Unification News for November 1996
Sexual Purity: Is It Out-Of-Date?
by Haven Bradford Gow
In his new book True Family Values (HSA-UWC, 4 W. 43 St., NY NY 10036), theologian Dr. Joong Hyun Pak points out that "Two-thirds of America's 10th graders have had sexual experiences, one-third are sexually active. Every day, 2756 teenage girls become pregnant and 1100 of them have abortions. Sexually transmitted diseases have increased by 200% since 1960."
In this connection, Seventeen magazine and the Ms. Foundation recently commissioned a survey of 500 young men and 500 young women ages 13-21. Seventy three percent of the girls said they engaged in sex only because their boyfriends pressured them into it, and of the 63% of the girls who are sexually active, 81% of them expressed remorse about losing their virginity. The survey also estimated that one in five people will acquire a sexually transmitted disease by age 21.
According to moral theologian Father Charles Bouchard, O.P., author of Whatever Happened to Sin? (Triumph/Ligouri Publications, 1 Ligouri Dr., Ligouri MO 63057), "Because sex is not only a means of procreation but a way of intimate self-communication, the [Judeo- Christian moral and religious tradition] has always insisted that sex should be reserved to the safety and security of a permanent marital relationship, just as we hesitate to tell much about ourselves to strangers or people we do not trust, so we should not speak our very selves sexually to someone we do not know and to whom we are not committed. Doing so places us in danger of being hurt by misunderstanding or abuse. Speaking a mature and holy sexual language means knowing when and where to speak it; it means knowing that some things can only be said in protected environments, and that whenever we `speak ourselves' promiscuously or casually, we are hurting ourselves and limiting the great act of self-sharing which sex is."
In his book Celibacy (Triumph/Ligouri), Catholic psychiatrist Dr. A.W. Richard Sipes says that when he was teaching human sexual development to students attending a Catholic college, he inevitably was asked, "When should I have sexual intercourse?" Dr. Sipes points out that the quick, cheap and easy reply is "When you get married." But he adds that the far more mature, responsible and thoughtful answer is "When you are physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually prepared." Dr. Sipes insists that this answer is "more honest and realistic, because it places the responsibility on individuals for their actions and the consequences of their behavior."
An editorial in the Oct. 4, 1996 Vicksburg (Miss.) Post speaks to this issue of teen sexuality: "Parents...are finding that drawing clear lines between right and wrong pays off. A new study published in Family Planning Perspectives shows the gratifying results. Researchers found that when mothers took a firm, unequivocal stand against premarital sex, their teenage children were highly likely to be virgins." Indeed, "Teens were 12 times more likely to be virgins when their mothers took a hard line against premarital sex, had a good relationship with children and avoided discussing birth control."
Clearly, we need to teach young people to behave as good human beings, and not like animals, and let them know they possess the God-given ability to develop purity of heart, mind and soul; they need to know that, if they really love someone, they will remain pure until giving of themselves lovingly and selflessly within the sacrament of marriage. By remaining pure until marriage, they never will have to feel guilty about past indiscretions, nor will they have to feel ashamed of looking into the eyes of their husbands and wives. If we were unfaithful to our spouses before marriage, will we possess the strength and nobility of mind, spirit and character to remain faithful to them after marriage?
The beauty and wisdom of the Judeo-Christian philosophy of sex and human beings is in its teaching that a husband and wife who love one another not only become two-in-one physically but two-in-one mentally, psychically and spiritually as well. True love within marriages means we desire the genuine good and happiness of one's spouse, and there simply is no room for selfishness and the pursuit of a purely self- centered gratification.
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