May 2016: Truth and Consequences
One of my favorite parts of this job is getting to speak to high school youth about dating, sex and marriage. Over the past few years I’ve talked to hundreds of kids in classrooms, youth groups and other venues. It gives me an opportunity to let them hear – perhaps for the first time – the truth about romantic relationships and the consequences of the choices they are making now and will be making in the near future.
Although there may be some kids who dismiss me as an old fuddy-duddy, seriously out of touch with the “modern” world, I think most of them respect the fact that everything I teach them is based on solid empirical research. And even though most of my content flies in the face of everything the culture is trying to feed them, I see in their faces a look of curiosity and wonder, as if they recognize the shadow of something they once knew, but have long since forgotten. It’s the shadow of innocence, and for some of them that glimpse seems to provide hope that all may not be lost in the fast-moving, high pressure, peer-dominated techno-world in which they live. For a few, it almost elicits a sigh of relief: Wow, so I’m not crazy, or weird, just because I haven’t had sex yet. Maybe it’s okay if I want to wait…
The time is always too limited. Forty-five minutes or an hour just isn’t enough to counteract the hundreds of hours of television, facebook, videos and texts that hammer home the message that sex is what life’s all about: Get it now, while you’re young… you can’t wait… it can’t be bad if it feels good… Lies, dressed up with all the glitter and excitement that Hollywood and the internet can create, but lies under it all. And our children are losing their childhoods to this demonic plague of self-indulgent rubbish.
I love the looks of surprise – even astonishment – when I tell students that the best sex possible is in a lifelong, monogamous marriage. They shake their heads in disbelief when I share research that shows less than a 5% divorce rate for married couples that have never had sex with anyone but their spouse. They are incredulous when I tell them that sex doesn’t stop at age 30, but can continue to be enjoyed into one’s 60s, 70s or beyond. They pay close attention as I explain the negative consequences of having multiple sexual partners, and recoil in disgust when I “do the math” on STDs and show how each additional partner doubles their potential exposure to disease: By the time you have sex with 12 partners, you could actually be exposed to over 4,000 people! They are stunned when I explain that there is no clear scientific evidence that living together before marriage has any positive impact, and that in fact there are many studies that document the downside of cohabitation.
I know that in every group there are some who have already made poor choices. I always assure them that, although it may be too late to change the past, it is never too late to change the future. As I look around the room, I can’t help but wonder if something I’ve shared has sunk in, if maybe one young person will find the courage to say “no” to premarital sex or cohabitation. Regardless, I have to continue telling the truth, because the consequences are so grave. I’ll never forget the serious-looking football player who, when I asked for questions at the end of the class, said, “Yeah, I’ve got one. Why hasn’t anyone told us this stuff before?” Why, indeed.
If you would like Larry to come speak to your class, youth group, or club, call Compass at 434-455-2117 or send him an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributed by: Larry Compter, Executive Director
Above image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net