Over the years there’s been a lot of press over the various Christian movements to promote chastity until marriage. From “True Love Waits” to purity rings and pledges, the goal is the same: Keep young Christians from bumping uglies until their honeymoons.
Philosophically I don’t really have a problem with these movements. If you want to promise that you won’t have sex until you’re married, for whatever reason, then more power to you. It’s not that it’s a bad plan — you avoid STDs and unplanned pregnancies by waiting — it’s just that the number of people with the willpower to actually accomplish that goal is pretty small. A fact borne out from many recent studies:
The article in Relevant magazine, entitled “(Almost) Everyone’s Doing It,” cited several studies examining the sexual activity of single Christians. One of the biggest surprises was a December 2009 study, conducted by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, which included information on sexual activity.
While the study’s primary report did not explore religion, some additional analysis focusing on sexual activity and religious identification yielded this result: 80 percent of unmarried evangelical young adults (18 to 29) said that they have had sex – slightly less than 88 percent of unmarried adults, according to the teen pregnancy prevention organization.
The desire to fuck is a strong one and can be hard to resist, which is probably pretty obvious to most people. It doesn’t help that age at which people are getting married is much older than in the past:
Relevant notes that in biblical times, people married earlier. The average age for marriage has been increasing in the U.S for the last 40 years.
Today, it’s not unusual to meet a Christian who is single at 30 – or 40 or 50, for that matter. So what do you tell them? Keep waiting?
The article doesn’t have any answers to that question. I do:
Recognize that most people are going to have sex regardless of any promise they might have made not to and stop pushing abstinence as the only thing they need to have knowledge of. By all means, encourage abstinence as the best choice if you must, but then say “If you’re going to have sex then make sure you are protected.” And then follow that up with some comprehensive sex education so that if they do find that they can’t wait they’re armed with the knowledge they need to minimize the risks.
And for Christ’s sake, stop trying to make everyone feel guilty about sex. You can encourage abstinence without using guilt as a motivating factor. People — even good Christian ones — are gonna fuck from time to time. Best to deal with it honestly and openly because the shit you’ve been trying for so long obviously isn’t working.