and I think the point to mention is not at all whether the teenagers are brainwashed into believing Christian beliefs but that they are actually lied to. Whether or not God exists is not my concern, what worries me is when the preacher says ‘condoms are fibres and they’re not tightly knit enough to stop the sperm getting through’, (or words to the same effect), well I haven’t taken science at uni yet but i know that condoms are actually not fibres, they are membranes and the majority of condom breakages are caused by irresponsible users.I’m all for abstinence, when it’s out of genuine feelings and trust, not when it’s out of fear.’If you have sex before marriage, you will go to hell-but if you follow all the rules which I the preacher say exist’, which strangely coincides with whatever Mr. Bush happens to say, ‘then you should get a one way ticket to Heaven’.It actually makes me feel fairly sick when people act ignorantly about other peoples belief systems etc and I haven’t been rude, however, I would say that with all it’s contradictions, all it’s obvious failures and with it’s continual dodging around the real issues, Christianity has a lot of things to answer for. And lets not forget the Pope’s (sorry former Pope’s) position on contradiction, which was probably one of the single most prominent causes for an extreme growth in the number of deaths by aids in Africa in the last twenty years.BY the way i’m only sixteen, i’m not a virgin, and happily so, I don’t have aids, my girlfriend of a year isn’t pregnant and i’m not planning to repent the sin of trusting someone else enough to enjoy them.

  22. ———————————–
    Anybody who’s seen TTV should try and get their mits upon “The Education of Shelby Knox” (homepage at http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2005/shelbyknox/). It’s a similar documentary about a similar topic, just better done than the TTV documentary. Needless to say, it reaches the same conclusions about the political activities and the political agendas of the religious far-right in the USA.
    Fundies and other clapper-board fools will not be interested in this documentary, as it shows them for what they are.

  23. I watched the documentary ‘Texas Teenage Virgins’ two years ago now on Channel 4, I found it interesting and VERY controversial. What struck me the most was one man while trying to pursuade teens to abstain from sex until they were married was the fact that he said condoms were not effective forms of protection/contraception. This outrage me as I have very strong views on condom use. I spoke to my mum who lived in Canada at the time and told her about this documentary. She then proceeded to tell me that my then 14 year old sister and 16 year old brother were being told the same thing at their school.This from a developped modern country?Admittedly they were living in a small town stuck in the 1960s.I have just recently looked this documentary up as I am doing my dissertation on Teenage pregnancy for my undergraduate degree, I just thought I’d let people know that it is not just the bible belt of America which is hell bent on aiding in ruining lives. Teenagers are ignorant, (i’m not trying to be patronising) but that is part of what being a teenager is about. I used to beleive what adults and teachers etc told me. Being told that condoms don’t work, won’t stop teenagers who are sexual beings as well from having sex, they will only not bother with the condom and get pregnant or worse get HIV or other such STI’s.

  24. Hey its Eva from the purity pledge. When i filmed this i definately did not know it would be this big. A guy from Denmark was like hey! your Eva from Texas Teenage Virgins… kinda freaky but cool none the less. I was 15 when i filmed it and will be 18 in march. Needless to say my views on the pledge have changed. Especially when I saw how “brain washed” i looked on tv. I couldnt believe i was quoting everything Ed said. comment or write me if you want

  25. The Education of Shelby Knox

    Two years ago I wrote about watching the documentary Texas Teenage Virgins. One of the comments on that post recommended…

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