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  • Paige Patterson

Teen Girls—And Everyone Else



America has become the “culture of shame,” ravaged by increasing numbers of cases of abuse of women and that often at the hands of ministers, teachers, and other trusted leaders in the social order. Most thinkers suspect that the cultural pool now sports more sharks than goldfish. And the cultural water is polluted from all points.


Teen Vogue, a popular magazine and website poised to “assist” teenage girls in navigating our current social order, recently published an article by Elle Chase to help teens enjoy sex.[1] In the process she not only encourages teens to experiment with sexual adventures but also employs the language of the gutter. This constitutes only one of several pieces currently being viewed by youth, which promote recreational sex.


While social media erupts with protests against sexual predators (and that rightly so), the media demonstrates its duplicity in being the chief promoter of ideas that actually worsen the abuse of women and children and create victims far wider than the social net can possibly comprehend.


Dr. Joe McIlhaney, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, has penned a perceptive book regarding what he has observed over his lengthy career caring for girls and women. His conclusion is that western culture has stopped protecting its girls. The physical and emotional impact that America’s sexualized, porn-positive culture (vividly demonstrated in the Teen Vogue articles referenced above) is having on young women is disastrous [2] Peddlers of pornographic material are targeting children, and changing laws have had a huge impact on the amount and availability of sexually explicit material. The pornographic industry is a multi-billion dollar business in the US making material available to boys, girls, women, and men who in viewing are frequently encouraged to participate in abusive behavior.


Stunningly, few voices are raised against the purveyors of sexual promiscuity and violence. Katie Couric is one of the few who seems to focus on the primary cause of all this “sexventure” in American film and society. Couric notes, “Women are engaging in sexual activity that can be hurtful because that is what boys and girls see and play out when they’re older.”[3]


But the problem is worse than the depiction of sex, however objectionable that may be — and it is. The real difficulty is the abandonment of God’s purposes for human intimacy. The exchange of God’s generous purposes for sexual intimacy for the selfishness of sexual activity not only spells the end of genuinely happy intimacy without guilt but also encourages increasing experimentalism that quickly pushes pseudo-intimacy towards abuse.


This tendency is apparent in films that men and women watch like Fifty Shades of Grey where an abusive man extends his sexual experimentation and his addiction to “sex toys” to dominate the life of a young woman whose vulnerability is only too obvious. Tragically, the movies almost never depict the results of such endeavors which destroy the spiritual wellness of all.


Railing against such practices in pulpit tirades has proved largely insufficient to prevent the increase of such practices. This is especially the case when those posing as “men of God” are frequently the abusers. Meanwhile, the pornographic industry in America with widely disparate estimates, minimally represents a three-billion-dollar industry involving in one way or another as much as 80% of the general public. Some estimates are much higher.


If the church wishes to have a voice, dependence on courts and abuse cases, and even preaching against sexual adventurism are not by themselves successful tactics. Rather, preachers must once again discover the purposes of God in Genesis 1—3. God’s program and purposes for human intimacy alone produce permanent happiness and usefulness. They even provide understanding for the prohibitions that God places on sexual activity outside of the husband-wife relationship in which one woman and one man commit themselves exclusively to one another.


The first verse of the Bible declares, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” This affirmation is either true or false—it cannot be both. If false, then all I say here is mere social convention. But if the statement is true, then the cosmos belongs to God and His expressed will and purpose for all must prevail.


Preaching such truths and identifying all forms of sexual expression outside of marriage as contrary to God’s will and purposes may get you arrested. Hopefully, freedom of faith and freedom of speech remain cardinal virtues in America. If not, the preacher would not be the first prophet to be incarcerated, and God would grant us new, wonderful prison ministries. As for social reactions and misunderstandings, those are the inevitable concomitants of prophetic proclamation.


And there is so much to gain. Sexual union without guilt or injury will ensue. Mutual satisfaction will triumph over selfish demand. Families are far less likely to become confused, and the union that God created and ordained with the ability to perpetuate the race will bless the human family as much as it now curses women and men.


A word to fathers of families: Not only does the preacher need to find courage to preach the counsel of God, but you also must demonstrate through an unselfish loving relationship to your wife and children the ways through which God purposed to bless humans.


And above all, the church must rediscover forgiveness and regeneration. However heinous the sin, God forgives and even regenerates the soul. And forgiveness and love, not vituperative accusation, must again be the model for the church, the bride of Christ.





[1] Elle Chase, “Having Sex When You’re Fat: Tips on Positions, Props, and Preparation,” Teen Vogue (August 28, 2019), https://www.teenvogue.com/story/fat-sex. For a sampling of other such articles published by Teen Vogue, see Gigi Engle, “Anal Sex: Safety, How Tos, Tips, and More” (November 12, 2019), https://www.teenvogue.com/story/anal-sex-what-you-need-to-know; and Nona Willis Aronowitz, “How to Get an Abortion if You’re a Teen” (June 6, 2019), https://www.teenvogue.com/story/how-to-get-an-abortion-if-youre-a-teen.

[2] See Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, Girls Uncovered (Chicago: Northfield Publishing, 2011).

[3] Sonja Haller, “Katie Couric still is asking the tough ‘Question,’” USA Today (October 14, 2019): 1D.

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