Category Archives: Sexual Health

Positive Reasons to Save Sex

Intimate Couple --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

When you encourage teens to save sex, are you negative or positive?

Too often we are negative.

  • Don’t get pregnant as a teenager.
  • Don’t get an STD.
  • Don’t get emotional scars.
  • Condoms don’t fully protect you.

What about positive reasons to wait?

A recent study looked at whether the age of first sexual experience predicted romantic outcomes as an adult. The study put the age of first sexual experience into three categories:

  • age 14 and under
  • age 15-19
  • age 20 and up

Which group was significantly more likely to have satisfying adult romantic relationships? The age 20 and up group. Their findings held true even when they tested for other factors including body mass index, attractiveness, or differences in teenage dating.

The study defined a satisfying adult romantic relationship as having the following factors:

  • stable
  • satisfying
  • a partner who shows love and affection
  • enjoyment of day-to-day things with partner
  • happy with the way conflict is handled
  • avoidance of aggression
  • avoidance of victimization

If that wasn’t enough, saving sex until the 20’s also was linked to

  • higher achievement of educational goals
  • more income as an adult

Teens deserve the truth about teen pregnancy, STDs, condoms, and emotional scars. Just don’t neglect teaching the hope and reward from saving sex.

 

Christine Kearney. (2012, October 18). “Age Of First Sexual Experience Determines Relationship Outcomes Later In Life.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/251640.php

Harden, K. P. (2012, September 25). True Love Waits? A Sibling-Comparison Study of Age at First Sexual Intercourse and Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood. Psychological Science. doi:10.1177/0956797612442550

The University of Texas at Austin. (2012, October 18). Does True Love Wait? Age of First Sexual Experience Predicts Romantic Outcomes in Adulthood. Retrieved from http://www.utexas.edu/news/2012/10/18/does-true-love-wait-age-of-first-sexual-experience-predicts-romantic-outcomes-in-adulthood/

Why People Have Sex

About SexWhen we teach our young people about sex we usually start with “how.” This is commonly referred to as “the talk.”

We usually cover the “who” and the “when” by saying husbands and wives who love each other.

We never really address the “why.” By context our young people are left to determine that it is for the purpose of having children.

From a Biblical stand point, sex for the purpose of having children is pretty obvious. Genesis 4:1 says, “Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain.” Later in Genesis 38, that is the motivation for Tamar but not for Judah who thought she was a prostitute. In the next chapter, Potiphar’s wife has a different motive for begging Joseph to go to bed with her. Genesis 39:6-7 explains “Joseph was well-built and handsome, and after a while his master’s wife took notice.”

A recent study set out to find out the reasons people have sex today. They found the following top 21 reasons people engage in sex:

  • Boosting mood and relieving depression
  • Duty
  • Enhancement of power
  • Enhancement of self-concept
  • Experiencing the power of one’s partner
  • Feeling loved by your partner
  • Fostering jealousy
  • Improving reputation or social status
  • Making money
  • Making babies
  • Need for affection
  • Nurturance
  • Partner novelty
  • Peer pressure or pressure from partner
  • Pleasure
  • Reducing sex drive
  • Revenge
  • Sexual curiosity
  • Showing love to your partner
  • Spiritual transcendence
  • Stress Reduction

Go over this list with your teenagers and ask them which of these reasons are Biblical and which are wrong. This is a great exercise in applying the Bible to real world situations.

To make the exercise a little more challenging evaluate these reasons from the context of a married couple.

Which of these reasons are acceptable for a married couple to have sex? Which of them fit under the Biblical reasons of having children (Genesis 4:1), intimacy (Genesis 2:24, “the two will become one flesh”), attraction (Genesis 39:6-7), and love (Song of Songs 1:2, “Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth-for your love is more delightful than wine”).

Carroll, R. (2012). The Top 20 Reasons People Have Sex. , Cited in WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/guide/why-people-have-sex

Interest in Sex is Dropping

I have written several times how pornography is bad for your sex life. It can cause loss of sexual performance. It can cause lack of satisfaction with sex even with the most attractive partners. It can even lead to preferring pornography over real sex with a person.

Now we are starting to see these effects on a much wider scale. Recent studies are showing that interest in sex across the population of two countries is dropping.

Great Britain showed a 25% drop in the sex rates of people aged 16-44 than the same age group just ten years earlier. One of the most commonly reported sexual problems was simply, “Lack of interest in sex.” The study’s authors list the following reasons for this drop in sexual activity:

  • online pornography,
  • modern technology: Twitter, Facebook, email,
  • worry about jobs,
  • worry about money.

A series of studies in Japan reveals an even worse loss of interest in sex. 45% of women and over 25% of men aged 16-24 “were not interested in or despised sexual contact”. 61% of unmarried men and 49% of women aged 18-34 were not in any kind of romantic relationship, 10% more than five years earlier. 33% of people under 30 had never dated at all.

People explained their attitudes with

  • “don’t see the point of love.”
  • “don’t believe it can lead anywhere.”
  • “Relationships have become too hard.”

Many are turning to easy or instant gratification, in the form of online porn, virtual-reality “girlfriends”, anime cartoons. Or else they’re opting out altogether and replacing love and sex with other urban pastimes.

American rock star, John Mayer, shows we’re likely not far behind Great Britain and Japan when he said,

“I equate sex with tension. Once I have to deal with someone else’s desires, I cut and run. I mean, I have unbelievable [sex] alone. They’re always the best. They always end the way I want them to end. This is my problem now: Rather than meet somebody new, I would rather go home and replay the … experiences I’ve already had. …I’m more comfortable in my imagination than I am in actual human discovery.”

(Haworth, A. (2013, October 19). Why have young people in Japan stopped having sex? The Observer. Retrieved from http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/oct/20/young-people-japan-stopped-having-sex)
(Mercer, C. H., Tanton, C., Prah, P., Erens, B., Sonnenberg, P., Clifton, S., . . . Johnson, A. M. (2013, November 30). Changes in sexual attitudes and lifestyles in Britain through the life course and over time: findings from the National Surveys of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles (Natsal). The Lancet, 382(9907), 1781-1794. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62035-8)
(Triggle, N. (2013, November 26). Modern life ‘turning people off sex’. Retrieved from BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25094142)

Parent’s Biggest Fears

Child - NoWhat are our biggest worries regarding our kids?

A recent study of over 2,000 American adults revealed the following list:
1. Childhood obesity
2. Smoking
3. Drug abuse
4. Bullying
5. Stress
6. Alcohol abuse
7. Internet safety
8. Child abuse and neglect
9. Teen pregnancy
10. Not enough physical activity
Very good list. Several of them are main focuses of our work at Noble Choices.

What do these worries all have in common?

The need for our children to say, “No.”
Do you teach your children to say, “no”?

Many parents actually do the opposite. They will respond to their child’s “no” with
• hurt
• withdrawal
• guilt
• anger
• threats
• punishment

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend offer the following examples of parents not allowing their children to say “no.”
• “Mommy needs to hold you now.”
• “How can you say ‘no’ to your parents who love you?”
• “Don’t talk back to me.”
• “Someday you’ll feel sorry for hurting your parents’ feelings like that.”

Do you allow your child to disagree with you? When your child wants distance or to play something else, do you allow it? If your child argues about bedtime, do you listen, consider, and even change your mind occasionally? Even if you enforce the bedtime, do you do it without withdrawing love? If your child doesn’t want to give affection, do you force it?

How can we expect our teens to say no to smoking, drugs, alcohol, pornography, or teen sex if we haven’t allowed them to say no to anything else while growing up? However, if you teach them it is safe to say “no” and allow them to practice it, they will have ten years of practice before hitting their teen years.

Don’t be a NO NO parent. Be a KNOW NO parent.

Cloud, D. H., & Townsend, D. (1992). Boundaries: When to Say Yes, When to Say No, To Take Control of Your Life.Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. (2014, August 11). School violence, gun-related injuries in top 10 child health concerns in U.S. Retrieved from National Poll on Children’s Health: http://mottnpch.org/sites/default/files/documents/081114_top10.pdf

Parental Romance is Crucial

Couple dinnerIndulge me for a moment in a thought exercise.

Suppose you are a teenager growing up today. Like most parents, your parents have not talked to you very much about sex. They just said you need to save sex for marriage.

You now have your first serious boyfriend or girlfriend, and you are feeling the urge to have sex. It is time to make up your mind.

Television, movies, music, magazines, and even your friends push the idea have sex now. Your parents seem to be the only ones saying to save sex.

Does your culture make the idea of sex now look good? YES! Be like everyone else, be happy, enjoy life, consequences are rare. It is thrilling and exciting.

Now how do your parents make the idea look of keeping sex in marriage? Well, they had sex once, maybe more if you have siblings. Do you see any thrill, excitement, happiness, or enjoyment in their romantic relationship? No.

So which would you choose?

Do you model romance for your kids? Do you make sure they see their parents in an exciting romantic relationship? You should. I’m not talking about having sex in their presence. I’m talking romance.

Bill Maier shared a great idea on Focus on the Family. Tell your kids you want to surprise your spouse with a romantic dinner in the dining room. Let them choose the center pieces, set the table, make decorations. Perhaps they can even help prepare the meal. Maybe they just clean their rooms or clean the dining room or living room.

Set up a table for the kids in another room while you and your spouse have a candle-lit dinner alone. Your children get to see up close and personal the thrill, excitement, happiness, and enjoyment of a romantic marriage. And … you might just enjoy it yourself.

Maier, B. (2013, March 21). Dining Room Romance. Family Minute With Dr. Bill Maier. Focus on the Family Podcast. Retrieved from http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/FamilyMinuteBillMaier/~3/zuso4PvosYw/fmdb_20130321.mp3

Unspoken Truth of Birth Control

CondomsWhen I was in high school, I was taught birth control to “prevent” pregnancy. In the 1980’s, condoms were promoted as “safe sex” and “protection.” Planned Parenthood currently says that condoms “prevent pregnancy.”

Let’s say you are a teenager feeling the urge to have sex. You hear condoms:

  • prevent pregnancy
  • are safe
  • are effective

Do you have all the information you need to make a Noble Choice?

Planned Parenthood tells you that

  • “Each year, 2 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they always use condoms correctly.”

As a teenager, you believe that of course you will use it correctly even when you further read that

  • “Each year, 18 out of 100 women whose partners use condoms will become pregnant if they don’t always use condoms correctly.”

That’s only a 2% chance or at worse an 18% chance of pregnancy, right? Wrong.

Notice each of those stats start with the words, “Each year.” More accurately, they should say, “After one year of use.” So those statistics would apply if you have sex using a condom for a year and then quit having sex.

How many of you only had sex for one year and then quit? Anyone? Anyone?

Here is the unspoken truth of birth control, the longer you have sex the greater your odds of pregnancy.

 The New York Times did an article on their website that has an interactive graph that shows you the effect multiple years of sex has on these statistics.

Going back to our illustration, let’s say you are a high school sophomore and have sex using a condom. What are the odds you’ll be involved in a teen pregnancy before graduation?

  • Not 2% because you are not perfect.
  • Not 18% because you didn’t quit having sex after your sophomore year.
  • The New York Times graph tells you it is 45% even with typical use of a condom! That’s almost the same odds as flipping a coin.
  • As a college sophomore your odds are 63%.
  • Your odds of a pregnancy before you graduate college? At least 75%!

Still think that those “effective,” “safe sex” condoms “prevent pregnancy?”

Aisch, G., & Marsh, B. (2014, September 13). How Likely Is It That Birth Control Could Let You Down? Retrieved from The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/09/14/sunday-review/unplanned-pregnancies.html

Planned Parenthood. (2014). Condom. Retrieved from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-info/birth-control/condom