I have some good news. Sort of.
According to a recently released report from the National Center for Health Statistics, virginity is on the rise. Eight years ago, 22 percent of men and women under age 24 said they were abstinent. Today that figure stands at 29 percent for women and 27 percent for men.
Debbie Roffman, a human sexuality educator in Baltimore, told a newspaper that multiple factors are likely at work, including “greater involvement by parents in communicating about sexual values and decision-making and providing greater supervision and monitoring of their children’s activities.”
The flip side of the findings is obvious. Although the virginity rate is rising, the percentage of sexually active teens should disturb even the most progressive. Ironically, though not surprisingly, in surveys most teens report a desire to remain abstinent prior to marriage. Sadly, just hoping doesn’t make it so.
Teenagers today are growing up in a culture that’s awash in sex. From risqué movies to raunchy music to provocative advertisements, the average teen consumes hundreds of sexually oriented images and messages per day, many running diametrically opposed to the values taught in your home.
On a related note, a sad article in this past Sunday’s New York Times about teen “sexting” offered parents a sobering observation and analysis:
… adults face a hard truth. For teenagers, who have ready access to technology and are growing up in a culture that celebrates body flaunting, sexting is laughably easy, unremarkable and even compelling: the primary reason teenagers sext is to look cool and sexy to someone they find attractive.
Indeed, the photos can confer cachet.
I would encourage you to stay involved. You’re not an innocent bystander. As a parent, you’re being called upon to shape, nurture and defend your child’s heart and mind. With God’s grace and help, you CAN do it.