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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name




First Advisor

David Merolla


Sexual intercourse is essential for human reproduction. Yet, to some, sexual intercourse outside of marriage can be a hypersensitive topic, or even believed to be an act only punishable by damnation. Religious dogma deeply rooted in historic texts in many sects of religions, not just Christianity, has led many to believe in the narrative that sex before marriage is frowned upon by their deity and therefore a punishable sin. While religious groups have attempted to increase abstinence rates, most have neglected to address the negative results that can come from refusing to properly educate youth about sexual health and human reproduction. To explore how religion affects feelings of sexual guilt, data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (ADD Health) was analyzed. The following research questions were answered: How do religion, fundamentalism, and religiosity influence sexual guilt for American youth? How do religion, fundamentalism, and religiosity influence the age at first vaginal intercourse for Americans?

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