Summer is over. Fall session has begun in most colleges in the country. Many parents have send off their sons and daughters to college for the first time and are yet to recover from the shock how their ‘baby’ has grown up so fast or how he/she is going to survive in the college!
College students are more sexually active than previous generations and there is growing fascination to spirituality. How do these young people reconcile their spiritual longings with sexual freedom on campus? Do they connect the dots at all? Why not?
Recently, I came across this book (Sex and the Soul byDonna Freitas) and added it to my ‘to read list.’ Read some reviews here – USA Today, Amazon. She is professor of religion in Boston Univeristy and has extensively researched across American university campuses. Check it our for yourself.
Indian American teens who have grown up in very traditional homes and parents who shyed away from talking about sex openly, are generally confused about sex. They have only heard “don’t do it … no one is going to marry you then.” Parents are harder on girls than boys. Media and peers often holds to values that contracdict their parents’ values and what is really good for them. The new found freedom and lack of accountability in college dorms only makes it worse.
Especially it is harder for girls who repress their sexuality until they go away to college have not developed a conviction about sexual ethics. Getting pregnant or catching sexually transmitted disease are not the only reason why young people should abstain from sex.
Quoting from the book, “Teenagers usually follow their parents’ religious preferences until college. Then, students shift to an uncertain and lonely spirituality, which doesn’t give them the resources to deal with demeaning sexual practices. Young women come off worst: They’re expected to conform to pornographic masculine fantasies, but also achieve academic success and self-confidence.”
The profound connection of sexuality and spirituality are often overlooked. Deep longing of the soul lead them to experiment with sex, but often left unfulfilled. Passion when finds its expression in casual sexual practices leaves our young people more confused than before. Jumping from bed to bed or dorm rooms to another is a poor solution to deep longing of the soul.
Not to mention how the baggage of premarital sex affects married life and fulfilling sexual experiences. Many of marriage problems I see among young Indian American families could traced back to their college lives – inadequate relationship skills, past relational blunders, premarital sexual involvement and dysfunctional childhood homes. Momentary pleasure lead to lifetime of pain. It surely is not worth it!