When men who take virginity pledges are taught that sex before marriage is beastly and wrong but sex after marriage is a gift from God, these very disparate messages can lead to problems down the road. So reports a sociologist who since 2008 has been studying 15 men in a support group affiliated with a mega-church in the Southwest, 14 of whom have since gotten married, reports LiveScience. While the men had talked freely about sex and sexual urges prior to marriage—including masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attractions—they said they shouldn't discuss sex after marriage because they'd be talking about their wives instead of just themselves.
Secular sociologist Sarah Diefendorf tells New Republic that the men would refrain from giving in to their "beastly" urges via accountability partners and "are you behaving?" evening text messages, but that once they married they no longer had a support group with which to discuss sex. Many confessed to her that they were struggling with extramarital desires, pornography, masturbation, and lingering conflicting feelings about the sanctity of sex. "When you spend the first twenty-plus years of your life thinking of sex as something beastly that needs to be controlled, it’s very difficult to make that transition to married life and viewing sex as sacred," she says. (Meanwhile, the vast majority of teen girls have no formal sex ed prior to becoming sexually active.)