The Case For Chastity

If you are a high school student or younger, I would like to offer some very strong advice that you are unlikely to hear from anyone other than your parents. I might also receive some heat for this suggestion, and I don’t care. I can certainly defend it. My advice is; If you are a teenager, you should abstain from sex.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines chastity as, abstention from all sexual intercourse, purity in conduct and intention, restraint and simplicity in design or expression, personal integrity. You should want to emulate all of those qualities, but for now I am suggesting the first part of the definition which is abstention from all sexual intercourse.

Allow me to explain the qualitative reasons, then I will get into the facts. As a high school student, the two most important habits you should adopt are establishing a set of priorities and the practice of goal setting.

Every single high school student and teenager should understand their priorities. It doesn’t matter if you are college bound or not. Learning how to keep your priorities in order is one of the most important life skills you can develop, and the younger the better. Too frequently I have watched teenagers and adults, myself included, make horrible decisions because they failed to understand their priorities. If you are unfamiliar with the term life skills, they refer to habits and practices that teach people how to be independent and navigate their lives as they grow into adulthood.

These skills range from the simplest things like the proper way to brush your teeth, to the importance of hard work and saving money. Goal setting teaches people of all ages how to create a plan to accomplish specific objectives by executing the plan. A popular expression is plan your work and work your plan. It works extremely well if you have realistic expectations, a good plan to achieve those objectives, and most importantly, if your priorities are in order.

If you create a list of priorities for your high school years, having a boyfriend or girlfriend should not be one of them. Meeting someone that you might want to date should be incidental. You could meet them in class, at an after-school activity or being introduced by a friend.

None of those scenarios are bad. In fact, they are normal and healthy. However, let’s assume for a second that you start dating and have a boyfriend or girlfriend. Where would they be on your priority list? What priorities should rank higher than a boyfriend or girlfriend? Let’s start with school, homework, extra- curricular activities like sports, band, chorus, a school play, etc.

Your family responsibilities should be a priority also. That might include chores, babysitting, birthdays, holidays, etc. If you are a junior or senior in high school, you might have a job or a volunteer opportunity. I would also include your religion, church or youth group. Every one of these activities should be a priority over having a boyfriend or girlfriend. I’m not suggesting you not date, that’s between you and your parents. I am suggesting that if you do, you need to have your priorities in order.

Sex is not a Priority

Following the same logic, and common sense, I would suggest that any type of intimacy, which most definitely includes sexual intercourse should not be on your priority list. In fact, it shouldn’t be on any list at all. Nothing can be more distracting than having a serious boyfriend or girlfriend and being sexually active.

You will become obsessed, distracted, and most likely suffer from a loss of self-control. All are detrimental to having success in high school and a clear set of priorities. It can lead to emotional stress, confusion, guilt, and anxiety. Those ramifications can be more severe if you have been coerced due to a dare or peer pressure. The consequences I just explained can vary from person to person and are somewhat subjective.

Facts and Statistics

Above I presented qualitative reasons for abstaining from sexual intercourse and other forms of intimacy as a teenager and you adult. Now I would like you to consider the facts and statistics.

  • One of the most severe consequences of sexual intercourse among teenagers is an unexpected pregnancy. 3 in 10 teenage girls will become pregnant before age 20, that’s almost 750,000 unplanned teen pregnancies every year. I don’t think any teenager, anywhere, would want to deal with the stress of being a mother or father while in high school.
  • One in four teenagers are infected with a sexually transmitted disease annually. That includes chlamydia, syphilis, HIV and Human Papillomavirus (HPV). More importantly HPV, which can cause many forms of cancer, is almost undetectable. You need to get a blood test to determine if you have it. If there was a highway where 25% of all motorists are guaranteed to have a car accident once per year, would you ever take your car on that highway?
  • According to the National Library of Medicine, approximately 50% of teenage pregnancies end in abortion. The Journal of Social Issues reported that some women experience negative psychological effects from abortion. A 2008 report of the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion (TFMHA) concluded that “it is clear that some women do experience sadness, grief, and feelings of loss following termination of a pregnancy, and some experience clinically significant disorders, including depression and anxiety.  Why would you want to deal with any of that in high school? Why would anyone want to live with having an abortion or being faced with having to choose an abortion, especially in your teen years?
  • Teenagers who engage in sexual activity with partners of significantly different ages could potential face legal consequences, such as rape, statutory rape, sex crimes or child pornography charges. Unfortunately, we see these situations on the news or through social media. They are becoming more common and frequent. In addition to all of the risk factors I mentioned in this blog, why add a legal risk to the equation?

A Brief Summary

If you consider the emotional ramifications I mentioned like obsession, distraction, guilt, anxiety, confusion and loss of self-control, combined with the factual data I presented, I think I made a very good case for abstaining from all sexual intercourse. I am not suggesting it’s easy. In fact, it is very hard. Teenagers’ hormones are active and if you go to a coed high school, which most people do, sexual attraction is all around you. However, if you want to have a successful, happy rewarding and fulfilling experience in high school, you need to have your priorities in order, which includes abstaining from sex.