Sex and the Evangelical Teen

Posted: January 9, 2011 by williamdarby in Uncategorized

Churches and Christian parents would probably be shocked to know that their teenagers, on the whole, are just as sexually active as their non-Christian friends and neighbors, if not more. In fact, the evidence shows that evangelical teens tend to lose their virginity at an average age of 16, while non-Christians tend to lose their virginity at about 17. Also, evangelical teenagers who are sexually active tend to have more sexual partners than non-evangelicals. Though many young evangelicals make abstinence pledges, for the most part they are only temporary: 88 percent of pledgers eventually become sexually active before marriage.

These are the statistics reported by Christian sociologist Mark Regnerus, who published his book, Forbidden Fruit: Sex & Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2007).

It isn’t that teenagers just don’t know better…80% of all teenagers agree that sex before marriage is morally wrong. But at least 2/3 of them violate their beliefs in actual practice. A permissive culture is partly to blame for this problem, says Regnerus, who gives evidence that correlates cultural laxity with sexual activity in schools. Peer pressure affects everyone, Christians and non-Christians alike.

The Bible repeatedly shows the weakness of our fallen flesh. The moral law cannot make anyone righteous. Regnerus says that only 16% of teenagers who say that their faith is “extremely important to their lives” are living chastely. All churches and parents must realize that Christian teenagers still need guidance. All teenagers need to be taught to walk with Christ daily. Teenagers who are walking in the Spirit are more likely to remain abstinent until marriage and spare themselves a lifetime of regrets.

William Darby

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