Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
October 29, 2001
Teens encouraged with chastity message
Date right people, stay away from alcohol, they are told
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
DRAYTON VALLEY — Sex is not a recreational activity but a spiritual and transcendent experience that belongs within the bounds of marriage.
That message was delivered by Wendy Lowe to some 150 teenagers aged 12 to 18 at the sixth annual pro-life conference at St. Anthony School here Oct. 20.
Lowe, director of the Calgary Pregnancy Centre, spent the day with the teens speaking about sex, relationships and intimacy.
"The idea is to reinforce (in the kids) what they know to be true, that being chaste is okay," said organizer Anne Pinkoski. "If we don't talk about it, they'll hear the other side."
Lowe told the teens, "Sex is a transcendent activity and God meant for it to be an incredibly bonding experience within marriage but our culture has come along and said sex is just a biological function, a recreational activity, it's no big deal.
"You see what Satan has done here? He has taken sexual intimacy which belongs in marriage and has turned it into, for some people, the only intimacy they know in their lives."
As a result, the number of unplanned teen pregnancies has increased and so has the number of sexually transmitted diseases, Lowe said.
The message out there for kids today is "use a condom and everything will be fine." But that's not the case, Lowe said, noting that condoms fail 36 per cent of the time for teenagers. Genital herpes can be spread even when someone is using a condom.
There is societal pressure to have sex, Lowe said. So much so that "if you don't have sex nowadays, you are a very strange person."
So what can teens do to resist the pressures? "They must learn refusal skills, they must learn how to say no," Lowe said.
"And a big part of it is choosing who they date and choosing to date only people who hold the same value system. If you want to abstain, you are more likely to pull that off if you only date people who have that same commitment."
Staying away from risky situations and alcohol is also important, Lowe said. "Many teenagers have their first sexual experience under the influence of alcohol."
Another key is to start dating at an appropriate age. "In our culture people are dating at younger and younger ages and really do not have the maturity to handle dating situations until they are at least 16," Lowe said.
"In Calgary a few years ago we looked at all the pregnant 15-year-olds and discovered that all of them had boyfriends, the fathers of their babies, who were 21 years of age or older."
In today's society "people feel disconnected and alone and Satan comes along and whispers in your ear, 'Wouldn't it be nice to have sex with this person and feel close, to feel connected?'"
Many go for it only to realize later that "sex is an incredible counterfeit for real intimacy," Lowe said.
Sex is so much more than a recreational activity, Lowe insisted. "It's part of God's design of our spirituality. It sets apart the husband and the wife's relationship."
Chelsey Szepesy, a 16-year-old from Warburg, agrees. "I think chastity is a good idea because you won't get pregnant and yet when you are in a relationship you add more meaning to it."
With so many sexually transmitted diseases, 29 in all, chastity makes sense, said 14-year-old Sara Innis of Drayton Valley.
"It makes sense but it sounds really difficult because there is a lot of pressure," she said. "I think I'm going to wait myself until marriage but just the way other people talk about it, it sounds like a really hard thing to do."
Thomas Howell, a 14-year-old from Turner Valley, just south of Calgary, said he will try to abstain until marriage but he is not making any promises. "I'll try but I know it'll be challenging," he said.
Matt Seders from Okotoks thinks abstinence is the best method of birth control.
"If you are not having sex, you are not getting pregnant. It's just that simple," the 14-year-old said. "If you save sex until marriage then it is more special. It makes your marriage stronger."
But Seders admits abstinence is hard and says he can only try. To help himself, he's recently stopped watching TV programs that feature a lot of sex, like Friends.
Jordan Tiggelaar of Barrhead said his dad sent him to the conference but he is not sorry he came.
"I'm starting to get into relationships so I think it is good to know how to act appropriately and stuff," the 16-year-old said. "I think sex has to wait until marriage because that's what God intended."
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