In a review of many scholarly journals studying negative effects on youth, sexual promiscuity and early sexual activity, are listed as a risk factor along with drug use, delinquent behavior, and violence. However, society is now changing its standards, and is actually encouraging what once was considered (and still is) a risk factor. The encouragement of promiscuity and experimentation along with “sexual rights” are desensitizing our society to sex, and the consequences are great.
Promiscuous behaviors and beliefs are not only risk factors in themselves, they are also a catalyst for a variety of negative consequences. Widely known is their potential for causing pregnancy and STD’s. Other less known consequences are confusion and the destruction they cause to relationships.
During sexual intimacy powerful chemicals are released in the brain. One of these chemicals is oxytocin, also known as the “cuddle hormone.” Oxytocin plays a role in adult bonding and is released during sex. It creates a powerful bond between the two people. This bond is good in a long term committed relationship where it unites a couple. However when couples engage in casual sex this bond leads to confusion and heartache; couples may verbally deny any attachment but cannot change the bonding taking place in the brain.
Dr. Van Epp’s RAM model is used to show the healthy progression of a relationship. In this model couples move through five different stages: know, trust, rely, commit, and touch. Each level moves up as the relationship progresses, but to remain healthy the previous level must be higher than the proceeding one. Touch is the last of these stages because it solidifies what a couple already has established. It is an expression of all they have gone through. Since sexual relations are the ultimate touch it needs to follow after the ultimate commitment of marriage.
Sexual intimacy has also been described as a funnel. Individuals enter in and experience a narrowing of mind and focus. When this takes place in a healthy marriage, it leads to bonding and fulfillment. However when this funnel is entered into alone it leads to isolation, confusion, and guilt. The same process, when entered into in a healthy versus unhealthy relationship, has dramatic consequences, yet society is teaching that sex is good, regardless of the circumstances or outcomes.
This devaluation of sexual intimacy is also affecting marriages. Premarital sex increases the likelihood of infidelity in a marriage. In a premarital relationship individuals are laying the ground work for patterns that will continue throughout their marriage. If there is a lack of sexual self-control before marriage, the likelihood of sexual self control within marriage also decreases. The rate of divorce is also higher for those who have sexual relations before marriage. One study found “women who lost their virginity before 18 doubled their risk of divorce, as nearly 31 percent and 47 percent dissolved their marital unions within five and ten years, respectively.”
Sexual intimacy is a uniting act. It unites people in the ultimate way; no other act can do this. “It is the union of their whole selves—heart, mind, flesh, spirit.” But what we are teaching our children is to disconnect this act from others, and focus solely on personal gratification. If we cannot connect the most uniting form of human expression with another person, how is it that we are able to interact and connect with others on a day to day basis? We won’t be able to. We will start to view every interaction in terms of our wants and desires, regardless of others, and view our urges as uncontrollable things we have no choice but to give into. As this happens we give up our power to make decisions.
Given the confusion and destruction of relationships that comes as we devalue sex, it is easy to see why sexual active teens are more likely to suffer from depression and attempt suicide. This new standard of morality is destroying relationships leading to isolation that then spills over into other aspects of our lives making us even more selfish, isolated, and alone.