For just a moment, let’s turn back the clock: A young man and a young woman are embracing on the deck of the ship. It is evening, and tomorrow, after eight days at sea, the ship will reach its destination and the eight-day friendship will end. He says to her, “I’d like to take you to bed with me.” She says, “I take that as a compliment!” They say goodnight, and goodbye, and go to their respective cabins.
Fast forward a couple of generations: In recent surveys of college students, four out of five undergraduates said they had hooked up. Half of these said they often started their evening planning to have some form of sex, with no particular person in mind. A different day, a different world. For the first young woman, having sex didn’t even enter her head. Not because she was afraid of disease or pregnancy, but because sex before marriage was morally wrong. For many young people today, whether high school or college students, sex outside marriage is a non-issue. It’s pretty much assumed in a dating relationship, and some teens have sex just to have sex.
Why not? “Everyone’s doing it.” It’s expected. It’s normal. The pill will keep me from getting pregnant, and there are condoms for safe sex.
Why not? Because, in spite of condoms, one of every two sexually active teen girls has a sexually transmitted disease. Some will never be able to have a child because of the damage these diseases do to their reproductive system. “Casual” sex poses serious risks, not only to the physical well-being of young people, girls and boys both, but also to their mental and emotional well-being. Most importantly, because of God’s intention for sex: to unite a man and a woman for life and to provide the best kind of home for their children. Sex is intended to be a consummation of marriage vows, a life-uniting act to seal a life-uniting promise. A man is to “leave his father and his mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” the Bible tells us (Genesis 2: 24-25). And Jesus adds “So they are no longer two, but one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-6; Mark 10:6-9).
P.S. Everyone’s not doing it! The most recent survey of teen sexual activity in Canada found that 70% of 15- to 17-year-olds have never had sexual intercourse.1