||Jonathan's Resource Ezine
Weekly Resources, Ideas and Articles from The Source for Youth Ministry
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
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WAITING FOR SEX: The Average Age Americans Get Married is 26 & 27. Does the World Think Students Can Wait That Long?!!
by Jonathan McKee
May 21, 2002
The Biblical truth about sex
is becoming a lot harder for students to accept in society today.? Let"s face
it, the world thinks we should do whatever we feel like, and most teens feel
like sex is a pretty good option.? After all, they see it on every magazine
rack, movie preview, TV sit com, beer ad, on late night cable, and at those very
accessible internet sites.? They hear it on most radio stations, CD"s, in locker
rooms, and even at the school lunch table.? The message they"re hearing is "Do
it.? Everyone"s doing it!"? Kids are having sex even younger too.? USA Today
just reported that over 20% of twelve and thirteen year olds have already had
And then we emerge with the message to WAIT until marriage.? This
message isn"t popular for a lot of reasons.? One reason is the simple fact that
pleasure often wins over truth.? Or, to put it another way, the temporary thrill
often loses to what we know to be best for us in the long run.? So the
abstinence message is being fought on all sides . . . after all . . . marriage
is a long time to wait for most people.? The world is having trouble buying
I was just in Virginia speaking and my buddy Todd showed me an
article that accurately summarizes the way many feel.? The article is in The
Washington Post on May 12, 2002, section B7, by Philip D. Harvey.? Philip argues
against abstinence.? Here are a few of his comments:
For the entire article, use this link:
- "The abstinence-only sex education programs in our public schools call for
"abstinence until marriage."? The federal government spent $115 million on this
message last year, and the Bush administration is proposing significant
increases for the current year.? Sexual abstinence until marriage is now
official government policy.
- The average age of marriage in the United States today is 27 for men and 26
for women.? The abstinence-only program therefore asks our young people to
renounce sexual activity throughout much of the early part of adult life . .
- . . . I wonder if those who seriously advocate abstinence until marriage
would prefer to see the marriage age come down. . .
- . . . But in modern industrialized societies, where women have educational
opportunities and more than half attend college, marriage in the teenage years
will likely become increasingly rare.? If we agree, as I think most Americans
do, that equal educational and occupational opportunities for women are a good
thing, that our society is enhanced and enriched by these developments, then I
think we must accept the fact that marriage in the middle or late twenties is
the modern societal norm.? If that is so, the expectation of sexual abstinence
until marriage is utterly unrealistic.
- I would argue also that such an expectation, when translated into a policy
(such a s federally funded sex education calling for such a restriction), is
wrong.? It is wrong to expect young people to be sexually abstinent until they
are more than halfway through their twenties.? Sexual relations are an important
component of human happiness, and there is no moral purpose served by abstaining
from sex if two people are mature and responsible.? Why should they be deprived
speaks loud and clear the message that the world is shouting.? "Why be deprived
of sex?"? "Why be deprived of "happiness?""
"Happiness?"? Is that what
this is about?? According to Phil, "mature" adults should be able to make
responsible sexual decisions, "getting the freak on" with who they want.
Therefore it"s okay to have sex before marriage, even with multiple partners, as
long as we are "responsible."? After all, it would be "depriving" us to have to
wait until marriage.
Yet God says wait until marriage.? Is it possible
that God somehow missed this remarkable truth that Phil has discovered?? Maybe
Phil has some new insight that God should review.? Maybe God could learn from
Well, I just talked to God, and he ain"t budging on the issue.
He maintains that He is right and Phil is wrong.? So the question is . . . who"s
right?? Phil or God?
Some people still might not be convinced.? After
all, there are a lot of people around today who don"t see God and don"t see the
Bible as an authority.? So let"s indulge them and look at this logically.
IF PHIL IS RIGHT:
If we researched how "happy" couples were today
that were older than 27 years old, we would find the following:
Remember: we aren"t selling out momentary pleasure
for truth.? We"re not asking teenage couples during sex whether it"s fun or
not.? We all know that it is fun for the moment.? But we"re looking at whether
people are "happy" in the long run.
- 1.? Married and monogamous couples who waited until marriage for sex are
much more UNHAPPY or at least they WERE unhappy for YEARS, until they finally
were able to get married.
- 2.? Individuals and couples who didn"t wait- who had sex before marriage
with one or more partners are much more "happy."? They look back and are pleased
that they slept with multiple partners or didn"t wait until marriage.? Possibly
their sex life is even more gratifying because of this
IF GOD IS RIGHT:
If we researched
how "happy" couples were today that were older than 27 years old, we would find
- 1.? Married couples who waited until marriage for sex are much more HAPPY.
They are free from guilt and from fears often associated with sex outside of
marriage: AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, rejection, out of wedlock
pregnancy, comparison to other partners, exposure, failure, embarrassment, and
losing one's partner to another.
- 2.? Individuals and couples who didn"t wait- who had sex before marriage
with one or more partners are much more REGRETFUL.? They have suffered
consequences physically, emotionally or spiritually because they didn"t have the
discipline to wait.
In September 1975, Redbook Magazine surveyed 100,000 women.
Married women and single women.? Women who had slept with multiple partners and
women who had only slept with one.? Redbook surveyed their background and asked
them this question:? How satisfied are you with your current sex life?? Here are
some of the results:
Women who had slept around during their teenage years
told Redbook that they weren"t as happy with their current sex life.? Why?
Didn't Phil say these people would be happier?? What about the fact that those
women who WAITED for sex until marriage experienced orgasm more than twice as
often as women who slept around?? Maybe Phil should check his data.?
- women who were sexually active as teens are more likely to express dissatisfaction
with current sex life
- strictly monogamous women
experience orgasm more than twice as often as promiscuous
The 1986 Journal of Sex research did a similar study over 10 years later.? Maybe the
REDBOOK survey was just bad data.? Maybe those were just women in the 70's.
Nope.? The results were exactly the same.? They found that women who waited for
sex until marriage were happier with their current sex life.
Imagine that. God's way is better. And we're not even talking about physical consequences like
diseases or unwanted pregnancy. We're just talking about perceived "happiness." When we wait
for sex until marriage, we'll be happier. We can avoid a lot of emotional consequences.
Sex is worth the wait.
And if you can't wait? then don't put off marriage so long!
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Jonathan McKee is president of The Source for Youth Ministry and author of the new book "Do
They Run When They See You Coming? Reaching Out to Unchurched Teenagers." This book helps us
better understand youth culture today, and equips us to reach out to an unchurched generation
(CLICK HERE FOR THE BOOK). Jonathan
studies youth culture and trends, speaking
and training across the country and providing
free online resources, training, & ideas for youth workers at
Students don"t want to be spoon fed.? They want to be
challenged to think and draw their own conclusions.? Use the above article to
engage in a discussion about sex.
Put some of
Phil"s statements on an overhead or Powerpoint and present his argument vs.
God"s argument.? Place a piece of tape or rope across the middle of the floor.
Declare one side AGREE and the other side DISAGREE.? Then display some
statements arguing each side of the issue brought up by Phil.? For
-People who sleep with whoever they
want are happier in the long run.
-Age 28 is just too long to wait.
should get married younger to keep from having sex.
-God can help us wait
-What"s written in the Bible is only for the people back
then.? It doesn"t apply to our world today.
BRING THE "RECOMMENDING SEX" EVENT TO YOUR CITY: Telling kids the truth about sex, and equipping them not to set themselves up for failure!|
Many of you emailed me about the Tough Choices
event we just did in California.? Because of the great response from this event,
we want to offer events like it in different cities, talking to students about
the choices they make sexually, and/or about the influences of the
Our new web site talks about how you can bring an abstinence
conference or a Tough Choices conference to your city.
KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!
If you have any other youth ministry ideas you want to
share, please email me at
Jonathan R. McKee
for Youth Ministry
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