Frequently Asked Questions

I have compiled a list of the most common questions I hear from those trying to educate teens and from teens themselves.  These are the answers I give them.  I hope this will help you think through your responses to similar questions in advance:

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

I know lots of singles that have sex or even live together. They’re happy, and haven’t had anything go wrong.

Things aren’t always what they seem to be. Consider:

(i) For a majority of girls, and many boys, their first sexual experience was not what they expected and they wish they had waited.

(ii) The break-up rate and the rate of abuse are much greater for co-habiting couples than for married couples.

(iii) Married couples report more satisfaction from sex than do non-married partners.

(iv) Many sexually transmitted diseases show no symptoms for a long time, so people may be infected and not know it yet.

What’s wrong with a teen having sex?

Lots of things. The three most important:

(i) God has said no one should have sex outside marriage. What did God actually say? “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). A young man is to start his own family by entering into marriage, and only then should he and his wife have sexual intercourse. Read the stories of Shechem and Dinah (Genesis 34) and Amnon and Tamar (2 Samuel 13), young people who had sex without being married. The Bible speaks of their actions as “wrong” and as “something that should not be done.”

(ii) Sex is a wonderful gift of God, intended to bond a man and a woman together for life. But it also bonds two people who have sex with each other outside of marriage. It is a very powerful instinct. The Apostle Paul recognized this (see 1 Corinthians 6:16), and we now know from scientific studies that it is so. Sex with many partners can weaken this bonding effect, so that the more sexual partners one has, the less satisfying is the sexual relationship.

(iii) There can be serious negative consequences, both now and throughout your life. These consequences can be emotional (feelings of having been betrayed, flashbacks later on in marriage, regret); physical (sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy); economic (poverty for the single mother and for her child); spiritual (separation from God). Look again at the accounts of Shechem and Dinah and of Amnon and Tamar and see how much suffering resulted from their actions. God wants to save us from these unintended consequences. But we should always remember that God can forgive and restore, no matter what we have done. He can make us new creatures, as if we had never sinned. (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

I had sex when I was young. How can I tell my teen not to?

You want what’s best for your teen, and what’s best is saving sex for marriage. Discuss with your teen why this is so. Be honest, without going into detail: “I did things I regret.” Did you do it because of pressure from someone? Talk about that, and how to solve that problem. Did you just not know God’s will on relationships? Talk about what the Bible says.

If I’ve already had sex, it’s too late for me. What difference would it make if I stop now?

With God, it’s NOW that counts. He forgives and forgets, and in his eyes you are a virgin again. “The sexually immoral will not inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you  were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9,11). That’s a wonderfully freeing message! Besides, by deciding to stop having sex unless and until you marry you are saving your body, your brain, and your emotions from further damage — and from memories that you would rather forget.

What if my friends make fun of me for being a virgin?

Here are some things to think about:

(i) Although they many make you feel as if you’re the only virgin left on the planet, remember that you’re not. More than half of teens today are still virgins.

(ii) Even though others may give you a hard time, many will secretly envy you for who you are. A person who is able to stand up for what he or she believes is more worthy of respect than one who just goes along with the crowd.

What can I say if my boyfriend says, “If we’re in love it’s okay?”

“It isn’t okay to ignore God’s instructions, and it isn’t good for either of us. God put boundaries around sex for our own good” (1 Corinthians 6:12). If someone really loves you, he will not ask you to do anything that will put you at risk — and casual sex puts you at risk.

Questions Not Asked…That Should be Asked

There are so many questions that are not asked about “sex” that should be asked. Consider these:

QNA (Questions Not Asked that should be asked.)

What are the strongest motivators for teens to save sex for marriage?

Parental involvement is the greatest single deterrent to teenage sexual activity.” (Add Health Study USA 2000) Another strong motivators is signing a commitment card, especially if this step is taken at the end of a study on biblical teaching on sexuality. The True Love Waits covenant card reads: “Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate, and my future children to a lifetime of purity including sexual abstinence from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship.” True Love Waits

How effective are condoms in preventing sexually transmitted diseases?

Against HIV: 57-90%. For other STDs, from no risk reduction (for Chlamydia and Human Papilloma Virus) to 50-75% reduction (for gonorrhea).

Since the emphasis on “safer sex” practices is on using a condom, you should have a clear understanding as to how effective a condom is in preventing disease. First of all, in order to be effective at all, a condom must be worn every time, must have been properly stored, and must be properly used. In such cases of “perfect” use (did you know that this can only be achieved in a lab?), these are the statistics:

  • Against the HIV virus, it is between 57% and 90% effective. [Some studies have found 57%, some 90%, and some a percentage in between.) But this is true only for penile-vaginal (i.e. heterosexual) sex. Heterosexually transmitted HIV represents only 0.03% of all annual cases of STDs.
  • Against gonorrhea, “perfect” use of a condom prevents transmission of the disease 50-75% of the time, in men only. Most cases are not passed from female to male, and at any rate gonorrhea represents less than 2% of all cases of STDs.
  • That means that for 98% of all STDs there is no proof that condoms reduce the risk of transmission. (Scientific Evidence on Condom effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention,” July 2001)

This helps to explain why three of every four sexually active adults in the United States currently have, or have had, an HPV infection (which can cause infertility and premature deliveries, and which kills far more women than does AIDS) and why every year three million Americans (40% of whom are 15-19-years-olds) contract Chlamydia (a cause of cervical cancer and of persistent, year-after-year abdominal pain).

What is love?

There is so much in the Bible that explains to us what love should be and can be. Look, for example, at Jesus’ words in John 15:13: “Greater love has no one than this that one lay down his life for his friends.” That can also mean giving one’s life day by day in helping others to be what they can be.

Love is patient (I can wait). 1 Corinthians 13

Love is kind.

Love always protects (I will never ask you to do anything that would hurt you.)

Love always trusts.

Love always hopes.

Love always perseveres.

Love is not self-seeking (does not lust).

Love is not easily angered.

Love nourishes and cherishes.  Ephesians 5:25-33

What is my child learning at school?

So-called “Comprehensive Sex Education” provides information on contraception (methods, how to use, where to obtain) and condoms. It suggests alternatives to intercourse (mutual masturbation, for example, or oral sex – practices sometimes known as “outercourse” and said to be less risky than sexual intercourse). Abortion is promoted for girls who, in spite of these precautions, become pregnant. Abstinence is typically mentioned as “the only 100% safe” approach to sex but is usually dealt with very briefly and not considered a serious alternative.

Test your SIQ (Sex Information Quotient)

Take this little test to see how strong your knowledge is:

SIQ

1. What percent of teenagers in the United States are virgins? (A)less than 35% (B)50% – 60% (C)approximately 65%

Answer: (B) More than 50%

In the period 2011 to 2013, 56 percent of never-married teen girls and 53 percent of never-married teen boys between the ages of 15 and 19 reported that they had never had sexual intercourse. The number of “sexually experienced” teens peaked in 1988 at 51 percent and there has been a steady decline ever since, except for a slight increase from 2011 to 2013.

2. In the last 25 years, the percentage of teens who have had sex has (A)been decreasing (B)stayed about the same (C)been increasing

Answer: (C) Been increasing

The number of American teens ages 15-19 who have had sex has declined significantly in the past 25 years, by 14% for females and 22% for males. It simply isn’t true that teens can’t control their “raging hormones” or that “everyone is having sex.” Hundreds of thousands of teens have signed “True Love Waits” commitment cards since the campaign began in 1993, pledging to remain virgins until they marry.  True Love Waits is now in 85 countries, and an estimated 2.5 to 3 million youth have signed cards pledging sexual abstinence until marriage.

4. How many sexually active teen girls have an STD? (A)one in 2 (B)one in 4 (C)one in 20

Answer: (A) One in 2

One of every two sexually active girls in the United States has an STD. Among all teen girls, the rate is one in every four.

5. How many 20-year-olds in Japan are not in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex? (a) 25% (b) 50% (c) 75%?

(B) 74.3%, according to a survey in January 2015 by O-net, a marriage counselling firm. In 1996 50% were not in a relationship at 20 years of age.