Virgin Births: Shockingly Large Number of US Women Report Pregnancy Without Sex

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Untitled-1Photo: Courtesy Of EPT.
Yep, you read that right. A new, real-life, scientific (non-Onion!) study published recently in the British Medical Journal found that one in 200 American women claim to have given birth without ever having sex. Apparently Mary wasn't the only one?

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, followed the reproductive lives of 7,870 women and teenage girls between 1995 and 2009. Of these, 45 women reported at least one pregnancy that was not the result of either sexual contact or "assisted reproductive technology," such as IVF. Of these pregnancies, 36 reportedly resulted in a live birth.

Now, the report notes a few things that might give readers some pause. Nearly 31% of the subjects who reported a virgin pregnancy had signed a "chastity pledge," in which they vowed to abstain from sex until they were married. These subjects were also much less likely than their non-virgin counterparts to have received sex and birth control information from their parents — 28% of whom said they didn't have enough knowledge to advise their daughters on matters of sex.

With all this in mind, however, we'd like to raise another possible issue with these numbers that the study might have missed. As Jezebel has pointed out, victims of sexual violence often don't report their abuse, whether out of shame or out of an interest to protect their abusers. What's more, victims of abuse may be disinclined to process their experience as "sex" per se. The study doesn't provide numbers on sexual abuse among the subjects, so we don't know how it fits into the story. But one thing's for sure: The fact that "chastity" is so revered in this country seems to be messing with the scientific method — and basic human biology. (The Independent)