By Chana Keefer
The following is something I wrote to share with high school students when speaking about sexual responsibility and STD prevention with the ATeam (Abstinence Through Education and Mentoring) at local high schools. Several times when I have shared this, the students have applauded.
Why do I do this? Is it because I enjoy grossing you out with horror stories of what can happen, the tales of sterility and pain and nasty, nightmare growths in unmentionable places—even the possibility of dying due to disease: Am I bored? Not enough to do with a husband, four kids and a writing career I love? Is it money?
Nah. This is for free.
This is because I was witnessing a tragic crime and I couldn’t stand by and allow it any longer.
You see, you beautiful young people are being robbed. You’re being beaten and raped and left dying inside. You’re being lured and lied to as they—the world around you who wants to drag you down to its lowest common denominator—pounds and pounds at you to toss away something priceless.
It’s my great honor to tell you sex does not have to be dangerous or dirty and it’s not a disease. Sex, the act of bonding exclusively with one person for life, is supposed to be joy and fun and deeply spiritual and a haven in life’s storms.
But this is a truth that has been buried and smeared with so many lies and so much disinformation that it’s been reduced to myth and fairytale.
I don’t have a shocking story of how I was raped or how I contracted AIDS from a one-night stand.
I’m just a lonely voice telling you the fairytale is true. When my husband takes me in his arms, I don’t have the ghosts of 20 other guys coming between us. There is no stench of fear, betrayal, risk or panic. Our first time was after a long day of photos, vows and hugs from friends and family. We were slightly exhausted, fairly ignorant, but overjoyed. There was laughter and discovery and grateful awe. We didn’t need a trip to Hawaii to make things exciting (neither could we afford it) but our honeymoon was a lazy, dizzying time too deep and meaningful to be associated with what’s paraded in porn or erotic novels.
Do I tell you this to brag or rub salt in a wound? No. If you were standing on a train track with an engine barreling toward you, would it be cruel to tell you to jump?
I’m just saying the track you’re pressured to get on—the one of disease and unplanned children and regrets that haunt and poison—is not your only option. And even if you’ve been on that track, even if your choices were stripped away, you can get off. You are and will always be priceless and worthy of respect. You were made for love that lasts a lifetime. But it’s not gained without a fight. Even those who mean well will tell you it’s a silly, childish dream. But…
He was 24 and I was 26 and we’d both been told not to shoot so high, that the odds of finding our lifelong love and that person also being a virgin were crazy-slim.
But 23 years later, life is often hard and challenges come, but sex is not a battleground. It’s refreshing, restoring, exclusive and healing. And we don’t worry about the other being unfaithful, because we saw sexual self-control in action when we were crazy for each other and kept our clothes on until our wedding night. Our love is the gift that keeps on giving that, to our astonishment, really has gotten better over the years.
Therefore, I’d have to be selfish beyond belief to keep my mouth shut while that train barrels toward you.
A lifetime of sex and love that’s a joy is possible for you. You are priceless. You are one-of-a-kind and no one—I repeat, no one—has the right to say or treat you otherwise.
If your current flame will dump you if you don’t have sex with them. So be it and good riddance.
If your current friends pressure you to throw away your virginity, get new friends.
The fight and the pay-off of sex and love that’s lifelong and life-giving are SOOO worth it. Go for it!
My new novel, One Night With A Rock Star, deals with moral choices in the midst of temptation. I have a study guide that will be included in the print version (in the works). Our young people are bombarded with thousands of messages every day to “Do It!” They need a chorus of voices telling them there is a much better option that will not only preserve their health but will also protect their ability to maintain a lifelong, healthy love relationship.