This is the first part in a series of articles addressing sexuality in our culture and how the modern view of it causes a lot of problems.
Lately, I’ve just been feeling disgusted with everything I see going on in this world. The politics, the killings, people’s lack of morals and respect, the list goes on.
One thing that upsets me deeply is seeing young guys and girls thinking it is normal to have sex before marriage. Growing up, I used to think that it was rare and that more people had self-control. But the older I got and the more people I met, the more I realized it is pretty much the norm in our culture. It’s just as much the norm as a couple holding hands, or kissing, or making out. If a couple is dating, then it’s just assumed by society that they are having sex. That’s just what the culture has turned into.
Why you might ask, is a single virgin male writing about this from this perspective? I have chosen to abstain from sex until marriage for many
different reasons, but the biggest reason, in regards to this post, is that I have had a lot of friends open up to me about their experiences of slipping up and making mistakes in this area. The biggest thing they struggle with is the regret and pain and depression that comes from it. Most of the girls that I’ve talked to said they felt pressured into it by their boyfriends. Some said that they felt that it was wrong when they did it, but they went ahead with it because they wanted to feel loved and accepted. I have sat and listened to many heartbreaking stories of these people’s pain and regret. It weighs heavily on me, and I don’t want to experience it or cause someone else to experience that kind of pain.
Before I continue, I want to share two examples that help to better describe the current culture.
A few weeks ago, I overheard two fathers of teenagers talking about their daughters.
Dad 1:“Yeah, little Susie is 16 now. She’s got a boyfriend, he seems like a good kid. She’s at the age now where she’s making out with him. And I have to accept that. There’s nothing I can do about it. You know, her mother and I told her that she can do what she wants. We aren’t going to be upset with her choices. We told her that she can do what she wants with guys as long as it’s on her terms. We don’t want her to feel pressured into doing what the guy wants. It’s her life and we aren’t going to interfere.”
Dad 2: “That’s good! We did the same thing with my oldest at that age. We respected her freedom to do what she wanted with guys. We didn’t have to worry about her being pressured into anything because she was a tough girl and could easily handle herself if need be. But hey, its the truth. It’s her life, who am I to say what she does?”
I sat there in utter shock. Did I REALLY just hear these two fathers talk that way about their little girls?!
Here I was thinking it was only the society and media that were influencing young people into doing promiscuous things and normalizing premarital sex. Even though those are big influences, I would have never in a million years thought that parents of teenagers would advocate for that and accept that as norms and not have problems with that.
As I said, media shapes our thinking and culture quite a bit. There are so many examples I could pull from, but for time’s sake, I will talk about just one.
Snapchat is a social media outlet where people can share pictures and videos with their friends that only last ten seconds, and then they are gone forever. A few months ago, Snapchat added a feature with interactive news headlines geared toward various audiences that users can click on and read. Most stories are about the newest pop culture trends and celebrities. “What did Kim Kardashian wear to the red carpet movie premiere?” , “Who is Taylor Swift’s newest song about?”, etc. Most of the stuff is stupid like that and is geared toward high school and college students. One of the “news outlets” that has a new article every day is Cosmopolitan Magazine, (also known as Cosmo). Bauer Media Group describes the publication as “the world’s most successful magazine for young women aged 18 to 34”. They report that it has a readership of almost 300 thousand. The article I saw on Snapchat was entitled, “9 One Night Stand Behaviors Guys Need To Stop“. This article was written from a female’s perspective on how women would like to be treated, etiquette wise, during a one-night sexual encounter. Such tips included “Introducing women to your roommates” and “clean up the place beforehand.” One thing that shocked me about this article is that it treated one-night stands as good and normal things. Other articles I’ve read from this publication involving dating, seem to presuppose sex as a norm in dating relationships. Cosmopolitan actively promotes sexual activeness and promiscuity among young men and women and uses very clever marketing tactics to do so.
It is publications like that, along with many other types of media that I have seen as huge factors in promoting premarital sex. It is awful.
Back to the original train of thought.
The big lie that people seem to have accepted is that “sex is just physical,” it’s simply a physical act that two people who are attracted to each other do. Nothing more and nothing less. Hollywood does a tremendous job of selling this lie. James Bond is the first character that comes to mind. He is in a city on a mission, meets an attractive girl, or two, beds them, and off he goes on his merry way without a care in the world if he ever sees them again. Many songs promote this as well. Rap does this most of all genres. You hear people rapping about different sexual acts they are doing, what they want to do to girls, bragging about how many girls they have been with. It’s sickening.
Society, music, Hollywood, and magazines tell us that sex is just a physical act between two consenting people who find each other attractive. If that is the case, then that makes rape and other forms of sexual assault no worse than a person punching someone or getting beat up. After all, if it’s just physical, it shouldn’t be any different, right? I think we know deep down that it is different. I know rape victims and have heard their stories, as well as the stories of other victims. Rape is a terrible experience that leaves most victims suffering mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is a pain that goes way deeper and causes much more lasting damage than just physical pain
Just as the issue of rape reveals that sex is not just physical, so also does the emotional and mental pain of breakups. The emotional and mental pain that the people that I’ve talked to have felt after the person they slept with broke up with them was beyond just that of a normal breakup. Why is this?
If what society, music, Hollywood, and magazines tell us is true, and sex is just a physical act, why do people have these effects?
The Science of Sex
Bryan Sands, a campus minister, who runs EveryoneLovesSex.org . writes,
“When it comes to the physical act of sex, there is a tremendous amount of emotional bonding that is being created that most probably do not even think of. We can think of this bond as the glue that ties two people together. This bond can have a positive effect as well as a negative one… Even though casual sex is extremely common nowadays, the partners involved in the act are creating a significant bond.”
Sands goes on to talk about the chemical, oxytocin, a hormone that is released in the brain that creates an emotional bond between the two partners during sex. He quotes one of the most prominent figures in neuropsychology, Dr. Daniel Amen. In his book, “Change Your Brain Change Your Life,” Amen writes,
“Whenever a person is sexually involved with another person, neurochemical changes occur in both their brains that encourage limbic, emotional bonding. Yet limbic bonding is the reason casual sex doesn’t really work for most people on a whole mind and body level. Two people may decide to have sex ‘just for the fun of it,’ yet something is occurring on another level they might not have decided on at all: sex is enhancing an emotional bond between them whether they want it or not. One person, often the woman, is bound to form an attachment and will be hurt when a casual affair ends. One reason it is usually the woman who is hurt most is that the female limbic system is larger than the male’s.”
The one part of Amen’s quote really stuck out to me and bears repeating, “Two people may decide to have sex ‘just for the fun of it,’ yet something is occurring on another level they might not have decided on at all: sex is enhancing an emotional bond between them whether they want it or not.”
Why does sex have this root that seems to affect the deepest and most
vulnerable parts of out being? Why are our bodies wired that way? Why can’t it just be physical?
Tune in next time for Sex in Our Culture: Part Two