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-‘Friends With Benefits’: Now a Growing Problem Among Teens

by Dr. D ~ July 21st, 2011


(Ron Luce-Teen Mania)

A few years ago the expression -‘Friends With Benefits’ became popular among 20 to 30 year old singles and beyond. A term which is supposed to represent casual sex among friends without any strings attached.

The popular culture latched upon this term and it reflects a new norm among career oriented young adults in America who are too busy for serious relationships or for marriage and families.

Dozens of movies have reflected that trend in the last 5 years or so. My real concern is not how it is being played out among adults but how it is now reaching down into the teenage culture and affecting our children as young as 12 years old.

Ron Luce, president of Teen Mania Ministries, is trying to minister to teens in the midst of this cultural trend that he refers to as an epidemic. Until I read an article about his ministry dealing with this issue I was quite unaware of how this was being played out among teens in America even among those going to Christian churches and attending youth groups.

Ron Luce says the following in this article about what he has observed among teens:

“At first it was just 20-somethings to 30-somethings, but now we have kids in junior high and high school participating. We have stories about kids as young as 12 years old,” Luce said.

"This has been a rage for the last two or three years”

Luce has observed that a growing number of kids in school now believe it is a taboo to have a boyfriend or girlfriend. The norm seems to be that “you just have lots of friends and have lots of sex with them,” he said.

Teens use names like “cuddle buddies” and “booty call” to classify friends willing to have casual sex. “It’s not uncommon that even if you do have a boyfriend or girlfriend you have five or six friends that you have sex with and if they don’t know about each other then it’s okay.”

“It seems like it’s everywhere. It’s happening in church and in youth groups,” he said. A common excuse used in order to have someone agree to sex is to say that they are “friends and they have needs.”

“It’s hard to find somebody that’s not doing ‘friends with benefits’ and if a student stands up against this in school they are mocked and ridiculed.”

“It’s not, oh, the kids are having sex because we know kids have been having sex for a long time. It’s so much more common now and the culture seems to own our kids more than Christ does.”

Luce suggests that parents need to be more involved with their kids to combat this cultural epidemic:

“Parents, need to decide that they are going to be a relationship-centric family rather than a media-centric family so that kids care about their relationships with their parents. What they are closest to relationally is going to influence them the most.

“In the middle of this cultural sewage, parents have to be very intent and proactive about parenting so they can help them see through the stories, the ‘friends with benefits’ lie and to make a pledge for purity until the day they are married. It’s not impossible. It just takes a massive amount of effort.”

Response: Wow, I had no idea this was going on. Everyone regardless of religion, worldview, or moral stance should be concerned about this trend among teens since some of the ‘benefits’ include teenage pregnancies, abortions, and STDs.

Since I have 2 grandchildren in that age group and with another soon to be, I now have a particular stake in this issue. The fact that Christian teens also seem to be affected by this practice is disturbing. One wonders about the future of the church when the culture dominates our youth in such a way.            *Top

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