Stop Lying to Our Kids About Sex!

I believe there are irrefutable laws that govern our universe. These laws keep the planets in their proper orbits, govern the lifespan of stars, and continue expanding endless galaxies. I also believe there are universal laws that govern this planet and the people on it. Whether one chooses to obey these laws or not is irrelevant to the fact that these laws exist. And while one may exercise his right to defy these laws, he cannot alter the natural consequences of that choice.

For example, there is a universal law of gravity on this planet. I may insist that this law does not apply to me-that I am not bound by it. I may even demonstrate my defiance by climbing to the top of a 20 story building, standing at the edge, and leaping off. As I fly through the air, the exhilaration of complete freedom, the incredible “rush” fills me to overflowing and I shout, “See, I told you. The law of gravity doesn’t apply to me!” Some observers on the ground may even buy into the charade-“Look, he’s flying, he was right!” And then, with the predictability of the sun rising in the east and the waves crashing on the shore, the inevitable happens-choice meets consequence; universal law claims her own.

We see this blatant and arrogant disregard for natural laws all around us. We are immersed in a global economic crisis because governments and some citizens violated the law of the harvest, the laws of productivity, frugality, integrity and simplicity. Yet nowhere do I see natural laws more arrogantly and irresponsibly defied than when it comes to mainstream sex education and our children. When I say “sex education,” I refer not only to the curriculum in our public schools, but to the greater influences of sexualized TV, movies and Internet pornography. Research shows that a majority of teens consider the media their main source of information regarding sexual issues.

When it comes to “sex,” what does mainstream-prime-time-celebrity-ized media teach our young people? To put it simply, “Sexual intimacy is a normal, natural urge that should be readily and fully expressed between consenting individuals-if it feels good, then just do it.” And then they quickly add, “But do it safely.” In other words, there are no set universal laws governing human sexuality. It’s simply freedom of expression, personal preference and individual choice. But what is the truth? Are there natural, irrefutable laws that govern sexual intimacy? Is there a factual “science” behind sex that Hollywood, pornographers and other profiteers don’t want our young people to know about?

The Science of Sex

There is not room in this blog to discuss all of the spiritual and emotional/psychological aspects of human sexuality. For example, you cannot place a condom on the human heart. There are myriad consequences both spiritually, emotionally and physically when one chooses to ignite the power of sexuality. In this blog I want to focus on brain science. For more than a decade, I have devoted much of my professional life to the study of human sexuality and the effects of sexualized media and pornography on the human brain. Remarkable neuroscientists and psychologists have been gracious enough to place me under their tutelage and guidance. After years of study and professional interaction with these renowned individuals, I wrote my first book on this topic titled, The Drug of the New Millennium-The Brain Science Behind Internet Pornography Use (available at amazon.com).

While the brain science of sexual intimacy could fill hundreds of blogs, allow me to share just a few of the facts.

Our Creator intended sexual intimacy to be extremely powerful. The programming is built into our very DNA structure. Like other forces in nature, there are natural laws that govern human sexuality. Like the law of gravity, the use of sexuality brings consequences-both positive and negative, constructive and destructive-the results of individual choice. To understand how the natural laws governing sexuality work, let’s consider what happens in the brain when an individual becomes sexual.

In sexual process, the brain releases powerful neuro-chemicals. Depending on the circumstances and how the individual chooses to use these chemicals, the results can be glorious or disastrous.

1. Dopamine: During sexual process, the brain releases a tidal wave of dopamine-our own natural “pleasure drug.” This “drug” creates a very powerful dependency. This can be a healthy dependency between two life-long committed individuals, or it can be an addiction dependency on pornography, illicit affairs, one-night-stands, etc. In addition, when dopamine is present, the “limbic system” or pleasure/reward center of the brain takes over and pushes the frontal lobes or logic center of the brain out of the way. If the individual is not in a safe, responsible situation, he or she can make some really stupid or even devastating choices. With “right-use” dopamine brings wise choices, healthy pleasure, connection, joy and fulfillment. With “wrong-use” it triggers foolish decisions, powerful addiction, loss of freedom, and “drug highs” followed by depressing, hopeless lows.

2. Oxytocin: Known as the “bonding chemical,” oxytocin floods the brain of new mothers and fathers bonding them to their newborn children. When couples hold hands, embrace and kiss, oxytocin releases and begins forging a powerful bond. During sexual intimacy, oxytocin bonds individuals together with the same kind of chemical power that bonds a mother to her newborn child. This bonding process is a wonderful gift in a committed, life-long marriage. But imagine what happens when this bonding chemical is released during illicit sex or pornography viewing. Who or what are the individuals being bonded to, and how difficult will it be to sever that bond after the “rush” is over?

These are just two examples of the many neuro-chemicals released during sexual process. These chemicals were divinely designed to create marvelous “natural” consequences that are an unmatched gift and blessing. But, used outside natural limits and boundaries, they wreak havoc on societies, families and individuals. If you doubt it, just look around at the tidal wave of consequences. Blatantly obvious examples are the celebrities of sexualized Hollywood and pornography who portray themselves as role models for the “do whatever feels good” approach to life-“There are no universal laws” they scream as they fly flippantly through the air. But inevitably, each in turn break themselves against the solid rock of irrefutable natural laws. And as we witness their chaotic and disastrous lives, we wonder, “Do they really have the answers about sex?”

If we’re going to be truly effective in the sex education of our young people, then we need to have the maturity, integrity and intelligence to “tell the whole truth.” Yes, they need to make their own choices. But along with all of the glamour, glitz and “brain rush” of sexualized media, let’s teach our young people the true “science of sex” so they can make an “informed” decision. So they can know in advance what to expect should they choose to “leap defiantly off the edge,” or harness the power and joy that come as a natural consequence of “right-use.”

Abstinence Only Sex Education – Does it Work?

Does abstinence only sex education work? The United States government funded a nine -year, 7 million-dollar study, to discover whether abstinence only sex education classes are effective. Abstinence education encourages students to wait until marriage to have sex. The Bush administration financed the establishment of thousands of these programs across the United States and wanted to gauge their impact. The study found that students who participated in abstinence-only education programs were just as likely to engage in premarital sex as students who did not participate in such programs. This is not good news for the proponents of abstinence only education. It leaves one wondering what is the most effective way to teach teens about sexual behavior and its consequences. I decided to ask the ‘experts’, some high school students.

Most kids think that high school is way too late for sex education. Elementary school is when kids should be learning about abstinence only. According to the high school students I talked to, most sixteen year olds are already sexually active. Don’t expect them to listen to anyone teaching them about abstinence.

Most teens don’t like to be told what to do. They say if abstinence- only programs just ‘straight-out’ tell kids ‘don’t have sex’, they won’t listen. You have to provide teens with the facts and statistics. Tell them about the long-term problems that can result from having sex before marriage and then let them make the decision about whether or not to practice abstinence on their own.

A number of high school students I spoke to claimed the main problem is most teens don’t have a communicative relationship with their parents. So many parents are busy with work and social lives of their own, or they are divorced and don’t live nearby and so they don’t spend much time with their kids. Kids might learn the hazards of pre-martial sex if their parents were around enough to teach them. According to some high school students the government should be spending millions of dollars to teach adults how to parent, not on teaching teenagers how to stay abstinent.

One young woman wisely observed that teens are only doing what they see as socially acceptable. The problem lies with adults and the behavior they role model. They are showing the younger generation that it is okay to ‘sleep around.

I was reminded by many of the students I talked to that kids don’t like to be told what to do, especially by adults. Maybe if someone developed a sex education program that didn’t force a rulebook down teens’ throats they would listen and not just treat it as a joke. One girl told me she had decided to abstain from pre-martial sex but not because of a sex education program. All it took was hearing her mother’s story. Her mother had made mistakes when it came to sex that the girl certainly didn’t want to emulate.

One thoughtful young man said religion needs to play a greater role. He told me lots of kids believe they should be abstinent and save themselves for their honeymoon because of their religious values. He wished more religious groups would be outspoken about their support for abstinence.

Several kids told me lots of unprotected sex happens when teens are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They are also a huge part of the problem.

The high school students I talked with had wise and insightful things to say about abstinence only education. Why spend 7 million dollars on a study when you’ll probably learn the most by just talking to the teens in your community?

How Much Sex is Too Much Sex?

This question came up many years ago during a conversation about marital sex. A couple in relationship stress were with friends, when the man suddenly said “I like sex more than my wife”. All eyes stayed with him a few moments, and then, as if choreographed, all together turned to the wife. She meekly said “I can’t satisfy my husband, because he likes too much sex”. Again, as if rehearsed, all eyes looked to the floor for another few moments, before, one by one, gently, carefully, coming back up. No-one could look at either of them. No-one wanted to be accused of taking sides.

Who has been schooled enough in the area of handling marital relationships? Those with professional counselling skills know that this is the make or break point in most relationships, and needs to be handled with absolute caution. Many relationships are sick and on the verge of collapse because the protagonists in the marriage cannot speak about the real issues. Instead, counsellors are lumbered with hours of accusations that almost bother on witch-hunts, such as “he didn’t take out the bin three times in a row”; “she burnt my favourite food”. The list is endless. The real issue started hours ago, in the bedroom. Many people were brought up in a way that does not encourage talking about these issues. They get married because they claim to love each other, and proclaim their love for one another before many witnesses.

On the other hand, some people feel that they should live together first before determining if they are “right” for one another. Common Law arrangements have all the stress and problems of real marriages, without all the benefits. I always ask myself why anyone would want to go for a “Test Marriage”, especially the women. People have been conned, for too long, that marriage has no benefits, until you try it out first. So, what if you try it out, and you don’t like it? Does that erase the years you spent together as ordinary “partners”? That’s another word I like very much “partnerships” because of the business profitability angle. Do “test marriages work like “business partnerships”? A sort of “You bring, I bring: We share the profits”, kind of arrangement? If so, where is the “test” in that? After all the bible says there is “that, which every joint supplies” referring to the anatomy of the human being. Take the right arm for instance. Joined at the shoulder with the rest of the body, and at the elbow to the forearm, it is joined at the wrist to the hand, which normally has five fingers.

A business partnership assumes that each partner is good at “something”, and supplies “some degree of value” to the relationship, like our right arm. Now, imagine if the elbow says to the upper arm, “I really like you very much, but let’s just stay together for now and see if our relationship will work”. If it doesn’t work five years later, I will drop off, and you can go your own way.” Now, that would be something, wouldn’t it? Otherwise, imagine going into a brand new car showroom, and asking for a “test drive”. Five years later, three children and many photographs down the road, you abandon the car on the road, and tell the dealer, “sorry, here are your keys. We are just not compatible. That car has given me too much problems”; “he is always attracting too many women”; “she doesn’t like my mother”. Ah! Get with the program, please. Make up your mind. If a woman is good enough to have your children, she is good enough to marry.

OK, that was a diversion. How much sex is too much sex? Our couple were waiting for a response from all the wise men and women in the room. Suddenly, in about the same time it took you to read the above, the most elderly of the men in the room asked the question. “How much sex is too much sex”? Directed at no-one in particular, I guess the question hit everyone like a bombshell, because I saw every eye go back to the floor, and for a good while, no-one attempted to look up. Suddenly, the woman ventured a weak reply. “Well”, she said slowly, and brought all eyes back up. “I guess there is really nothing like “too much sex” if you are allowed to enjoy the process.” Again, all eyes went to the ground. There must be something on that carpet that attracts so much attention!

Many women are forgiving in other areas of a relationship, but when hurt during sexual encounters, they go for broke. Majority won’t say what is really biting them, because there is still that compelling need to protect the man’s ego. A wise man in a relationship needs to work more on the area of marital sex. This is not about using Viagra for dexterity. There is a certain gentility and finesse that conjures a loving attitude, which, if learned by both sexes, has the capacity to reduce the tensions in relationships. Sex education has been prominently omitted from the learning experiences of people, creating the majority of stress related and mental health symptoms we have in the world today. Every relationship is unique, because the people involved are unique. If you are sexually related to someone and are hoping for a lasting relationship, then you need to find out, how much sex is too much sex?