- From Meghan….Isn’t all this abstinence stuff just for kids?
NO, NO, NO! Sex outside of marriage holds all the potential risks regardless of the age group. While it may be true as an adult you might be in a better position to handle certain things you weren’t planning on, negative consequences are still negative. For example, what if you found yourself pregnant following a sexual encounter? Are you prepared to face the challenging potential solutions to this pregnancy? Could you raise a child? Could you live with the aftermath of an abortion decision? Could you be self-less enough to surrender your baby for an adoption plan? Tough choices, but without the protection of marriage, you could very well find yourself in such situations.
Also, medically speaking, it is true that young girl’s bodies are particularly susceptible to STD’s, yet ALL women regardless of age are subjected to being infected to STD’s. The Allan Guttmacher Institute says “Many teenagers, as well as adults, are indirectly exposed to more than one sexual partner each year because their partner has had sex with someone else.” The equations are simple and at the same time terrifying. C. Everett Koop, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General once stated “When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.” If every person has only the same number of partners as you have had, try some of these stats on for size:
And let’s not forget about that broken-heart you may be exposing yourself to in a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Feelings of being used and abandoned are not where happiness and fulfillment can be found.
- 2 sexual partners = 3 exposed people
- 4 sexual partners = 15 exposed people
- 8 sexual partners = 255 exposed people #1
- Regardless of your age, left unprotected your heart can be captured by your loving marital partner or tossed around by uncaring persons who will only count you as just another “score”.
- From Anne…. I’m a college grad just starting my new career in a new town. Like that old song “I’m so lonely I could die”so I have found myself drifting into sexual relationships without commitment. As long as I control the situation (I.E. birth control, protecting myself from STD’s etc.) how can you or anyone else say what I’m doing is wrong?
- First off, only you can determine what you can live with which most certainly will bring you into challenging the traditional positions of folks who rely on sources such as family and faith beliefs. Without a foundation of a belief system you have adapted you will always be swayed by “what others are saying”. A suggestion is that you really take the time to evaluate who you really are including who or what determines your value as a woman. Once your value system is determined, you need to setup boundaries to protect your values. What you do with your body is important now and in your future. Author Paula Rinehart in her book Sex and the Soul of a Woman suggests that the “sexualizing of an entire culture, means that the protective fences around sex must now be inside our own heads. The boundaries must be internalized.” She goes on to suggest that the source of healthy boundaries is God…A God who loves you gave you a body and that body has meaning. What you do with your body matters…Discovering the beauty and meaning behind sex is to reclaim the integrity of your own soul as well.” #2
- PHYSICAL: may be born with an STD; more likely to use drugs; more likely to be abused; more likely to be sexually active; and less healthy
- EMOTIONAL: feelings of depression; less happy; angry; lower self-esteem; less confident; and less trusting
- SOCIAL: may live in poverty; more likely to commit a crime; more likely to go to jail; and no father
- INTELLECTUAL: lower school achievement; higher drop out rate; and slower development
- SPIRITUAL: may feel ashamed by his or her situation; may have a difficult time understanding love, and not having a father may impact his/her view of God #3
- From Melissa…I’m a single mother of a three-year-old. My life seems to revolve around taking care of my daughter, going to work and running by house (cleaning, grocery shopping, laundry etc.) I have little or no time it seems for romance. I have met a divorced man who you might say has become my “Friend with Benefit”. Our sexual relationship is just that, nothing more. This is between me and him, but I’m concerned for any potential confusion I might be causing to my daughter (recently she called him Daddy!). What do you suggest?
- In our Sexual Integrity Program offered at ABBA, A Women’s Resource Center we use materials from the internationally recognized organization of Heartbeat International. From their research here is how they respond to how your choices may impact a child when he or she is conceived and/or is living outside of the protection of marriage.
- From Patty… I have just started dating a great guy I met at work. I know it’s too soon to really know, but I think he just may be my “Mr. Right”. Any suggestions for me?
- You are probably familiar with the on-line dating service e-harmony. It’s founder Dr. Neil Warren suggests about 16 areas that you and your partner should match in: IE intellect, spirituality, education sense of humor values etc. Further he suggested that you and your partner need to understand what makes a relationship successful: IE good character, sense of self, understandings about children, addictions/emotional problems etc. He also goes on to say that relationships require ongoing work, especially in managing certain personality and character traits like communication skills, dealing with who will be dominant vs. who will be submissive etc. #4
Best advice? Take it slow and really reflect on what you want now and in the future in a relationship.
Here are some further questions for you to research answers you can live with:
- How can you affirm the things in life you want and reject those things you don't want in your life?
- What would it mean in your life to expect more in your relationships with men?
- Finish this thought: When I think about embracing the love of God for me in setting my sexual/relationship boundaries, I want to _______________.
Some more info...
- Relationships between men and women are inherently hard to sustain. They require every part of you (mind, body, and soul) to be intact and capable of committing your heart into the safekeeping of another.
- Our culture is fixated on the act of sex, and as a result, we miss the larger picture of sexuality.
- Confronting the questions and exploring the longings that lie at the root of your sexuality aren't easy tasks, but doing this can make such a difference in your life. #5.
#1 How at Risk Are You? 2005
#2 Paula Rinehart, Sex and the Soul of A Woman 2010
#3 The Sexual Integrity Program Training Workbook, Heartbeat International 2007
#4 Dr. Neil C. Warren, Date or Soul Mate, How to Know if Someone is worth Pursuing in Two Dates or Less
#5 Sex and the Soul of A Woman 2010