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Family Matters

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Linda Mintle, Ph.D. is a licensed marriage and family therapist, author of 16 books, a national expert on family issues and the psychology of food and weight. She's an assistant professor in the department of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School, a national speaker, writer, and news contributor.

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Sex and the Single Person


Most of us would all agree that sexual attitudes have changed in the last few decades. But how much they have changed may surprise you.

In a recent on-line survey of 5,481 singles, ages 21 and older, who are not in a relationship, conducted by Market Tools Inc. for Match.com (Margin of error plus/minus 1.32 percentage points), this is what singles are saying about their sexual behavior:

42% would not date a virgin.

This is really sad and a remarkable change. Consider the sexual baggage and potential STIs (sexually transmitted infections) that are brought to relationships from multiple sex partners. And this is certainly not in line with God’s plan to wait for sex in marriage.

47% of singles reported a “friends with benefits” relationship.

This is almost half of singles who were surveyed! Media have to be an influence here. On most TV shows, it is almost expected that you hook up with someone while dating. And casual friendships that involve sex are viewed as conveniences as long as they don’t hurt friendships. Sex is reduced to a physical versus intimate act of marriage. Based on my conversations with singles, I am not convinced that anyone handles casual sex well.

44% of women and 63% of men have had one-night stands.

The temptation is great, especially when this is not viewed as sin. We have no way to know how many of this sample were Christians, but Christians are engaging in this behavior as well.

Almost one-third (28%) say they’ve had sex by the third date; almost half (46%) by the sixth date.

This speaks to the expectation that casual sex is not frowned upon as it was in years past. It is almost an expectation that dating will progress to sex.

What is disturbing about this survey is that we are seeing almost half of singles willing to hook up with dates and treat sex in a casual way. What isn’t talked about is the fall out emotionally, spiritually and relationally when sex is treated casually.

The heartache of giving yourself to a person who doesn’t commit to you creates more of an impact than people lead you to believe. I’ve heard hundreds of stories from women and men who can’t shake the images of prior sexual behavior from their memories when they do get into a relationship they would like to go long term. The number of STIs continues to rise, a permanent reminder of prior sexual relationships to those who marry other people.

Sexual relationships are not free and easy as we are led to believe. The consequences are rarely shown or discussed but often leave scars, wounds and feelings of shame that can only be dealt with through the healing power of a relationship with Christ. God’s prescription for sex in marriage is not some punitive measure to keep up from having fun, but a protection for our hearts. Any other message is simply a lie, but apparently more and more singles are buying the lies.

Print      Email to a Friend    posted on Friday, February 15, 2013 5:19 PM

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