Kristie A. Klusaw
A research paper for:
English 130, Period 1
Religion 103 A, Period 2
February 8, 2002
Premarital sex is a huge problem in society today; the numbers are staggering. "Among Americans who have been married, a raging ninety- three percent of men, and eighty percent of women (between ages eighteen and fifty-four) have lost their virginity before their honeymoon" (Hjelle). Teens everywhere are not waiting until they are married to have sex. "Teenagers are saying, sex is fun and everybody is doing it" (Dave). Teens are less developed, emotionally and physically before having sex, and they are not prepared for the serious problems that come along with their decision to have sex. There are always consequences when a teenager chooses to have sex. "Teenagers, according to some polls, view premarital sex as acceptable as long as two people love each other" (Hjelle). If at age sixteen a teenager tells a parent or someone older that they are in love, the parent will laugh and say that no teenager at sixteen has experienced true love. Love is something one experiences when one is mature and ready for a life-long commitment, not when one is involved in a two-year high school crush. "Premarital sex is based on selfishness, not on love" (Hjelle). If one has passionate feelings for someone, one may feel the need to have intercourse with that person. Teens need to open their eyes and see the harmful effects of premarital sex. "Premarital sex hurts you (sic), running the risk of getting diseases and it profoundly scars you emotionally, by cutting you off from God" (Evert). Some teenage girls are saying, "Oh Ill be fine, I am on birth control and we used a condom; there are no worries." "No form of contraception can prevent a heart from being broken, and a soul from being lost"(Evert). While contraceptives may lessen the
chances of disease and unwanted pregnancy, birth control is not always dependable. According to Dr. John G. Sholl, "safe sex" is a "misleading, incongruous combination of words" (Ferriss 16). Teens who engage in premarital sex are more likely to suffer negatively from long-term physical, emotional, social, and moral effects, than teens who choose to wait.
"Jennifer was seventeen when she gave her virginity to Brian, the love of her life. One month later she developed painful blisters around her sexual area. She was devastated when her doctor told her she had herpes. By passing this infection on, Brian has made it possible for Jennifer to join the ranks of twenty million other Americans who have herpes, a sexually transmitted disease. This is not the only disease that Jennifer lives with though. She experiences great emotional pain, especially guilt for the last three years" (Herpes: The Gift That Keeps on Giving). The world is plagued with over thirty-nine sexually transmitted diseases. "Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) infect three million young adults annually, out of Americas (sic) total of twelve million sexually active youths" (Hjelle). These dangers should be painfully obvious to many of todays youth. "Among fourteen to twenty -year -olds chlamydia is the most common STD." (Fledman 1). Chlamydia has no obvious symptoms and can even cause infertility if left untreated. "Up to twenty -nine percent of sexually active adolescent girls have been found to be infected with chlamydia" (Premarital Sex The Situation). Another common disease is herpes,
which causes sores and painful swelling of the genitals. "One in five Americans have herpes, yet at least eighty percent of those with herpes are unaware they have it" (Herpes Statistics). There is no cure for herpes, but it can be treated. Another STD Gonorrhea, not uncommon among teenagers, causes pelvic pain and painful urination. Gonorrhea is one of the most frequently reported sexually transmitted disease among teenagers. This disease may leave victims sterile. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is a deadly virus that kills the immune system. AIDS is a growing danger, and is by far the most serious sexually transmitted disease. "AIDS, for which there is still no cure, is spreading faster among teenagers, than among any other group" (Hjelle). AIDS is one of those viruses that takes a long time to develop, which is why it so deadly and so easy to pass on. "Kids dont take AIDS seriously, said Dr. James W. Curran. One thing they do is have sex. They have sex. They have sex. They have sex" (Ferriss 16). Sex is the number one way AIDS is spread. "Cases among teens have grown sixty two percent in the past two years, and the number of teens with AIDS doubles every year" (Evert). Premarital sex is the one reason that "AIDS is the sixth leading cause of death, among fifteen to twenty- four year olds" (Evert). This is hard to believe that teenagers are still engaging in premarital sex, and are aware of these frightening statistics.
Teenagers today are more vulnerable to any STD infection due to their poor self -images and poor morals. "One fourth of all people with an STD are adolescent, who received their disease through premarital sex" (Byers 28). That comes to show you that it is very easy for these diseases to be transmitted. "It takes only one sexual
encounter with an infected person to get an S.T.D." (Byers 14). Surprisingly, "eight out of ten people who have an S.T.D. are not aware of it yet" (Evert). Once you have received the disease the outlook for future relationships is not good. "People blame each other for bringing the disease into the relationship, and each may doubt the others faithfulness" (Byers 21). This is an example of how the negative physical effects of premarital sex can lead to negative emotional effects.
Premarital sex is riddled with many emotional problems and mental consequences. The emotional scars are the most painful and most overlooked aspect of premarital sex. "Sex, especially for the first time, can leave you feeling very emotional and very vulnerable, says child and adolescent psychologist Joan Kinlan" (Rodriguez 52). Many people have tremendous regret after sex, which leads them into depression. They begin to feel used and simply "unclean." "The most severe consequence of premarital sex is psychological, the guilt that occurs is so acute that many teens look to drugs, alcohol, and suicide for relief" (Hjelle). Guilt has long-term effects on future relationships and it haunts a person. "Guilt is an awareness of having transgressed a standard of right and wrong" (Tant). He or she may feel moral guilt, which makes them live with the pain knowing that, he or she has disobeyed social standards that religious people believe in. "God teaches that our body is the dwelling place of God. Described in 1 Corinthians as, a temple of the Holy Spirit. Sexual immorality disgraces Gods temple" (Tant). Todays society is plagued with this type of guilt.
After someone experiences premarital sex there is often feelings of disappointment and feelings of regret over lost virginity. These feelings can cause tremendous problems in the relationship. "When we lose something we know is valuable, we feel regret" (Tant). People begin to question their love when they feel regret over a past sexual experience. So many people say, "I wish I had waited." God knew that His people would have this feeling of regret, so therefore He had a way to protect them from heartache. He simply reserved intercourse for marriage. "Gods design to limit sex to marriage protects us from hurting each other, and provides the proper setting in which to express love through sex" (Tant). People would be better able to establish a bond of trust and love with the person they marry, if sexual intercourse was reserved.
Confusion is another emotional effect of premarital sex. This often comes from being ignorant of the differences between lust and true love. "As Christians we are to develop agape love, the kind God has for us that gives with no exception of getting something in return" (Tant). When one mixes lust and love, the concepts of giving and taking are confusing. "Love is primarily an act of the will, but has tremendous emotional overtones because it has to do with how we relate to people" (Tant). Intercourse is so powerful that it creates a bond, often when there is little common ground between a couple. "Sex outside of marriage turns the relationship upside down and mixes emotions to the point of misinterpreting feelings" (Tant). For this reason sexual intercourse should be reserved.
Teenagers feel that before they engage in intercourse, they will receive no emotional effects. Many teenagers who have sex before marriage have complicated and unsatisfying marital relationships. "Studies have shown that premarital sex also increases the rate of cheating after marriage" (Tant). Sex cannot make a person fall in love. Also, sex cannot heal a relationship. "Sex is such a definite experience that a part of each of us remains a part of the other" (Tant). Teenagers need to realize, once ones virginity is gone, it is gone forever. While maturity plays a large part in the decision to have sex, it may not be enough. There is no "right" age to start a sexual relationship. It is a very individual and personal decision. People need to be aware of the emotional consequences of premarital sex.
Once one engages in premarital sex as a teen, one begins to have relationship problems. "Sex hinders communication" (Tant). Sex is often the easy way out to those who have never learned to communicate. In most teen relationships, "sex becomes the focus, and other aspects of the relationship have no chance to develop, like a friendship" (Tant). Relationships that are solely based on sex are troublesome. In order to have a good relationship a person needs to develop a sincere friendship with his or her partner. "Friendship lays the foundation for love to blossom. By obeying Gods plan to wait for sex, a couple can discover other ways to communicate that will do much in building a healthy relationship" (Tant). Sexual intercourse is not the great cure all for all problems one encounters in a relationship.
One reason teenagers should wait to have sex is due to their moral and religious views. In the rules of the Catholic church, "premarital sex and any physical
activity that causes the man or woman to be sexually stimulated, is inappropriate before marriage" (Tant). Sex should be for the purpose of reproduction and nothing else. According to the Catholic Church, reproduction is the main purpose of sexual intercourse. First Corinthians chapter six; verse thirteen states, "Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, the Lord for the body." Tant states that 1 Corinthians chapter six, verse thirteen implies,
"God wants you to be Holy and pure, and to keep clear of all sexual sin so that each of you will marry in holiness and honor not in lustful passion as the heathen do, in their ignorance of God and his ways."
In fact God sees premarital sex as an extreme sin. In Biblical times any married woman who had been proven to have had premarital sex, was stoned to death at the door of her father. This is mans understanding of Gods view on fornication. Hebrews chapter thirteen, verse four states, "Let marriage be honored among all and the marriage bed be kept undefiled, for God will judge the immoral and adulters" (Bible). God knew many people would engage in premarital sex, for this reason He imposed rules to keep us from consequences.
Christian religions have very strict teachings of abstinence. Hence, it is ironic that, "Catholics are engaging in premarital sex more than any other group of single Americans" (Rodriguez 53). The Church teaches us that when one has sex with another, they become one with them in spirit. People who have many sexual partners
before marriage still have "soul ties" to other people besides their spouse. Soul ties meaning, encountering true love and the feel to never let one be alone. Despite these
teachings, "only seventeen percent of all Catholics think that premarital sex is wrong," (Hjelle) This indicates that personal beliefs are stronger than religious beliefs.
To stay away from these harmful effects teenagers must maintain standards and understand their responsibilities. Teens today need to follow the law of chastity. Chastity is "a lifestyle that brings freedom, respect, peace, and even romance without regret; Chastity frees a couple from the selfish attitudes of using each other as objects, and makes them capable of their love" (Evert). Chastity is a very difficult lifestyle. "Chastity means the successful integration of sexuality within the person and thus the inner unity of man in his bodily and spiritual being" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2337). This comes to show that chastity needs to be practiced amongst our youth today. Teenagers are prone to premarital sex, and are especially influenced by the medias casual attitude toward it. Teenagers today are bombarded with the image of premarital sex through advertising. "You can not watch cable television without seeing people kissing intimately, or even having sex" (Dave). Premarital sex is suggested everywhere in our society, as seen on billboards, in movies, and in magazines. Perhaps, if teenagers had more confidence, they would not be prone to, and influenced by these artificial advertisements. There is no better way for teenagers to protect themselves from all of the dangers surrounding sex except to leave sex for marriage. "Waiting as God commands gives peace of mind,
which affects our physical health. We dont experience the stress of worrying about unwanted pregnancies, or an STD, that would kill or cripple our children" (Tant).
Despite what society shows us, each individual needs to make the decision of premarital sex based on the physical, emotional, social, and moral effects.