Feb 262004
Authors: Amy Sulzbach

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,

including STDs.

“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


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The Department of Health Promotions at Hartshorn

is compiling data on students’ recent sexual behaviors that will be

released in coming months.

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