Several years ago, a friend of mine invited me and my husband to have dinner with her and her new boyfriend. The reason? She wanted to prove to him that it is possible to avoid sex before marriage—and we are that proof. He was so convinced no one could wait to have sex that it took meeting us face-to-face to believe it. Look! We’re real!
According to a 2017 CDC survey, about half of teens are sexually active. That means half of them are not sexually active. Yet our culture seems to accept universally that teenage dating and sex go hand-in-hand. And that’s just one of the lies our teens believe that lead them to make dangerous decisions. Mom, you need to know these 5 lies our kids are hearing so you can teach them the truth.
Lie #1: Teens have to have sex if they’re dating.
Teachers, friends, and even parents regularly tell high school students that teenage dating means having sex, so they should just be prepared to do it safely. But the truth? Only about half of teens are sexually active in high school, a lot of teens actually lie about their sexual experience, and teens do have the strength to say no to sex. Their hormones do not control them.
Lie #2: Teens should sow their wild oats in high school.
There’s a popular country song that claims “wisdom in your teens would be a lot less fun.” Many people tell teens that their high school years are for making mistakes, dating bad boys, and experimenting. We downplay the importance of healthy relationships because teens are expected to date around and figure out what they want. But our kids need to know that some mistakes have lifelong consequences, bad boys lead to broken hearts, and love is not an experiment.
Lie #3: Teen boys need to have sex with their girlfriends to be “healthy.”
I’ve heard stories about girls whose boyfriends pressured them to have sex because their boyfriends told them it’s painful for them to get to a certain point and then stop. I’m not downplaying the discomfort or explaining how the male anatomy functions, but a real gentleman would never pressure a woman to have sex with him and he would never treat her like an object that functions to provide relief, even in the name of good health. That kind of behavior in teenage dating is abusive and manipulative.
Lie #4: Girls don’t need to dress modestly.
Girls’ clothing does not cause boys to sin. Boys cause themselves to sin. But when a girl wears tight clothes to get guys to lust after her, she’s disrespecting herself and them by encouraging others to see parts of her instead of encountering all of her. Modesty respects a person’s dignity, and both teen boys and girls need to learn to respect themselves and others.
Modesty respects a person’s dignity, and both teen boys and girls need to learn to respect themselves and others.
Lie #5: Living together is a great way to “test out” marriage.
I had a college classmate who compared living together before marriage with test-driving a car. You would never buy a car without testing it out first, right? The same goes for people, apparently. But people aren’t objects and there is nothing you might learn while “test-driving” marriage that will make or break a relationship. Couples don’t get divorced because someone chews too loudly or leaves the toilet seat up. By focusing on the ins and outs of living together, couples lose sight of preparing for marriage in the ways that matter.
What lies about teenage dating do your kids believe and how are you trying to show them the truth?