The past two nights Dr. Phil has featured on his show the story of a family whose fifteen year old daughter had premarital sex that resulted in new life. The two-show feature followed the teen and her family through the various trials that the girl faced as they attempted to teach her what it would be like to be a single mom, and tried to coax her into making a decision about whether to keep the child or to give it up for adoption.
The storyline is not that unfamiliar. When I was in junior/senior high school, each grade save one had a unwed single teen that was pregnant in it.
I believe that the blame can be mostly laid at our culture’s feet, but I also believe that it’s only partially because we live in a sex-saturated society.
Indeed, we cannot go anywhere without seeing people trying to sell things with sex. If it didn’t work, it wouldn’t be sold.
Just this past weekend opened a film entitled “I Love You, Beth Cooper” whose advertisements and trailers promise every young man’s fantasy wrapped up in a movie. Indeed, the trailer is scandalous enough, and it leaves one with the question in their minds—why did the female star allow herself to be linked with such a gross movie?
It’s because it’s seen as normal and fun.
Our society no longer sees or treats sex as something that’s special in marriage. Today’s movies show prospective husbands proposing to their live-in girlfriends and planning white wedding gowns like this is nothing out of the ordinary.
A main character is not human unless they’ve lost their virginity around puberty, let alone had multiple partners before finding true love.
Going Against Nature
But what I’m coming to believe is that this is just an outgrowth of a root problem—that problem being our denial of nature.
In historical times, children married at much earlier ages. Part of this was because of lifespan, but there was also the concept that a child as young as 12 could be considered an adult. Responsibility was taught at an earlier age, and children were attached to their parents for much longer than they are today.
Indeed, it would not be uncommon for a husband to bring his bride back to his parent’s house, and the parents to be more involved in choosing a bride. With the kind of support a intact family could provide, the younger couple could grow together and have family close by.
Today, it’s just the opposite. Even as Christians, we suggest that our children wait as long as possible to get married1, we encourage them to get a place of their own, and then detach sex from children. We have created “teenagers” as those children who cannot be given responsibility to do work and at the same time tell them that they must refrain against their natural urges and must not find the appropriate outlet through marriage.
Why is this?
Why have we created this age group and pushed maturity further down the scale than it should be? Is it because we wish we had longer when we were younger not to carry responsibility?
And yet we have a generation of adults now that try to push responsibility off on anyone they can find, that have their hands out and who, for the most part, believe that it’s up to someone else to do the work for them.
I believe that if we fixed the responsibility problem, if we addressed the sexual needs of teenagers through putting together appropriate outlets, and we combined that with the eradication of a good deal of the sexual content in our society we would find that we would be a much healthier and happier culture.
- What? Haven’t finished four years of college and gotten your masters? Wait until after that! [↩]