Amanda Marcotte points out that young people these days are not above insisting that they’re virgins even when they test positive for STDs. Problem is, I don’t think this is a matter of kids lying (even to themselves) in quite the way she suggests. From the WaPo article:
The authors acknowledge some room for error: for instance, study participants were only asked about penile/vaginal penetration, not about oral or anal sex.
And that is what bridges the gap between the subjects’ supposed virginity and disease transmission. If you define “sex” as strictly “insert Tab A into Slot B” then there most assuredly are some people spreading chlamydia around while remaining virgins. You don’t give up your virginity until the pole goes in the right hole. It isn’t “sex” if he only puts it in her mouth. Or her ass. Either way, it doesn’t really count as sex. And if it doesn’t count as sex, then there’s no need for protection.
All that said, Marcotte’s point stands about how kids are lying about the sex they’ve had, whereas they used to lie about the sex they didn’t have. I just think it’s not really a denial so much as a lie of omission. In their minds, they’re not saying anything that isn’t true.