Abstinence Before Marriage: Cause for Concern

Our global society has become increasingly more liberal, with a substantial change since the late 1990s. The American home has been profoundly affected with the use of multiple personal computers and cell phones per household, all accessing the Internet. Much of the information streaming into our personal spaces each day is very useful. But, some of the information is sexually explicit and harmful to both children and adults.

Today, it is not unusual to hear sexual topics talked about on elementary school playgrounds by the children themselves. Most young students have no context in which to process the information they're hearing. Sadly, traditional sexual values are disintegrating in our culture, causing confusion and many social ills to vastly increase.

Less than half of high school teens have had sex.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010). Youth risk behavior surveillance- United States, 2009. V59, NSS-5, Table 61. The percentage of teens having intercourse over the past several years has decreased, in part, because of the abstinence messages they're hearing in schools and in their homes. And the percentage of teens becoming pregnant has dropped from 15 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2009.National Center for Health Statistics, NVSR V59, N0, "Births to mothers under 20 years of age: United States, each state and territory, final 2008 and preliminary 2009," http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr59/nvsr59_03_tables.pdf(May, 2008). Even though teen birth rates have declined since the early 1990s, unwed births in the United States continue to climb.Hamilton, B., Martin, J., Ventura, S. (2010). "National Vital Statistics Reports, Births: Preliminary Data for 2009. CDC, V59, N3.

According to research, few teens have sexual intercourse in their early teen years, but the older they are the more sexually active they become. By the age of 24, 89 percent of males and 92 percent of females have had intercourse.William Mosher, Anjani Chandra, Jo Jones, "Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15-44 Years of Age, United States, 2002," http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/ad/ad362.pdf. (May 2008). If we are to keep teens and young adults healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually, we need to assist far more than 11 percent of youth to remain abstinent until marriage.

In addition to the health risks of teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections affect a disproportionate number of youth per year, and, in some cases, may cause life-long consequences. In the U.S. alone, there are 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) reported each year, with half of these cases occurring among 15-24-year-olds.H. Weinstock, S. Cates, S. Berman "Sexually Transmitted Diseases among American Youth: Incidence and Prevalence Estimates, 2000," Perspectives in Sexual Reproductive Health, 2004: 36: 6-10.

Teaching the use of contraceptives and condoms has been the solution of some sex educators to keep sexual practices safer for teens and adults. Focus on the Family does not support sexual activity outside of marriage because this practice does not support God's design for sexuality. Eliminating or avoiding the risks of out-of-wedlock sexual behaviors is the highest standard, and God does not stand for simply avoiding some of the risks. He wants only the best for humanity. It's also vital to understand that teaching condom use is not the same as correct or consistent condom use. A 2005 study of 509 adolescent girls found that only 35 percent used condoms, and, of those girls, only about half used them correctly.Gabriela Paz-Bailey, "The Effect of Correct and Consistent Condom Use on Chlamydial and Gonococcal Infection among Urban Adolescents," Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (June 2005): 536-542.

Abstinence from sexual behavior before marriage helps build a solid foundation upon which one can build a family and a society. Our primary concern with sexual activity outside the bounds of marriage is that it violates God's plan. We were not placed on this earth for our own enjoyment or with the ability to be our own judge. God is our creator, our sustainer and our judge. Behaving in such a way as to cast aside His guidance leads us down a path of spiritual devastation. But God's plan is perfect and increases blessings in all lives.