Amid the sea of sex-related statistics and scandals flying
around some of Colorado’s college campuses of late, some students
may think that everybody is “doing it.” But not everybody is.
Whether it is for emotional, moral, health or other reasons, a
substantial number of students have decided to remain abstinent
from sexual behavior.
To Michaela McCaskell, a senior art major, it seems the majority
of students are involved in sexual behavior.
“For the most part every student I know has sex, but I know more
than a couple that do not,” McCaskell said.
In a 1999 survey handed out to students by the Hartshorn Health
Service, 26 percent of the 200 students identified themselves as
abstinent from sexual behavior, said Deb Morris, director of health
promotions at Hartshorn.
Maggie Dunn, a junior biology major, has chosen to remain
abstinent because of her religious faith and moral standings. She
is proud of this fact. To her, abstaining from sexual activity
“saves the integrity of sex within marriage.”
Though Dunn said abstaining from sex is the best choice for her,
she said it can be difficult at times.
“It’s a struggle being in a relationship,” Dunn said. “It’s not
something that’s easy, but it’s something that I want to stick
Morris said there are a variety of reasons students may chose
this approach to sexual behavior, among them fear, shame and
There are physical and emotional risks associated with sexual
activity, Morris said.
Other abstinence benefits include removing the risk of unplanned
pregnancies and of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Not
having to deal with he emotional aspect of regretting any sexual
experience is beneficial also, Morris said.
For Dunn, abstinence is not only a “sure-fire way to not get
pregnant,” but also it “helps develop character” by refraining from
Morris is concerned that because society does not agree on a
definition of abstinence, students may have varying definitions of
“You have to be very definitive,” Morris said.
She warns that any naked contact, not just sexual intercourse,
can lead to some of the consequences of unsafe sexual behavior,
“Lots of things are included within activity,” Dunn said. “It
goes beyond just actually having sex.”
Dunn knows that she is in the minority of students who share her
decision. It’s easier when she is at church with her friends who
share her views, she said.
On campus, however, her views do not seem as widely accepted
when she is listening in on nearby conversations or class
“I accept that, though,” Dunn said. “It’s definitely the harder
road to take and some people would rather take the easy way
|The Department of Health Promotions at Hartshorn
is compiling data on students’ recent sexual behaviors that will be
released in coming months.