Consider a relationship that is sexual and another that is not. If I should ask you, “If both relationships suffer a break up, which one would be more painful and harder to forget?” You are most likely to answer the sexual relationship. Now, why is that?
Several neurochemical processes occur during sex and these processes are the “glue” to human bonding. Sex is such a powerful brain stimulant that when someone is involved sexually, it makes him or her want to repeat the act. The brain produces lots of dopamine which is a powerful brain stimulant and is comparable to heroin on the brain. Dopamine is your internal pleasure/reward system. It changes how you remember when it is involved.
Oxytocin is another hormone to be considered. It is primarily produced in women and helps to forget what is painful. Lots of oxytocin is produced when a woman breastfeeds her child and this bonds her to the child. The oxytocin that is released when a mother is skin-to-skin with her child bonds her emotionally to the child and for this reason she is ready to die for their child.
When a woman is intimate with a man, the same phenomenon occurs. Oxytocin is released and this bonds her emotionally to him. The danger in this is that the bond remains even when the relationship is of little or no benefit to the woman. The bond created inhibits the discernment of whether she should remain in that relationship. Ever wondered why a woman continues her relationship with a man who treats her like dirt or even abusing her? Premarital sex forms a bond that exists when the rest of the relationship is bad.
These bonding agents are great for marriage but when it comes to courting or dating relationships, they are threats. They can make you lose your objectivity when you are searching for a potential life mate. Now, when I say save your marriage before it starts by avoiding premarital sex, I hope it makes sense to you. To be sexually permissive is never freedom but it often leads to empty relationships and feelings of self-contempt.
The emotional dangers of premarital sex which I consider in this post do not downplay the physical consequences.
Pregnancy is a life-changing event. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — and there are now more than 20 — can rob you of your health and even your life. Condoms can reduce but do not eliminate these physical risks. About 15% of adults who use condoms to prevent pregnancy find themselves pregnant over the course of a year. Consistent and correct condom use during vaginal sex can reduce the risk of sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS by about 85% but only if a person uses them correctly 100% of the time. Consistent condom use reduces by only 50% the risk for chlamydia — the cause of a substantial proportion of female infertility. And few people achieve consistent/correct use. Although there is some evidence that 100% condom use may reduce the risk for human papillomavirus — the cause of virtually all cervical cancer in women — a significant risk remains. Some STIs can be passed on by skin-to-skin contact in the entire genital area, only a small part of which is covered by a condom.1
Sex is not just about bodily contact for us humans. It has an emotional and even spiritual dimension. The entire person – body, mind, soul, feelings – is involved. This is the reason why sexual intimacy has such powerful emotional consequences.
The media don’t depict the emotional consequences of sex; indeed, television and the movies typically depict sex as consequence-free. And the debate over what to teach about condoms in schools or whether teens should have over-the-counter access to the “morning after” pill usually fails to address the fact that condoms and pills do nothing to make sex emotionally safe. When it comes to trying to explain to their children or students how premature sex can harm one’s personality and character as well as one’s health, many adults are at a loss for words or reduced to vague generalities such as, “You’re too young,” “You’re not ready,” or “You’re not mature enough.”1
Teenagers usually get worried about pregnancy after having premarital sex. The fear of having contracted an STD or getting pregnant is real for them. And when they get pregnant, many turn to abortion. If I were to speak to female teenagers about premarital sex, I would say this, “If you think you have to sleep with a guy to keep him, then, you are thinking foolishly.” Why should he buy the cow when he gets the milk free? A guy who REALLY wants to stay with you (for who you are) will remain even if he only gets to hold your hand. Trust me, I know that. I am a guy.
When a boy says, “I love you because you are pretty,” or “I love you if you will have sex with me,” then the so-called love is conditional. Such a love is useless for building a committed relationship. In such a situation, a girl is not respected for who she is but for what she does. To the boy, the girl has neither dignity nor value. If the girl gives in, she must continue to give in for the relationship to continue. This leaves the girl in a constant state of insecurity. Without the committed bonds of marriage, sex is inherently a selfish act done for personal satisfaction.
We hear talk about sexual freedom, but having sex with whomever you will is really not freedom. Rather it puts one in a state of constant turmoil. “Is what I am doing right or wrong?” He has no standard so he is constantly adrift with no direction. Yes, he is free – as free as a ship without a rudder.
It is a thing of concern that at a time when they should be more concerned about learning and self-development to lay a proper foundation for their future, some teenagers are absorbed in intimate relationships which makes them turn inwards instead of reaching out. This stunts development and deforms character. Rather than engage in premarital sex, find out who you are and develop your individual identity. The choices we make have effects on us particularly our character for good or for bad. Our character is built by good choices but deformed by bad ones. Even conscience can become warped.
Our conscience is the part of our character that distinguishes right from wrong and helps us make good choices. In our current permissive sexual environment, many young people have a badly distorted conscience that accepts as “okay” behaviors that are in fact very wrong. For example, the Rhode Island Rape Crisis Center conducted a survey of student attitudes toward “forced sex.” It asked 1,700 students grades 6 to 9: “Is it acceptable for a man to force sex on a woman if they’ve been dating for more than six months?” Nearly two-thirds of the boys said yes. More surprising, so did 49% of the girls.1
Faithfulness to a partner is a virtue that is developed over time only through practice. We are tempted to give in to premarital sex but if we cannot say “No” when we are single, how can we say “No” after marriage when we would still not have the virtue of faithfulness developed? To be able to resist sexual temptation whether married or single requires a well-built character. Premarital sex therefore prepares the way for infidelity in marriage. You do not need to be told that adultery has the potential of ending a marriage. And it is on the increase.
If before marriage, you have never had sex, then you would not have any sexual experience to compare the performance of your spouse with when married. This gives you and your partner the opportunity to get better at sex especially when both of you have communication about it. But for one who has had premarital sex with previous partners, there is a tendency to compare your spouse with them. “Nkechi could do that better,” or “Kemi is a better kisser.” In addition to this, there may be sexual flashbacks where you find it difficult to get rid of mental images of previous partners. What these do is to mess up sexual intimacy between you and your spouse. I am sure you do not want that. Oh, I am sooooooooo sure that I now wink at you.
Sex is such a definitive experience that when it is engaged in, a part of you remains with the other. This is one of the reasons why a poor self-image and humiliation usually result after sleeping with a person who never calls back or breaks off the relationship. Rather than joy, an emotionally crippling guilt is the companion of permissive sex.
Sex can bring pleasure or wound, joy or suffering. The difference is the relationship within which it occurs. The true meaning of sex, the joy, and the fulfilment is experienced when it occurs in a totally binding and loving commitment. That commitment is what we call marriage. Sexual union in such a situation is then part of a bigger union – the union of the lives of two people. Needless to say, such sexual union is most emotionally safe.
- Thomas Lickona, The Neglected Heart: The Emotional Dangers of Premature Sexual Involvement, Catholic Education Resource Center, http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/marriage-and-family/sexuality/the-neglected-heart-the-emotional-dangers-of-premature-sexual-involvement.html, Accessed December 6, 2016.