By Anna Pulley
By Erin Sherbert
By Chris Roberts
By Erin Sherbert
By Rachel Swan
By Joe Eskenazi
By Erin Sherbert
By Erin Sherbert
Just a choice? That's all. Problem solved. You just have to choose. This whole time I thought it had something to do with biological urges. But choosing not to have sex is, for teens, like, say, choosing Coke over Royal Crown Cola.
"Why do some teens choose to participate in sexual relationships?" the other lady pipes in. Several reasons are listed: "Drinking, friends, media --"
"Bragging rights," I throw out.
"Girls, it just offends them," she says she explains when guys in her classroom mention the bragging. "Girls will say, 'Dude! Come on!'"
"What if they want to be a gangsta rapper?" I inquire, running my hand down my thigh. "It seems to work for them."
"Is it a good enough reason to take this risk?" one of the women responds. "Is it worth the risk?"
I dunno. It seems fun to be a gangsta rapper. Besides, without sex before marriage, would we even have rock music? Or, for that matter, Italian cinema?
"What are the consequences of sex? Girls feeling really exploited," the woman says. "Petting?! That's just bad behavior. That's how rumors start."
So no petting. Masturbation is out of the question. I'm sure hand-under-the-shirt-over-the-bra is extremely taboo.
"Hold true to your own dream, or life will be disappointing," she says. "Whatever that dream might be. I don't know, president of a big company maybe. It can happen." (But what, I wonder, if your goal is to simply have your drunken stepdad stop beating you?)
"Look at your goals. Having an STD is going to impact your goals," Nice Lady No. 2 jumps in. "If they pursue relationship goals, each step that we take to get more and more sexual increases your chances of risk! Condoms will reduce risk of STDs, but not all STDs, but not eliminate it. There's still a 20 percent chance."
"They have so much they can put focus on: school, sports, what's really important to them," the first nice lady says animatedly, putting forward a theory that, if correct, would greatly expand teen softball leagues. "It's taking that energy and using it for something else."
"How about origami?" I throw out, then take a hard look at the boundary chart the ladies have passed me. "AVOID AROUSAL" is one of the key boundaries.
"What if dancing makes you aroused?" I ask. "Should we, as instructors, tell kids not to dance?"
"If you found that as a weak spot, then avoid it," Nice Lady No. 1 states. (The premise of the movie Footloose suddenly makes sense.) "Maybe they can pick a different kind of dance? Instead of freaky dancing, maybe try, I don't know, square dancing."
"Square dancing yes, freaky dancing no," I repeat.
"Pick a boundary at maybe holding hands; move it back a notch," she suggests.
"How about direct eye contact? What if that makes you aroused?" I say, making direct eye contact.
"You've got to train, like an Olympic athlete," she answers. Yes, indeed, train like an Olympic athlete -- an Olympic athlete with a big, insatiable boner!
It's an interesting theory. I've been a born-again virgin for two days now, and the crack of dawn was making me horny. What other methods might there be to curb the sexual libido?
"Use a keepsake as a daily reminder, such as a bracelet or ring."
"Like if you're trying to lose weight, put a picture of a tropical place you want to vacation to on your refrigerator as inspiration."
"Wouldn't people get married just to have sex?" I ask.
"People aren't going to get married just to get laid," she scoffs. Marriage, she explains, is about becoming a friend to your spouse.
"I have a younger son," Nice Lady No. 1 concludes. "He's made a pact not to date because he thinks dating is too much stress."
She explains he'd much rather focus on studying. "He keeps a honeymoon jar. He puts money into the honeymoon jar in order to keep focused on school." The money from the honeymoon jar will be spent on his future wife. Whom he hasn't met yet.
I nod my head and say, "A honeymoon jar!"
"What we think of marriage is not what the world around us thinks of marriage," the bubbly woman from earlier tells the room, which is 90 percent full of gray-haired ladies; they are attending the workshop "The Case for Marriage." "This is the will of God that you should abstain from sexual immorality. We believe that human sexuality is a divine gift, a primal dimension of each person.
"No question about that. God is pretty clear where he stands on that!"
I realize, now, that abstinence education goes deeper than telling high school kids not to have sex. It's the exportation of a code of conduct into our public schools directly from the Bible.
The bubbly woman offers a personal story: "I didn't get married until I was 26. I have friends who are in their 30s. They're waiting for God's perfect man. They have some downtime. 'Come on God, what's your plan for me?'
"You can accomplish a lot of things while single -- it's important to wait for God to help us find that person."