Twelve year old Billy announces to his parents that he is planning on marrying little Suzy next door. Amused they ask what they are going to do for money. “Oh my allowance is $10 a week and she gets $7. That’s more money than we will ever need.” Smiling even broader they ask where they are going to live. Billy explains, “My room is bigger than her’s so we thought we would just live here.” “What are you going to do if children come along”, smirked his mother. “Well… we’ve been lucky so far,” answered Billy.
That would probably be funnier if it weren’t in fact a reality amongst many young people today. 10% of children under the age of 14 are already sexually active and 50% of those under 18. You can understand it. We live in one of the most sexually charged cultures in human history. The movies and television shows that target youth are almost exclusively sexual in nature. No more Happy Days with Richie Cunningham and Potsey Weber anguishing over whether it is too early to ask a new girlfriend for a first kiss. Young people today have grown up on a diet of Sex and the City, That ’70s Show, Friends and the disgusting Two and a Half Men. In these programs they learn about oral sex, orgasm and group sex. A recent study just published found that exposure to these very TV shows will increase your child’s chances of teen pregnancy by double. No big surprises there if you ask me. Oh and by the way, most parents don’t have a hot clue what their kids know sexually… or what they are doing with it.
Add to this the fact that the only sex education they are likely to get will be about “safe sex”. Safe sex of course, is just our humanistic attempt to create a consequence-free sexual promiscuity. The demand to legalize abortion was merely a desire to avoid the responsibilities that come with sexuality…namely children. Every year 100,000 Canadian women decide they would rather take the life of their own innocent unborn child than face the shame of their sexual irresponsibility. The frantic search for a cure for AIDS is less about curing those who are now infected and more about getting back to a time when “free love” didn’t mean you were putting your very life at risk. Safe sex education isn’t working anyway, here’s why; Risk avoidance is a weak motivator in teenagers since the development of the pre-frontal cortex in the brain, which governs self-control, lags well behind the amygdale which drives emotions and impulses. In other words young people do not do a good job of measuring risk/reward. That is why they pursue extreme sports, drive too fast and take up smoking despite the years of warnings that it will kill them.
I think there is however one strategy that can work with young people. We need to teach them about God’s greater purpose for sex. And no, I am not actually talking about procreation. Although I do like to joke that sex was God’s way of tricking us into having children. Right? How many would most of us have had if we had to pre-order them from Costco? As important as procreation may be, that argument is not a big seller for young people. The greater purpose of sex is covenantal. Let me explain. Every time God made a covenant with man there was the shedding of blood. Bulls, goats and sheep in the Old Testament and the blood of Jesus in the New Testament. What most people don’t seem to know is that sex is a blood covenant between a man and a woman. The female hymen serves no biological purpose except to be broken, only once, and to shed blood. It was called the “tokens of virginity”. You can find it in Deuteronomy 22. In God’s design, sex was to be the act that created a blood covenant between a man and woman. In the Old Testament they did not even have weddings per se. if you slept with a women, she became your wife. That is why Jacob ended up with four wives. Go read it for yourself. Even the New Testament says, Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” 1Cor 6:16
Many young people see their virginity as something they want “to lose” as soon as possible. What we taught our children was that their virginity was not a curse to be discarded, but a precious gift to be shared with one person and one person only. If they wait until marriage they can enter into that blood covenant with their life partner untainted and unspoiled by sin. Their sexuality will become a glorious thing that they can spend the rest of their lives exploring without bringing into it a bunch of worthless baggage from the past. I am convinced that abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.