Is having multiple sex partners bad?

The Relationship between Multiple Sexual Partners and Mental Health in Adolescent Females

Tyree Oredein

Rutgers School of Public Health, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA

*Corresponding Author: Tyree Oredein, MPH
Rutgers School of Public Health
Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA
Tel: 718-501-8125

Received date: November 18, 2013; Accepted date: December 20, 2013; Published date: December 23, 2013

Copyright: © 2013 Oredein T, Delnevo C (2013) The Relationship between Multiple Sexual Partners and Mental Health in Adolescent Females. J Community Med Health Educ 3:256.

Visit for more related articles at Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education


Objectives: To examine the association between mental health and multiple sexual partners in adolescent females. Methods: This study uses nationally representative data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (n=7361 high school females). Results: The prevalence of sadness, suicide ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts increased with the number of sexual partners across all racial/ethnic groups. However, the relationship was less dramatic for black adolescent females. Conclusion: Girls presenting with depressive symptoms may be at increased risk for HIV and other STDs. Also, girls with multiple partners may be at increased risk for depression.


Adolescent depression; High school females; Multiple sexual partners; Mental health


Depression is a serious health issue that is estimated to affect as many as 28% of adolescents by the time they reach 19 . Almost one out of three high school students in the United States report feeling sad or hopeless almost every day for at least two consecutive weeks, to the extent that they stopped doing their usual activities . Females tend to suffer from depression at a rate two to three times higher than their male counterparts, and these gender differences are known to begin during adolescence .

Adolescent depression has been linked to violence , smoking substance use , eating behaviors and increased suicide risk . It also has been linked to sexual activities . Previous studies, using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), a nationally representative survey of 7th through 12th grade students, have explored associations between adolescent depression and romantic/sexual behaviors . Joyner and Udry found romantically involved adolescents, especially females, were more likely to be depressed than those who were not . Hallfors et al. also found that adolescents who engaged in any sexual activities were at increased odds for reporting depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts . Again, the odds were higher for females than males . In addition to the more general association between sexual activity and depression, past research has also explored the relationship between specific sexual practices and depression and suicide ideation. Studies have found correlations between depression and unsafe sexual activity (i.e. condom use), history of sexual abuse, sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and age at first intercourse .

Little research has explicitly examined the role of sexual partners and mental health. While international studies have found a link between the number of sexual partners and adolescent depression , with few exceptions , studies in the United States have not specifically focused on associations between the number of sexual partners and mental health markers. Thus, this study adds to the existing body of literature by exploring the relationship between unexplored measures of sexual behaviors (i.e. the number of sexual partners) and mental health indictors in adolescent females using a nationally representative sample of United States adolescents.


This study uses data from the 2003 Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a school-based survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1990. Conducted biennially, the YRBS monitors the prevalence of risk behaviors that influence health among adolescents in the United States. The YRBS employs a threestage cluster sample design to obtain a representative sample of high school students in grades 9 through 12. The YRBS methodology is described in its entirety elsewhere . Details relevant to this research are described.

The overall response rate for the 2003 YRBS was 67% yielding 15,214 usable questionnaires from one hundred and fifty-eight schools across the nation. Approximately half of the students (48.6%) were female resulting in a sub-sample of 7361 students for this analysis. The survey instrument consisted of 97 multiple-choice items regarding health issues such as weight and nutrition, substance use, sexual behaviors, and violence, among other things. For the purposes of this study, five items were used to explore the relationship between the number of sexual partners and depressive symptoms. The measure used for sexual partners was number of people with whom they’ve had sexual intercourse in their lifetime. The measures used to represent depressive symptoms were: 1) feeling sad for two or more consecutive weeks such that they stopped doing some usual activities; 2) seriously considering attempting suicide (suicide ideation); 3) making a suicide plan; and 4) suicide attempt, all referring to the last 12 months. It is important to note that these measures alone are not sufficient to identify depression, but they measures were chosen and used as proxies in this study as these mental health indicators closely mirror several items in the criteria for diagnosing major depressive disorder according to the DSM-IV TR . These items have also been cited as measures of depressive symptoms in previous research studying depression and/or suicide .

The dataset was weighted to address non-response and the varying probabilities of selection, including those resulting from the over sampling of black and Hispanic students. Statistical analyses were performed using SUDAAN, which corrects for the complex sample design. Prevalence estimates, with 95% confidence intervals were used to examine the relationship between mental health indicators and sexual behavior for each racial/ethnic group. Logistic regression was utilized to generate an adjusted odds ratio for each indicator of mental health also with 95% confidence intervals. Regression models were also generated separately by race/ethnicity to test for the presence of interaction effects.


Table 1 summarizes the number of lifetime sexual partners, and rates of sadness, suicide ideation, suicide plans and suicide attempts among adolescent females according to race/ethnicity. Overall, 45.3% of adolescent girls reported being sexually active, citing at least one partner in their lifetime. Black girls were significantly more likely to report having had at least one sexual partner in their lifetime compared to non-blacks. More so, black females were more likely to report having two or more lifetime sexual partners than their non-black counterparts.

Table 1: Prevalence of lifetime sexual partners, sadness, suicide ideation, making a suicide plan, and suicide attempts within the past 12 months among U.S. high school females, 2003 YRBS.

Regardless of sexual activity, more than a third of all females reported feeling sad for at least two consecutive weeks in the past year, so that they stopped doing their usual activities. Hispanic females were significantly more likely to report feeling sad than black and white females. Approximately one fifth of all females seriously considered attempting suicide. Black females were significantly less likely to report suicide ideation than non-blacks. Approximately one fifth of adolescent girls reported making a suicide plan and 11.4% reported attempting suicide within the past 12 months. Hispanic females were significantly more likely to report making a suicide plan than black females, and Hispanics were significantly more likely to report suicide attempts than non-Hispanics.

Table 2 presents the relationships between the number of lifetime sexual partners among teenage girls, and rates of sadness, suicide ideation, plans and attempts according to race/ethnicity. Overall females with no sexual partners were significantly less likely to report measures of poor mental health than those who have had one, two, or three or more sexual partners. Similarly, girls who reported three or more partners were significantly more likely to report sadness, suicide ideation and suicide plans and attempts than those with fewer partners. The trend exists across all racial and ethnic categories although it is less drastic among black females. For example, the prevalence of feeling depressed among black girls with three or more partners is similar to the prevalence of sadness white females with one partner, and Hispanic girls with no partners.

Table 2: Adolescent Females Reporting Poor Mental Health Status According to the Number of Lifetime Sexual Partners, 2003 YRBS.

Table 3 shows the adjusted odd ratios for feeling sad, suicide ideation, suicide plan and suicide attempt by the number of lifetime sexual partners, controlling for school grade, and race/ethnicity. For all four mental health indicators, black females had lower odds compared to white females. Hispanic females had 1.6 times greater odds for feeling sad compared to white females. Overall, the odds for all four mental health indicators decreased with school grade. Lastly, the adjusted odds for each of the four mental health indicators increased as the number of sexual partners in a lifetime increased, relative to virgins. The greatest odds in each of the four models were for those with 3 or more lifetime partners.


Table 3: Adjusted odds ratios for mental health indicators according to race, grade and number of sexual partners.

The strength of the associations between lifetime sexual partner and the four mental health indicators were found to vary based on race/ethnicity. Therefore adjusted odds ratios were generated to test for the presence of interaction effects based on race/ethnicity. The regression models were generated separately by race/ethnicity and the results, which were significant, are presented in Table 4. Whereas in the overall model (Table 3), having one lifetime sexual partner resulted in significantly greater odds for all four mental health indicators, this relationship was not significant for black females.


Table 4: Adjusted odds ratios for mental health status according number of sexual partners within each eth1nicity while controlling for grade and age.


Consistent with previous findings, blacks were more likely to have multiple sex partners than non-blacks . They were also less likely to report depressive symptoms. Previous studies have mixed findings. Angold found that black youth were less likely to suffer from depressive disorder than whites. Saluja reported similar prevalence for black and white youth while other studies found that blacks were more likely to suffer from depressed mood compared to whites. Hispanics on the other hand, consistent with other studies, had the highest frequency of reporting depressive symptoms .

The main finding of this study is that a relationship exists between mental health and number of sexual partners. As the number of lifetime sexual partners increases, the prevalence of sadness, suicide ideation, making a suicide plan, and attempting suicide also increases. This relationship between mental health and number of sexual partners occurs across all ethnic and racial categories, though the trend is less dramatic in black girls.

Given the relationship between sexual partners and mental health, and their high level of sexual activity, one would expect black females to have the poorest mental health. While their prevalence of depressive symptoms does increase with the number of sexual partners, the relationship is not as pronounced as in is among other races. This may be because depression, suicide and other signs of poor mental health are considered taboo in the African-American community . Subsequently many blacks may not concede to or acknowledge depression or suicide. The trend between sexual partners and mental health is most prominent in Hispanics. Hispanic culture may play a role as propriety and religion are often very important, and young Hispanic girls they may become upset if they feel they put themselves in a position to shame themselves or their families. However, Hispanic females are more likely to feel depressed overall, and the young girls might be seeking sex as a way to cope with their mental state.

Young girls with multiple sexual partners may later feel depressed because of their behaviors. The contrary could be true as well where young girls who are suffering from depressive symptoms self-medicate by engaging in sexual activities in an attempt to alleviate their mental anguish. The relationship may also be bidirectional. However, due to the cross-sectional study design, temporality cannot be determined.

There are additional limitations to consider. The YRBS was not designed to diagnose depression and has only five measures that refer to mental health, again, only four of which were used in this study. One question refers to feelings of sadness, and four refer to suicide. The YRBS does not inquire about psychotropic medications nor does it consider other mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or borderline personality disorders, all of which have been associated with suicide ideation, suicide plans, and attempts the latter of which disproportionately affects adolescent females . It follows that while suicide ideation, suicide plans as well as attempts were used as measures of depressive symptoms, they are not necessarily indicative of depression or other mental health conditions. In addition, the YRBS does not attempt to survey absent youth who may be different than those who participate, nor does it reach truant youth who are more likely to engage in higher risk behaviors than those who are in school . Lastly, due to local policies, several schools have omitted sensitive questions regarding substance use and sex history. The exclusion of these population categories may result in a bias.

Despite these limitations, this study adds to the existing literature because it suggests that there is a correlation between increased number of sexual partners and sadness among adolescent females. Practitioners with adolescent female clients should screen young girls engaging in sex with multiple partners for depression, as they may be at higher risk for depression and/or suicide. Conversely, health workers with female teenage patients should address sexual health as these young girls may be putting themselves at increased risk for HIV, STDs, pregnancy and other physical, mental and emotional consequences associated with increased sexual partners.

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The Emotional Corrosion of Casual Sex

“We beat the Germans twice, and now they’re back.” British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher allegedly declared these words to an assemblage of European leaders on Dec. 8, 1989, one month after the Berlin Wall fell.

Three months later, Mrs. Thatcher invited historians and politicians to a discussion at her country residence to address the question, “How dangerous are the Germans?” After the seminar, Thatcher’s adviser Charles Powell said that the attendees agreed unanimously that “we should be nice to the Germans.”

Well, it’s not just since the reunification of Germany, but actually for the past 65 years we have been “nice to the Germans.” Nice enough to hand over the denazification process to the Germans within a few years of the end of the world war the Nazis started. Nice enough to the Germans to revive their smashed economy through the Marshall Fund and supply starting fuel for its growth into a postwar miracle. And we have certainly been nice enough to the Germans since reunification to allow them free rein to develop their dream of a United States of Europe.

In fact, France is right now being so nice to the Germans that for the first time since German troops were banished from its soil following the Nazi invasion of World War ii, a battalion of German combat troops is now formally stationed on the eastern border of that nation. This is being touted as “a gesture that showed the two European powers would never clash with guns and bullets” (Xinhua, Dec. 11, 2010).

Well, we’ll see.

But right now, amid a raging crisis for Europe’s currency, the euro, and the ongoing decline of American power, it is the Germans’ turn to be nice to all those who have been nice to them.

But, really, how nice are the Germans being right now?

Stratfor’s Peter Zeihan, in a keen piece of analysis, observed, “What most people haven’t realized in dealing with the European crisis is that in many ways this is a little intentional. … Now, in modern Europe, the Germans are back on the scene.

“They have a foreign policy, they have opinions, and they’re acting upon them. And so their goal is to actually restructure the rules, the laws, the institutions that create the eurozone and make the common currency possible to their own end. And that end does not necessarily mean preventing bailouts, it does not even necessarily mean economic austerity. It’s about making sure Berlin is large and in charge on the Continent” (Dec. 10, 2010; emphasis mine throughout).

The EU in its present form has obviously had its day as far as Germany is concerned. Germany is reasserting its own national sovereignty over and above the collective of the European Union.

In a classic Germanic way, German elites are using Europe’s sovereign debt crisis to bring EU member nations to heel in what will soon prove to be a dramatic restructuring of the EU into 10 specific regions under Berlin’s control. (For an explanation of what informs that statement, request a free copy of our booklet Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.)

This theme popped up in a recent Financial Times blog. Under the title “Introducing Greater Germany” was a map of Europe—with countries viewed as German possessions colored blue. “The entire eurozone was blue,” EUobserver wrote. “If you passed over the map with your mouse, a caption popped up: ‘The area formerly known as the eurozone’” (Dec. 9, 2010). This article mused, “Perhaps the author was … suggesting that through the EU’s Bundesbank-inspired economic strictures, Germany, finally, in its third try at it, had managed to rule most of Europe.” Interesting thought.

One thing is certain: The Germans are seizing the moment. Thatcher’s words ring loudly today: Now they’re back.

Irish crisis, German opportunity

Facing economic collapse and at risk of spreading the contagion throughout the eurozone, Ireland caved in to EU elites’ demands to accept a bailout, taking loans of up to around €90 billion on November 21.

This is a hammer blow to Ireland’s national sovereignty. Ireland will now hand over control of much of its budget to Europe. The nation’s economic policy from this point on will be subject to the purview of the EU’s central bankers.

As in the previous Greek bailout, the Irish crisis brought German bullying tactics to the surface. Talk of “hit squads” descending on Ireland to force the EU’s (Berlin’s) will on the benighted Emerald Isle have added to a spreading sense that Germany is in command of the future direction of EU economic and fiscal policy—that the will of the German elites will prevail in the current crisis.

Marko Papic, Stratfor’s analyst for European affairs, declared of the Irish financial crisis: “For Germany the bailout is another opportunity …. The uncertainty about the eurozone and its markets means that the euro is trading lower, which helps German exports immensely. Furthermore, Germany is using the opportunity presented by the crisis to redesign the European Union and its institutions—especially eurozone fiscal rules and the enforcement mechanisms for those rules. The real test for the eurozone therefore is not the panic level in Madrid or Lisbon or Dublin, but rather the extent to which the policymakers in Berlin are concerned” (Nov. 22, 2010).

It is not by accident that the economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain are failing, risking spread of the contagion to other weaker European nations. It is a direct result of Germany imposing its single currency scheme on Europe!

Berlin and Frankfurt, through their lackeys in Brussels, usurped the means of exchange among European Monetary Union (emu) member nations by replacing their national currencies with the euro. They seized control of setting member nations’ interest rates. The next move is to seize control of their taxation systems. The ultimate third-party control of any EU member nation occurs when, economically exhausted by having sold itself to the emu, the nation rolls over and capitulates to the controllers in Berlin, Brussels and Frankfurt—just like Ireland did in November.

In his book The Breakdown of Europe, Sir Richard Body clearly articulates German intentions behind the monetary union scheme for the European Union: “The objective of a single currency in the European Union … is to integrate formally and irrevocably all the economies of the member states. They will be merged into a single economy under the control of a single authority that will be (de facto if not de jure) a government.”

Thus, the true intent behind the European Monetary Union is to consolidate control by a single entity over all European economies. The grave danger in all this is contained in economist Maynard Keynes’s observation that “Whoever controls the currency controls the government.”

Sir Richard further comments that as the Germanic single currency project matures, “A concentration of power over 350 million people will pass into the hands of a few … the few will be the directors of the central bank.”

Ever wonder why the European Central Bank is located in Frankfurt, Germany, not Brussels as are the other centralized bureaus of the EU?

Dr. Walther Funk, Hitler’s economic affairs minister, planned to have Berlin impose fixed rates of exchange in European countries. Such a plan would work against the growth of other European economies while allowing the Continent’s strongest economy, Germany, to become ever richer, selling its manufactured goods on ever more favorable terms.

German elites have, in reality, imposed the Nazi vision of Dr. Funk on the modern-day economies of the European Union, with exactly the results he envisioned!

Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is simply taking that old Nazi vision one step further. As Marko Papic so rightly stated, it is creating the opportunity for Germany to entirely reshape the European Union to its will.

The current crisis in Europe actually places us on the brink of the imminent fulfillment of the biblical prophecy of the carving up of Europe into 10 specific regions (Revelation 17:12-13), each under a dictatorial power in turn submitting to one overarching government, which the Prophet Daniel labels the king of the north (Daniel 11:13).

Watch for more “Irelands” in the EU over the coming months. And as you watch, note the progressive loss of sovereignty of EU member nations, with the dramatic exception of one—Germany!

Equal partners? Not anymore.

Up until recent times, the strength of the arrangement of convenience between France and Germany has kept designs on European unification alive. For years, the Europe project has represented France’s effort to keep German political ambitions in check, and Germany’s contentment with using France as a foil for its own expansionist goals.

But that is all now changing.

“France used to like to think of itself as equal partners with Germany in Europe. But aren’t these two headed for a clash?” Peter Zeihan responded to the question adamantly: “Definitely. The question is when. At this point, France does not have a better alternative. So long as Germany is willing to consult and even defer to France in many matters, the French are willing to let the Germans have their way with the financial system” (Stratfor, Dec. 10, 2010).

The team at has also highlighted the unhinging of the Franco-German relationship: “France is clearly lagging behind Germany in important targeted regions of its foreign policy,” they wrote, citing a series of recent studies published by the German Council on Foreign Relations. “At the same time, Paris has, for the most part, adopted Berlin’s foreign-policy priorities and—contrary to the 1990s—puts up no resistance to Berlin on basic issues. … France’s loss of political influence vis-à-vis Berlin is in correlation with its growing economic loss of ground vis-à-vis Germany. … Overall, France is pursuing the same line of foreign policy as Germany and has given up previous deviating approaches. But France is clearly lagging behind the European hegemonic power” (Dec. 6, 2010).

The clearest-thinking analysts see this fracturing of the postwar Franco-German platform upon which the EU has been largely built as highly dangerous and opening up the prospect of a more aggressive expansionist foreign policy from Berlin.

Merging militaries: More than just lip service

Having succeeded in uniting Europe economically, commercially, politically and—albeit precarious—financially, Germany is doing what any imperialist power would do as its next move: consolidate its military and security structures. The German government is working to combine the EU’s defense forces under German hegemony.

Deutsche Welle reported that ministers at a European Council defense meeting recently “gave their backing to a German and Swedish plan to analyze areas where more collaboration would be possible” (Dec. 10, 2010). This is entirely consistent with German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg’s policy of unifying both European defense industries and military forces.

Just last September, EU members agreed to the formation of a European Air Transport Command, a German idea. This plan is certain to open up other initiatives for EU member governments to unify the Continent’s military structure—and it is all being driven by Berlin.

Germany is cleverly using the Continent’s financial troubles to justify this merging of EU military industry and defense capabilities. Defense Minister Guttenberg has declared that the “scarcity of resources in all nations” necessitates the pooling of skills and equipment to support other European states. “The commitment to European defense must be more than just lip service,” Guttenberg wrote in an opinion piece for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily. “By intensifying our military cooperation, we will all benefit in the end” (Dec. 9, 2010).

Translate that statement, “What’s good for Germany is going to be good for all!”

Return of the SS?

The other arm of any imperial power’s security—in addition to military forces for the protection of its own borders and to reach beyond them to colonize weaker powers—is its police force.

German elites, ever ready to convert crisis into opportunity, have now used the terrorist threat as an excuse to consolidate the German state’s policing structure. Already the increased terror threat in the country has resulted in airports, train stations and streets being patrolled by more machine-gun-toting police. Now they want to combine the two federal police forces, the Bundeskriminalamt (bka) and the Bundespolizei, into what some have called a “super-police force.”

Der Tagesspiegel, a Berlin newspaper, sounded the following warning: “There has been a trend, driven by the federal government, since 1990 to centralize the security structure. And this in a country that historically hasn’t had good experience with the centralization of the police. That’s why the merging of the Bundeskriminalamt and the Bundespolizei should be watched carefully” (Dec. 10, 2010). Amen to that.

As Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said, in the words of Financial Times Deutschland, “The reform is necessary to dispose of more than 60 years of duplication.” But that’s exactly the point. It is the duplication, or rather the separation of structures, within the German police force that gives it protection from evolving into something akin to the dreaded SS of Nazi infamy. Now Germany’s Interior Ministry, by posing the prospect of a centralized super-police force, is again putting Germans—and the rest of Europe—at risk of the revival of such a dreaded system.

The United States of Europe

Just what is all this centralizing of power under Berlin going to produce within Europe?

Back in 1997, Hans Tietmeyer, then president of the German Bundesbank, stated to a group of Danish corporate executives that regarding the eurozone project, “Any split in real economic trends would naturally exert pressure in the direction of a transfer and social union, or even of a European ‘superstate.’ … You in Denmark—if I understand it correctly—do not want , and … we in Germany—I can assure you—do not want either” (EUobserver, Dec. 9, 2010).

That was 14 years ago. A lot of water has tumbled under the EU bridge since then. And what do we have emerging today? Exactly what Tietmeyer said Germany did not want—an emerging superstate, with a centrally controlled currency, gearing toward a centralized command of a consolidated EU military structure, already possessing a centralized air command, centralizing control of industry standards, and a centralizing police force in the most centralist-minded EU nation of all: Germany.

As EUobserver put it, “It is no exaggeration to ask whether we are living in the last days of the eurozone, or the first days of a United States of Europe” (ibid.).

A United States of Europe!

Sound familiar?

It certainly would had you been one of the multiple millions worldwide who heard a lone voice crying out over the airwaves warning of this prospect throughout the latter half of the 20th century.

A Clarion Warning

Does the name Herbert Armstrong ring a bell? It certainly should to many who lived from the 1930s to the mid-1980s. Through the voice of the World Tomorrow radio and television program, and the pages of the Plain Truth magazine, Herbert Armstrong warned the world for decades of what was about to rise up in Europe.

Thirty-five years ago, Herbert Armstrong warned, “Germany is the economic and military heart of Europe. Probably Germany will lead and dominate the coming United States of Europe.”

Five years later, he wrote, “The new giant world power of the United States of Europe—the revived ‘Holy Roman Empire’ of 554 to 1814—could conceivably now emerge to stun the whole world in wonder …. This whole situation is extremely serious. The whole world is aflame and in chaos …. The formation of the United States of Europe … is close at hand” (Good News, January 1980).

A couple of years later he declared in a message to his supporters, “I have known for years (and you have heard me proclaim again, and again, and again) that the United States of Europe is coming. They are going to unite—10 nations in Europe; and the Vatican will be on top of the heap …. All the pieces are falling into place now, all of a sudden …. All are going to look on with absolute dumbfounded wonder when they see this United States of Europe rise up” (Nov. 17, 1982).

Just months before his death on Jan. 16, 1986, Herbert Armstrong again declared in the Plain Truth of June 1985, “This coming ‘United States of Europe’ is the dream of many leaders—not only within Europe, but in Britain and America. The Common Market is only its economic beginning.

“Every indication is that this advance news will be current news. And it will completely stun the world! Yet the Plain Truth has reported this news in advance for the past 51 years!

“Can you envision what that will mean in the world’s balance of power?”

Well we hardly have to imagine that today. Germany is once again the dominant power in Europe. It is back and working hard and fast at the business of once again becoming not only the holder of the balance of power in Europe, but also a dominant world power that will, for a moment in time, tip the global balance of power in its own favor.

It is already happening.

In the run-up to the November G-20 summit, German voices strongly criticized America cranking up the printing presses to try to stave off the inevitable declaration of the bankruptcy of the United States. A couple of Reuters journalists noted that “Berlin has taken the rhetoric to a new level.” They quoted Anton Boerner, head of Germany’s Foreign Trade Association, as observing, “The Atlantic is getting wider” through a “‘creeping alienation’ between America and Europe, which has been exacerbated by the global financial crisis” (Nov. 10, 2010).

It starts with the rhetoric, a war of words—and as it takes its inevitable course, it ends in hot war. That has happened so many times throughout history.

The current U.S. administration is yet to score one foreign-policy success in its two years of existence. In the meantime, Germany is racking up foreign-policy success upon success. It has been doing it from its first excursion into the foreign-policy arena as a united nation, back in 1990, when it recognized Croatia and Slovenia as sovereign states separate from the greater Yugoslavia and promptly sparked the Balkan wars.

Now, Germany is becoming an expansionist military power of note, and it will—courtesy of a consolidated, centralized European military force, incorporating nato assets no doubt—spark more wars in its drive for global power. Queen’s Counsel and former lawyer for the British security services Michael Shrimpton believes that Germany is preparing for hot war within two years, no doubt as it gears up to react to the Islamist terrorist threat.

The results will, yet for a third time, prove disastrous for the rest of the world, in particular the U.S., and Britain with its dominions.

So where will this all lead? One has but to have a mind to history to answer that question in the immediate term.

Yet, the real question to be answered is, where will this all ultimately lead? How will it affect your future and the future of your loved ones?

You need to read our inspiring free booklet The Key of David. It will help unlock the future to you in fantastic detail. It will give you a mind-expanding vision of not only what the immediate future holds. It will expand your vision to see way beyond the coming world chaos to a fantastic future which the Savior of humankind will impose, under the rule of godly law, to finally bring peace to this strife-torn, war-weary world.

That will be a time when all peoples—German, Jew, Israelite, Gentile—will learn to live together in harmony and build a world such as man has only imagined and never achieved: a literal paradise on Earth!

Sex and Our Psychological Needs

There’s a fundamental assumption a lot of us make about sex that often causes a lot of skewed perceptions about why we’re not getting the sex/love we want.

Men have a tendency to make the assumption that sex itself is a need, regardless of who (or what) it comes from. Women have a tendency to assume that sex can only be a form of intimacy/love. Both of these are wrong, and they both get a lot of people into trouble in their relationships.

But to explain why, I need to explain psychological needs.

Psychological Needs and Strategies

All humans possess fundamental psychological needs. If we do not meet our psychological needs, we suffer, sometimes severely. Just like we need food, shelter, and sleep to survive, we also need to fulfill our psychological needs to remain mentally healthy and stable.

Psychologists have studied a number of psychological needs, but you can really narrow them down to four fundamental needs: security,1 self-esteem,2 autonomy,3 and connection.4 To be happy, stable people, we need to meet all four of these needs consistently. If we are not meeting these needs, our minds will actually begin to rationalize ways to get them met, even at the expense of our physical or mental health. If one is never able to meet their need for esteem, they will become chronically depressed and sometimes commit suicide. If one never meets their need for autonomy, they will fall into a state of codependence or learned helplessness.

On top of psychological needs, we have psychological and social strategies to meet those needs. Some strategies are more abstract and some are obvious. For instance, sports fulfill our needs for connection, and if we win, for esteem. A healthy family unit can provide for our needs of connection, esteem and security. Learning martial arts can fulfill our needs for security and esteem. Getting good at math to impress our teacher can fulfill our need for esteem. Experimenting with drugs can fulfill our need for autonomy and connection. So on and so on.

So here’s the doozy:

Sex is a strategy we use to meet our psychological needs and not a need itself.

How do we know this? Because there is no evidence that celibacy or asexuality is actually physically or psychologically unhealthy. You don’t die from not having enough sex. In fact, there are many health risks because of sex. One could even argue that there are psychological and health benefits from not having sex.

Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t have sex (I’m the last one who should argue that). In fact, sex is great. Sex is awesome. Sex makes us happier and healthier people. I’m simply pointing out that it is not a biological/psychological need, but rather simply another drive.

On the other hand, if psychological needs go unmet for long periods of time, it will absolutely fuck us up physically and psychologically. People develop neuroses, addictions, and even delusions to get their needs met. Research shows that social isolation is more harmful than alcoholism or smoking.5 Depression and stress are related with all sorts of terrible physical issues.

No one ever killed themselves because they were too horny. They do it because of a lack of connection or self-esteem.

The idea of sex as a strategy to meet psychological needs sounds weird to many because sex is also a physiological drive, like eating or sleeping. But unlike eating or sleeping, you can go your whole life without sex and not be any worse off for it.

The fact is, as humans, we’ve actually evolved to use sex to meet our psychological needs, not our physical needs.

Men and Women And Differing Needs

Much of the mismatched understanding between men and women and sex comes from the fact that men and women usually use sex to satisfy different needs. Traditionally, a woman’s best route to a secure future and healthy children was through marrying a successful man. In the past, women mainly sought sex out as a form of security. Even today, there’s still a lot of appeal in a man who can provide a secure, stable environment for a woman.

Women have also suffered a history of having their sexuality shamed and suppressed by society. Therefore, many of them have come to feel an inverse relationship between sex and their need for esteem. Instead, they’re far more likely to use sex to seek out their need for connection, since they’ve been conditioned to feel bad about themselves for having sex for other reasons.

Men, on the other hand, have traditionally used their sex lives as a status symbol with other men. If you’re a man who sleeps with a lot of women, you’re usually seen as a more successful man. Therefore, men have largely been conditioned to seek sex to fulfill their need for self-esteem.

Because men and women have traditionally pursued sex to fill different psychological needs, they fail to understand each other and criticize each other for not meeting the need they want met. Men think women are being clingy and manipulative, whereas women think men are being insecure and desperate.

In my book on dating for men, a core point I make is that men need to develop themselves independently of women to get their needs met on their own as much as possible. I would argue the same goes for women. Pursuing sex to compensate for your neediness in self-esteem or because you feel a lack of connection in your life will only cause you to behave in unattractive ways. End of story.

Once you’re able to meet your psychological needs with a variety of sources in your life (healthy family life, social life, professional life, etc.), then you can pursue sex from a place of power and abundance (attractive) and not from a place of neediness and desperation (unattractive).

Men and women get caught up in their own needs and then project those needs onto everyone around them. Women see men as cold and brutish because they expect them to have the same need for connection that they have. Men see women as manipulative and deceitful because they assume women use sex as a tool for self-esteem like they do. In both cases, they’re wrong and mischaracterizing the people lying naked in front of them.

Sex, Attachment, and Our Psychological Needs

Humans have evolved a psychological system of emotional attachment. Totally involuntary yet universal, regardless of culture, age or race, we get deeply and strongly emotionally attached to one another throughout our lives. It starts with a child to its parents. And assuming our parents don’t fuck it up too much, that attachment moves beyond our parents and onto some (not all) of our sexual partners. The rise in oxytocin, serotonin, drop in testosterone levels, decreased prefrontal cortex activity — these processes are designed to get us drunk on love with each other long enough to at least raise a highly functioning, healthy child or two (or ten).

And so while sex is absolutely a physiological function, and in some ways, it’s no different than eating or crapping, evolution has intertwined our drive for sex (note: a drive, not a need) with our psychological needs for esteem and connection. They’re intimately linked. And they can’t be unlinked. Even if one manages to suppress those needs, they come roaring back in the forms of neediness and overcompensation.

That’s why even the most cold-hearted player eventually has an emotional implosion, usually at the most unexpected time. That’s why women want to be romanced and swept off their feet. It’s why we keep going on date after frustrating date with nothing to show for it. That’s why overuse of pornography makes you feel like a loser, because while you’re getting off, you’re just reminding yourself that you’re not good enough (esteem) to be loved (connection).

It’s about emotional needs, psychological needs.

Sex is not like eating, because a) you don’t die without it, and b) it’s inevitably an emotional experience when you have it. Nature has cleverly wired us this way — to put our psychological needs first and then use sex to fulfill them in order to trick us into sticking around and taking care of one another. Sure, we may still try to get a little sumthin’ sumthin’ on the side now and again. And sure, when we break up and feel crappy, we may go on a little sex spree to feel good about ourselves.

But that’s just it. It’s not about the sex, it’s about how we feel about ourselves. That’s the way nature made it. And it’s not changing any time soon.

How to Stop Fucking Up Your Romantic Relationships

Relationships can be complicated and difficult. But few people know that there are some pretty clear signals to know if a relationship is going to work or not. Put your email in the form to receive my 29-page ebook on healthy relationships.

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Effects of Abuse

Being abused does not necessarily cause psychological or medical
illness to occur. However, being abused does make it much more likely
that one or more psychological or medical illnesses will occur.
Victimized people commonly develop emotional or psychological problems
secondary to their abuse, including anxiety disorders and various forms
of depression. They may develop substance abuse disorders. If abuse has
been very severe, the victim may be traumatized, and may develop a
posttraumatic stress injury such as posttraumatic stress disorder
(PTSD), or acute stress disorder. If abuse has occurred from a very
early age and has been substantial, a personality disorder may occur
(such as borderline, narcissistic, or histrionic personality disorders
or in some cases, a severe dissociative disorder such as dissociative
identity disorder (commonly known as multiple personality disorder).
Sexual disorders may be present. Sex may be experienced as particularly
undesirable, or physically or emotionally painful. Alternatively,
sexual promiscuity may be observed with the increased risk of sexually
transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy that such behavior carries.
Severe abuse can even lead the victim to contemplate suicide or carry
out suicidal impulses. Abuse can result in poor self-esteem, which can
lead to a lack of close and trusting relationships or to body image
issues (particularly for sexual abuse victims), which in turn can
result in eating disorders, which can be seen as victims’ attempts at
self-control in one small part of life when they otherwise feels
completely out of control and vulnerable.

It is important to note that abuse alone is not sufficient to create
psychological disorders. Abuse can be a very strong factor contributing
to their development, however. Developing a psychological disorder,
such as depression, does not mean that you were necessarily abused, and
being abused does not mean you will develop depression. Abuse is a
sufficient cause for depression; however, there are many other reasons
why someone might become depressed.

Posttrauma Responding
Though it is an oversimplified and perhaps even overreaching suggestion to make, it maybe easiest to think of the cluster of problems that are typically observed in the wake of abuse as all various forms of a sort of posttrauma condition, where the trauma experienced is abuse. Posttrauma conditions such as PTSD occur in the aftermath of a significant trauma (where trauma is defined as exposure to some event that involves the threat or reality of death (either one’s own or another’s)). Not all abuse situations get this scary, but many are disturbing enough in one fashion or another to make a lasting impact on a person’s mind. When posttrauma illnesses occur they are characterized by the presence of three classes of symptoms. First, the posttrauma victims typically experience vivid, unwanted and highly intrusive memories of their traumatic events. Intrusive recollections may occur during waking hours or during sleep (often in the form of vivid and repetitive nightmares re-enacting the trauma). Second, posttrauma victims make efforts to avoid exposing themselves to anything that might remind them of their trauma. Third, posttrauma victims become very anxious and jumpy after their trauma. As should be clear from thoughtful contemplation of these symptoms, PTSD can be a very debilitating condition.
Posttrauma victim’s attempts at avoidance of trauma-related things can push them towards impulsive actions that less frantic people would avoid. PTSD victims commonly abuse drugs, for instance, and this drug use is thought to begin as a means of coping with trauma. Similarly, depression and sexual acting out can be thought of as attempts to cope, however, dysfunctionally. Depression functions to blunt emotional responding, and promiscuity to give into it wholly (“if I’m damaged goods I might as well act like it”). Similarly, multiple personality disorder and the other abuse-related personality disorders represent wide-scale alterations of victim’s personalities that help them shield themselves from emotional pain.

Is There a Price to Pay for Promiscuity?

Can promiscuity threaten your longevity? The short answer is yes. Having a large number of sexual partners has been linked to poor sexual health and decreased longevity. Why? The more sexual partners you have, the greater your risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening conditions like prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and oral cancer.

“Promiscuity is one example of a class of high-risk behaviors,” says Deirdre Lee Fitzgerald, PhD, assistant professor of psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic. “It is comparable to, and may coincide with, behaviors such as heavy drinking, gambling, and other thrill-seeking behaviors like driving too fast.”

Why do people have many sexual partners? It’s exciting, Fitzgerald says, or, among their peers, it’s a kind of activity that brings them status. Another reason: It helps “them avoid dealing with other challenging emotional issues.”

Promiscuity’s Impact on Your Physical Health

Don’t believe the myths that you can’t get STDs unless you have sexual intercourse or that you can’t get them from oral or anal sex. Many viruses and bacteria that cause STDs can enter your bloodstream through tiny cuts in your mouth, anus, or the outer parts of your genitals.

Here a rundown of physical risks you face from promiscuity:

  • STDs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 19 million new STD infections occur each year. Among the most common STDs are chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis, but the most common of all is the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV can infect the mouth or the genitals, and most people do not know they are infected. HPV has been linked to cervical cancer and to oral and throat cancers.
  • HIV and AIDS. Being promiscuous and having STDs both increase your susceptibility to the AIDS virus. Despite better education and treatment, AIDS still killed more than 14,000 Americans in 2007.
  • Other health conditions. If promiscuity is combined with other risky behaviors like smoking, heavy drinking, substance abuse, not getting enough sleep, and poor diet, it can contribute to several chronic diseases including heart disease.
  • Physical abuse. Research shows the couples who are in long-term relationships are much less likely to suffer from domestic violence.

How Promiscuity Affects Emotional Health

One myth about promiscuity is that most men have many more sexual partners than women. The truth, studies show, is that by age 44, the average man has had about seven sexual partners and the average woman has had four. About 33 percent of men and 9 percent of women report having more than 10 sexual partners in their lifetime. Having many more partners than average is considered a sexual health risk.

And that risk extends to your emotional health as well. “The impact of these high risk behaviors on one’s emotional health includes making dangerous choices that lead to more and more risk. This cycle can lead to problems with self-concept, ineffective relationships, and even depression,” notes Fitzgerald.

With depression, the door swings both ways: Promiscuity may actually be a symptom of depression. And obviously, having multiple sexual partners makes it difficult to sustain a healthy relationship. Studies show that people in long-term, healthy relationships enjoy better health and greater longevity.

Despite the emphasis that society puts on sexuality, the best emotional, physical, and sexual health can be found in long-term relationships. If you find yourself jumping from relationship to relationship, you should consider the price you could be paying in both sexual health and longevity.

The Psychological Root of Promiscuity

Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis made promiscuity look hip and harmless in Friends With Benefits, and Pretty Woman sent an even worse message many years ago. But while Hollywood tends to glamorize promiscuity, those of us living in the real world know just how unglamorous – and potentially dangerous – promiscuity can be. I’m going to focus on what causes promiscuity because insight helps everyone make better decisions.

If you free associate when you hear the term “promiscuous,” what pops into your mind? When you picture someone promiscuous, do you picture a man or a woman? Most people picture a woman, unfair as that is. The truth is that both males and females are promiscuous. Plenty of talk shows and pop psychology books have beaten gender issues to death (you know, the so-called gender wars), so let’s focus instead on why anyone – man or woman – is promiscuous.

What’s a fair definition of promiscuous? While there is no precise, objective definition, conventional wisdom tells us that ‘promiscuous’ is a term used to describe someone who has multiple sex partners. In my clinical work, I find that a promiscuous individual suffers from low self-esteem and feels that sex is a way to get attention and to feel noticed. Of course, if someone feels smart, happy, and loved, they typically will not need to seek out attention in maladaptive ways: They get attention naturally in social environments, at school, or at work. In other words, someone with a strong self-esteem gets attention for skills they have naturally or have cultivated – and sexual skills don’t count.

We see examples of girls who are or may be promiscuous in everyday life – and the list of young girls who feel compelled to gain attention through overly sexualized clothing is even longer. Last week, I was walking down the street in Hollywood and noticed a young girl crossing the street who must have been 12 or 13 years old. Her wardrobe was almost-nonexistent, including a tiny tank top and extremely short shorts. She walked in what appeared to be a deliberately sexualized manner. It seemed so obvious – and sad – that she appeared to be seeking sexual attention from strangers who drove by or walked down the street. She walked alone, without family or friends, and she navigated her way through busy city streets in an outfit that would make me, as a father, truly fear for her safety. The saddest part was that it appeared as if she had already learned how to promote her sexuality. Was this girl headed down a path toward promiscuity?

Living Without an Emotional Anchor

If we’re talking about a young girl, like the one I described above, we must look to the parental unit to understand what kind of supervision she receives. Parents should be highly involved with their children during the early years to help protect them from the sexual dangers of promiscuity, and parents should know where their children are and what they’re wearing as much as is possible. Most promiscuous youngsters are promiscuous because they have insufficient supervision or because they have emotional issues (e.g., depression, current or past abuse) that have not been properly identified by parents or treated by professionals.

The college years for many young men and women mark the first time they become promiscuous. Away from the protective eyes of parents, newly hatched men and women often let loose and go overboard in an attempt to establish an identity as an independent adult. The risks are great during this period when men and women frequently use poor judgment under the influence of drugs or alcohol and thus engage in risky sexual behavior.

When it comes to promiscuous adults, they’re promiscuous because a proper self-esteem was not created earlier in life. As they enter their adult years later, they often get stuck in a rut where they keep engaging in the same sexual behavior because it’s familiar and because that is the identity they have developed over the years: someone who sleeps around and gets an emotional high from sexual trysts.

As adults move toward their 30s and vast numbers of men and women start coupling up, getting married, and having kids, men and women who remain promiscuous often start thinking about settling down. As a psychologist, I don’t see it as my place to tell people what type of sexual lifestyle they should pursue. I do, however, believe that we all need to examine how we feel emotionally during and after sex. The goal is to make sure that you feel good about who you are after the interlude is over.

How do you feel about promiscuity? Do you know anyone who engages in this behavior?

Dr. Seth Meyers has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve

The Cause and Cure of Sexual Promiscuity

By: Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon; ©2003

Many people believe that having sex will bring them the affection, love, and purpose in life they now lack. But instead of happiness and contentment, it often results in decreased self-esteem, pain, rejection, and sometimes tragedy. Some people today don’t think we have a social problem in the area of the nation’s sexual behavior.. But we do have a problem, and it is one of the most serious we face.

The Legacy of the Sexual Revolution

Many in America are familiar with Lauren Chapin, the actress who played Cathy Anderson in the popular television series “Father Knows Best.” But according to several sources, such as the Phoenix Gazette, as Cathy grew up in the real world, she encountered a life far different from that portrayed in the TV show. Searching for happiness, she recalls, “I slept with many, many people trying to find love, to find self-worth. And the more people I slept with the less self-worth I had.” As the years passed, before she became a Christian, Lauren Chapin suffered the results of searching for love and meaning through casual sex. Her involvement with numerous lovers, drugs, and Hollywood’s “fast lane” (which she termed a “death zone”) proved costly. It affected her health, brought eight miscarriages, and resulted in time spent in a mental hospital, and even prison.

Many people are like Lauren. They believe that having sex will bring them the affection, love, and purpose in life they now lack. But instead of happiness and contentment, it often results in decreased self-esteem, pain, rejection, and sometimes tragedy.

Some people today don’t think we have a social problem in the area of the nation’s sexual behavior. They continue to call for sexual liberty to counteract “repressive” and “puritanical” attitudes. But we do have a problem, and it is one of the most serious we face.

The Sexual Explosion

Many regional and national studies have revealed similar findings. For good or ill, the generation of the “sexual revolution” has transferred its sexual values to the larger society and even to its own children. Billions of dollars have been spent on sex education and family planning programs that have resulted only in a dramatic increase in promiscuous sexual activity and its consequences. The Washington Post revealed “that half of U.S. girls have now had intercourse by the age of fifteen.”

A major research study of eleven million teenage boys showed that 66 percent had had sex, the average age of the first encounter was sixteen, and by eighteen the average boy had had sex with five different girls.

A New York polling firm supplied forty-one questions, describing the “average” adolescent, to 1,300 students in sixteen high schools, 1600 students in ten colleges, and 500 parents of teens in twelve cities. This and other studies found that:

  • 57 percent lost their virginity in high school.
  • 79 percent lost their virginity by the end of college.
  • 33 percent of high school students had sex one to four times a month.
  • 53 percent of fifteen to nineteen year olds had been involved sexually; 58 percent of teen girls had two or more sex partners.

Senate Bill 2394 of the state of California discussed some of the statistics of teenage sexual behavior in that state:

  • Sixty-five percent of male teens and 44 percent of females have had sexual intercourse by eighteen.
  • Every year one in seven teens contracts a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
  • The teenage pregnancy rate for California’s fifteen to nineteen year olds increased by almost 33 percent from 1970 to 1985.
  • The abortion rate for teens fifteen to nineteen has more than tripled in the same period.

By age nineteen, 75 percent of unmarried women have had or are having sexual intercourse.

Unfortunately, statistics on sexual activity (or anything else) can be difficult to assess. They are easily manipulated and can be misleading, so we encourage caution in accepting the above figures as absolutes.

A Louis Harris poll showed that 90 percent of teens admitted they had become promiscuous simply because of perceived peer pressure. Of those who had sex, 80 percent said they felt they had been drawn into sex too soon. Regret often causes such teens to cut back on sexual behavior, unfortunately, teens who have had sex only once are classified as “sexually active,” inflating the teenage promiscuity rate. . . . Regarding the relative inactivity and return to abstinence among teens who had had sexual intercourse, it is realistic to promote “secondary virginity.” As Dr. James Ford notes, “These, figures indicate that secondary virginity is not all that rare among teenagers. In other words, an appreciable percentage of unmarried teenagers who have experienced premarital intercourse are not currently ‘sexually active.’”

But the teens who are sexually active still number in the millions—and even if some figures are inflated, no one can deny that a serious problem exists.

Former Secretary of Education William J. Bennett, in a speech to the National School Board Association, revealed some sobering facts:

  • More than one million teenage girls become pregnant each year, and 40 percent of today’s fourteen-year-old girls will become pregnant by the time they are nineteen.
  • Teenage pregnancy rates are at or near an all-time high. The 25 percent decline in birth rates between 1970 and 1984 was due to a doubling of the abortion rate during that period. More than 400,000 teenage girls have abortions each year.

Bennett himself confessed, “These numbers are an irrefutable indictment of sex education’s effectiveness in reducing teenage sexual activity and pregnancies.”

According to a national survey listing items that teenagers consider to be a problem, premarital sex relations ranked number one. Here are the things teenagers are concerned about:

  1. Premarital relations – 99 percent
  2. Drug abuse – 85 percent
  3. Alcoholism – 71 percent
  4. Suicide – 67 percent
  5. Teenage pregnancy – 44 percent
  6. Teenage pornography and prostitution -15 percent.

False Promises

For decades, Planned Parenthood and other “family planning” agencies have promised the American public that the crisis of teenage pregnancies, abortions, and sexually transmitted diseases would ease or cease if young people were thoroughly educated about their sexuality, given contraceptive methods and devices, and encouraged to develop sexual practices that were “right for them.”

But it would appear that the crisis has escalated, largely as a result of such education—there are now far more pregnancies, abortions, and major epidemics of sexually transmitted diseases than ever before. Proponents claim that the reason for this is a continued shortage of comprehensive sex education programs. But this is false. “Different studies produce different figures, but they all confirm that sex education is common across the country… Numerous studies confirm the prevalence, not shortage, of sex education courses in the United States. This finding should cast serious doubt on the Guttmacher Institute’s claim that the teen pregnancy rate is due to a lack of programs in the schools.”<ref>Ibid., 18.</ref>

The reason that so-called comprehensive sex education has failed our children—unfortunately, at their expense—is because many sex educators (1) do not understand the problem and, therefore, (2) propose wrong solutions. Modern sex education is not only a failure, it can be harmful to children in a number of ways.

In fact, it can be demonstrated demographically that wherever “comprehensive sex education programs” exist, the rates of teenage sex activity, pregnancy, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases continue to mount. But in those districts promoting abstinence, parental involvement, and education concerning the consequences of promiscuity, there is a significant reduction in these four crisis areas. This is documented by Josh McDowell (The Myths of Sex Education), Dinah Richards (Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers?: A Research Report), the research of Jim Sedlak, national director of Stop Planned Parenthood, Brad Hayton (No Protection: The Failure of Condom-Based Sex Education), and the research of professor Jacqueline Kasun of San Jose State University, to name a few (see chap. 9).

In February 1992, coauthor John Weldon told a leading representative of Planned Parenthood on national television that studies had confirmed the problems of comprehensive sex education. Her response was only a flat denial that this was true (see chap. 8). She claimed that Planned Parenthood was essential to the nation’s health.

What is so tragic is that we have abandoned our own children to sexual promiscuity in the guise of helping them “handle” their sexuality. But teenagers don’t want sex; they want values and meaning in their lives. They want love. In fact, a study conducted in the junior high schools of a major American city revealed that 67 percent of kids said their greatest need in sex education was not the “comprehensive sex education” of Planned Parenthood, but rather learning how to say no to sexual pressure. Even teens can recognize that sexual intimacy is often too powerful for adolescents to handle responsibly—why many sex educators can’t seem to understand this is a bit of a mystery.

Susan is a good example. Although Susan was raised in a Christian home and understood the importance of not becoming romantically involved with unbelievers, she fell into the wrong crowd and began dating a young man with whom she soon fell in love.

Susan intuitively knew that she was not ready for sexual activity, but because of her love for this man, she gave in to his continual encouragements to “show her love” for him. Once she had given in, her boyfriend abandoned her, apparently satisfied with his conquest. But Susan was crushed; she felt used and betrayed. It took her several months of counseling and almost a year to heal from the consequences of a single, brief, sexual encounter. “I wish I had known,” she said. “I knew I wasn’t ready, but I couldn’t deal with the intimidation of my sex-ed class.”


Teenagers have enough problems today without being encouraged into early sexual activity. Various studies, including one by the U.S. Surgeon General, reveal that many of the nation’s teenagers and twenty-three million college students are now drug and alcohol abusers because their lives lack meaning and purpose. Because there is so little faith in the future, it is also easy for them to “live for today” in terms of physical or sensual gratification. Unfortunately, this only compounds their problems. For example, Brandon told us how he felt about life as a teenager: “Life is so boring. So I’ve found my own excitement. I don’t have a lot of money, but sex is a cheap thrill that doesn’t cost anything and can be done anywhere. It is easy to find a girl who is willing. Life is so meaningless anyway, why not?” Brandon never knew that Shirley, one of his “cheap thrills,” would later kill herself as a result of his sexual abuse. Or that he would spend twenty years in jail upon conviction of rape.

Teenagers rarely see the consequences of actions that are done in a moment of passion or misguided love. As Mary, a fifteen-year-old girl recalls, “I had no idea what the cost would be. But it took losing my virginity at a very young age, my self-respect, my fertility, bringing ruin to another person’s marriage, acquiring an incurable disease, much guilt, and a year and a half of distrusting men before I realized that sex is not something that can be entered into lightly.”

On the TV special “C. Everett Koop, M.D., Listening to Teenagers,” the former Surgeon General commented, “Teenagers are walking through a mine field.” He noted that most teens have little or no self-esteem, and this leads to drugs, alcohol abuse, and sexual promiscuity. It was startling to hear him say that almost 50 percent of teenagers suffer from depression severe enough to require treatment. Home problems, grade problems, relationship problems, and parental drug and alcohol abuse are some of the causes.

He also emphasized that what adolescents choose to do is what puts them at risk. For example, teens can no longer afford to not worry about AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), because teenage infection rates are increasing dramatically. Yet more than 50 percent have had sex by eighteen, and every year one in ten teenage girls becomes pregnant. Further, 50 percent of teenagers drink, and one in three is a heavy drinker; thousands die each year in alcohol-induced car accidents—and there are millions of homeless teenagers. Thousands more commit suicide—a “last resort” that is surprisingly not infrequently linked to premarital sexual intercourse (see chap. 10).

What is the solution? Dr. Koop emphasized that “communication is the first step in health care” and that sometimes the right words are better than a doctor’s prescription. He noted that lack of communication between parents and teens is the greatest problem we face.

Josh McDowell, who has given more than eighteen thousand talks to more than eight million students and faculty at more than a thousand universities and high schools in seventy-two countries has outlined both the problem and the solution in The Myths of Sex Education.

He observes that almost all teenagers and college students have two basic fears—that they will never be loved and that they will never be able to love. As McDowell points out, “One out of every two marriages ends in divorce, and many of the couples who remain married model hatred, distrust or apathy instead of love. No wonder so many kids today are unable to develop close, intimate relationships.”

When parents don’t show love to their children, those children may search for love elsewhere. One questionnaire among a thousand high school students revealed that 50 percent were uncertain that their parents loved them. McDowell explains: “Fathers are often worse offenders than mothers in failing to communicate love. . . . I truly believe that lots of hugs between fathers and their teen daughters would do more to stop the teen pregnancy epidemic than any other single factor.”

In discussing the reasons that children become sexually involved, McDowell further reveals,

If I had to give one reason, I would say get sexually involved in search of a father’s love. . . . We don’t have a teenage sexual crisis—we have a teenage/parental relationship crisis. Teens are looking for intimacy from those who love them, particularly their fathers. When they don’t find it there, they turn to sexual activity to get it. . . . Our kids don’t want sex as much as they want to be loved. It’s as true for sons as it is for daughters. . . . They want someone who cares, who will listen and who will talk to them, and they want it to start with their fathers. This is the heartache of the broken home, whether through a legal divorce, an “emotional divorce” between parents and their children, or simply a lack of love and communication. Kids who are not loved at home will look for love in all the wrong places.

It can’t be denied that need for love and intimacy is one of the deepest needs we experience. Unfortunately, this is something that liberal sex education, thinking it is working on behalf of teens, continues to deny them by promoting the very promiscuity and personal insecurity it seeks to prevent.

Fathers and mothers need to learn not only how to express love to their children, but they also need to know the facts concerning the current social situation in which their children are being reared and educated by society. If the sexual epidemic is a search for love, and parents meet their children’s need for love, coupled with a common sense, abstinence-based presentation of sex education, then the current tragedy can be halted.


  1. Phoenix Gazette, 20 August 1983
  2. In Josh McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education (San Bernardino, Calif.: Here’s Life, 1990); cf. Los Angeles Tunes, 19 February 1990, 8.
  3. Parade, 18 December 1988, 16.
  4. People, 13 April 1987.
  5. Patricia Hersch, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases Are Ravaging Our Children: Teen Epidemic,”American Health, May 1991; cf., USA Today, 8 November 1990, la.
  6. McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 9.
  7. Hersch, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” 44.
  8. Sam Gitchel and Lorri Foster, Let’s TaUcAbout Sex (Fresno, Calif.: Planned Parenthood of Central California, n.d.), 5
  9. Dinah Richard, Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers? A Research Report (Pomona, Calif.: Focus on the Family, 1990), 42.
  10. William J. Bennett, “Sex and the Education of Our Children,” U.S. Department of Education, 22 January 1987; transcript of talk at the National School Board Association in Washington, D.C.
  11. Richard, Has Sex Education Failed Our Teenagers? 49.
  12. Jim Sedlak, research available from Stop Planned Parenthood, P.O. Box 8, LaGrangeville, NY 12540 (914-473-3316); Brad Hayton, No Protection: The Failure of Condom-Based Sex Education, Newport Beach, Calif.: Pacific Policy Institute, 1991 (714-723-6635); JacquelineKasun, “The Truth About Sex Education,” in Barrett Mossbacher, School-Based Clinics (Westchester, Ill.: Crossway, 1987); “Teenage Pregnancy: What Comparisons Among States and Countries Show,” (Stafford, Va.: American Life League, 1986); “The Baltimore School Birth Control Study: A Comment,” Humbolt State University, 1; “The State and Adolescent Sexual Behavior,” in Joseph R Reden and Fred R. Glahe, eds., The American Family and the State (San Francisco: Pacific Research Institute for Public Policy, 1986).
  13. To understand how dangerous Planned Parenthood is to the nation’s health, see Robert Marshall and Charles Donovan, Blessed Are the Barren: The Social Policy of Planned Parenthood (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1991), and George Grant, Grand Illusion: The Legacy of Planned Parenthood (Nashville: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1988).
  14. Psychology Today, January/February 1989.
  15. November 18, 1991, 11:00 P.M., PBS, Channel 18.
  16. McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 16.
  17. Parents and Better Homemaking, December 1965, 40.
  18. McDowell, The Myths of Sex Education, 17.
  19. Ibid., 22-23.
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Percent of young people (15-24) having multiple partners in last year


  • Overview of the Family Planning and Reproductive Health Indicators Database
  • Summary List of Indicators
  • Family Planning
  • Sexual and Reproductive Health
  • Women’s Health
    • Adolescent and Youth Sexual and Reproductive Health
    • Breastfeeding
    • Cervical Cancer
    • Family Planning (Core)
    • Family Planning and HIV
    • Female Genital Cutting
    • Malaria in Pregnancy
    • Newborn Health
    • Obstetric Fistula
    • Postabortion Care
    • Reproductive Health in Emergency Situations
    • Safe Motherhood
    • Sexual and Gender-Based Violence
    • Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV/AIDS
      • AIDS Program Effort Index (API)
      • National policy on STI/HIV/AIDS control
      • Condoms available for distribution nationwide
      • Percent of population with accepting attitudes towards those living with HIV
      • Percent of population who correctly identify ways of preventing HIV
      • Percent of population who reject incorrect beliefs about HIV/AIDS
      • Voluntary counseling and testing centers with minimum conditions to provide quality services
      • Antenatal clinics offering and referring for voluntary counseling and testing
      • Percent of population who know methods of preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV
      • Percent of men and women aged 15-49 who received an HIV test in the last 12 months and who know their results
      • Percent of pregnant women who were counseled and tested for HIV and know their results
      • HIV prevalence among pregnant women 15-24 years old
      • Number/percent of health providers trained in PMTCT
      • Percent of all HIV positive pregnant women who received a complete course of ART prophylaxis
      • Percent of HIV positive pregnant women who received appropriate treatment in labor, according to PMTCT recommendations
      • Percent of infants of HIV-positive mothers receiving ARVs for PMTCT at birth
      • Percent of population who had high risk sex in the last year
      • Condom use at last high-risk sex
      • Percent of women and men aged 15-49 who had more than one sexual partner in the past 12 months reporting the use of a condom during their last sexual intercourse
      • Consistency of condom use
      • Percent of men having commercial sex in last year
      • Percent of men reporting the use of a condom the last time they had anal sex with a male partner
      • Percent of young women and men aged 15-24 who have had sexual intercourse before the age of 15
      • Percent of young people (15-24) having multiple partners in last year
      • HIV prevalence in sub-populations with high-risk behavior
      • Percent of injecting drug users never sharing equipment in the last month
      • Percent of donated blood units screened for HIV in a quality assured manner
      • Percent of STI patients appropriately diagnosed and treated
      • Percent primary health care facilities providing comprehensive approaches for symptomatic STIs
      • Percent of STI patients receiving advice on condom use and partner notification and referral for HIV testing
      • Percent of health facilities providing STI services with adequate drug supply
      • Number/percent of health facilities with the capacity to deliver appropriate care to HIV-infected patients
      • Percent of adults and children with advanced HIV infection receiving ART
      • Links to other indicator resources
    • Women’s Nutrition
    • Women’s Nutrition and HIV
  • Men’s Health
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What Motivates Sexual Promiscuity?

This posting is in response to Dr. Steven Reiss’s recent piece on motivational analysis vs. psychodynamic analysis of behavior, which I found exceedingly interesting and provocative. Reiss analyzes so-called sexual promiscuity, opposing his motivational view of such behavior to a psychodynamic or psychoanalytic one. Reiss specifically mentions my former mentor, Rollo May’s perspective on love and promiscuity. Since Dr. May is no longer around to defend himself, having died in 1994 at the age of 85, let me respond to your points, Dr. Reiss, though, ultimately, I can only speak for myself here.

Promiscuity is formally defined, according to Webster, as including not only frequent but “indiscriminate” sexual behavior. Preference for frequent sexual contacts is not necessarily the same as being sexually indiscriminating. The latter, in women, indicates a possible compulsive, and therefore, pathological quality to the excessive sexual behavior, referred to traditionally as nymphomania. (In men, it is called satyriasis.)

Such indiscriminate or sometimes even random sexual behaviors can be commonly seen in various mental disorders such as psychosis, manic episodes, substance abuse and dependence, dissociative identity disorder, as well as borderline, narcissistic and antisocial personalities, and can, in fact, often be partially diagnostic of such pathological conditions. (See, for example, the diagnostic criterion of impulsive behaviors like reckless sex in Borderline Personality Disorder and often dangerously heightened sexual drive and behavior in the manic phase of Bipolar Disorder.) Of course, some experimental promiscuity during adolescence and young adulthood is typical in our culture, and considered by most to be developmentally normal rather than pathological.

Having said that, it is easy for men to be accused of imposing a double standard when it comes to female sexuality: It’s fine for men to be sexually promiscuous. Even indiscriminate. Such sexual activity is often culturally encouraged and admired. But when women openly and aggressively express their sexuality like men, we tend to view them as mentally ill, promiscuous, sinful or evil vixens.

To be fair, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Though I would argue that psychologically, sociologically and biologically, sex holds a significantly different meaning for men and women. Sigmund Freud, the first “psychodynamic” theorist more than a century ago, was very clear that we live in a sexually repressed society. We are admittedly less sexually repressed here in America following the “sexual revolution,”free love” and “women’s liberation” of the 1960s and 70s, but, perhaps more so than our European cousins, still suffer from this Puritanistic aspect of what Freud referred to as “civilization and its discontents.” Society, psychiatry, psychology, and, for many, religion, still dictate what is “right” and “wrong,” “moral” or “immoral,” “acceptable” or “unacceptable,” “normal” or “pathological,” “good” or “evil” regarding human sexual behavior. (See my prior post on DSM-V.)

Just because someone, male or female, refuses to accept society’s standard regarding sexual self-expression does not necessarily make him or her neurotic, perverted, pathological, antisocial or aberrant. On this we can agree. In the case you cited of the famous heiress and art patron Peggy Guggenheim, I don’t know how much of her sexual behavior was indiscriminating in its frequency. Indeed, I know nothing of her sex life at all. Nor am I familiar with her mental health history. So any commentary on her behavior here by me is completely speculative.

But she apparently was indeed highly motivated to have frequent sexual liaisons with numerous men throughout her adulthood. So much so that you note the high number of abortions (estimated to be as many as 17) she purportedly underwent. And her sexual behavior was certainly unconventional in her day and socially frowned upon. The very important question you raise is: What was it exactly that motivated her “promiscuous” (meaning, in this case, excessive by “normal” or conventional standards) sexual life?

You seem to suggest that, generally, the primary motivation for such “promiscuity” has mainly to do with innate intense sexual drive, combined with a low extrinsic motivation for social acceptance or “honor.”

But what is “sexual drive”? I have no doubt that different temperaments, sometimes congenital, can include different, e.g., more or less aggressive or powerful libidinal urgings. But here we get into the nature of a so-called “drive.”

As a clinical psychologist, I think of “drive” as a combination of both biological (endogenous or intrinsic) libidinal energy, intrapsychic structure (including complexes), and external (exogenous or extrinsic) motivation. Or what psychodynamic psychotherapists call primary and secondary gain. In other words, for me, what “drives” us sexually or otherwise is a mixture of nature and nurture, as well as familial, societal or cultural influences.

But I consider it a gross oversimplification to reduce motivation in the case of sexual promiscuity to pure biology. Human motivation is a quite complex matter. Much more so than animal motivation.

For Rollo May, this motivational “drive” of which we are speaking is what he termed the daimonic. The daimonic, wrote May in his magnum opus, Love and Will (1969), “is any natural function which has the power to take over the whole person. Sex and eros, anger and rage, and the craving for power are examples.

The daimonic can be either creative or destructive and is normally both.” The passionate psychobiological power of the daimonic is capable of driving us toward destructive and/or creative activity. Particularly to the extent it remains unconscious and, therefore, unintegrated into and disconnected from the conscious personality. Much of the greatest art and most evil deeds are direct or indirect expressions of the daimonic.

And it appears to me that Ms. Guggenheim was not only personally driven but both attracted to and fascinated by the daimonic manifested in the artists she worked and played with. (For more on May’s idea of the daimonic and its clinical implications in both evil and creativity, see my book Anger, Madness, and the Daimonic.)

Applying May’s unique psychodynamic model of the daimonic, we could conceivably conceptualize Ms. Guggenheim’s hypersexuality as a manifestation of “daimonic possession,” an inordinate and irresistible sexual drivenness. But what was this compelling drivenness really all about? Was it truly just about lust, sex and sexual satisfaction? If it was Oedipal in nature, the so-called Elektra complex in women, as classical Freudian analysis might suggest, were her unconscious strivings purely and literally sexually motivated? Or was it a symbolic seeking after some other aspect of Eros: the love of men, the love of other women’s men, regaining the abruptly lost sense of security and love of her father during adolescence? In this particular case, she had evidently been deeply wounded by her parents’ repeated marital separations, the sudden loss of her father in the HMS Titanic tragedy, and then the abandonment by her mother when she was relegated by her to being brought up by nannies.

These sorts of painful, traumatic losses during childhood or adolescence can and do affect self-esteem and self-image, and frequently manifest later in neurotically repetitive relationship patterns (see my prior post), psychiatric symptoms such as chronic depression and anxiety, and difficulties with emotional intimacy.

However, the fact is that Ms. Guggenheim married twice and produced two children, indicating at least some capacity and desire for intimacy and commitment. Yet, you may be right that marriage and monogamy simply did not suit her personality nor her voracious appetite for sex. Or, as I would put it, for love via sex.

Promiscuity or monogamy. Is one more existentially meaningful than the other? You contend Rollo May prejudically believed so, that he was someone who found monogamy meaningful and sexual promiscuity shallow, superficial and unfulfilling. And you are probably right. I agree that people derive meaning in life in different ways. Marriage or monogamy is not for everyone. (See, for example, Bella DePaulo’s blog on being single here at PT.) Marriage or monogamy is no more inherently meaningful (or meaningless) than promiscuity, singlehood or celibacy for that matter. You call this the “brutal truth.” Rollo May’s psychology never shied away from, distorted or denied the tragic and brutal truth about human existence. Existential psychotherapy is based upon acknowledging and confronting reality as it is, rather than as we would like it to be. It is existentially true that meaning is where we find or make it. For a priest, monk or nun, celibacy is spiritually meaningful. For a “free spirit,” which may have been how Guggenheim either described herself or was perceived by others, uncommitted sexuality is personally meaningful, perhaps signifying freedom, rebellion and self-assertion.

For the woman who identifies with the archetypal role of Muse or femme inspiratrice, providing sexual love to artists may hold profound meaning. I don’t know whether Ms. Guggenheim suffered from a lack of meaning in her life. In fact, I tend to doubt it based on the little I’ve read, since she was apparently fully and passionately engaged in the arts and in her serial sexual adventures with various prominent and prodigious artists.

We might even surmise that, for Guggenheim, sexuality–along with her creation of cutting-edge art galleries and keen eye for up and coming artists like Cocteau, Kandinsky, Calder, Picasso, Klee, Magritte, Miro, Chagall, Pollock and Ernst–was her own personal art form, her way of creatively expressing herself in the world, her creative outlet for the vital libidinal life forces of the daimonic.

The question of whether Peggy Guggenheim engaged in promiscuous sexuality to avoid inner feelings of emptiness, anxiety and loss is very much to the point: Could that have been the reason she frantically flitted from bed to bed? Because of exactly what you cite May as saying: That in a purely sexual (i.e., merely physically intimate) relationship, “it is only a matter of time before the partners experience feelings of emptiness.” This is exactly what sexual (or any) addiction is all about.

The initial “high” from sex, from orgasm, from infatuation, from novelty, from romance rapidly fades away. And then the sex “addict” searches for that next “fix.” That new lover. That next conquest or opportunity to “get off.” Over and over and over. As with any addictive behavior, such a pattern can serve as a kind of self-medication, a way of managing or avoiding depression and anxiety, and of filling the vacuum created when feelings of sadness, grief or rage are chronically repressed. What really motivates sexually addictive or compulsive behavior? Extraordinary sex drive? I would disagree. It is more likely the same thing that primarily motivates any addictive behavior: Avoidance of anxiety, anger, grief or pain. (See my prior post.)

Or, perhaps in this case, loneliness. That too can be a powerful motivation: avoidance. As Freud well understood. Sometimes even more motivating than the pleasure of sating one’s sexual appetite and releasing sexual tension. (Whether Ms. Guggenheim’s sexual escapades were fueled at all by alcohol or other disinhibiting drugs is yet another relevant question.)

Rollo May did not, as you allege, confuse “individuality with abnormality.” He had great respect for individuality, and tended to de-pathologize rather than moralize or pathologize individual differences. (See, for example, his groundbreaking book The Meaning of Anxiety, in which he normalizes the experience of existential anxiety.) I don’t think he would have judged someone like Ms. Guggenheim moralistically.

It is true that he (like two of his teachers, psychoanalysts Alfred Adler and Erich Fromm) in Freudian tradition felt that the capacity to love, to form close and lastingly intimate connections or attachments with others, is one of the fundamental pillars of mental health and meaning. While I don’t fully agree (see my prior post), I believe Dr. May would probably have conceptualized Ms. Guggenheim’s promiscuity as being neurotically driven by the daimonic in this case.

I would say it is likely that poor self-esteem and feelings of emptiness and inherent unlovability may very well have been a driving force in such behavior, and that her hypersexuality, and its consequences, though probably engaged in to boost her ego, continually eroded her self-esteem. This can result in a vicious cycle of endless sexual activity. Moreover, it may well have served as an unconscious defense mechanism against authentic intimacy.

This is the distinction you refer to that May makes between “libido” and “Eros”: Although both aspects of Eros, sex and love are not the same thing, and, indeed, sex can sometimes unconsciously be engaged in to defend against love and intimacy. Someone who has been severely wounded during childhood in the way Guggenheim reportedly was would typically avoid situations in which they could be rejected and abandoned again.

That becomes their primary motivation: the frantic avoidance of abandonment, even if that means engaging in ultimately self-destructive, superficial, sometimes abusive sexual relationships with emotionally unavailable partners.

My own guess is that, to the extent they were in fact “purely sexual” (which I tend to doubt), some of her serial encounters might have veered toward superficiality, and, as a result, lacked substantial meaning in the long run. And, more importantly, that her sexual promiscuity was somewhat compulsive, defensive and avoidant in nature. A form of what Freud famously called repetition compulsion : An unconscious adult re-enactment of seeking love from but being rejected, uncared for and abandoned by her emotionally and physically unavailable parents.

A self-defeating narcissistic defense against a deep-seated sense of insecurity and unlovability. A neurotic, constant turning to her lovers for something she felt she had missed out on. Or for some aspect of her own personality she was unable or unwilling to accept or fully develop, the “masculine” element in her psyche Jung called the animus. Her repeated pregnancies (representing creative potentiality) and subsequent abortions might, for example, be taken to symbolize her own aborted efforts at becoming an artist herself.

None of this is, for me anyway, a moral judgment, but rather a purely clinical one. If Ms. Guggenheim was happy with her lifestyle, if it worked for her, who am I (or anyone else) to say it was pathological, immoral or wrong? But if she or someone like her turned up in my office, miserable, dissatisfied, distraught and seeking psychological help, we would have to take a good hard look at her repetitive relationship patterns, their significance, and how they both stem from and negatively affect her self-esteem, integrity and mood.

We would need to determine what she really wants regarding relationships rather than how she rationalizes and aggrandizes her sexual behavior. And we would need to examine how what happened to her in the past profoundly affected her then–and is still affecting her now. We would need to confront what Dr. May called the daimonic, which, in this case, would likely include her repressed or dissociated feelings of hurt, abandonment, rejection, sadness, anger and rage toward her parents, herself. And possibly her own repressed creativity.

Since the daimonic (not unlike Jung’s concept of the shadow) by definition becomes stronger and destructive the longer it is repressed or dissociated, usurping control of or taking over the whole personality, we might expect to see some prior early history of sometimes religiously motivated sexual abstinence or chronic suppression of the sexual instinct in cases of promiscuity or nymphomania. This is related to Nietzsche’s notion of the “return of the repressed.”

I have no idea whether Ms. Guggenheim had such a history. But my point is that, both psychodynamically and existentially speaking, such a person’s inordinate “sex drive” can be symptomatic of far more than some intrinsic, biological motivation, as you propose. To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. But sometimes it’s more than a cigar.

As for the matter of meaning, which is so central to May’s existential psychotherapy, you say that Ms. Guggenheim’s “promiscuity” (your term) was indeed meaningful for her, and provided a primary source of meaning in her life. You may be right. But what did it really mean to her? That she could seduce a man? That she was desirable? That she was lovable? That she was worthy of love? Why did she find it necessary to flit from man to man so incessantly? Was she happy doing so? Or was she suffering? Lonely? Frustrated? And why was she so fond of artists in particular? Clearly, she had a deep love and appreciation of art.

During the 1920’s, she lived a thoroughly bohemian life-style in Paris for many years in the company of struggling artists, and, decades later, married Max Ernst, remaining married to him for several years. But to conclude that she behaved the way she did simply because of her unusually strong sex drive does little if anything to explain, for instance, why she couldn’t have satisfied her sexual appetite within a more traditional, monogamous relationship. And concluding that she was promiscuous because she didn’t really care about her “honor” or social standing would, for me, be equally unconvincing. Ultimately, sex, in such cases, serves as a symbolic substitute for love. And that is what makes it so meaningful.

Curiously, the daimonic (not unlike the “Force” in the Star Wars saga) seems to have been strong with Ms. Guggenheim. Hence her self-reported sexual vitality and passion. For me, this represents a positive prognostic quality. Rollo May was quite insistent that the daimonic is not only about destructiveness, pathology and evil, but can also be positive, constructive and creative. It’s all about how we channel the daimonic. What we do with it. How we use it. Here is what he wrote in his brief foreword to my book: “The daimonic (unlike the demonic, which is merely destructive), is as much concerned with creativity as with negative reactions. . . . That is, constructiveness and destructiveness have the same source in human personality.”

For May, that source is the daimonic or “human potential.” Peggy Guggenheim apparently sublimated or discharged her daimonic energy into her love of art and her art of love. Since the daimonic demands some expression, had she not directed her life force into art and love, had she merely repressed or suppressed it in order to live a more conventional and respectable life-style, she might have fallen into despair, or the daimonic could have come out destructively, negatively or even violently. So it may well be that for Ms. Guggenheim, sexual promiscuity was the best possible and least destructive choice. Short of some good psychotherapy, that is.

At this current juncture in America, many believe that casual sex is harmless to individuals and society. They believe that they are free to do what they want, whomever they want, and be sexually free as long as it’s voluntary. This idea was very foreign to older generations, and it started becoming a norm in society. According to survey data from 1970-2010, 29% of Americans were accepting of premarital sex in the 1970s while that rate later increased to 55% in 2010. When split into generations, 62% of Millenials had the highest approval rating for premarital sex. This shift in attitude surrounding sex culminated in the rise of casual sex as 35% of Gen X’ers engaged in casual sex in the 1980s while that rate increased to 45% in 2010 for Millenials. This influence came from the ideas of the Sexual Revolution in the 1960s, which activists fought for the social and sexual freedoms of women. Promiscuity was one of the libertine values supported by feminists and social liberals, as its values centered on having casual sex and multiple sexual partners in a lifetime as a form of personal liberty or expression of sexual freedom. Social conservatives fight against this idea because it destroys the foundations of traditional families (bedrock social unit of civilization). Leftists, on the other hand, embrace this unrestrained sexual behavior, and silence anyone by gossiping, virtue signaling, and slandering. They are promoting and normalizing a destructive behavior in an effort to bring down Western culture and civilization.

Although the signs of sexual promiscuity may not only come from unconstrained sexual drive (symptoms of other psychological disorders), the cultural shift in attitude around sex and marriage has normalized a high risk behavior that leads to damaging effects on the individual and society itself. Over the years, people conducted years of research and studies to explain the actual effects of sexual promiscuity on an individual and societal level, and how promiscuity corresponds to a dysgenic civilization. Sexual promiscuity lead to nuclear family breakdowns by increasing single parenthood, which lead to improper parenting of the next generation who are charged with preserving their societies. The way to reverse this trend is to understand the destructive effects of sexual flings and casual hookups, and to reinstate the idea of having standards in picking a person who will actually benefit one’s life in the long-term. This will save people from a destructive life, and to preserve the very society that was passed down to them by those before them.

Sexual Diseases and Psychological Damages

On an individual level, being sexually promiscuous increases the risk of physical and mental damage. The rate of contracting AIDS, STDs, and HIV increases as you increase the number of sexual partners. The Center for Disease Control projected 19 million people will be infected each year, and a separate survey report found 24% of all teens who contracted an STD continuously have unprotected sex. Being sexually promiscuous is considered a high risk behavior that coincides with other destructive behaviors or habits like substance abuse, lack of sleep, smoking, etc. It is one of traits of impulsivity, which has catastrophic effects on both men and women (most affected sex). Both men and women can exhibit disorders like Bipolar Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder, with sexual promiscuity being a determining indicator of such disorders. Promiscuity, in some cases, can be seen as a symptom of larger problems such as improper child rearing, physical or genetic makeup, mental disorders, cultural factors and social problems, or can be even the cause of these problems. Regardless of whether it is a symptom and/or a cause of other problems, the central theme of this concept explains that having casual sex will eventually lead to more dangerous decisions and consequences in the form of different abuses, both physical and mental. It can even lead up to abnormal sexual behaviors, which occurs after a person keeps having casual sex (hookups, friends with benefits). These people are getting short-term satisfaction and over time that satisfaction will dissipate. It can lead to sense of emptiness, which eventually leads people to look towards different and often extreme methods of satisfying their addiction. In the end, the most problematic issue surrounding sexual promiscuity is the degradation of marital stability.

Marriage and Happiness

Sexual promiscuity takes a toll upon women’s marital stability and their long-term happiness. Several sources indicate that many young women who have sex early on in their lives (age 12 and 13) tend to have higher rates of divorce than any other age other group. Per Kirk Johnson’s research from the Heritage Foundation, teenage girls tend to also have the most sexual partners in their lifetime and have the highest turnover rate in sexual partners. As we go up the age bracket, the older a woman is when she first has sex, the less lifetime sexual partners she will have on average. In terms of turnover rate, girls who start in their teen years (12yrs and younger) will have at least 1.77 or 2 (rounded) sexual partners on average per year compared to older women who later become sexually active (women at 26yrs+ is 0.33 on average). Younger girls who are sexually active in their teen years may have more sexual partners due to experiencing longer years of sexual activity. As noted in the data, the younger girls start having sex, the more sexual partners they will have while others who are older will have less.

In terms of marital stability, 50.90% of girls at the age of 13-14 who were sexually active became single mothers while that rate decreases with older age groups. Women at the age of 19-20 who became single mothers were 20.50% while 14.87% of women who were sexually active at the age of 26+ became single mothers. That is a staggering comparison between the younger age groups and older age groups. This means that women who became sexually active at the age of 13-14 were 3 times more likely to become single parents compared to women in their 20s. Women who are in stable marriages (married for at least 5yrs) tend to have the greatest stability when they start their sexual activity when they are older, with 68.58% of 26yrs+ having stable marriages. Those who start having sex when they are 12 and younger only had 18.47% of stable marriages in that group.

As young teens become sexually active and have more sexual encounters with many more people, it also increases out-of-wedlock child birth rates and pregnancy. 39.65% of women who started their sexual activity at ages 13-14 had children out-of-wedlock while women at the age of 23-25 have a reduced rate of 8.35%. For pregnancy out-of-wedlock, women at ages 13-14 have a 64.67% likelihood of getting pregnant compared to women at the age of 26+ having a 15.80% chance of getting pregnant out-of-wedlock.

As we keep going through the data, findings reveal that having intercourse with multiple sexual partners only increases the risks of experiencing negative consequences. Women who have more sexual partners (at least 5 partners) are 4 times more likely to abort their child than women who only slept with the person they marry. Likewise, women who slept with at least 5 sexual partners increased their chances of being a single mother by 7 times compared to women who only slept with the person they are marrying. The comparison shows an absolute detriment to females when they increase the number of sexual partners in their lifetime. For personal happiness, 37% of women who had 5 sexual partners or more reported that they were very happy while 56% of women who married the person they only had sex with reported being currently very happy. A separate study conducted by the National Marriage Project also reported similar findings where 53% of women who only slept with their future spouse ended up being very happy with their marriage while women who had multiple sexual partners prior to marrying their husband reported a lower rate. This rate is reduced to 42% for women who slept with more than 2 partners while 22% of women who slept with 10 or more people prior to getting married reported being happy in their marriages.

Despite the limited amount of studies linking promiscuity to divorce rates, most of these studies reflected similar conclusions regarding how the quantity of sexual partners increases the likelihood of divorce. In a study conducted by Anthony Paik found that women who slept with a man who will soon become their future husband did not have a high risk of divorce in contrast to women who had multiple partners (study only examined ages 16yr+). For cohabitors, divorce rates increase when a partner had a series of past sexual partners. According to the Heritage Foundation, cohabitors divorce about double the rate of those who do not live together before marriage. That rate later quadruples for cohabitors who marry a partner outside of their present relationship. The researcher concluded that it is possible that a person’s attitude towards sex, sexual relationships and marriage changes with sexual experience which is later reflected in later choices.

Destruction of the Family

As the data indicate that women have a higher chance of being single mothers, it also impacts the economic and sociological well-being of the family. Single parent households are generally poorer than married couple families, being less capable of providing adequate parental care for their children. Almost half of American families go into poverty after a divorce (75% of women apply for welfare due to divorce or a breakup with their male cohabitor). It’s not difficult to see this since a family’s income is derived from the family structure, with men being the breadwinners of the family while mothers took care of the children. When a marriage dissolves, family income decreases by 42% on average. In 2013, the yearly median family income for single mothers was only 1/3 of married families’ median annual income ($84,000). For the poverty rate, 39.6% of single mother families lived in poverty while 51.9% lived in extreme poverty as defined by the federal poverty line (living under $9,900 with a family of three). For married families, only 7.6% lived in poverty as of 2013. The fact that single mothers have to work harder to provide a home, food, clothes, parental care, and all the duties that come with being a parent after a divorce increases financial responsibility. This constrains the amount of opportunities and hours that the mother must allocate in order to balance all the responsibilities of raising a family. Single mothers spent half of their income on housing and 1/3 of the other on childcare in 2013, often showing that they have very little for other expenses. This rate may decrease for women who have been working and have a relatively high income prior to a divorce or a breakup with a cohabitor. Divorce is a strong predictor of poverty for families, and it affects low-income families the most.

These problems aren’t only economic, but also physical and psychological. Single mothers must work long hours while also functioning as a parent, which takes a toll on their health. This ranges from increased chances of developing mental illnesses, addictions, and even suicide. Children who are living under a single mother household after divorce tend to exhibit behaviors as described in the effects on marital stability section. Teenage girls are 2.5 times more likely to give birth out-of-wedlock (chances increase even higher when parents divorce during a daughter’s mid-teenage years), more likely to engage in sexual relationships at a rapid rate, and are more likely to experience unstable marriages. Divorce decreases the chances of educational successes (very likely to drop out of high school and earn lower grades) and makes them 1.4 times more likely to be unemployed, while also diminishing their mental and physical health. As their mental and physical health deteriorates, these teens are 25%-50% more likely to display signs of antisocial behavior, depression, anxiety, dependence, hyper activity, and suicidal thoughts.

This can be explained by the lack of a parental care and supervision at home, trauma from divorce disputes, child abuse, lack of father or mother figure, and other factors. Child abuse is especially a serious problem for the family when we see the link between divorce and children’s upbringing. The rate of maltreatment by family structure (when counting children per 1,000) shows the lowest chance of child abuse in married families compared to unmarried, single parent, and single parent with a partner. Single mothers who are living with a partner are 8.25 times more likely to have their children abused moderately (8 times as much for serious abuse) in the household in contrast to married and intact families. The very fact that children are affected negatively by divorce will not only lead them to have these problems, but they will also engage in other high-risk and violent behaviors. Children who came from broken homes were more likely to become juveniles and criminals when they grow older. This is because they lack any figure to supervise them and raise them to be proper citizens of the community.

Concluding Remarks

After going through several statistical studies on the empirical link of promiscuity and divorce, and how divorce is linked to poverty and crime, it is difficult to understand how anyone would tolerate or even advocate this type of behavior. Although the data does not indicate that a person who engage in casual sex will be forever doomed to have an unhappy marriage or a life of poverty, but it means that they have a strong likelihood of experiencing such effects. One example in America that illustrates this problem is Black communities. After the 1960s, we can see that blacks experienced more broken homes, committed the most violent crimes on average, and have one of the highest poverty rates in America. This is due to the welfare state expanding along with the sexual revolution pushing people towards accepting and/or tolerating highly sexualized behaviors. Sexual promiscuity has done very little in benefiting the individual, especially women, let alone the entire society. Societies are built up of families, and they are the basic building blocks of society. The fact that liberals and progressives would normalize this type of high risk behavior in the name of social liberty without accounting for the full cost upon disrupting the reproductive division of labor is appalling to say the least. It leads to a dysgenic population growth that will most likely lead families into ruin. At the very end, their voluntary choice and erosion of conservative culture produced negative externalities upon the cultural and physical commons of society.


Image Credit: ibreakstock

In much of the world, long-held traditions about sexuality, marriage and preparing young people for family life have been severely challenged during the past several decades. Teenage pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases, and other serious issues of our times were not major public concerns until the late 1960s, when a radical shift in attitudes and behavior began among Western youth. That tide of change went on to revolutionize the moral climate in much of the world, and the current prevalence of sexual imagery and language in popular culture continues to promote a permissive attitude toward sexual relations.

In some societies, religious and cultural influences have protected young people from some of the trends evident elsewhere, but as the internet, social media, and ease of travel transcend geographical and political borders, these religious and cultural factors may become less influential. There is an urgent need to understand and address the real-life challenges that young people face in regard to love and sexuality.

Sex education was not a topic of major concern before the sexual revolution began in the United States and Europe. The abandonment of traditional constraints on sexual behavior gave birth to the terms “free love” and “free sex.” The underlying expectation was that greater sexual freedom would lead to greater happiness. However, the sexual revolution has brought an avalanche of social and health problems.

The psychological and emotional scars resulting from uncommitted sexual relationships precipitate anxiety, low self-esteem, suicidal tendencies, divorce, and family breakdown. Sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS, and unwanted pregnancies raise concerns about public health and welfare.

-Development of the Sexual Revolution

The 1950s represented the height of family stability in the United States. Soldiers returned home to marry, build a career, and raise a family. Advances in medicine ensured better health and longer life. Post-war security meant greater freedom and prosperity. Two-parent families were the norm. People were expected to remain chaste until marriage, and most couples were faithful to their marriage vows.

However, as protective as these social norms were, there was a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding about sexuality. People sometimes experienced low levels of sexual fulfillment in marriage. A façade of respectability could hide infidelity or abuse. As society became more mobile, couples were cut off from traditional sources of support and guidance provided by extended families and stable communities.

There was little premarital counseling, and few programs existed to help couples overcome difficulties in their relationships.

When people began to regard family obligations as mere formalities, they became attracted to the emphasis on individual fulfillment, growth, and autonomy popularized in the 1970s. In addition, developments in psychology, sociological research, and the entertainment industry helped discredit norms of purity and faithfulness.

In reaction to the failure of traditional values to deal with many of the challenges of the post-World War II era, an ideology espousing sexual permissiveness arose, largely based on the theories of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud held that the sex drive was the strongest motive and, therefore, sexual repression was the source of mental illness. These ideas fueled opposition to self-restraint and traditional sexual norms.

The zoologist Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956) lent a façade of scientific respectability to the notions of sexual license. Kinsey was able to promote his belief in the human need for frequent sexual outlets of any kind through his widely accepted studies, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behavior in the Human Female (1953). These had a significant impact on the development of modern Western culture by exaggerating the prevalence of premarital sex, infidelity, and homosexuality.

Investigation has revealed that Kinsey used small or unrepresentative samples, prejudiced interview questions, and skewed statistical methods. The 18,000 people he interviewed were not randomly selected, and they were not representative samples. For example, 25 percent of the men were criminals or former criminals, and up to five percent were male prostitutes. It is not surprising that high rates of homosexuality and perversion were reported. Questions about wide ranges of sexual behavior were phrased in ways to suggest a positive response. In addition, Kinsey presented data on the sexual activity of children based solely upon the reports of one pedophile’s abuse of over 300 victims. Finally, Kinsey had a clear agenda to legitimate homosexuality, pedophilia, and promiscuous sex in general — activities in which he and his colleagues participated.

The sex entertainment industry pioneered by Hugh Hefner (Born 1926), founder of the Playboy business empire, popularized the ideas of the sexual revolution. Hefner’s magazine glamorized recreational sex and pornography to an entire generation of professional men. Playboy Magazine portrays marriage and parenthood as restraints on personal freedom, and sex as purely a private matter between consenting partners. The sex trade burgeoned and promiscuity saturated the arts and entertainment industry.

The economic and social dislocations of World War II and the explosion of mass media and the entertainment industry challenged traditional views of life. The dramatic increase in birthrate after the war produced what is known as the baby-boom generation, which began to come of age in the 1960s. For the first time, significant numbers of American youth delayed marriage and employment in order to pursue a college education. They tended to reject many of the values of their parents and the assumptions of the Cold War period, turning instead to radical ideas. Advertising and the entertainment industry focused on the tastes of this large population group.

Since Freud opened the door to the bedroom with his psychoanalytic theories, major shifts in attitudes, behavior, and regulations about sexuality have emerged. Sexual liberation became the central axis of many radical movements of the 1960s. Authors such as Herbert Marcuse and Wilhelm Reich opposed the ethics of self-restraint, hard work, and fidelity that were promoted as the family norm. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) was an icon of the counter-culture revolution who coined the term sexual revolution. He advocated abolition of traditional sexual morality, viewing the family as a repressive institution that had to be undermined and overthrown. Herbert Marcuse (1898-1979) offered a radical critique of existing society and its values. He called for a non-repressive society featuring, among other things, free and open sexuality, in the expectation that it would bring greater happiness and freedom. His former colleague, Erich Fromm, critiqued his views for being nihilistic and promoting pleasure as the chief goal in life. The ideas of Reich and Marcuse became a major intellectual and political influence on the counterculture revolution.

During the late 1960s and the early 1970s, student protests, counter-culture movements, and new contraceptives combined to create major breaks from traditional values. The revolutionary ferment of those years promoted needed changes in many areas, including civil rights, decolonization, women’s liberation, and environmental protection. On the other hand, the permissiveness of that era is linked to rising pornography, divorce, single-parent families, welfare dependency, drug abuse, and youth crime. Attitudes and laws upholding marriage and the family shifted in favor of individual values and personal choice.

-Health Consequences

There is no denying the catastrophic effects of the sexual revolution. In the 1950s, before the onset of this revolution, there were two notable sexual diseases worldwide: syphilis and gonorrhea. Various other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were known only in the world of prostitution. Doctors have now identified more than 25 kinds of STDs. According to the World Health Organization, “More than 1 million people acquire a sexually transmitted infection (STI) every day,” and “Each year, an estimated 500 million people become ill with one of 4 STIs: chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis and trichomoniasis.” The effects of these diseases range from minor discomfort to chronic pain, infertility, and, in some cases, death.

Of all the sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS has raised the greatest concern and has received the most attention from the media. An obscure disease discovered in 1981, AIDS (acquired immune-deficiency syndrome) has affected millions of people. There are currently (2013) over 35 million people living with HIV/AIDS. Even with the medical advances, an estimated 1.5 million people died from AIDS related causes. 3.2 million children under 15 years old are living with HIV — most of them contacting it from their HIV infected mothers during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. The mother’s greatest joy is to give life, love, and nourishment to her child. Such children, and the orphans of parents who died of it, are the most innocent victims of the disease.

Although HIV (human immune-deficiency virus) can be transmitted by sharing drug needles or receiving contaminated blood, by far the greatest number of infections has been caused by sex with an HIV-infected partner. Both common sense and scientific studies tell us that the more sexual partners one has, the greater the risk of contracting the virus. The breakdown of monogamous relationships has left people extremely vulnerable to AIDS and other STDs.

The AIDS epidemic is related largely to lifestyle, which means conscious choices. AIDS is not merely a medical or health crisis, as it is usually portrayed in the media, but also a moral problem that requires a moral solution. Even if an effective vaccine or cure were to be found, AIDS would still not go away. Cures exist for many serious STDs, yet they persist. AIDS thrives because of a climate of sexual promiscuity and illicit drug use.

In mentioning any statistics, we must remember that these are only what has been officially reported, which may be merely the tip of the iceberg. HIV has a long latency period of five years or more, during which its victim, although infected, shows almost no symptoms. Even if the victim should find a reason to be tested for HIV, the infection may not register its presence for up to three years. For this reason, there are probably many millions more infected people around the world. Those who are unaware of their infection may be leading a lifestyle in which they continue to infect others. In the later stages of AIDS, normally curable diseases such as pneumonia or tuberculosis set in and do not go away. These and other ailments such as skin cancers overcome the person’s weakened immune system and cause death.

-Psychological Consequences

AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases spread in proportion to the decline in moral values and faithful relationships between men and women. Although sexually active people may escape contracting a sexually transmitted disease or having an unwanted pregnancy, there is more at risk than these physical consequences. The psychological impact of sexual relationships outside of marriage can sometimes be even more profound and long-lasting than the physical results. In addition, there are social consequences — such as pornography, prostitution, and children born out of wedlock — that have serious implications for the wider community. These aspects are rarely addressed in most sex education programs.

Countless developmental psychologists agree that adolescents are emotionally and psychologically unprepared for sexual relationships. Both Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg concluded, on the basis of considerable research, that teenagers tend to think in concrete terms focused on the present. This means that they often pay little attention to the long-range consequences of their actions. Piaget wrote that adolescents are generally self-indulgent, unable to delay gratification, and likely to have short-term relationships. Kohlberg came to the conclusion that adolescents need guidelines set by society because of their inability to make wise decisions for their best long-term interests.

Adolescents frequently find that a warm and caring relationship is tainted by the introduction of sex. Friendship involves many dimensions of communication and shared experiences and interests, but sex at a young age can override everything else, causing infatuated teens to focus only on themselves and their partner of the moment. They can become selfish and possessive. They expect to receive their fulfillment through each other and avoid the effort it takes to reap fulfillment through other relationships and activities.

Lacking things to talk about and interests outside the relationship, they can suck the relationship dry, eventually short-circuiting it.

Teenagers who become absorbed in such intense, exclusive relationships are turning inward at the very time in their lives when they should be reaching out and developing new friendships, augmenting their social skills, and taking on greater responsibilities. Rather than working on developing their character and growing as individuals, teenage lovers swept up in a whirlwind of emotions have eyes only for each other. Relations with family and friends tend to suffer. The challenges of study and accomplishing goals may be forsaken for the easy pleasures of sex. When the passion fades, they may become angry or depressed. People have committed suicide because of a broken love relationship.

Educator Allan Bloom asserts it is natural for both boys and girls to be romantic idealists during adolescence as a prerequisite for higher intellectual and moral functioning. The desires for romantic and sexual love, intertwined with the yearning for insight into themselves, fuel the hunger of the “physically and spiritually virginal” to learn. They are “excited by the mysteries to which they have not yet been initiated.” The best protection for adolescent idealism is the ethic of purity.

A former advocate of the sexual revolution now critiques approaches to adolescent education which simply socialize youth into the prevailing ethics of the sexual revolution. In her book, Wendy Shalit shows why modesty is not a hang-up that we should set out to cure, but rather a natural instinct to be celebrated. The ethic of purity projects the fulfillment of romantic ideals — and dreams of sexual intimacy — into the future marriage. This projection fuels anticipation and hope, rather than tainting them through disappointing relationships based on immediate gratification. Hope is a necessary component of resilience; it helps people keep focused on their goals. Sexually experienced youth have been called “flat-souled,” impoverished in ideals, hopes and imagination.

-Social Consequences

Sociological research confirms that there are numerous negative social consequences associated with adolescent sexual relationships. Among sexually active American girls aged 12 to 16, there are six times as many attempted suicides as among virgin girls of the same age range. They are 18 times more likely to leave home prematurely, 9 times more likely to be arrested by the police, 5 times more likely to be suspended from school and 10 times more likely to abuse drugs.

The sexual revolution claims that mutual consent is all that is needed to legitimate a sexual encounter. Rather than boys being challenged to elevate their view of love, sex, and girls; girls are being pressured to give in to the impulses of the moment.

Girls are particularly at risk, since premature sex can stunt the development of their identity. As one American psychiatrist remarks, “A girl who enters into a serious relationship with a boy very early in life may find out later that her individuality was thwarted.” She became part of him and failed to develop her own interests or her sense of identity. A breakup is usually harder on the girl than on the boy. This is because girls tend to become more emotionally involved than boys. Only later, as a boy matures, may he realize the hurt he caused through uncommitted sex.

Feelings of regret and guilt can haunt people for years afterwards. Studies also show a definite correlation between premarital sexual activity and failed marriages. Promiscuity before marriage can lead to infidelity and divorce after marriage. Sexual habits established during adolescence are not easily changed simply by reciting a wedding vow. Those who have engaged in premarital sex often find themselves distracted, if not haunted, by the images of past partners, even in the marriage bed. The involuntary comparison of previous lovers to one’s spouse can be especially disconcerting to the spouse, if it is discovered. Scars caused by the breakup of premarital affairs may seriously limit a person’s capacity for intimacy.

According to a study in 2008, “the impacts of teenage parenting accumulate throughout generations, imposing an estimated $27.8 billion in social costs in the United States each year.”

-Negative Impact on Society

An intricate connection between sex and the forces of love, life, lineage, and conscience extends the influence of sexual behavior far beyond its effects upon the two individuals involved. Complex issues arising from promiscuity have a negative impact upon families, communities, and nations as well as the physiological and psychological health of sexual partners.


Many people consider pornography to be a way to obtain harmless pleasure. But a U.S. Attorney General’s Report and several independent studies have shown conclusively that this is not the case. There is a correlation between the increase in pornography and the increase in rapes and sexual violence. Long-term exposure to pornography creates an emotional withdrawal, greater acceptance of violence toward women, less sympathy toward rape victims, and desensitization to violence. Such images of easy sex with willing women and children are linked to soaring sex crime rates. There is evidence that pornography often correlates with organized crime and drug trafficking.


Like pornography, the business of prostitution and the practice of sex outside of marriage feed upon each other. Prostitution reduces whole persons to the economic value of their sexual organs. Prostitutes themselves are often unwilling victims, trapped in the trade by force, shame, poverty, or addiction. The clients of prostitutes contribute to the destruction of other human beings. The sex trade multiplies disease among both prostitutes and clients.

Prostitution is responsible for the enslavement of millions of girls, boys and women. The International Labor Organization (2012) estimates that there are 4.5 victims dealing with forced sexual exploitation globally. They are often doomed to a short life of degradation, violence, disease, and despair.

Children Born Out of Wedlock

A child born outside of marriage presents a host of challenges to the mother. The impact of unwed parenthood on mothers can be grave. Girls who become pregnant are likely to leave school, limiting their potential for educational advancement and economic security. Unwed mothers generally find it difficult to get married, because few men are willing to take care of another man’s child. All these factors contribute to poverty. In 2013, 3.5 thousand babies were born to unmarried teenagers. 63% of unwed teen mothers in the U.S. receive government aid within the first year. Taxpayers paid 9.4 billion dollars just in the year 2010 for costs associated with teen childbearing in the United States.

Domestic Violence

Sex apart from marriage is associated with increased domestic violence. Far more violence occurs between unmarried partners than between husband and wife. For instance, cohabitating couples are more than three times likely to have their fights escalate to shoving, hitting, and throwing things compared to married couples.” A couple of reasons why this happens is because cohabiters tend to be less connected to their network of kin and peers so there is more isolation and anonymity. Another reason is because “people entering cohabiting relationships show greater tendencies toward individualism, leading to a strong desire for self-autonomy within the relationship.” Although the attractiveness of more freedom and less responsibility encourages cohabitating, as a study by David Popenoe revealed, the downside is that couples view their relationship in much different ways. For instance, the woman may see their relationship leading to marriage while the man may see it as a sexual opportunity without any long term commitment. These differences provide strong causes for emotional conflicts.

Family Breakdown

Extramarital affairs strike at the very heart of the family — the marriage vow. Infidelity unravels all the bonds of love and obligation. It causes upheaval in the families of both partners, including the betrayed spouses, children, relatives, and friends.

In overturning traditional values and authority, the sexual revolution promised freedom from restraints. The products of modern technology offer imperfect protection from disease and unwanted pregnancy. There are no condoms to shield the heart from pain. After several decades, the psychological and social consequences are becoming apparent.

-Sex without Commitment

The media glorified this new immorality, since it boosted sales of products, movies, and music. The public could be manipulated through sexual arousal. In an effort to outdo each other, entertainers have been constantly pushing back the limits of acceptability.

Thanks to the entertainment industry, which has become the primary agent for promoting the values of the sexual revolution throughout the world, young people are growing up in a highly sexualized environment. Every day they are bombarded by sexual messages via TV, movies, videos, advertisements (especially on the internet), books, magazines, and music, most of which promote the physical pleasures of sex and downplay any element of responsibility. Premarital and extramarital sexual relations are depicted as glamorous, exciting, and generally without negative consequences. Young people are being fed a never-ending diet of unrealistic portrayals of the sexual experience.

The growing power of the media overshadows the influence of family and school in the lives of too many young people. The media’s constant propagation of sexual images outside of the context of marriage has given rise to the notion, even among many parents, that it is unrealistic to expect young people today to postpone having sex until they are married. Young people in turn perceive the adult expectation that they will fail to restrain themselves. As adults witness the rise in sexual experimentation among the young, they are losing the will to guide adolescents to remain abstinent until marriage. Such a vicious cycle of expectation leading to increased sexual activity has influenced some adults to believe that young people simply cannot be expected to control themselves.

In such a social environment, the sexual revolution continued unhindered. Sexual restraint was viewed as unhealthy. Moral relativism — where traditions are considered irrelevant and values are individually defined rather based on universal, transcendent principles — increasingly characterized the popular culture. This is how premarital sexual activity became justified and deeply entrenched in American society.

-Predatory Sex

The deepest desire of men and women, both young and old, is to love and be loved. However, when the desire for love becomes a tool for manipulation, it distorts the character and heart. The feeling of being used is debasing, and the effects can be long-lasting.

There is a danger that predatory sex will become the norm: boys using girls for pleasure and girls using boys for security. To consider sex as a casual vehicle for satisfying one’s impulses for personal pleasure has always been a temptation to youth. Young men are especially inclined to disconnect sex from commitment and love.

It is noteworthy that prior to the sexual revolution, American college men were socialized to value chastity before marriage, look forward to becoming a husband and father, and associate sex with emotional intimacy. In that era, there was a resemblance between the natural orientation of girls towards love, intimacy, and commitment and the attitudes and expectations of boys.

There are essential emotional and biological differences between males and females. These differences imply distinctive but complementary ethics. In the West, the code of male honor calls for men to use their superior strength to help women and never to take advantage of their susceptibility to promises of love and security. There is a corresponding code among women not to take advantage of men’s vulnerability to visual arousal and emotional manipulation. These ethics recognize the unique moral influence each gender has on the other.

However, Playboy magazine mocked purity and family life by promoting sex apart from commitment and love. By 1968 it was the most popular magazine among college men. Within four years it reached half of all male professionals in the United States. The magazine legitimated young men’s tendencies to seduce women and then discard them. It glorified bachelor pleasures over preparations for a responsible and unselfish partnership with a wife. This predator mentality fueled a growing discrepancy between masculine and feminine expectations regarding sex and marriage.

In reaction, feminism advised women to avoid victimization by lowering their romantic expectations and enjoying casual sex as much as men. Plus it encouraged women to compete with men in using sex for dominance.


Shalit, Wendy, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, New York: Free Press; Anniversary Edition, May 20, 2014. p. 26

“Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)”.World Health Organization. Fact sheet N°110. Nov. 2013.

The Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” Global Statistics,, Nov. 2014.

Kristine Napier, The Power of Abstinence, New York: Avon Books, 1996.

Lickona, Thomas, “The Neglected Heart,” American Educator, Summer 1994, pp. 34-39.

Bloom, Allan, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished The Souls of Today’s Students, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987, p. 134.

Shalit, Wendy, A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, New York: Free Press, Anniversary Edition, May 20, 2014.

Bloom, Allan, The Closing of the American Mind: How Higher Education Has Failed Democracy and Impoverished The Souls of Today’s Students, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987, p. 136.

Orr, Donald, “Premature Sexual Activity as an Indicator of Psychosocial Risk,” Pediatrics, 87(2), pp. 141-147.

National Survey of Families and Households, quoted in Family Circle, July 15, 1997, p. 45.

U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese released a 1500-page document entitled,

“Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography: Final Report,” Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1986. The document compiled research reports and challenged many assumptions about pornography.

New ILO Global Estimate of Forced Labour: 20.9 Million Victims.” ILO Newsroom. International Labor Organization, June 2012.

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Why It Matters: Teen Childbearing, Education, and Economic Wellbeing, July 2012, p. 1. (Information was derived from the Census Bureau’s published analysis.)

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, Counting It Up — The Public Cost of Teen Childbearing: Key Data, December 2013

Tyree, Jenny. “The Truth About Domestic Violence in Marital Versus Cohabitational Relationships | CitizenLink.” Focus on the Family, June 2010


Rhoads, Steven E., Taking Sex Differences Seriously, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2004, p. 113.

Reisman, Soft Porn, pp. 69-81.

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