I can't say that I am on board with the whole "True Love Waits" type programs. There is so much I want to say on the subject, but I have to remember this is a blog and not a term paper. Hopefully, there will be discussion allowing for a little more in depth insight.
A few things I remember about my "True Love Waits" experience.
• Hearing over and over again how if you have sex before marriage, your marriage will suck and so will your, and your partner's, sex life.
I remember this ideology being one of the central themes and one of the more prominent scare tactics taught during the program. Because what kind of religious conference would it be without scare tactics?
•The girl I was dating at the time crying her eyes out after one of the services because she wasn't a virgin. (To which I probably said something like, "Jesus thinks you are a virgin"?.. because I use to say things like that.)
In my experience, shame and guilt is always a part of church taught, sex education (I use the word education very lightly here).
•Being told about how evil and dirty sex is before marriage.
As a teenager in the church, this is all you are ever taught about sex. It's wrong, dirty, immoral, perverted, and it will ruin your life. There is rarely talk about how beautiful and good sex can be. This is One reason why so many couples have "bad sex lives" once they are married. sex has always been presented to them as a negative thing and all the guilt and shame they were taught to feel is still part of the sexual experience... Even after the "I do's".
•The assumption that everyone would keep their commitment.
As Frank writes, there isn't much difference between those who pledged to be abstinent and those who didn't pledge. Most teenagers end up having sex whether they have a silver ring on their finger or not. The difference is that the non-pledgers, at least more often than the pledgers, have protected sex.
And here is a little rant of my own...
We put our kids through abstinent programs which projects shame and guilt while ignoring responsibility. When a teenager ends up breaking their pledge and getting pregnant because they didn't use protection, we... as the church... Dismiss them, kick them out, do not offer to them what we would married, pregnant women such as baby showers (when in reality, a single mom is the one who probably needs a baby shower). I wonder what a young, teenage girl would do if she knew she would be excommunicated and condemned by her family and her church if any of them ever discovered she was pregnant?
If we want to see the rate of abortions decline, maybe we should begin by considering we may be part of the problem. But it's much easier to simply cast a vote and put the blame on someone else, isn't it.
I'll leave you with a terrible illustration I remember from a "True Love Waits" conference.
The speaker pointed to the drum set on the stage.
if I took this drum set apart and used the pieces to substitute as speed bumps in the church parking lot it would be silly for me to think that I could put them back together and them still work the way they were intended... The same goes with sex.
Yes, that is silly.