This is part two of a three part series on The Damage of Sexual Promiscuity
In part one of this series, I discussed the potential damage to men that can happen as a result of pre-marital sex.
What about the girl...
The answer, of course, is that a woman also receives a great deal of damage from being sexually promiscuous, and her damage is both psychological and physiological. First the psychological damage:
When a woman experiences sex without commitment, she soon learns (falsely) that sex means little to nothing. Why? Because nothing happens as a result: no meaningful relationship ensues - he may never even call her or talk to her again. She has inaccurately learned that sex and commitment are two completely separate issues, which they are not. That is why so many married woman view sex as an unimportant side issue in marriage, when it is, in fact, a key and central issue to a successful marriage. God's original plan was to use sex as the path to commitment. But because of promiscuity, she no longer views sex as a path to her husband's commitment. On the contrary, she begins to demand that commitment BEFORE sex is granted, something he is not wired to do. The result is a relationship that struggles to succeed.
As for the physiological damage, science shows us that when a woman has sex with a man, a chemical called oxytocin is released into her system. Oxytocin is a neuro-peptide most commonly associated with pregnancy and breast-feeding. It seems to act as a human superglue and helps a woman bond with her infant. This chemical also helps a woman bond with her lover during sex. New scientific studies, however, suggest that if a woman has multiple sexual partners, this will lower her levels of oxytocin which in turn can inhibit her ability to bond to her husband. According to an article by Drs. John Diggs and Eric Keroack, "People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual." [You can read the entire article at http://www.abstinence.net/library/index.php?entryid=344]
It is like taking a piece of strong packing tape and applying it to a box. Leave it alone, and it will hold that box together for decades and decades. Take it off and re-apply it and, well... it just doesn't hold as well anymore. Keep taking it off and applying it a taking it off and applying it and... I think you get the idea. This is what can happen to a woman who has multiple sex partners.
The Boys are the Biggest Losers
Even though a woman also can suffer negative consequences from promiscuity, I believe that men can have the most to lose. Why? Because a sexually promiscuous woman, despite lowered levels of oxytocin and a less than positive attitude toward sex in general, still is internally wired to WANT to connect with her husband. Indeed, that desire is so strong, it causes her to fight through many of the negative side affects of her previous sexual experiences. A man, however, has no such natural "wiring". If he fails to properly "imprint" and bond to the wife of his youth, he may spend the rest of his life in a disconnected state from her - indeed, from any woman. What he may do is attempt to re-connect with what he had imprinted on so many years earlier and foolishly turn to porn, affairs, lust, etc... All which can have severe negative consequences to his marriage.
Overcoming Sexual Damage
The degree of sexual damage people receive largely depends on the degree to which people become sexually involved before marriage, particularly if there are numerous sexual partners. It also can vary from person to person. For some who have had just a few consensual experiences, they may seem to carry little residual effects; while for others, even just one consensual experience can cause them to struggle later in their marriage. You can imagine the result if a person's sexual experiences were not consensual as in rape or incest - it is likely that much more damage will have occurred.
The question now is: can a person who has been damaged have a meaningful sex life? Thankfully, the answer is yes, any person can have a wonderful sex life, but it will more likely come easier to those who waited until marriage. Those who did not may find they will have to work at it a lot harder.
Here's an analogy I like to use: there are people who can seemingly eat anything they want and never gain any weight. Then there are those who allow themselves the slightest indulgence and they will gain a couple of pounds! What is the difference? One has a very different metabolism from the other.
So it is true with those who did not wait till marriage for sex - their "sexual metabolism" may be very different from those who did wait. Evidence shows that couples who wait until marriage report more satisfying sex lives than those who do not wait. And since sex is so important to the bonding of the couple, this is why couples who marry as virgins have a much lower divorce rate than those who did not wait. A couple whose only sexual experience has been with each other is much more likely to experience a natural "bonding" whereas those who have been promiscuous may find they will need to be much more intentional and deliberate in their approach to sex in order to bond.
This is part two of a three part series. Please see the archives for part one and check back for part three.
Mark Gungor is one of the most sought-after speakers on marriage and family in the country. Each year thousands of couples attend his Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage® seminars. His take on marriage issues is refreshingly free of both churchy and psychological lingo. Mark is pastor of Celebration Church in Green Bay, WI. He speaks for churches, civic events, and business meetings and is even a speaker for the US Army. Mark has been featured on national broadcasts such as Focus on the Family and ABC News. His daily internet radio show is heard on over 250 radio stations nationwide, and his television show Love, Marriage and Stinking Thinking is available nationwide on TBN and Sky Angel.