Youth Culture Window
The Biblical truth about sex is becoming a lot harder for students to accept in society today. Let's face it, the world thinks we should do whatever we feel like, and most teens feel like sex is a pretty good option. After all, they see it on every magazine rack, movie preview, TV sit com, beer ad, on late night cable, and at those very accessible internet sites. They hear it on most radio stations, CD's, in locker rooms, and even at the school lunch table. The message they're hearing is "Do it. Everyone's doing it!" Kids are having sex even younger too. USA Today just reported that over 20% of twelve and thirteen-year-olds have already had sex.
And then we emerge with the message to WAIT until marriage. This message isn't popular for a lot of reasons. One reason is the simple fact that pleasure often wins over truth. Or, to put it another way, the temporary thrill often loses to what we know to be best for us in the long run. So the abstinence message is being fought on all sides . . . after all . . . marriage is a long time to wait for most people. The world is having trouble buying it.
I was just in Virginia speaking and my buddy Todd showed me an article that accurately summarizes the way many feel. The article is in The Washington Post on May 12, 2002, section B7, by Philip D. Harvey. Philip argues against abstinence. Here are a few of his comments:
For the entire article, use this link: http://www.washingtonpost.com
- "The abstinence-only sex education programs in our public schools call for "abstinence until marriage." The federal government spent $115 million on this message last year, and the Bush administration is proposing significant increases for the current year. Sexual abstinence until marriage is now official government policy.
- The average age of marriage in the United States today is 27 for men and 26 for women. The abstinence-only program therefore asks our young people to renounce sexual activity throughout much of the early part of adult life ...
- ... I wonder if those who seriously advocate abstinence until marriage would prefer to see the marriage age come down ...
- ... But in modern industrialized societies, where women have educational opportunities and more than half attend college, marriage in the teenage years will likely become increasingly rare. If we agree, as I think most Americans do, that equal educational and occupational opportunities for women are a good thing, that our society is enhanced and enriched by these developments, then I think we must accept the fact that marriage in the middle or late twenties is the modern societal norm. If that is so, the expectation of sexual abstinence until marriage is utterly unrealistic.
- I would argue also that such an expectation, when translated into a policy (such as federally funded sex education calling for such a restriction), is wrong. It is wrong to expect young people to be sexually abstinent until they are more than halfway through their twenties. Sexual relations are an important component of human happiness, and there is no moral purpose served by abstaining from sex if two people are mature and responsible. Why should they be deprived of sex?"
Phil speaks loud and clear the message that the world is shouting. "Why be deprived of sex?" "Why be deprived of "happiness?""
"Happiness?" Is that what this is about? According to Phil, "mature" adults should be able to make responsible sexual decisions, "getting their freak on" with who they want. Therefore it's okay to have sex before marriage, even with multiple partners, as long as we are "responsible." After all, it would be "depriving" us to have to wait until marriage.
Yet God says wait until marriage. Is it possible that God somehow missed this remarkable truth that Phil has discovered? Maybe Phil has some new insight that God should review. Maybe God could learn from Phil.
Well, I just talked to God, and He is not budging on the issue. He maintains that He is right and Phil is wrong. So the question is . . . who's right? Phil or God?
Some people still might not be convinced. After all, there are a lot of people around today who don't see God and don't see the Bible as an authority. So let's indulge them and look at this logically.
IF PHIL IS RIGHT:
If we researched how "happy" couples were today that were older than 27 years old, we would find the following (according to Phil):
Remember: we aren't selling out momentary pleasure for truth. We're not asking teenage couples during sex whether it's fun or not. We all know that it is fun for the moment. But we're looking at whether people are "happy" in the long run.
- 1. Married and monogamous couples who waited until marriage for sex are much more UNHAPPY or at least they WERE unhappy for YEARS, until they finally were able to get married.
- 2. Individuals and couples who didn't wait- who had sex before marriage with one or more partners are much more "happy." They look back and are pleased that they slept with multiple partners or didn't wait until marriage. Possibly their sex life is even more gratifying because of this experience.
IF GOD IS RIGHT:
If we researched how "happy" couples were today that were older than 27 years old, we would find the following:
- 1. Married couples who waited until marriage for sex are much more HAPPY. They are free from guilt and from fears often associated with sex outside of marriage: AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, rejection, out of wedlock pregnancy, comparison to other partners, exposure, failure, embarrassment, and losing one's partner to another.
- 2. Individuals and couples who didn't wait- who had sex before marriage with one or more partner are much more REGRETFUL. They have suffered consequences physically, emotionally or spiritually because they didn't have the discipline to wait.
In September 1975, Redbook Magazine surveyed 100,000 women. Married women and single women. Women who had slept with multiple partners and women who had only slept with one. Redbook surveyed their background and asked them this question: How satisfied are you with your current sex life? Here are some of the results:
Women who had slept around during their teenage years told Redbook that they weren't as happy with their current sex life. Why? Didn't Phil say these people would be happier? What about the fact that those women who WAITED for sex until marriage experienced orgasm more than twice as often as women who slept around? Maybe Phil should check his data.
- women who were sexually active as teens are more likely to express dissatisfaction with current sex life
- strictly monogamous women experience orgasm more than twice as often as promiscuous women
The 1986 Journal of Sex research did a similar study over 10 years later. Maybe the REDBOOK survey was just bad data. Maybe those were just women in the 70's. Nope. The results were exactly the same. They found that women who waited for sex until marriage were happier with their current sex life.
Imagine that. God's way is better. And we're not even talking about physical consequences like diseases or unwanted pregnancy. We're just talking about perceived "happiness." When we wait for sex until marriage, we'll be happier. We can avoid a lot of emotional consequences.
Sex is worth the wait.
And if you can't wait... then don't put off marriage so long!
, president of The Source for Youth
Ministry, is the author of numerous books including the new
Should I Just Smash My Kid's Phone?
, and youth ministry books like
Ministry By Teenagers
Connect: Real Relationships in a
World of Isolation
, and the award winning book
Do They Run When They See You Coming?
speaks and trains
at conferences, churches and events across North
America, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his
. You can follow Jonathan on
, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help.
Jonathan and his wife Lori, and their three teenagers Alec, Alyssa and Ashley live
CLICK HERE FOR MORE
CLICK HERE FOR MORE