Consequences. There are two problems with consequences: you can’t always foresee them, even if you try, and sometimes you don’t even consider them.
Sure, when we were younger we knew (if our parents were consistent in their discipline) that the consequence of hitting a sibling was to sit alone in the corner for a while. Or if we ignored a curfew we would be grounded. But as we get older things aren’t always so straightforward.
In The Sex Lives of Teenagers, an experienced adolescent psychiatrist tells of her conversation with 15-year-old Miriam, who just the evening before had had sex with her boyfriend for the first time. Miriam says, “What I don’t understand is this whole virginity thing. It’s like you’re supposed to lose something. I feel like I’ve gained a lot. Crazy, huh?”
In Innocence Lost, Hope Regained: Teenagers Talk Openly About Premarital Sex, by Richie Lambeth, eight teens and young adults tell about their experiences.
Eric was committed to not having premarital sex. He was an MVP baseball player in high school with an offer from the Dodgers, very excited about his future prospects. Invited to an unsupervised party by Heather, “the most beautiful girl in the school”, he ended up having sex with her. “I was mortified, and guilt began to sweep over me in waves. I had betrayed my parents, Heather, myself, and my future wife.” Guilt. Regret.
Joni and Tony had sex at Tony’s house while his parents were away. “After that almost every time we were together we had sex. We didn’t seem to have as much fun as we used to either. Now our whole relationship seemed to revolve around sex. I began to feel like sex mattered more to him than I did.” A damaged relationship.
Rachel and Tod were “amazed at how fast the passion started rising in us. Touching felt so good that we both turned down the volume control of our consciences. Of course, we knew we would have to talk about it. If we let it go, it would make it easier to compromise next time and get deeper into a physical relationship.” They saved sex for their wedding night and, in Rachel’s words, “There was no shame or guilt. It was so beautiful. So right.” Joy.
For Miriam, there seemed to be no negative consequences to having sex and, not being a Christian, she felt no guilt. But I’ve always wondered what happened to her further down the road.
Eric, Joni, Rachel, and Tod were all Christians. They all wanted, and intended, to save sex for marriage. Eric and Joni wished they could turn back the clock to avoid the consequences they experienced. Rachel and Tod considered the consequences, and avoided them. What made the difference?