A Hot Topic: SDA Youth Attitudes on Premarital Sex

Sex.  It’s a topic that is pervasive in our culture today.  It seems you can’t flip on the TV without it being discussed or shown, can’t flip through social media without it being mentioned, or can’t watch the news without seeing a story of how sin has corrupted this God-given gift.

Sex is also a hot topic among young people.  Whether it’s an act that they are engaging in or something that is just discussed, our youth are entrenched in a culture of sexuality.

In a recent study (ICM, 2014) conducted by the Institute for Church Ministry, Adventist young people were asked about their feelings regarding premarital sex.  Sixty-three percent of young people said that sex was not okay outside of marriage, even if the two were in love.  However, 29% said that they felt this statement was “never” or “rarely” true, indicating that “love” was enough to justify sex outside of marriage.

This is troubling, especially in a church that preaches abstinence from the time “sex ed” is first taught.  And the cost of premarital sex is undeniably high.  Emotional damage, issues with intimacy later on in life, STDs, and unexpected pregnancy are just a few of the ramifications for young people who engage in sex outside of marriage.

Educating your young people on not only the price of premarital sex, but also how to remain abstinent is one of the most effective ways that you can impact their decisions regarding sex.  Christianity Today offers some great tips – perfect for sharing with your youth!

  • Keep innocent expressions special.  Encourage your young people not to be in a hurry to move forward physically with their relationships.  Remind them that things as simple as holding hands or hugging can be special and have meaning.
  • Don’t feed fantasies.  In our culture, we are surrounded by sex.  Teach your young people to be careful about the books, movies, TV shows, etc. to which they expose themselves.
  • Set boundaries early.  At the beginning of a relationship, encourage your young people to “put all their cards on the table.”  By setting expectations early on, it is easier to say “no” when temptation might arise.  It also makes it easier to focus on building a solid friendship foundation when they don’t have to worry about where things will go physically.
  • Make a commitment to God and renew it daily.  Encourage your young people to commit their whole self to God – including their bodies.  Remind them to daily reconnect themselves with their Maker.  In this way, their commitment to abstinence doesn’t become just about them, but points to God, as well[1].

(For the full article, check out: http://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/hottopics/sexabstinence/10-ways-to-practice-purity.html.)

Another important thing to remember is not to shame those who have already engaged in sexual activities.  Many young people may look back at past sexual encounters with regret; it is important that they don’t feel that they have already “made the mistake, so why turn back?”  While it is not possible to undo what they have done, it is possible to stop the pattern of behavior.

While we cannot completely prevent our young people from buying into the messages that world sends regarding sex, we can equip them and encourage them to make smart, Godly sexual choices.

What can you do to reach out to the young people in your own congregation regarding sexuality?


[1] Hutchcraft, R. (2012, January 1). 10 Ways to Practice Purity. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.christianitytoday.com/iyf/hottopics/sexabstinence/10-ways-to-practice-purity.html