Did anyone catch ‘No sex please we’re teenagers’ on channel 2 last night?
The show chronicles 5 months in the lives of 12 teenagers, and their 2 Christian youth leaders, trying to abstain from any sexual relations and remain celibate. Christians teaching abstinence. From the off I knew this would really get under my skin.
The Romance Academy was the name given to the group where teenagers are encourage to swap "casual sex for old-fashioned courting rituals". This is laughable. Romance has nothing to do with abstinence and vice versa. No cause and effect relationship has even been proven!
The majority of the teens were over 16, the legal age after which you can have sex in this country – so their behaviour is legal and ok in the eyes of the law, however it is important to note that it’s not ok in the eyes of the Church.
The teens seemed to have been picked very carefully. Each person who had lost their virginity described it as a negative experience and not up to the fantasy ideas they had associated with it. It was disappointing for them. This I think gave the youth workers a hook by which to catch onto the teenagers – bad previous experience, it was because you weren’t in love and you weren’t married! So you must be celibate to avoid it happening again.
Educating them before they lost their virginity about the reality of sex as opposed to the movie fairytale interpretation would have eliminated this disappointment which was largely a result of ignorance.
The 12 teenagers were repeatedly told sex before marriage was wrong, but once you were married everything was a-ok. No one tried to explain the reasoning behind this ‘rule’ beyond their personal religious beliefs. No one explained what makes everything different once you’re married. What then makes it ok? To non religious people in this modern society marriage means little more than a piece of paper and some rights to decision making and property. These teens were not religious, so why would that matter to them?
The vow of abstinence seemed to give the at least one of the female teenagers a strength to say no to sex. However I think the small amount of accompanying education that taught saying no was ok and that she had the power to make those decisions enabled that. Perhaps it was the vow told her say no, but was it not the new information behind it that told her how?
The Christian youth workers took the teenagers to America towards the end of the episode, which is where the teachings of abstinence became less about education and more about religion. The narrator commented at this point that the teens were going to be surprised at how closely abstinence and religion were intertwined in the US. I was amazed by this, they were being taught it in the UK be religious youth workers, that seems to me like they’re tied together in the UK too.
Sex is natural. It is the biological destiny of our bodies. It is (or should be) ok that teenagers want to and do have sex. Their bodies develop for that purpose when they do for a reason. Education is required to enable them to make the right choices for themselves emotionally. Abstinence as a rule takes away that choice, and also the requirement of education. Surely if/when a relationship develops into a marriage the same shock and disappointment the teenagers felt when they lost their virginity will just occur later on in life.
Next week they will be ‘offered’ the change to take part in the Silver Ring Thing a ‘cult’ promise to abstain from sex until you’re married. You wear the ring as a symbol of this promise (tacky anyone?) and on your wedding night you give your ring to your partner. Wrong for so many reasons.
Tune in to see if any of the teens have been brainwashed in to it.