I heard a great analogy the other day about sex. It was told to me by a teenager. Seriously, it was. Here it goes. “Having casual sex is like a piece of tape. When we first stick the tape to someone, it bonds well. When the relationship is over, like the tape, we tear away from that person. Then we stick to another one and another and another….eventually, the tape loses its “stickiness” and cannot bond easily. The same thing happens to us, as we continue to bond and tear away, and bond and tear away – eventually we lose the ability to bond in a matter of permanence.”
Wow. Right? This conversation lead me to think about my own experiences of learning to live/love and figure out the “birds and the bees” myself.
So I wonder out loud – can you remember that moment in your life when your parents attempted to have “the talk” with you? I remember mine – which really wasn’t. It went something like this, “Honey, stick to your guns.” Huh? What did that mean? Anyway, the local school system saved the day, for better or worse, and took the lead in 6th grade. That is when the permission slips went out to allow them to teach us about sexuality…the boys and the girls were separated into different classrooms. For the girls, our teacher recommended we all read Judy Blume’s “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” about a pre-pubescent girl beginning her journey into womanhood, with all the confusion, fears and excitement that comes with the territory. Well do I remember the drama, the apprehension and the aggravation when the red headed girl in our class “bloomed” fast and full before any of us other flat-chested girls. Sigh.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and parents having the “talk” today have to start pretty early in a child’s life to get the story straight, as our unholy media have them brain-washed by the time their 12. That said, I remember as a mom of sons, I was keen to make sure my husband and I were able to frame the discussion differently. Wishing to respect their privacy and without going into detail, we had a 3-pronged approach about this.
1) What does God say about our sexuality and why? 2)What does the world say about our sexuality? 3)What does mom and dad say about sexuality? We tried to put some real-world handles on it – hopefully guiding them to make wise decisions and understand that their choices will lead to blessings or their own personal consequences. It is a challenging discussion and one that needs to continue throughout their young lives.
In addition to these discussions, a friend of mine referred me to a book called Hooked:New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children. It is written by two physicians who have done the research as to what actually happens to the human brain and body chemically in the midst of attraction and coupling.
According to the authors, “Society tells us that sex is an act of self-expression, a personal choice for physical pleasure that can be summed up in the ubiquitous phrase “hooking up”. Millions of American teenagers and young adults are finding that the psychological baggage of such behavior is having a real and lasting impact on their lives. They are discovering that “hooking up” is the easy part, but “unhooking” from the bonds of a sexual relationship can have serious consequences. A practical look into new scientific research showing how sexual activity causes the release of brain chemicals, which then result in emotional bonding and a powerful desire to repeat the activity.”
I did read this book and was fascinated with the research and the conclusions. I hope you will consider reading it.
That all said, recently I was fortunate to have a discussion with a friend of mine who is the campus priest for a local Catholic high school. Under the category of “Who Knew?” I am excited to say that his school, and many diocese country-wide, have introduced an excellent human sexuality course into the freshman and sophomore curriculum called Theology of the Body. Even my priest friend was amazed and thrilled to see the Catholic church enter into the 21st century regarding human sexuality. Written by Pope John Paul, this curriculum is based on what God teaches regarding our bodies, issues on sexual morality, and how we are uniquely created for greatness. But it takes it a step farther than teaching abstinence -it addresses tough questions and gives evidence as to why young people and all of us actually, are made for one partner. Below is a youtube link about the course.
Now please don’t think I am judging here. All I am saying is that as parents, teens, young adults, educators, mentors and human beings, we do not have to believe the lie that is prevalent in our world that casual sex is okay and has no lasting consequences. Besides the obvious issues regarding unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted disease, there are also mental and emotional challenges that no one wants to acknowledge, but many of us, if we are really honest with ourselves, know exist. Even in the most practical of matters, I am certain that the very base attitude about casual sex, in and out of marriage – has certainly been a factor in the increase in the divorce rate and the decline of the marriage statistic.
So returning to the sticky analogy, God is love and He made humans for love. We should not forget that love and SEX are His idea and not just for procreation. He is not a killjoy….but that said, God does know and tells us, that pursuing a love/sex life that is casual and has limited bonding will indeed kill our joy…and we will find ourselves not in a sticky situation, but out of His will and in a love (life) that won’t stick.
Genesis 2:24-25 “Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and cleaves to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.