Dr. Joe McIlhaney, September 2018
It has been estimated that men think about sex 19 times a day. Women think about sex only about 10 times a day.1 Several studies show that approximately 60% of young adults between the ages of 18-24 seek out pornography at least monthly (including many women).2 Most adults have sexual intercourse. If they haven’t had sex now, they most likely will in the future. One of the biggest fights school boards have across this country is whether to base their sex education programs on sexual risk avoidance (emphasizing waiting for sex until marriage) or Comprehensive Sex-Ed (emphasizing condoms and contraceptives). And we have all seen the explosion of reports of high-profile individuals (primarily men) using their status and power to sexually victimize those who are subordinate to them and whose career might be destroyed if they refuse.
Do we need more evidence that one of the most dynamic and influential forces in our world is sex? I don’t think so! But I urge you to think about this and see if you agree. If this is so, we need a more public admission of this truth and we need to give more attention to the subject of sex.
Now, sex, can be life enhancing or life damaging – it depends on how this gift to humankind is used, doesn’t it?
Here are just a couple of thoughts from our popular book, Hooked, that we have just revised and that will be out at the end of 2018:
STD rates have continued to skyrocket in the USA this year.3 STDs can cause infertility, cervical, penile and throat cancer.4 STDs can even cause death (approximately 6,000 people die of HIV/AIDS complications annually in the USA)5
Out-of- wedlock pregnancies, though occurring less often than in the past, reached 1,569,796 in 2015, the last year statistics were available. This means that 39.8% of all U.S. births in 2015 were to unmarried women.6 And, yes, the babies are precious; but when an unmarried girl has a baby her goals of graduating from high school, college, or getting a good job become harder to reach. She will be more susceptible to living in poverty for several years. This would increase chances that her child will also be raised in poverty and subject to problems associated with an economically disadvantaged life.
Here in the Founder’s Corner, we’d like to re-emphasize what researchers Ron Haskins and Isabell Sawhill called “The Success Sequence” in their book “Creating an Opportunity Society.7 The steps in life for living The Success Sequence as described by them are very simple. In the following order:
- Get at least a high school degree
- Work full time
- Marry before having children
Haskins and Sawhill in their report, emphasize the economic advantage of an individual following this pattern in their lives. W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang in a June 14, 2017 article in an American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and Institute for Family Studies (IFS) report, also emphasize the economic benefits of choosing this life sequence.8 For example, Wilcox and Wang show:
97% of millennials who follow the “success sequence” are not poor. By contrast, 53% of young adults who did not follow the “success sequence” at all are in poverty.
More startingly, low income millennials show even more dramatic benefit from being married before having their first child:
- 71% made it into middle- or higher-income groups
- Only 41% of millennials who had a first child before marriage achieved similar success
An earlier study by Charles Murray reported in his popular book Coming Apart (Crown Forum, New York, 2012) comes to the same conclusion. Following the report of his statistics in his book he says “The young women in the new upper class hardly ever have babies out of wedlock—“. And “The new upper class knows the secret to maximizing the chances of leading a happy life but refused to let anyone else in on the secret.”9
Haskins, Sawhill, Wilcox and Wang emphasize the “financial” benefit of living “The Success Sequence”. Charles Murray hints that there is “more” to living that sequence when he says “—the happy life—“. That “more” he is referring to is what will occupy us with subsequent “Founder’s Corner” columns.
Charles Murray is wrong on one point. The Medical Institute for Sexual Health HAS been speaking out about how to live the happy life with accurate data, credible information and professional products since 1992. If you have not been a part, welcome to our family!
- Fisher TD, Moore ZT, Pittenger MJ, “Sex on the brain?: an examination of frequency of sexual cognitions as a function of gender, erotopilia, and social desirability,” Journal of Sexual Health, 2012; 49(1): 69-77
- Barna Group, The Porn Phenomenon: The Impact of Pornography in the Digital Age, 2016, Josh McDowell Ministry
- CDC news release https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2017/p0926-std-prevention.html
- Mayo Clinic, “Sexually Transmitted Diseases,” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sexually-transmitted-diseases-stds/symptoms-causes/syc-20351240
- gov, “U.S. Statistics,” https://www.hiv.gov/hiv-basics/overview/data-and-trends/statistics
- CDC, https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/unmarried-childbearing.htm
- Haskins & Sawhill, Creating an Opportunity Society , 2009 The Brookings Institution, Washington D.C.
- Wang & Wilcox, “The Millennial Success Sequence: Marriage, Kids, and the “Success Sequence” among Young Adults,” Institute for Family Studies, June 14, 2017
- Murray, Coming Apart, Crown Forum, New York, 2012 (quote is from p 290)