Abstinence on the rise among young adults
Published: Friday, May 25, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Movies such as “Friends with Benefits” and “No Strings Attached” perpetuate the idea that we live in a hookup culture. It may seem that young adults, especially college students, are having sex, but are they really? Research shows that more young adults are saying “no” to sex.
MSNBC reported that a new federal study proposed that more young adults ages 15-24 are remaining virgins longer. Twenty-seven percent of men and 29 percent of women in this study said they’ve never had sex of any kind. In 2002, only 22 percent of both of these groups said they were virgins.
During a lecture at Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, Penn., Lisa Wade, a sociologist, explained what she found in her study. Wade discovered that 25 percent of college students never hookup, while 30 percent hookup with three people or less in four years.
“[Abstinence] is a choice that will require a lot of self-control and also a willingness to be selfless …We live in an extremely self-satisfying world. A choice to go against that is groundbreaking to say the least – it’s unexpected,” said Diana Zawojska, a sophomore at DePaul.
Zawojska has been dating her boyfriend since her senior year of high school, and she is waiting for many reasons. One of them is because she wants to share everything with that one special person – after the ‘I-do’s.’ In her mind, it’s the epitome of love, being selfless, committed, patient and encouraging while abstaining with the person you love.
“People give away such an important part of themselves that they don’t even realize,” Zawojska said. “Love I think is something greater and more meaningful, and people most of the time unfortunately are caught up in the moment.”
Joseph Ferrari, a Vincent de Paul professor of psychology, said, “Love is not an emotion, but a decision … you decide to give yourself to this other [person].” He believes that when people engage in sexual activity they are making themselves vulnerable. What they should really think about is who and what their partner means to them. “Now sex has turned into a biological urge. That is not what the act is … it is a sacred act,” he said.
Ferrari understands the struggle for students to wait until marriage. “I was young once, too. I understand the needs, but you got to put it into perspective.”
Zawojska agreed that it’s a struggle, but if she can do it so can other people. She also thinks that if you have had sex already then it doesn’t mean it’s too late to stop and “take control of your life.”
Shay Green, a junior at DePaul, regrets her decision of engaging in premarital sex with her high school boyfriend and wants to practice abstinence again.
“I think having sex with people is emotionally damaging,” Green said. “When you have sex it ties you to them and it’s hard to get rid of that tie. This is why it’s meant for marriage.”
Green dated her boyfriend for two and a half years before they decided to have sex.
“I guess I gave in,” she said. “I wanted to prove a point that I did care about him, but when this happened our relationship went downhill and we ended up breaking up.”
Since the breakup, Green has been very careful with her relationships. She believes that when you are intimate with someone then you lose their respect. Green does admit that sometimes it is hard not to go out and hook up with someone.
While some students are waiting until their wedding night, others are not.
A study, published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior, found that 60 percent of college students have been in a “friends with benefits” relationship.
A senior, Lauren Wilson, spoke out on this controversial subject.
“Honestly, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having sex before marriage,” she said. “We’re human; everybody has sex. And even though I respect people who choose to wait until they are married to have sex, I think that sex is a part of growing up and learning about who you are as a person.”
Charlie Harmata, who attends Illinois Institute of Technology, agreed that humans have an inside drive towards sex. But he said that “people pursue sex without commitments because they aren’t sure about the future.”