I am very grateful when God gives me a new approach to use with young men to counteract the barrage of messages they get from the media encouraging them to have sex. This week, I will share a strategy I began implementing with guys about a year ago that has proven to be quite effective. And it’s not what you think!
I’ve found that guys are not always aware that the reasons why girls have sex, in many cases, are very different than their own. Guys are also often ignorant of the emotional impact of the sexual activity on girls.
In order to help guys understand the cause and effect of sex for many girls, I read them one of the thousands of letters that I have received from teen girls, like the following:
I am 17 and in the second semester of my freshman year alone I had 19 sexual partners. I’m lucky enough to not have a child, but I do have HPV. I have no idea which guy gave it to me and I don’t know who I’ve infected. Now I’m a senior and I’ve had 23 sexual partners. No, I didn’t have my father in my life and until you spoke I had no idea it had such an impact. It does make sense. Also, I have horrible self-esteem and I’m looking to boys for love and affection. When you spoke, you made me realize I am worth something and I don’t need to do this to get love. Thank you so much for helping me realize this.
When guys hear a letter like the one above, many of them are shocked to find that there are young ladies out there who are this broken.
Protector vs. Predator
After I read the letter, I introduce the idea of being a protector and not a predator. A predator is someone who takes advantage of the weakness of another person for his/her own selfish gain. A protector on the other hand, keeps the other person safe from any harm. When a freshman girl has had 19 sexual partners, she definitely needs to be protected; and if nothing else she needs to be protected from herself.
I am careful not to paint the picture that all girls are helpless and only having sex because they are broken, just as I do not view every guy who has sex with a girl as a predator.
I will say, however, that when a young lady is sexually active for any reason, she is not protecting herself from the physical and emotional pain that so often accompanies sex for teens.
Good Guys Give Girls Protection
What began to happen next shocked me: I started receiving letters from guys who were vowing to protect their girlfriends by not having sex. These guys would never have been one of the 19 sexual partners of the young lady who wrote the above letter. These were guys who previously only had sex within a “committed” relationship with girlfriends whom they truly cared for. You know, the good guys!
During the week you spoke, my girlfriend and I were planning on having sex. I listened to you talk about being a protector rather than a predator; so I told her we can wait.
One guy even requested that I spend more time during my presentation talking about “protection.”
Being a ‘jock,’ most of the stuff you said I just sort of said ‘yeah, yeah, statistics can make anything look bad or vice versa.’ But when you got to the part about being the protector, and not the predator… that got to me. Having two sisters myself I know how it feels to protect. I like it. In future talks please touch more on that subject.
God Always Gives the Increase!
It has happened time and time again where I am unaware of the full impact of my words on the students. When I think my words will accomplish one thing, I later learn God had a much greater purpose. For instance, when God gave me the “protector vs. predator” concept, I thought it would only speak to the guys who were having casual sex with young ladies. But God knew that message would resonate with all guys.
I think the following quote speaks to why the above approach resonates with guys:
Pride is a better motivator than fear. ~John Wooden
We can no longer solely focus on the consequences of sex with guys because fears can eventually be conquered. Empowering young men to make decisions they can be proud of is a much more effective approach in preventing teenage sex, and protecting the young ladies in their lives is definitely something guys can be proud of doing.
How can the “Protector vs. Predator” approach influence how you help your sons, or other young men in your life, avoid sex and other at-risk behaviors? Please share your thoughts below.