We have been taught in our health classes that premarital sex is perfectly fine... provided it’s consensual and with a condom. This is a fallacy which is at fault for our high divorce rate, high teen pregnancy and STI rate, along with numerous other societal issues. Teenagers are not miniature adults, and robbing us of information about premarital sex is like putting a stumbling block before the blind. As opposed to being taught that premarital intercourse is always okay, we should be shown both sides and allowed to make a decision—an informed decision.
We should be taught that premarital sex can result in marital instability. According to a study by the Western Washington University, “Women who cohabit prior to marriage or who have premarital sex have an increased likelihood of marital disruption.” According to a different study by the University of Iowa, which compared the rates of divorce based around the age of premarital sex, people who lost their virginity before the age of eighteen had a sixteen percent higher chance of divorcing within five years of marriage and a twenty percent higher chance of divorcing within ten. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), having even one premarital sexual partner is correlated with a fifteen percent increase in divorce rates after five years. Premarital sex binds you to your current partner and causes you to feel something for them long after you have broken up, which could make marriage to someone else considerably harder.
We should be taught that neither condoms or birth control pills are truly effective. Condoms fail to prevent Herpes, HPV, Genital Crabs, or Scabies; according to Planned Parenthood, condoms only prevent pregnancy 98 percent of the time when used properly—85 percent in general due to improper use—and birth control pills are only 91 percent effective. If both condoms and birth control pills are utilized, which in itself is a rare occurrence, there is a 1.62 percent chance of pregnancy–considerably too high. According to the CDC’s National Survey on Family Growth, 54 percent of fifteen to sixteen year old girls and 42 percent of seventeen to eighteen year old girls who are sexually active have children out of wedlock. The concept of the fallibility is mentioned in health class, but it is a small footnote and its failure is said to be “virtually impossible.” At the end of the day, the only foolproof method of preventing an STI or an unintended pregnancy is abstaining from sex, an option our health curriculum should explore in more depth.
We should be taught that promiscuity discourages self-improvement. Sex is one of the greatest motivators and is ranked equally to friendship and family on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Like a carrot dangled in front of a horse, if this motivator is withheld, people will have to work harder in order to get it. If people have to struggle to perfect themselves for marriage or a long term partner in order to have sex, they will have to be more industrious and hardworking. A quick hook up doesn’t require the same effort that marriage does. But when sex is so easy to obtain, there is less incentive to perfect yourself for marriage. Essentially, as the sexual marketplace has been flooded, the amount of effort required to obtain sex has significantly decreased. Premarital sex devalues it and therefore makes people have to work less in order to have sex.
Our health classes should include some of this information so that we can make an informed decision on whether or not to have sex. There are people who are willing to accept the risks for a variety of reasons, and making that decision is perfectly fine—provided that they properly understand the risks. We were never taught that, according to the World Health Organization, condoms are twenty percent ineffective against the transmission of AIDS. We were never taught that utilizing both birth control pills and condoms leaves a chance of pregnancy. We were never taught the harmful effects of premarital sex on marriage. Premarital sex might be the right decision for someone, but not informing everyone else of its potentially insidious effects is robbing them of the ability to make the right decision for themselves.
According to a 2013 study by the CDC, 53.2 percent of high school students are virgins, so those who haven’t decide to lose their virginity should recognize that they are within good company. But all of us should feel cheated. We weren’t informed of the effects of premarital sex on marriage, the ridiculous ineffectivity of contraception, or the societal harms. I implore you to stick with the majority. But if you don’t, at least weigh the pros and cons.