Our culture holds an increasingly laissez-faire attitude toward sex. Do whatever you want, with whomever you want, where and whenever you want, all with an indignant stance toward judgment. The intended result of the sexual revolution has been a world where past social mores no longer bind families together.
The results have been devastating. Broken families, fatherless children, poverty and dependence — all have skyrocketed over several decades.
Efforts to curb the trend have been met with defiance. Want to teach kids abstinence? You’re backward and irresponsible. Expect your teens to remain celibate? You’re kidding yourself and depriving them of needed social development.
Into this climate enters an abnormality, a mother who believes strongly in “comprehensive sex education,” yet has a piece over at Scary Mommy which argues for teen celibacy. She makes her case based on findings which suggest that holding off on sex corresponds to healthier living overall.
In a study that is the first of its kind, adolescent youth in grades 9 to 12, who were self-reporting both sexual behaviors and health-related behaviors, the CDC found that those youth who remain celibate are healthier than their sexually active counterparts in many more and diverse ways, some of which have nothing to do with sex or its unintended consequences.
Some of the samples of the categories of health-related behaviors the teens were asked to report on include tobacco usage, drug and alcohol use, sexual habits, unhealthy dietary behaviors, and behaviors that contribute to unintentional injuries and violence. Additionally, things like bike helmet and seat belt use, diet, doctor’s visits, exercise, and even tanning bed use were analyzed among both sexually active and virginal teens.
Two striking observations were made from the study:
1. The virginal students rate significantly and consistently better in nearly all health-related behaviors and measures than their sexually active peers.
2. Teens who have sexual contact with the same or both sexes have remarkably lower percentages of healthy behaviors overall than their heterosexually active peers.
As a Christian, it might be amusing to watch people marvel at the veracity of God’s wisdom, were it not for the fact that denial of it has caused so much needless suffering. Of course it is healthier to remain celibate as an unmarried teen than not. Of course it is healthier to be heterosexual than not. Of course these behaviors correspond to healthier living overall. It shouldn’t surprise any parent to find that restraint in one area corresponds to restraint in others, manifesting in safer and more responsible choices. We didn’t need the CDC to tell us this. God’s Word had it down thousands of years ago.
It’s good to see a mother encourage her teens to remain celibate, especially as a pivot from previous “comprehensive sex education.” While a CDC study noting corresponding health stands as a good reason, a much better incentive for celibacy remains unaddressed.
The best reason to remain celibate until marriage is maximized communion with God. That may be a high concept for a teen, as it remains for many adults. But it can be put into earthly focus by offering comprehensive marriage education.
A strong, healthy, fulfilling marriage will be most attainable by two partners who have remained celibate. Nothing of lasting value is gained by premarital sex. On the contrary, it devalues an eventual true love. Sex with people you aren’t committed to may be fun. But when you find someone you want to “forsake all others” for, previous casual sex pales in comparison and detracts from marital satisfaction.
We weren’t designed for à la carte sexual relationships. We weren’t designed to have “friends with benefits” or “one night stands” or engage in “hook ups” with no lasting meaning. We were designed for marriage, to join as one flesh with a partner for life. For evidence of this beyond the biblical account, turn to the testimony of your own life. Few of us take kindly to being cheated on.
It’s telling that we use that term, “cheating.” Cheating how? Cheating what? Why does it hurt so bad? Why do we care? If sex doesn’t matter, if it’s just fun and “natural,” why does it often bear such hurtful and destructive consequences? For sex education to be truly “comprehensive,” it must address such questions.