Contrary to popular opinion, a solid majority of U.S. teens would like to be virgins when they marry, a newly released study finds.
Sixty one percent of America's youth said they would like to not have sex until marriage, finds OneHope's comprehensive study, "Spiritual State of the Children," released Wednesday. And 63 percent of respondents said they would like to regain their virginity if possible.
The 91-page study – which also includes data about teen's belief, values and spirituality – was released just ahead of Valentine's Day.
Results from the report are surprising given the increase teen exposure to sexually explicit media content – such as the latest controversy over MTV's "Skins" – and how they are portrayed by the media.
"There is a lot of research about young people, but when do we hear directly from them?" commented OneHope Vice President of Global Ministries Chad Causey. "That's why OneHope conducts research around the world, asking youth themselves what impacts them most. We use this research to better understand their needs, meet them at their points of pain and bring them hope through media experiences conveying God's love."
The sample size was 5,108 teens between the ages of 13 and 18 in the United States. The students were recruited to take the online survey through a panelist company and through social networking websites, with the actual survey being conducted in late 2010.
Other notable findings by the study for the child-focused ministry include:
• 82 percent believe God intended marriage to last a lifetime
• 50 percent consider an unmarried man and woman a family
• 59 percent said the Bible has little/no influence on their thoughts and actions
• 62 percent believe truth is relative
• 57 percent believe being good people and doing good deeds will get you into heaven
• 69 percent watch MTV on a weekly basis
OneHope, which seeks to reach the world's children with the message of the Bible, began the study to learn more about the unique needs, experiences and social traditions of youths. The ministry uses the U.S. research to develop programs, materials and material experiences to meet the specific needs of American youths and to share the message that God loves them.
The Florida-based ministry, founded by missionary Bob Hoskins, in 1987 has reached some 700 million young people in 125 countries through children's magazines, animated films, rave concerts, smart phone apps, interactive games, among other vehicles.