The concept of having youths sign a pledge which commits them to a life of sexual abstinence before
marriage emerged in the early 1990s. The groups who promote pledges hope that support from their peers,
social groups and religious groups will help them remain celibate. Sometimes the promise takes the form of a public announcement;
sometimes they actually sign a written pledge. They often receive a pin or ring
to symbolize their decision. Sometimes the pledge signing is done within a
church group, as part of a family ritual, as an individual online, etc.
The concept was later expanded to include a lifetime commitment to "sexual
purity" which is interpreted as sexual abstinence until marriage and sexual