Saving Sex: Why My Target Audience Isn’t Teens

The other day on Facebook, a reader learned that for my forthcoming book, called Chastity is for Lovers: Single, Happy, and (Still) a Virgin, the target audience is adults, and primarily young ones.* She suggested that in the future, I target teens instead. Another reader, who had asked if the book is fit for teens, suggested in jest that young adulthood is too late.

If the goal is necessarily to meet a reader before he or she has had sex, the latter reader is probably right: According to Advocates for Youth, 62 percent of high school seniors aren’t virgins. Six percent of high school students had sex by their thirteenth birthdays. Fourteen percent have had sex with four or more people.

The stats are shocking (or not, depending on your perspective).They point to how important it is to discuss sex with young teens (and younger). They may disappoint the people who wish I would. And don’t get me wrong — people should. And lots of people do (like Jackie Francois and Jason and Crystalina Evert and, ideally, kids’ parents or guardians).

But how important it is to talk chastity and sex with kids has too long overshadowed this: it’s important to talk about both with grown-ups, too.

It’s important for the sake of virgins, who are few and far between. Ninety-eight percent of women and ninety-seven percent of men ages 25 to 44 have had sex.** I write for adults because when people who are part of the two and three percent who haven’t had sex stumble upon my story, they learn — sometimes for the first time — that they aren’t as alone as they have felt.

It’s important for our own kids, who will turn into teenagers, and — let’s face it — into their parents. It is too late for adults to take back the sex they have had. It is not too late to learn a new way to approach sex. I write for adults because I want to present chastity to them — an alternative way of life, in case the way of life they’ve lived so far isn’t working. If adults don’t know chastity is possible, they won’t practice it. If they don’t practice it, they won’t model it for their kids.

It’s important because young adults who went to church as teens were told to save sex for marriage, and most of them didn’t — and that isn’t a good excuse to stop discussing chastity. I write for adults because adults deserve not to be forgotten; because being left out of the chastity conversation might be why most of us aren’t saving sex.

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*Teens certainly can get something good out of Chastity is for Lovers — especially older ones.

**according to the National Center for Health Statistics

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Gosh Arleen, thank you. I’m not sure we, your target audience, thank you enough for your diligent ministering to us! Focusing your scope and sticking to it is the best thing that can be done. In much of the Christian world, there’s a lost age group (read: young, unmarried adults) that is easily neglected…but in recognizing this, you’re helping to pull everything we struggle with out of the shadows and dealing with them head-on.

    Thank you for helping us to grow in solidarity. I can’t wait to read your book!

  • YES!! I have learned with blogging/marketing over the years you have to learn who your target market is. If you want it to be teens then write for teens if you want it to be young adults then right to young adults.

    As a young adult I can say it is hard to find a lot of blogs/books that fit my demographic on this topic. I have read some of the Everts stuff and it’s great but as a young adult it wasn’t what I was looking for. I’m really looking forward to your book when it comes out.

  • I actually LOVE this perspective on why your target audience is adults. Even though my perspective on sex/virginity is obviously different than yours, I have still faced the same reactions. I either get adults who are totally confused at my choices, or adults who are thrilled to discover they’re not alone.

    Also, while I know you’re just reporting the statistics, and the statistical sources don’t go into details, very few people who have had sex by 13 would have had CONSENSUAL sex. I do know, all too sadly, that some 12-year-olds are having sex with each other, but usually there is an older person committing statutory rape.

    • Yay! Glad you love it — thank you for this feedback. And great point re: statutory rape. True (and horrible).

  • Thank you Arleen! I just learned something very important from you. I realized that I don’t really talk ‘chastity’ with my kids. While we talk about sex enough and we talk about waiting for the ‘right’ person, or waiting for marriage, or waiting until you are older and can handle the consequences of sex, I have never, ever, used the word chastity (except in joking about a chastity belt). I think I was uncomfortable with the word, only I didn’t know it. As a social worker I have always approached sexual conversations with statistically realistic expectations and brutal honesty. Who says kids have to be statistically realistic? Our kids can be happy, healthy, chaste outliers.

    • Yes, yes, YES — this is fabulous, Lauren. Thank you for sharing.

    • An acquaintance of mine likes to say “statistics don’t matter to the individual.”

  • Thank you!!!!! Seriously most of the resources out there are targeted to teens and I am not a teen so I always feel at odds with what is available because while good is not the right fit.

  • This is the key for me: “It is too late for adults to take back the sex they have had. It is not too late to learn a new way to approach sex.” That has been the very definition of my growth the past few years.

    I reckon most adults—both married and single alike—are in desperate need of learning a new way to approach sex, a way most of us have never been taught. I don’t know what it’s like now (probably not much different), but the best most kids ever got from their parents about sex was, “don’t do it until you’re married, it’s wrong, it’s a sin.” While all that is all definitely true for kids, it’s a very negative approach that misses the larger, life affirming point—chastity is essential for ALL people to develop truly healthy attitudes about sexuality.

    Without chastity, abstinence can make sex the forbidden fruit. In the context of life-affirming chastity, however, abstinence transforms sex into the beautiful, sacred wedding gift God intended it to be.

    Thank you for your courageous transparency on such a difficult subject. You’re an inspiration.

  • As someone who is waiting as well and loves God, I find this article so amazing. It reminds me that I don’t have to date plenty of people and consistently play around, but that I just need to stick with one great girl who will walk with me. I am reminded of Amos 3 when it says can 2 walk together unless they are both agreed? This article really speaks a lot for me. I read your article on the goal of chastity, and I’m glad to have read it too. I know that plenty of people don’t particularly get why I’m not in a relationship, but I guess it’s a good thing to be misunderstood than to try to be accepted by the world. My dating options may be “limited” like anonymous said, but what if limited means God-honoring? I’m not looking for options, just one girl. Prayer to the Lord Elyon that my mission stays the same in dating and in marriage too.

    Thank you for this blog, Ms. Arleen. I am so glad to have founded a blog page from someone who is chaste and is waiting until marriage too. I am so grateful as a guy who is a virgin at 23 (almost 24). It means a lot to me that there are people who are also waiting too. I thought for the longest time that I was alone as a virgin itself. With the world basically calling virgins prudes and frigid freaks, I thought I was truly alone. I am so glad that there are remnants of people who love God and desire to love purely like Him. Thank you Arleen, for who God is molding you into. You are a blessing!

  • No such thing as “too late!” Someone who has technically lost their virginity can go to confession, have their sins wiped away, and start fresh, living the chastity-according-to-their-state-in-life that God intends.

    Keep writing for those people too!

  • I can’t wait to get hold of a copy, Arleen. Finally a woman author with similar wavelength!

  • Val

    As part of that 3% i say thank you; i’m very glad i found your blog! Sometimes is hard being a virgin in a sex-obsessed word, especially when you are 22 and almost no one understands that you are not a virgin because you are afraid of sex or because you never found anyone who wanted to date you but because you are saving yourself for your husband;

  • John Morgan

    ” I write for adults because adults deserve not to be forgotten; because being left out of the chastity conversation might be why most of us aren’t saving sex.” Thank you Arleen.