Friday, May 13, 2011

Abstinence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder.

"Complete abstinence is easier than perfect moderation." ~ Saint Augustine.

I've heard so many women say that their wedding day was THE most important day of their life. I totally disagree. Don't get me wrong, marrying the man of your dreams is a truly epic moment. But for me, believing in him and continually encouraging his dreams to come true was the real test of our day-to-day relationship. As well as the on-going battle of trying to NOT get bent out of shape when he put the toilet paper on the WRONG way...

See, choosing a lifelong partner is one of THE most important decisions anyone ever makes - but you don't know how your choice will stand up until you come face-to-face with "for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health." After five or six years of struggling, you could really want "till death do us part" to come true - and not to you!

For me, the decisions I made BEFORE our wedding day were more important than that day itself. You see, both my husband and I were part of an almost extinct ideology - we had been sexually abstinent until our wedding night. I know, shock and awe - it wasn't all that common in my generation. There were opportunities for both of us to lose our virginity, but after 20 years of marriage, we both feel this is one of the best decisions we ever made! There is a level of trust between Peter and I that would have been a struggle to attain had either one of us given in.

What's fascinating is that in the last decade, virginity has come back into vogue for the first time since the late 1950s. Now 73 % of teens say it's not embarrassing to admit they are virgins.
A few months ago statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control stated that almost a third of all 15-24 year-olds had never had ANY sort of sexual contact with another person. This is in stark contrast to a decade ago where four out of every five people would have sex during their teenage years.

Despite this decline, the US teen pregnancy rate continues to be one of the highest in the developed world at 72 pregnancies for 1000 girls ages 15-19 (as of 2006). This is more than twice as high as Canada (with 28/1000 girls aged 15-19).

Now not all of these pregnancies are unwanted, but the majority of them are. What's really encouraging in spite of this, is that most of these teen "moms" are choosing to keep their babies. Abortion rates around the world have been declining, most notably in countries where abortion is legal, according to a study by the Guttmacher Institute. They estimate there are 3 million less abortions now than there were in 1995.

When teenagers themselves are asked why they are choosing abstinence, they have said:

  • to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.
  • to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

  • so they won't get a bad reputation.
  • so they will avoid the emotional consequences of sex, like feeling hurt, used and lonely, especially if the relationship doesn't work out.
  • they've heard that couples who wait to have sex have healthier, more trusting relationships.
  • they're less likely to divorce.
  • abstinence doesn't cost any money (unlike other forms of birth control) and has no side effects.
  • for moral or religious reasons.

I've had friends who didn't wait, and have seen them go through the emotional turmoil of a relationship that didn't work out and the consequences of an unplanned pregnancy. During candid conversations with the friends that chose to have an abortion - each one of them vehemently regretted that decision. For some, it has changed the course of their whole life.

Seeing a few of my friends go through such an intense emotional crisis, that they were not ready to deal with, increased my resolve to wait. I am ever thankful I did.

I'll be back on Monday with another blog in this series - Why Married Sex is the Best Sex!

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