The Casual Sex Revolution
The casual sex revolution
by Paul Robertson
A 38-year-old father sits in his office and ponders how our culture has drifted so far from its moral moorings: “I have a 14-year-old daughter and the world she is growing up in scares me. I hear all this stuff about the number of kids having sex and the growing number of teens involved in oral sex and I can’t believe what’s going on. Things have changed so quickly and I can’t figure out why.” Like many other parents, today’s youth culture leaves one confused and concerned about the new casual sex revolution. What in the world is going on?
To begin with, we have a generation of youth who developed a whole new lexicon of sexual terms to describe their new approach to their world of adolescent sex. Sadly, their new sexual terms reflect their laid-back view of sex.
“Friends with benefits” is a new type of relationship among younger teens. It is when friends get together for sex with no commitment. It is practiced by both church and unchurched youth. Seventeen-year-old
A “hook up” is more casual than “friends with benefits” and occurs when teens are sexually active, usually engaging in oral sex, with complete strangers. Sometimes it is used as currency to procure things like concert tickets. Sometimes it involves competitions to see who can pleasure the other person the fastest.
“Giving a dome” refers to the act of performing oral sex on a boy. Oral sex is common and considered acceptable among younger teens. One 15-year-old female says, “It’s a big deal if you’re doing it to a lot of people you don’t know. But if it’s your boyfriend, it’s something you do.” Even though I live in
The recently released Health
So how did we get to this point with so many kids engaging in casual sex? There are a number of factors to be considered. Think about each in order to discover what you can do to stem this disturbing tide so that the children and teens you know and love might grow up living a Biblical sexual ethic.
Factor one—Of all the information our teens are exposed to—whether it is sex education in school, friends at the lunch table, media mentors or even some parents—moral considerations and parameters are almost non-existent. When it comes to intercourse, the emphasis is placed on social, emotional and physical readiness, not on right and wrong. The media rarely deals with any of the negatives. Rather, the media portrays the principle of pleasure. In a world without boundaries, sexuality for our kids is only limited by their own imaginations and enjoyment. It comes down to whether you “feel” you are ready to have sex. If you are, then go for it! Increasingly, fewer adults and social institutions are willing to stand up and say to our kids, “this is wrong,” “this is right” or “you don’t have to do this.” Kids have been left floundering on their own. As a result, some are severely emotionally, physically and spiritually damaged.
Factor two—Their world is filled with hundreds of thousands of sexual messages every year. The Canadian Broadcasting Company recently ran a tween special, “Buying into Sexy,” which looked at the world of 10-12 year olds here in
Factor three—The changing structure of families has left many kids looking for love in all the wrong places. Thirty years ago Johnny Lee penned his country pop classic “Lookin’ For Love.” He sang, “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places.” Today, we have a generation of lonely kids living out his song. Two million kids in
Factor four—Our young people are also looking for dependable guidance and information in all the wrong places. Health
Factor five—There is a growing shift in the values and perceptions of young people when it comes to sex. In today’s postmodern youth culture, young people are taught, and most believe—including kids in the church who profess faith in Christ—that there is no such thing as absolute moral truth. If there is no such thing as truth then all lifestyles become equally valid, including lifestyles of promiscuity and early sexual activity. No one has the right to tell anyone else that what they are doing is “wrong.” If it’s “wrong,” it’s only “wrong” for them. This is the first generation of kids to grow up totally immersed in this postmodern worldview. What we see in terms of behavior is young people simply being true to the only worldview they have ever known. This partially explains why so many kids don’t even consider oral sex to be sex.
Factor six—We have raised a generation of teens who see sexual activity to be anything but risky. In addition, most teens go through a stage of mental development that makes them believe nothing bad will ever happen to them—never get pregnant, never get a STD and never fall out of love. Because they lack the faculties to really think through these serious life issues, they are vulnerable to activities that can have deadly consequences. For example, a growing number of kids think oral sex is normal, safe and acceptable. Most young people don’t even know sexually transmitted infections can be transferred through oral contact.
These factors are certainly not all encompassing and there are many other reasons for the current casual sex revolution among teens. As adults, we need to be more aware of the changing traditions and values of today’s youth culture. Our world demands that more than ever before, kids need positive adult role models to prayerfully guide them through this moral maze by communicating—through our words and our actions—the life-giving light of God’s Word as it relates to God’s beautiful and wonderful gift of sexuality.
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©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding