Psychological Self-Help

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1017
minister's opinion or your church's views (unless they are your own)
but your own considered judgment. If you are convinced it is a sin to
masturbate, don't masturbate. If you believe with certainty it is
immoral to have premarital sex or an abortion, then do your very best
to avoid these actions. Strong religious convictions, backed by intense
personal feelings of guilt and shame, must be followed... or changed.
If your religious beliefs are not that strong, however, then you have
the responsibility for making a wise decision on other grounds. 
 
What are people’s reasons for having sex?
Are teenagers doing it for love? They are probably hoping so... but
no. For physical thrills? Again, they are surely hoping so... but, as
we've seen, it doesn't work out that way. Polls by Children's Defense
Fund and Planned Parenthood have shown that teenaged girls have
intercourse for these reasons: peer pressure (34%), pressure from the
boy (17%), others are doing it (14%), curiosity (14%), love (11%),
and physical gratification (5%). Boys have sex for these reasons: peer
pressure (26%), curiosity (16%), others are doing it (14%), curiosity
(14%), physical gratification (10%), and love (6%). In short, teenage
sex doesn't have much to do with love or with passionate physical
gratification! So, be warned. I find these statistics about teenagers
astonishingly different from young people 22 to 35, as described in the
next paragraph. 
Well, what about adults? Do they do it for love? Or, do all men
have sex for pleasure and women for love? No, it isn't exactly the way
we think. Psychology Today (Dec., 1989, p.12) cites David Quadagno
and Joey Sprague who say 41% of younger men, aged 22-35, have
sex for physical pleasure and 31% say for love. However, only 36% of
older men, 35 and older, have sex for physical pleasure and 50% do it
for love. Only 22% of younger women have sex for physical
gratification and 61% for love, but almost twice as many older women
(43%) seek physical pleasure while 38% primarily express and/or
receive love through sex. Given time, women learn to enjoy sex and
men learn to express love. That's nice. 
The major point is that while most people, especially women,
would say "sex should be an expression of love," in reality it appears
that intercourse is done primarily for love only among younger women
(22-35) and older men (over 35). In very general terms, the majority
of teenagers, younger men, and older women have intercourse for
other powerful reasons, not primarily for love. It begins to look like
we, as a society, are a little hypocritical, i.e. we say "have sex to
express love" but actually have intercourse mostly to "feel good." Like
most human behaviors, there are a lot of complex reasons for having
sex and different ideas about what sex means. 
 
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