Can teens control their sex drives?

By Tom Quiner

The debate rages.
On one side are those who insist that the simple solution to teen-age promiscuity is more contraception.
On the other side are the abstinence advocates.
One side says its too late for abstinence, that the horses are out of the barn, so to speak. We need to be realistic and deal with the situation at hand with even more training on birth control methods. Even more, some of these same contraception advocates don’t see anything wrong with kids having sex, as long as they use contraception properly. And if that fails, as it so often does, well, just have an abortion.
Big deal.
The abstinence folks disagree and look at kids as human beings with more dignity and self-control that animals. They believe they can begin to corral some of the “horses” running wild with a serious emphasis on abstinence.
I thank everyone from both sides who have weighed in on this discussion, which was sparked by my blog post, “Abstinence vs. Contraception,” especially the teen-agers.
Here is some great input from another teen, named Ada:

“So what if we’re born with a strong sex drive? I was born with one, and I’m a teenage girl, right in the middle of that cycle you referred to, and I don’t have sex, and neither do I feel the need to have sex. There’s so much more to teenage life than raging hormones. Why don’t adults ever see that?
I’m not foaming at the mouth because I don’t have sex. I’ll give you one credit, though, that society does pressure me, as a girl, to have a boyfriend. Does that mean I go along with society? No, because I have friends that don’t have sex, and we’re all cool with that. But even if I didn’t, I would know that sleeping around is undesirable, because my parents have informed me of all the pros and cons, and the cons just seemed to trump any pros for me, so…
I don’t think teens like me should be concerned about birth control. We need to be aware of our hormones, yes, but we should, plain and simple, be encouraged to not have sex. And yes, in accordance with that, we should also be taught how to control ourselves.
Also, I think it is grossly devaluing to all humans to think of us as mere slaves to our biological urges. We’re humans for a reason, so that we don’t have to act like animals (ie. unrestricted sex, infanticide, cannibalism, violence, etc. etc.). We are above our hormones and natural urges. I usually have a strong, natural urge to punch someone in the face when they insult me. Does that mean I should do it? No. Wisdom tells me (as well as the Bible) that I should respectfully turn the other cheek. Is that repression to my natural urges? It is, in the moment, but an hour later I’ll probably be very thankful I didn’t go through with it.
I don’t think we need to adjust to society. I think society needs to readjust itself entirely. I think teenagers like me should stop being told it’s okay if we have sex, because clearly it’s not okay, because it leads to people being treated like sexual objects, which leads to betrayal and depression on top of all the risks of getting and STI or becoming pregnant.
Us teens already have so much on our plate. We are already responsible for our academic and financial future. Do we really need to pile sex on top of that?”



  1. JoeC on January 16, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    The problem is too many girls base their self-esteem on the boyfriend they can get and too many boys are judged by the number of girls they can get to have sex with them.
    Sex education is more than just a lesson on the birds and bees.

    • quinersdiner on January 16, 2014 at 3:52 pm

      I agree. The devil is in the details. I don’t trust an effort led by Planned Parenthood.

  2. JoeC on January 16, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    A study by Janet Elise Rosenbaum, PhD, AM (Patient Teenagers? A Comparison of the Sexual Behavior of Virginity Pledgers and Matched Nonpledgers, PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 1 January 2009) found that teens who pledge to abstain from sex have just as much sex as those who don’t, and that those who pledge not to have sex until marriage don’t wait longer to have sex than those who don’t make that pledge. Pledgers did not differ in lifetime sexual partners and age of first sex. Fewer pledgers than matched nonpledgers also used birth control and condoms in the past year and birth control at last sex. She also found that five years after the pledge, 82% of pledgers denied having ever pledged at all. Central to the information we’re looking for, on typical use in a year, “pledgers reported an average of 1.09 past-year vaginal sex partners, 0.11 fewer than nonpledgers.” In other words, on average, those who report using abstinence are not using abstinence perfectly each year.

    • quinersdiner on January 16, 2014 at 4:58 pm

      Her study was deeply flawed.

  3. eMatters on January 18, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    The “teens can’t control themselves” argument is transparently false. Yes, some teens don’t control themselves, but that is a different proposition. The sex-pushers (Planned Parenthood and the rest of the Left) expect kids to control themselves in countless other situations (don’t drink and drive, don’t do drugs, go to school, study, play sports, etc.).

    • quinersdiner on January 18, 2014 at 8:25 pm

      True. However, the pro contraception crowd says it isn’t “sensible” to compare these similar situations.