By Paul Strand
A new study shows the number of young people who've decided to remain a virgin rose from 22 to 28 percent in just six years.
Another study shows the most promiscuous people are also the most depressed, while those who practice sexual restraint are also the happiest.
Some Christians are getting organized in order to fight back against a sex-saturated culture.
Washington Area Ministries recently celebrated an Abstinence Awareness Week in Washington, D.C., with a forum titled "Sex: What They Don't Tell You." Tara White, author of the book Don't Curse Your Wedding Bed Before You Say I Do was the featured speaker, sharing hard lessons she learned from her own sad experience with promiscuity.
"I had been dropped, broken, mishandled and misused in a relationship," White said. "And I had felt if I only had known then the things that I know now concerning sex, marriage and relationships that I would have made some different choices."
Such uplifting events are telling young people abstinence outside of marriage will make them happier, safer and more fulfilled -- no matter what the secular culture preaches.
In this culture, 1 out of 4 young people get a sexually-transmitted disease. In parts of the city of Washington, 82 percent of all births are to single mothers.
Richard Urban, who helped organize the D.C. event, says statistics show kids will listen if their parents preach an abstinence message.
"When we see the statistics of youth who are getting involved with sex or sexually-transmitted disease, or just heartbreak, or pregnancy, I can't just sit around as a parent," Urban said.
Author Gerard Henry took part in a Washington panel discussion on fighting promiscuity and the ills that it brings.
"The messaging in our culture is a pornographic message at the end of the day," Henry said. "So we have to be very intent on increasing this message about purity, about marriage, the value of marriage, the beauty of marriage. And again, I have to say, it starts with mom and dad, husbands and wives first, and the child will want to emulate that."
Young people who abstain will find they're far from alone. New Center for Disease Control and Prevention statistics show the number of those abstaining from sexual activity rising dramatically in the new century.
In D.C., 42 percent of high schoolers have never had sex and that's twice as many as those who responded two decades ago.
Derrick Cuffie is a proud 28-year-old virgin, and said it doesn't cost him anything that really matters.
"Sometimes you have to be prepared to maybe lose some people in your life. But if the people that you call your friends are really your friends, they would do nothing but help and support you and what you stand for," Cuffie said.
Henry said to succeed, people have to remember who they are in God and feed on that.
"You are a spiritual being, not just a sexual being," Henry said.
He said constant worship and chasing God will feed that spiritual being.
"I was not born a loser. I was born a chooser," said Rev. Michael Faulkner of New Horizon Church in New York City.
"I can exercise that free will to abstain from my sexual lusts," he added.
Other studies show that girls experimenting with sex are two to three times more likely to be depressed than those who don't. Also, sexually-active kids are more likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get suspended and get arrested.
Outside of marriage, sex can hurt rather than enhance lives.
"Without God's protection, sex can be destructive," Faulkner said.
--Originally published March 21, 2011.