by Alannah Hurley
“I made a decision to choose abstinence for my life and I stayed true to that commitment. When I was 15 years old, I made a decision that I wanted to save sex for one man only and that was my future husband. Choosing abstinence was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. It kept me free from any risk of STDs or an unplanned pregnancy. It also kept my heart from being broken after bonding with someone by having sex then breaking up. My decision also enabled me to achieve my goals, have healthy relationships, and have a lot of fun just being young. In relationships, I was able to relax and have fun and really get to know the person for who they were without sex becoming the focus in my relationships. I also had a confidence that the person I was dating liked me for who I was, not just for what I could give him.
Last year I got married to the man I’d been waiting for and it was amazing to find out that he had waited for me too! I know that waiting for sex can be hard, but I promise you if you choose to wait you will never regret that decision. When you get married, you will be able to experience the best sex ever. After all, “The best things in life are worth waiting for.” – Jenny – 27 years old
Abstinence is more prevalent now among Millennials than it was for those raised in the 1960’s, 1970’s, and 1980’s. “The number of young adults born in the 1990s who report they are not having sex is more than twice as high as it was for the Baby Boomer generation, a sign they have learned from the fallout of the sexual revolution. The study found that 15 percent of Millenials aged 20-24 said they had not had sex since age 18, more than those born in the late 1960s (six percent), 1970s (11 percent) or 1980s (12 percent). That is lower than their fellow Millenials born in the previous decade.”
As exciting as this is, sexual activity is obviously still happening among teenagers today and it is negatively affecting their physical and emotional health. Valerie Huber, president and CEO of Ascend, states, “The teen years are a critical developmental stage in their lives. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers teen sex to be a risk behavior. We agree. The social science research confirms that when teens wait for sex, ideally until marriage, they are more likely to thrive in a variety of ways.”
Dr. Meg Meeker – US pediatrician, mother and best-selling author of six books – proclaims, “Teenagers don’t have the psychological or cognitive maturity to handle sex, regardless of what adults in our culture say. And they certainly can’t handle sex with multiple partners.”
The act of abstinence takes a lot of self-control (one of the many benefits that can come from it), so if your teen is going to abstain from sexual activity (an activity that teens are often heavily pressured into), then they’re going to need to be given strong reasoning’s behind why they shouldn’t participate in sexual behavior at such an early age.
Teach your teen that by abstaining from sexual activities they are:
- Accomplishing a goal. Setting and accomplishing goals can help teens to develop motivation, responsibility, a sense of purpose, and focus.
- Reducing the emotional and psychological challenges that can come from relationships involving sexual activity.
- Reducing their risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or infection. We now have 35 known STDs. In 1960, we only had two.
- Lowering their risk of unplanned pregnancy by 100%.
- Gaining an understanding that real and lasting relationships should be built on more than sex or touching. They should be built on love, appreciation, and the ability to trust, rely, and commit to, one another before touching even begins. Author John Van Epp, PHD, has written an incredibly informative book called How to Avoid Falling in Love with a Jerk, that teaches more on this subject.
Dr. Meeker declares that “simply talking to your child about “safe sex” (a phrase that even the CDC won’t use anymore) is not enough. It’s your job as your son or daughter’s parent to help set them up for a lifelong, monogamous relationship and to get them there as emotionally unscathed as possible; not to simply cross your fingers and hope your child doesn’t get one of the over 35 STDs.
Do more than teach your child about the physical harm that can result from sex. Talk to them about their feelings and make sure they understand the emotional and mental connection that sex has. You need to be the person to tell your child this and know that they want to hear what you have to say. Work very hard to protect their hearts and minds as much as their bodies because trust me, nobody else is going to help teach them what you will.”