Sexual activity among teens and twentysomethings has become epidemic in America. We live in a culture that seems to view promiscuity as essential to a child’s success with his or her peers. Music and television celebrities promote fornication at every turn. The internet has made “hooking up” faster and easier than ever. Many parents are afraid to discuss the topic for fear of alienating their kids, while others are simply blind to the fact that intimacy could be happening at this precise moment, in their very homes. Children themselves are utterly confused about intercourse, with most claiming that oral genital stimulation, digital penetration and mutual masturbation do not constitute “sex.”
Time and again, studies have shown that the most common and reliable deterrent against premarital sex is “religion or morals.” This is welcome news to Christian parents today, but is it enough? Teenage minds are no match for teenage hormones! Celibacy and the sacred marriage covenant are rarely taught in our schools. The communal dormitory experience of college life can affect the ethical stamina of our young students. Chronic masturbation has become so widespread that very few people have the courage to speak out against its inherent risks. “Sexting” on cellphones and erotic video chatting have become rites of passage on campuses across the nation. Our college kids encounter a host of dangerous multicultural habits when they’re away from their families, habits that can certainly come home to roost!
As many adults have learned, premature sexual activity is often a warning sign of larger underlying problems, from drug use to mental disorders. Once a teen or twentysomething has been lured into sensual experimentation, it is very difficult to rein them in. Unfortunately, a simple doctor’s visit is not enough to tell if a child is having sex. To help your young ones navigate these difficult issues, we have put together a list of warning signs to look for. In the end, it is vital that parents practice a loving but vigilant approach to insure that their children successfully mature into healthy, principled adults.
What Are the Signs That My Child May Be Secretly Thinking About Trying Sexual Intercourse?
1) Pairing off with a single person: As a child moves away from his or her peer group to a one-on-one dynamic with an individual, the potential for intimate impropriety grows exponentially.
2) Lack of appreciation for the family’s values: Look for a lessening interest in worship activities, sibling play and family functions.
3) Recently changed email or Facebook password: Teens will lay the groundwork for a secret experience by shutting parents out of their online social life. You will also notice an unusual spike in the usage of inappropriate websites such as Craigslist, FourSquare, Chatroulette and Grinder.
4) Sudden increase in frequency of masturbation: As kids plan for sexual contact, the fantasy world they inhabit becomes a larger part of their emotional lives, particularly during the prime hormonal seasons of spring and summer.
5) For girls, sexually revealing clothing fashions: Low-cut skirts, short denim shorts, string bikinis, elastic-type clothing. Mothers should not be pressured into buying such clothing because “everyone is doing it”!
6) For boys, switching underwear styles: This may come as a surprise, but boys in the early stages of sexual prowling often make a shift from one underwear type to another. Some go from briefs to boxers to allow for easier access during oral copulation. Others select tighter pouch briefs, low-rise trunks, jockstraps or the homoeroticized Calvin Klein brand in an attempt to impress a potential mate with the firm, abundant shape of their private areas.
7) Use of cryptic internet slang: 8, 420, CD9, BDSM, GNOC, H4T, JSM, PNP, WS, VGL are all keywords parents need to be on the lookout for. See a complete list of terms and definitions here.
8) New, older friends: Most parents are aware that this is an issue for girls who have older male friends, but boys who become chummy with that sporty, festive guy down the street are also at risk. Homosexuals use the trick of athletic teams and sports outings to groom a boy for surreptitious erotic entanglements. Waterskiing, competitive swimming, hiking and karate can be minefields for young men, particularly when the steamy jocularity of the changing room leads to unfortunate voyeuristic displays of pubescent manhood.
Signs of a Sexually Active Young Person
1) Condoms and personal lubricants: While this one is quite obvious, many parents will tell you that they had absolutely no clue about their kid’s activities before discovering these types of items. Sexual aids will be secreted away in wallets, at the back of bureau drawers or at the bottom of trashcans. A used condom will look like the finger of a rubber glove and will be sticky to the touch.*
2) Washing their own clothes and frequent bathing: In an attempt to hide the smell of crusting semen or foreign cologne, a young person will take up household duties normally reserved for mother.
3) Sudden interest in your whereabouts or trips you’re planning away from home: Sadly, young people often engage in furtive, lustful penetrations in basements, attics and bedrooms when parents are away. Are your kids mysteriously in the house during unexpected hours of the day? Do beds that were made in the morning strangely appear unmade in the afternoon?
4) Inflated self-image: Promiscuous children believe that sex somehow makes them more mature. The older men they’re spending time with are partly to blame, and the child will be argumentative and arrogant in the home. Sassiness, particularly from boys, is never appropriate. Piercings and tattoos are another sign of this form of egocentric rebellion.
5) Breaking curfew: Where are your children going at night? While you may assume they’re at the houses of friends, they could be sneaking off to empty parking lots or public parks where timekeeping is less vigorous. Curfews play an important role in helping children avoid these sultry temptations. A gradually loosened schedule eases a child into adulthood while keeping parents from undue worry. Here is a standard guideline for curfew times based on age:
Ages 14-15: 8 pm
16: 9 pm
17: 9:30 pm
18: 10 pm
6) The “Hookup” Spot: A little detective work can lead a parent to discover their child’s secret sexual liaison location. In the summer, this is usually outside or in an unused structure. Look for it in the bushes near the picnic area of a lake, at the end of a dead end country road or in barns and abandoned houses. You will find the ground worn and muddy from activity. There will be old blankets and possibly even a mattress rescued from the trash heap. Cigarette butts, beer cans and brightly colored square condom wrappers will tell the sordid tale of youthful violation.
7) Health issues: Recurring bladder infections, enlarged testes, penile chaffing, pain in the lower abdomen and yeast infections are all signs that a child is not only engaging in sex, but that he or she may have contracted a social disease. Be watchful!
8) Sleepovers with friends who have siblings: A common ruse among teens, they will pretend to be best friends with one person while secretly “hooking up“ with the brother or sister. Sleepovers give them ample opportunity to hop beds in the middle of the night to act out their worst hormonal urges. Remember, not every parent is as vigilant and Christian as you would hope them to be!
9) Gang membership: Although rare, girls who join gangs will allow themselves to be gang raped as part of their horrific initiation process. Be vigilant if your girl suddenly opts for dark urban clothing styles and red bandanas.
10) Alcohol, cigarette and drug usage: There is a sad overlap between illegal substance abuse and teenage sexuality. This indicates you have a broader dilemma on your hands. If you’re worried that your son or daughter has fallen into this trap, be sure to sniff their breath and clothing when you give them that good night hug.
What To Do When You Discover Your Child is Sexually Active
1) The very first thing you should do is to take your child to a trusted physician to check for STDs and pregnancy!
2) Talk to your kids! Confronting your children about their activities is never easy but they may be suffering from a guilty conscience. Depending on how you came to discover the evidence of sexual impropriety, you could say, “You left your computer on the other day – are you trying to tell us something?” or “I was walking the dog in the park the other night and noticed you were sneaking off into the bushes with a boy. Didn’t you notice me watching?”
3) Set firm family rules: Make it clear to your children that premarital intercourse is entirely inappropriate and that it goes against all Biblical teaching. Let them know that you will be deeply involved in helping them avoid temptation in the future by setting strict limits on the amount of time they are allowed to spend with members of the opposite sex. Specify that it’s fine for him or her to go on unsupervised group outings, but one-to-one time alone time crosses the line. This might mean that he or she won’t be allowed to use the car without you or another adult along for the ride.
4) Prayer: Have your family reaffirm its faith and uphold your Christian morals! God is waiting to hear from you!
5) Purity rings: These are great reminders that chastity is vital and should be adhered to constantly!
6) Abstinence groups: Peers and religious leaders are instrumental in reminding your children that sexual cleanliness is an essential part of being a Christian in America today. Ask your pastor for guidance and schedule some spiritual counseling!
7) Summer activities: Pack their schedules full of fun activities and if they have down time, there are plenty of great books to read! This will deflate the pubescent sexual urges and promote a healthy physical appearance.
Good luck parents!
* I should note that used condoms do not always indicate sexual intercourse. Some boys practice wearing prophylactics in preparation for their “big day.” Others have been known to collect used condoms out of curiosity. They are intrigued by the confusing bodily interactions of the older children around them and collect such tokens like one would stamps or rocks. They often hide these damp, flaccid rubbers in cigar boxes in the backs of closets. If you discover such a horde, it may be your first clue in the search for the “Hookup Site” of an older sibling mentioned above. Use the opportunity to ask your boy where he chanced upon such a foul and dangerous thing and follow up on the lead.