The release of a long-awaited study by Congress reveals that teens who participate in abstinence-based sexual programs are no less likely to have sexual intercourse than their non-abstinence educated teenage counterparts. What this study proves is that without consistent, steady and careful conversations with teenagers about sex, sexuality and sexual expression, all teenagers, educated and uneducated alike, are at risk for promiscuous behavior.

What stood out to me about the study is not the fact that teenagers who not only attend, but even perhaps profess to support abstinence-based programs, are sexually active, but that the age for most sexual encounters is frighteningly young. The study reveals that most sexually active teens have sexual intercourse for the first time at 14 years and 9 months old.

As believers we should understand that sex is a beautiful gift from God given, not only for the purpose of procreation, but also for our pleasure. It is a wonderful expression of intimacy and a powerful reflection of the “one flesh” union between a husband and a wife. But sex can also be awkward and expose many insecurities. Think they don’t exist? Then why is it that not only the institution of the church is far too silent on sexual issues, but many Christian husbands and wives communicate very little about their sexual lives?

With the reality that sex can be awkward and expose insecurities in mind, it is not hard to imagine the emotional trauma and discomfort that inevitably accompanies sexual experiences at such a young age.

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