How to Address Sexuality in Your Youth Group

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PORN IS TAINTING EVERYONE’S VIEW OF SEXUALITY: This is no news flash. But statistically speaking, 79 percent of the men compared to 36 percent of my women admitted to seeing it. I constantly talk with guys who have computers in their room, cell phones with no limitations and access to porn with great ease. LONG gone are the days when you have to hunt for it. It’s teaching women they are a sexual commodity and reminding men that they are visually stimulated and should enjoy that. It is creating false expectations, decreasing men’s ability to have healthy social relationships with women, and telling lies about what sex could or even should be about.

EVERYTHING IS RELATIVE TO TEENS TODAY—ESPECIALLY SEXUALITY: The survey is all over the map. One person will say that sex outside of marriage is wrong, but it’s OK to be sexually active below the belt as long as intercourse is not involved. Eighty-five percent of them will make out with someone they’re dating and almost 1/2 of those women will also let that guy explore their breasts. At least 25 percent of them will sleep with you if they think they’re “in love.” They are all over the map on same-sex attraction, and tons of them are just plain confused. Really, there’s no rhyme or reason to these decisions. It’s not like you can find a trend in these surveys or interview a student and get a logical formula for these decisions. Many of the students I work with are arbitrarily picking values based on culture, upbringing, desires and whatever feels right at the time.

MY GIRLS ARE TWICE AS SEXUALLY ACTIVE AS MY GUYS: Yup. You read that correctly. Thirty percent of my girls have had sex with a guy and 41 percent of them have done just about all but had intercourse. Compare that to only 15 percent and 23 percent of my guys respectively. What does this mean? I don’t know what it means in your context, but I I’ll bet you my right arm in my context it’s tied to three things.

1. PORN IS ENOUGH FOR GUYS. They’re not sexually active because they’re visually stimulated and porn pseudo fills a need. It’s a lie. But it does. My girls are not visually stimulated. They are not interested in two-dimensional intimacy and are not fooled by it. They are hungry for affection and love and will give up a lot to a guy who claims to love her. She wants a love that is real and many believe they’ve found it at some point.

2. FATHERS ARE ABSENT AND OUR GIRLS FEEL IT. It’s not on my survey, but it probably should have been. If you ask the 40 percent of girls who have been sexually active below the belt, either with or without intercourse, my bet is that a HIGH percentage of them will also tell you they do not get love, affection or regular time with their earthly father. It starts at puberty in middle school with girls and everything changes. When they need affection the most, even a present Dad often gets weird about it and subtly stops showing the same level of affection. Then, by the time she’s 16, Dad is so emotionally distant from her that she’ll go looking for any guy who can fill the role. She looks for one who is strong, provides for her, tells her she’s pretty and even buys her meals. He becomes her provider, and when he tells her she’s beautiful, she hasn’t heard it in so long that she’ll give him anything she can—sexually or otherwise—to keep his love that she so desperately needs.

3. MANY OF MY WOMEN ARE DATING GUYS WHO ARE DISTANT FROM GOD. Part of the reason why our guys’ numbers are so much different is because in our youth ministry, many of the women are dating guys who have no theological center. They are not active in their faith, don’t attend our youth ministry or any other, and despite invitations from their dates, will still remain distant from God. Nonetheless, they fall in love with the girls and they make excuses for them. He does all the providing and “nice guy” stuff I listed above, and she justifies her love by seeking to satisfy his sexual desires. So, in the search for love, 41 percent of them have gotten as naked as you can without “going all the way.”

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Brian Berry
Brian Berry is a proven veteran of student ministry. He serves as the generation ministries pastor at Journey Community Church near San Diego, California, where he works directly with the high school ministry and oversees a staff that is responsible for infants through teens. Brian is also a frequent blogger, writes and teaches for youth workers, and is the author of both As for Me and My Crazy House and Criticism Bites. He speaks at various conferences, camps, and retreats for a variety of audiences. He is married to Shannon, and they have five kids.

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