by Joel Trigger, Educator

     When we go into schools to talk to students about sex, we often have to start out by breaking some misconceptions. Usually they expect that we are some kind of anti-sex campaign that is going to come in and tell them that they aren’t allowed to have any fun and that they need to move up on a mountain and never think about the opposite sex or their body parts will start falling off. We try to emphasize at the very beginning that we are actually a PRO-sex organization (which they sometimes think means we are professionals at it). The kids are often surprised to hear that we want them to have the best sex ever. What we’re there to tell them is that the best sex actually happens in marriage.

      This isn’t just our opinion either. Numerous studies have shown that married people report higher levels of sexual satisfaction and have sex more often than their unmarried counterparts. One possible explanation for this is the emotional bonds that form during sex. There are certain chemicals released in our brains that promote feelings of bonding, love, and trust. The chemicals primarily responsible for this are called Oxytocin in women and Vasopressin in men. Oxytocin is the same chemical that is released when a woman is giving birth, telling her brain that she needs to love this new little life with everything she has. Have you ever wondered how your Mom puts up with your annoying little siblings (or you)? Oxytocin is part of the explanation. When this chemical is released in the context of marriage, it helps to solidify the bonds of that committed lifelong relationship.
     But what happens when that same chemical is released during sex and tells you to love and trust the boyfriend who is abusive? Or it tells you to love the guy who you hooked up with who doesn’t really care about you? Heartache happens. We’ve had teenagers in class tell us that we must be misinformed about these chemicals because they know people who have sex and it’s not a big emotional deal. Well, it’s possible to learn to disregard the natural bonding signal of your sexual chemicals; but you can’t just flip a switch when you’re ready to have a healthy committed relationship and get that back. In other words, just because you don’t feel immediate,  devastating emotional effects of casual sex doesn’t mean you aren’t paying a price. You are ultimately trading your ability to have meaningful relationships for the temporary pleasure of having casual sex right now.

     A lot of young people think, “But practice makes perfect, right? I need to start practicing now!” Becoming a good lover isn’t like becoming a good ping-pong player or something – it’s not about having a certain set of polished skills and moves – no matter what you’ve read in Seventeen Magazine. It’s more about knowing your partner and developing chemistry over time, like a couple of really good three-legged racers (don’t take that analogy too far).
     Also, I’ve already said sex is an emotional thing, but not only does sex promote feelings of trust and bonding, but sex is actually greatly enhanced (especially for females) by existing feelings of love, security, and trust that this person is around to stay and not just using you for their own pleasure. So a loving, committed husband is pretty much always going to be a better lover than some Fabio-type male model, regardless of any sexual technique.

     I know this is probably blowing your mind because our culture feeds you so much misinformation about sex, but check out these resources if you want some more proof.