Sex is powerful… and dangerous

A few years ago, a professor named Chap Clark decided to do a study of adolescent high school students to find out what they thought about sex. Since close to half of high school students are reportedly sexually active, Chap Clark wanted to find out what the stories behind the statistics were. What he found shocked him.

“I was surprised to realize that for most mid-adolescents the issue of sex had lost its mystique and has become almost commonplace. They have been conditioned to expect so much from sex and have been so tainted by overexposure… as one student told me, ‘sex is a game and a toy, nothing more.'”

Because of how our culture treats sex, this attitude has become a reality across North America.

Sex sells and pop culture sells sex

In today’s culture, it is extremely difficult for a Christian to adhere to Christian values. Our popular culture is working against us – the music industry, Hollywood and television all use sex and extremely explicit material to sell their products.

Music genres such as hip hop and rock glorify sex as something that everyone should be doing, a casual activity to be pursued and celebrated. There’s a reason rock music accompanied the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and ’70s with the symptomatic tagline “sex, drugs, and rock and roll.” The message is simple: do whatever makes you feel good. The world is full of pleasures. Go out and get your share. The title of a song by the Canadian band Nickelback sums it all up: Sex is always the Answer.

Hollywood and television sell the same message, with movies increasingly showing sex as glamorous, casual – and most importantly – something that doesn’t have any consequences. In fact, when I was attending Simon Fraser University, one classmate said to me, “Guys these days don’t have any excuse for not having sex. Music and TV have done half the job for us.”

Is sex worth protecting?

For many young Christians, that is the essential question. Is sex actually a big deal?

Christian young people are some times inclined to look at extramarital sex as yet one more thing we are not allowed to do in a long list of demands given to us by God in the Bible. So yes, we know that technically we are not allowed to have sex outside of marriage. But, we can rationalize, we’re not allowed to lie, be lazy, disobey our parents, or be disrespectful of authority either. So extramarital sex is wrong, sure, but is it any bigger deal than any other sin?

That answer is, yes. And in many ways.

Having sex outside of marriage can impact our entire lives in ways we don’t even comprehend.

What Christians often do not realize about the laws given to us by God in the Bible is that He did not give us these rules purely to restrict us. We might sometimes think these rules are simply a long, seemingly arbitrary list, that limits are possibilities for fun. But the truth is, in many cases, God gave us these rules to protect us from ourselves. Because God created human beings in His image, God also knows infinitely better than we do what lifestyle is best for us, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.

Just to give you a quick example to illustrate what I mean, the dietary laws God gave in the Old Testament included a number of prohibitions about certain foods. We now know that many of these restrictions were also quite helpful from a health perspective. With the limited cooking technology of that day, including the lack of refrigeration, and lack of knowledge concerning bacteria, many of the foods on the prohibited list would have poisoned the eaters. In essence, God gave His people the first health codes.

The same concept applies to sex. Sex in and of itself is not a bad thing—in fact, it is quite the opposite. It is a beautiful creation of God given to mankind in the Garden of Eden. Sex was one of God’s great gifts to men and women, and one that He gave for them to enjoy and cherish. However, if sex is used outside of the context in which God created it, it can have devastating and poisonous consequences.

The consequences of sex outside of marriage can be placed into three categories: physical consequences, psychological consequences, and spiritual consequences.

1. Physical consequences

Before 1960, there were only two Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) that were widespread enough for people to worry about: syphilis and gonorrhea. Only two diseases! However, when people started to ignore the limits that God had placed on sex, the consequences were not just spiritual. Because humans ignored the natural order that God created, the consequences were very physical.

Today, there are twenty-five categories of STDs. Not twenty-five new STD’s, twenty-five new categories.

For example, you may have heard of herpes. Herpes is an incurable sexual disease. You can get herpes from one sexual encounter, and you will have it for the rest of your life. One in five Americans over the age of twelve has this disease. Herpes comes in eight different strains, and you can contract anywhere between one and all eight strains at the same time. You also may have heard of the STD hepatitis. Well, there isn’t just hepatitis B, the one you most likely have heard of. Hepatitis comes in strains A through G.

Approximately one in four high school students will graduate with an STD. Most of them have no idea that they have contracted one. In fact, one half of sexually active single adults has, or will have, at least one STD. Four out of ten girls will contract an STD the very first time they have sex.

Let me put the enormity of this problem in perspective for you.

Every day in the United States, 1,500 people die from cancer. Another 2,600 die from a heart-related illness like a heart attack or a stroke. And every day, more than 50,000 people will contract a sexually transmitted disease. That’s 19 million people every year! There are only 300 million people in the entire United States. From an economic perspective, direct medical costs associated with sexually transmitted diseases in the United States are estimated to be thirteen billion dollars annually. There truly is no such thing as a free lunch – or “free love.”

Some of you would immediately point to the fact that there’s medication to control even the incurable STDs.

Yes, you can control diseases like herpes with medication. But if a woman has a herpes outbreak during childbirth, there is a significant chance that her child will die.

And there are STDs that are lethal. I’m sure you’ve all heard of AIDS. While AIDS does happen more often in homosexuals (once again an example of contravening God’s natural order) it is increasingly common in heterosexuals as well. Men and women have been arrested and put in jail for sleeping with people and not first informing them that they were HIV positive – the reason this is a crime is because, as a result, their “casual sex partners” may die of AIDS.

Incidentally, condoms rarely prevent STDs. This is according to a man known as the “Condom King,” Dr. Thomas Fitch of the Center for Disease Control.

Sexually transmitted diseases, even the curable ones, are no picnic either. Here is how abstinence speaker Lakita Garth describes a very common STD, genital warts:

“If you get genital warts, you’re going to start growing warts in your genital area. They grow on top of each other, and they’ll begin to form nodules and clusters that look like broccoli. They’re called condyloma. They make it painful to sit and painful to walk. And they’re most painful when they’re being removed.”

Now if someone thinks that an STD is unlikely because they are only having sex with one person, Dr. Everette Koop, the former U.S. Surgeon General warns otherwise:

“When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.”

The bedroom could end up pretty crowded.

The final physical consequence of casual sex is one that should seem so obvious that I shouldn’t even have to point out, but many in today’s culture seem to have forgotten it: pregnancy. For some strange reason, when people decided that sex could be “recreational,” they forgot the very simple fact that sex creates babies. It’s why your genitalia are called “reproductive organs,” not “recreational organs.”

Anyone having sex outside of marriage is clearly not ready for a child – children need responsible committed parents. So sex before marriage has, in our culture, led to two devastating circumstances.

One, the baby gets raised without the benefit of having a father around.

Two, the baby is not raised at all; it is aborted. Every year in Canada, over 100,000 unborn children are brutally destroyed. In the United States, it is over a million.

When people around you are casually talking about their sexual conquests, remember that millions of tiny children are being horrifically destroyed so that our culture can engage in “recreational sex.” Millions of babies have been sacrificed on the altar of our lust and ultimate selfishness. Phrases such as “casual sex” and “recreational sex” are merely a flimsy facade attempting to shield a mass grave containing millions of dismembered pre-born corpses: our very own sacrifice to the Molech.

2. Psychological and Emotional Consequences

Aside from physical consequences, there are also psychological and emotional consequences to having sex outside of marriage. Many people today think that they can have casual sex with a number of different people, especially during their college years, and then settle down and marry their dream partner without any real impact on the relationship they hope will last a lifetime.

The fact actually is that since God created humans to be monogamous – one man and one woman, just as God created Adam and Eve – sex outside of marriage has a huge impact on future relationships.

Many readers have probably heard of the concept of “never being able to forget your first love.” This is a common theme in both literature and poetry, where everyone seems to agree that forgetting your first love is always the hardest, if even possible.

There is actually a biological and psychological explanation behind this phenomenon. Sexual contact releases powerful chemicals into the brain called neurotransmitters. These chemicals trigger immediate sensations – but they do far more. In their book Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children, authors Dr. Joe McIlhaney Jr. and Dr. Freda McKissic Bush write:

“When two people touch each other in a warm, meaningful and intimate way, oxytocin is released into the woman’s brain. The oxytocin then does two things: increases a woman’s desire for more touch and causes bonding of the woman to the man she has been spending time in physical contact with.”

The bonding agent most active in the male brain is called vasopressin. As McIlhaney and Bush explain:

“Vasopressin seems to have two primary functions related to relationships – bonding of the man to his mate and attachment to his offspring… vasopressin seems to be the primary cause of men attaching to women with whom they have close and intimate physical contact.”

However, when men and women decide to have sex with multiple partners, they begin to lose their ability to bond with a partner, which is why promiscuous people have a far harder time staying in a long-term relationship. There is a simple example to illustrate this: try putting masking tape on your arm. The first time you pull it off, it will be painful. The second time you pull it off, it will hurt less. If you keep doing it, there will be no bonding between the adhesive and your skin at all.

God created men and women to be monogamous, and when He told us in the Bible to avoid sex outside of marriage, He wasn’t simply giving us a restriction — He was informing us how our biology and psychology function, and telling us what would lead to the healthiest, most fulfilling relationships.

Since we have ignored this, statistics tell us that sexually active teens are three times as likely to face depression if they are female, and twice as likely if they are male. They are three times more likely to attempt suicide if they are female and seven times more likely if they are male, and far more likely to divorce if they marry. As Mars Hill pastor Mark Driscoll puts it, today’s pattern is “hook up, shack up, break up.”

3. Spiritual Consequences

Obviously, all sin has spiritual consequences because it is rebellion against God. Because having sex outside of marriage has such a power to affect lifelong relationships, it is more likely to affect men and women in this area as well.

God created sex to be shared between a husband and a wife. God, by the rules set out in the Bible, warned us of the power of sex and the impact it could have outside the natural order. Sex is extremely powerful, and can enslave those who become obsessed or addicted with it. Unhealthy and sinful obsessions have obvious consequences for one’s church and spiritual life.

For example, pornography is a $60 billion a year industry. One thousand dollars is spent in the United States every second on pornography, and a new porn film is made every hour. Pornography, because people are so visual, actually triggers a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing what are known as “erototoxins.” These erototoxins literally rewire your brain, and the images are often burned into one’s memory, inerasable.

Sex in its true form is one man and one woman, giving themselves to each other. Sex is not intended to be a biological activity to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers; sex, according to the Bible, is two “becoming one flesh.” While today sex is characterized as “getting some,” it is supposed to be about giving yourself to your spouse.

Abstinence speaker Lakita Garth relates an interesting story. When she told her college roommate that she wasn’t having sex, her roommate looked at her aghast. “Don’t you feel like you’re missing out on anything?” she asked.

Lakita replied:

“I have missed out. I have missed out on the thrill of waking up wondering if my early pregnancy test will turn blue. I missed out on not getting to walk into a clinic with my best friend holding my hand because my boyfriend isn’t going with me unless he’s dragging me in. I missed out on sharing the same joy as my ex-roommate, who has pinpointed the day her child would have been born if she had not aborted, and who cries herself to sleep every year because she’s named him and celebrates his birthday. I’m even more saddened that five years from now I’ll miss out on waking up to stare at the ceiling of an AIDS hospice like my cousin Ricky and my friend Rod before they died…You’re right. I’ve missed out… on all the wonderful opportunities you’ve opened yourself up for.”

In a spiritual sense, sex is a powerful action that can take over your mind, destroy your relationships, and ruin your chances to have a healthy church life. Getting involved with sex outside of marriage has the chance of numbing or destroying your conscience. That is not fire we should be playing with.


So, we looked at all the horrible consequences of sex outside of marriage. And we’ve also looked at how God has tried to protect us from these consequences by telling us, in his Word, how sex should be treated. We’ve gone over STDs, abortion, the destruction of emotional bonding, and how porn addiction can change you forever.

But the good news about sex is that the Bible has it one hundred percent right. Even the secular, sex-obsessed culture has noticed that Christians have it right when it comes to sex. Sure, they make fun of us and call us prudes. But statistics everywhere show that married people have the most satisfying sex lives. The statistics even show that married people have far better sex lives than those who just live together, because of the commitment shared by those who have dedicated themselves to each other in marriage. In all polls taken, the simple fact is that married people have more sex, and better sex lives.

Sex is not a negative thing. Sex is an extremely positive thing – when it is enjoyed in the context of God’s plan and the natural order He has created. Christians who wait for sex, unlike many in the outside culture, have something actually fulfilling to look forward to. This is not about Christians demonizing sex – it is about Christians enjoying sex in the way God intended.

Why We Protest

Feeling tired and drained because of ongoing criticism from both pro-lifers and abortion advocates, I was not looking forward to another “Choice” Chain. I wondered if our efforts were making a difference and whether students would come to see the signs, let alone talk with us in -30 degree weather. However, being the “Choice” Chain coordinator I had no other choice but to bundle up and head over to the high school to meet our faithful volunteers. On my way there I silently prayed for guidance. I asked that if this is a way through which God wants to move to reach our culture (as I had previously believed), that today’s “Choice” Chain would be a clear sign.

It was quiet at the high school. We saw students walking around inside, some of them glancing at the signs but none caring enough to come out. Then we noticed groups of students exiting through another door in order to get to the public library, situated right beside the school. And so we moved, positioning ourselves in between the school door and the library entrance.

I approached the first student who walked by. What do you think about abortion?” He must have been 12 or 13 years old, took a close look at the sign I was holding and said, “That’s pretty gross.” I agreed with him, adding that is precisely what happens to pre-born children every single day. His response: “Oh, you mean abortion? Yeah, that’s pretty bad but it’s still a woman’s choice.”

In the ten to fifteen minutes that followed we engaged in a discussion that gently challenged his notion that just because abortion is a woman’s choice, it must be right. I was able to explain that human life begins at fertilization, and that all of us -both born and pre-born- have value, regardless of the circumstances in which one is conceived. The teen seemed open to these ideas, then thoughtfully brought up abortion in case of rape. “What about that, though?” After expressing my sympathy for victims of such a horrible crime I asked him whether that would change the fact that abortion ends the life of a child, as depicted on the sign. “I’ve never thought about it like that before,” he said. “I guess human life starts right at the beginning. That makes a lot of sense. So, I’m not sure why we say it’s okay to kill them.”

In the mean time, not far from the building, a group of smokers had noticed us as well and started shouting colourful names and phrases at us. They responded to a volunteer’s invitation to come talk by yelling, “No! You come here!” and so she did. Since the group was big another volunteer soon joined her. After fielding the usual arguments for awhile, one tall young man turned to them and said, “I’m sorry for yelling at you guys earlier. What you’re saying makes a lot of sense. You’ve completely changed my mind.” We were amazed by the students’ honesty and maturity. It doesn’t happen often that we talk to people who are mature enough to openly admit it when we’ve given them something to think about!

After about an hour we went into the library to warm up and were soon approached by next door’s principal. So far educators have either ignored or opposed “Choice” Chain, some going as far as physically preventing students from seeing the signs. But this principal was different. He shook our hands, asked how the conversations were, and expressed his appreciation. “I couldn’t show these pictures in my school.” He chuckled. “Could you imagine the response from parents? But I think students should see both sides of the issue and so I’m glad you guys are here!”

When we ordered coffee, the lady behind the counter also thanked us for coming. “I’m a new Christian, I’m pro-life, and I think it’s really great that students get to see this and talk with you.” At the same time several students approached us and asked for pamphlets. And as we sought for a place to sit down, a young man asked us to come over to his table because he had some questions.

A long discussion ensued in which he argued that consciousness should be the point when human beings receive the right to life. When this was hard to maintain, he switched his position and said morality should not be imposed on others and that we just cannot be sure when life begins. When a volunteer kindly pointed out that this conviction was inconsistent with science, he admitted, “I guess so, but that’s what I believe.”

Several students followed this dialogue and interjected here and there. A young woman asked if we think that those who have abortions after rape are murderers. We explained that we judge the action of abortion because it ends the life of a child. She responded, “Well, ’cause that’s what you’d call me then.” I expressed how sorry I was that this happened to her but someone else fired a question at us, and the conversation went on from there.

When we wrapped up, one of our volunteers stayed behind and asked the girl, “Are you okay? May I give you a hug?” With her permission, the volunteer held her and told her how brave she was. The young woman then shared her account of this awful experience with someone whom she had never met before but simply showed she cared. Perhaps she didn’t become pro-life that day, but the volunteer recognized and affirmed her value and dignity as a human person. And hopefully, one day, this hurting young woman will also recognize the value and dignity of pre-born people.

On my way home I phoned one of my friends and asked what she thought about today’s “Choice” Chain. She shared with me that she too had felt worn-down, even nervous, but had hoped and prayed that we would be used to change minds and to bring a message of truth and love to these teens. “And that’s what happened,” she said. That’s when it suddenly hit me: God answered our prayers!

From the conversation with the principal and the lady at the cafeteria, to students asking for information and changing their minds, to the young woman confiding in a volunteer about her pain, “Choice” Chain had clearly been blessed in a way that we couldn’t have imagined. And God was gracious to show it to us too.

That’s why I continue to do “Choice” Chain, despite criticism, cold, or discomfort. It may not always be easy, but let us then remember what is at stake for pre-born children and their mothers. And let us be humbled by the fact that ordinary people are often used to bring about great change.

Corrie ten Boom once said, “In darkness God’s truth shines most clear.” So today, in the darkness of a society that legally and systematically kills its own offspring, let us courageously and compassionately show forth the truth, a truth that will eventually set free.”

The Destruction of Innocence

The Devil is a gentleman, and asks you down to stay
At his little place at What’sitsname (it isn’t far away).
They say the sport is splendid; there is always something new,
And fairy scenes, and fearful feats that none but he can do.

–The Aristocrat, 1912

It is clear to all those of a socially conservative bent in today’s society that from a Christian point of view, things are going drastically wrong. Abortion on demand is legal and prevalent. Pornography addiction is at staggering highs. The concept of marriage and family is constantly being twisted and “revised” to include unnatural sexual relationships, which are then publicly celebrated. Promiscuity is rampant and promoted by most of mainstream culture. And news sites straight-facedly publish headlines such as “Amsterdam Decriminalizes Public Sex in Famous Park.”

These problems are often viewed as separate issues, although with more than a few similarities. There are groups dedicated to ending abortion, protecting traditional marriage, fighting pornography and promoting abstinence. But the question remains: besides the fact that these practices and lifestyles are sinful and in opposition to God’s plan for mankind, are there any common denominators between the various public sins creeping—or sprinting—into Western society today?

There is one: The systematic destruction of innocence.

“Innocence” has a number of definitions, all of them meaning more or less the same thing—”freedom from sin or moral wrong,” “guiltlessness,” and “lack of knowledge or understanding.” Innocence was once prized in traditional cultures—fathers protected their children, and for the most part it was agreed that the darker demons of human nature should be kept harnessed and out of sight to avoid the corruption of society at large. The concept of “public indecency” or “public lewdness”—which would now be referred to as “Tuesday in San Francisco” or “the Gay Pride Parade”—was still one that was held in healthy contempt.

Of course, Christians would trace the very concept of sin itself back to the destruction of innocence: when Satan appeared as a serpent in the Garden of Eden, he promised them knowledge and the ability to be like God, knowing right from wrong. Instead, when their innocence was destroyed by their adherence to Satan’s suggestions, they realized that they were naked—and they were ashamed. Instead of being able to discern right from wrong, mankind learned how to do wrong. And humans have been perfecting that skill—if I may be briefly paradoxical—ever since.

Carefully consider each of todays most public and prevalent evils and the destruction of innocence can be found at the very heart of each. Abortion is the brutal decapitation, dismemberment, and disembowelment of a tiny, helpless child. Pornography wrenches the concept of love and sex away from the institution of commitment and marriage and sells the bodies of girls and women as commodities to be abused for one-sided pleasure. The gay liberation movement flaunts their “pride” in the streets, showing off their bodies and their fantasies and broadcasting their sexual proclivities to the public at large, regardless of age or willingness. And everywhere, the promotion of sex. Dripping from billboards and movie posters, blasting from speakers in malls, stores and vehicles. Taking a child downtown in the city for a day is like setting out into a moral minefield—a full scale frontal assault on what John Bunyan called “the eye-gate.” Satan doesn’t need to disguise himself as a serpent anymore. He can put on a suit and stroll down the street.

This is why the forces of secularism are trying to force the ideals of hedonism and relativism on children first and foremost—destroy innocence at its earliest and purest point, and you will create citizens ready to settle into the brave new world. California dictates that children must learn about “gay heroes.” Quebec forces school children to take a relativistic religion course even if the parents oppose it. New York proposes sex education that details the most vile and deviant sexual practices. “Children’s entertainment” becomes increasingly awash with crude sexual innuendo. And everywhere in our schools—the promotion of sexual promiscuity. No discussion of why preserving sex for a meaningful marriage relationship is genuinely healthiest, but simply a presenting of the various “options,” handing out free condoms and telling them to have fun. Every relationship must have a sexual aspect. There is no such thing as “innocence” in the society that is being created.

This has progressed to the point where even defending the concept of innocence and purity is considered bigoted, intolerant and close-minded. Do you oppose the gay pride parade, especially for its public lewdness? Bigot! Do you want the children in your family to learn about sex at an age-appropriate time and in the context of God’s plan for mankind? Prude! Do you and your family oppose abortion and the sex slave industry of pornography? Intolerant misogynists!

A friend of mine even had to comment in a university class recently on the proposed notion of Anne of Green Gables and her friend Diana in the much-loved classic Canadian series having a lesbian relationship—the rebuttal of which caused the theorist to accuse her critics of being hetero-centrist. However, my friend’s response puts it perfectly: “She fails to understand that perhaps what readers found troubling was not the possibility of a homosexual character, but rather the implication that a perfectly innocent and beautiful friendship between children is being described as sexual. While it is true that homosexuality remains a taboo topic in certain social circles, in Anne’s case, the outrage is directed not at homosexuality, but at the perverse need to make the chaste appear sensual.”

While the forces of hedonism and relativism and the cacophony of their leaders attempt to destroy “the innocence of a child” and whatever innocence the rest of society has left, it is important to fight back against these insidious practices and worldviews. We must fight to stop the destruction of pre-born children. We must fight against access to pornography, which reduces the women of our society to a saleable “item” and rewires the brains of countless youth. We must preserve the Christian institution of marriage, with all its benefits and all its security. And we must not allow the concepts of innocence and purity to be lost forever. We already lost Paradise. Let us not lose the future of our children.