2011 PL Essay  Contestant  
17 years old
12th grade
Oliver B. 
1st Prize in HS(11-12) Category

            Turn on the TV, listen to the radio, surf the internet, walk down a high school hallway, watch a movie, no matter what you do or how hard you try it is nearly impossible to escape the many sexually oriented messages and images we are exposed to everyday. These messages and images glorify pre-marital sex and show it in a positive light. This leaves many people asking what are if any the benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage?   
            There are many benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage. One of the main benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage is having a stronger relationship between you and your spouse when you are married. You will have a stronger foundation of trust between you and your partner and you will not have the burden of carrying memories of the sexual experiences that you had between you and previous people. You will also increase your chances of having a successful and permanent marriage. A study conducted by researchers at Brigham Young University found that couples who practiced abstinence before marriage experienced longer marriages.
            Another reason why one should remain sexually pure before marriage is because of the benefits it has on your physical, psychological, and social health. Abstaining from sex before marriage will greatly reduce your risks of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It will also reduce the chances of you having an unplanned pregnancy. Students who abstain from sex prior to marriage are also believed to perform better academically. Sex outside marriage or before marriage can lead to relationship problems resulting in depression, guilt, loneliness, disappointment, emotional turmoil, family breakup, domestic abuse and social disruptions.
When one remains sexually pure before marriage they will also be helping to promote a better, healthier society. Abstaining from sex before marriage means fewer unwanted pregnancies, lesser homeless children and more college graduates which means more people with a higher income.
            When you remain sexually pure before marriage you will also have a stronger and more closer relationship between God and your family. Your family will trust you more when you choose to remain sexually pure before marriage and you will be closer to God because you will be following his teachings (“Run away from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body. 1 Corinthians 6:18 - New Living Translation”). Having a strong relationship with God and your family is important because it will help you to stay away from other temptations and will be of benefit when you are going through hard times and need someone who you can talk to and have a strong healthy relationship with. 
            When you have pre-marital sex you are giving your love away and that which is most sacred to someone who does not truly love you and has no intention of spending the rest of their life with you. When you practice sex outside of marriage or before marriage you are giving away a part of your heart and soul that you will never be able to get back. You are giving away that which is most sacred, and is only intended to be shared between husband and wife. In doing this you will not be capable of loving your spouse to the extent that you would have been able to love them if they had been your first.  
            For me the benefits of keeping my sexual purity before marriage are many. When remaining abstinent and sexually pure I can spend more time on my academics, friends and family, and developing a stronger relationship with God. I personally know of many students who have not remained abstinent and have seen them suffer greatly because of it. They grew apart from long time friends, had more family problems and did poorly in school. Some people even turned to drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the void left in their lives when the person they loved or had sex with left them to be with someone else. I personally think that the benefits of remaining sexually pure before marriage greatly outweigh the perceived benefits of not. 
            As you can see there are many benefits of keeping sexually purity before marriage. These benefits include but are not limited to a stronger relationship between you and your spouse, better relationship between friends and family, healthier psychological, emotional and physical health, capability of loving your spouse with all your heart and most importantly a closer relationship between you and God.

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest 
2nd Prize HS Category
Age 17  Grade 11

 I was brought into this world by a women only 16 years of age at the time of my birth. As I grew older pressure begins to build around the topic of abstinence. Because of her own experiences at a young age I began to get parented cautiously. I wasn't brought up in the church, but I was always a believer of God just for the simple fact that my grandma made us pray before we eat. Growing up seeing images of God around the house made me think this is the right thing to believe in. As I became of age to understand things I was oblivious to at a young age I began to think. My mother and father were not married when I was conceived. This makes me assume that what they did was okay. Right? This never crossed my mind as being un-pure until my family grew in Gods word. Knowing that my mother and father had a child even though they weren't married was just okay in my eyes. Seeing her and my father well off as adults only leaves me to think that having a child before marriage is no big problem. I think some young teens can relate and think that its okay for them to do the same.

How can you maintain sexual purity before marriage when the culture bombards you with sexually oriented messages and images? This question is relevant everyday in life. As we wake up in the morning and turn on our t.v. what might we typically see? Maybe a likable women or man advertising a warn cup of coffee? No harm in this, but the way the culture presents this image isn't pure. They might have this women or man in an inappropriate and unnecessary outfit that has nothing tied to the coffee itself. This is an example of culture presenting something so innocent as coffee and turning it into something you might question. To me they aren't selling the coffee. In my eyes I see temptation presented on many levels. There are many ways to temp someone to think a certain something. For the commercial is just a way to spread that thought of temptation. Then again an individual could not acknowledge the temptation being presented in this commercial. Everyone has different views and levels of what temps them.

Being exposed to sexually oriented content is one thing, but how you respond is another. You might watch a music video and say "Man I want to live like that" or you can say to yourself "I am made in Gods image, and what he has planned for me is much greater than what Im presented with in a 3 minute music video". Living on this earth temptations will always be at a high. Weather you are strong in your faith of God or not a believer at all. Being equipped with what you need to stray away from temptation is vital. One might say "Dig into the word of God" or "Pray about it" but in my personal experience you got to want to be pure for yourself. You know yourself the most and you know what gets to you mentally and physically so why put yourself in a position you know your going to be vulnerable in? Saying no is very easy to say. Like everyone says "Actions speak louder than words". I also once heard God wants us to live not act,  so if your saying one thing and following up with total opposite, your not fooling anybody but yourself. God see's all.

Being a young christian man living in a world of sin is hard. I just think to myself "Gods got me, he got my back". Gods as present as you want him to be , you can try to block him out,  but your just getting in the way of what he's called you to do. Sexual messages and images are everywhere. Steps I learned to take consist of ; 1.Cutting off the things that are hindering me (Mark 9:43),  2. Be vigilant (1Peter 5:8),  3. Remember that you are a temple of the holy spirit. (1 Corinthians 6:18-19) Truly worshipping God is giving your body as a holy sacrifice that is acceptable in Gods eyes. God will forgive you for what you have already did. He expects you to repent and learn from the situation presented to you. With no trials of failure there is no knowledge gained. We christians strive to be what is acceptable in Gods eyes.


2011 Pure Love Essay Contest
1st Prize HS Cat. (grades 9 & 10)
Kotone N. 
Age 15 , Grade 10

1) What are the benefits of keeping sexual purity before marriage? 
Sexual purity is a controversial topic to discuss about. Religion, School, Family, and Experience, these are things that effect a person’s knowledge towards sex and their feelings. Is there really a straight answer to what is right or wrong?  Why do teens struggle so much when we discuss this topic, “sexual purity?” 
            There is no doubt to say that it's a hard thing to keep sexual purity in the environment that we all live in today. With tons of media around us, it is really hard to look away from the sexual activities happening in this world. Teenagers are being exposed to a lot of sexual situations and they are not getting the education that they need to make the correct choices. When we think of sexual purity there may be lots of negative things involved but when you sort them out there are positive benefits that come out of this as well. 
            One benefit of sexual purity before marriage is that it gives us more time to grow. When we are teenagers, we are learning new things and growing into different people. We are exploring the world and looking at things that we want to become in the future. We are striving to find who we are (identity). If we do have sex at a young age, before we know who we are, it is going to confuse us even more. I believe that sex is about sharing your love with someone you truly want to be with. At a young age, you are still unsure about the type of person you want to be with. If you are not ready and the other person is also not ready, nothing good will come out of this relationship. 
            Other benefits that should be considered are the physical issues including health. To keep a healthy body for the future, the best thing is to be abstinence. You do not have to worry about any HIVor STD’s that may damage your body in the long Run. Also, you do not need any birth control to protect you from getting pregnant. If you do not want to put yourself through these risks, staying pure is the perfect and best way for you. 
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            There are lots of positive relationships that come out of staying pure till you marry. The most important is the relationship between you and your partner. By discussing about your sex life and telling them about your purity, you will have a healthier relationship with them. You can prevent yourself from any pure pressure that is happening in a relationship. Your relationships will last longer. Family relationships may be stronger as well.  You will be able to feel more open towards your family member and they will trust you fully. Healthy relationships are a positive and supporting environment to be in. It is perfect for teenagers that are seeking for answers and identity. 
            Last but not least sexual purity before marriage is going to benefit you in the future. It is going to give your partner the respect that they deserve. When 2 mature people come together and truly love each other, they produce a perfect little baby. The end result is going to be that much more rewarding. I think that this is what makes a marriage successful. With a household that is stable and supportive, you can pass this to the next generation as well. 
If you have sex at a young age, you are risking yourself to having a baby that you cannot support and love. It is not beneficial to the child or yourself or your partner. It is going to create unnecessary conflict and emotions that will not happen if you decide to keep sexual purity. I think that over the years sex has become more of a “for pleasure” than it is “a beautiful natural” action that people take. It had been misunderstood in the wrong direction. 
Staying true to what you really want in your life is the key to everything. If you are unsure about sexual activity, I prefer you to wait and observe and sort out your life. What is really important to you, and what do you really prefer over the other? It is easy to say that you want to be keep your sexual purity till you marry, but it is another to act upon it. If you stump upon a decision, think over the benefits for you and your partner. Look for more information and if you decide to, you can do anything!

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest HS (9&10) 2nd Prize 
Breeon S.                                                                                                                                                            Page 1 of 2
Age 16. Grade 10

How Would Having Sex In Your Teens Affect Your Relationship With Your Parents, Siblings, Friends, And Peers? 
            Having sex while you’re a teenager can affect your relationship with your parents because you can lose their trust, hurt them, scare them, disappoint them and change their perspective of their little girl/boy. Most parents trust their kids from the beginning, but once you do something to lose their trust it takes a long time to gain it back. For example, I did something real bad in 2008 that disappointed my Dad to the fullest, and I didn’t gain his trust back till 2010. The feeling of not having a parent’s trust hurts and it can affect the rest of your teenage life. Your privileges decrease, you have to do a lot more to earn a lot more, you can’t create the memories that you would have with all your parents trust, and your parents actually have one good reason or more for why they shouldn’t trust you or let you do something. 
            Having sex as a teenager is one of the worse things you can do to hurt or scare your parents. Whether you’re their only child or not, they don’t want anything to happen to their babies, all they want to do is keep them safe, raise them right and point them in the right direction. I can only imagine how a parent feels when they find out that their little boy/girl isn’t a virgin anymore. If they can’t control what they’re already doing then they’ll try to teach them what decisions to make and how to handle certain situations. A parent finding out that their child is having sex as a teenager is scary, because of STD’s and no birth control. Their kids are their heart and world, the last thing they want to worry about is getting a fatal disease having sex, or having a child they can’t afford.
            In the Bible, having sex before marriage is an abomination. I am a Christian, and since I’m no longer a virgin.  I am celibate, because I want my parent’s trust, to be a good influence on my friends, a good role model for my little sister, gods favor, trust, love, a better, happier life, and life for eternity. I know that I’m old enough to understand what God is pleased with and the Word of God in church. I fear God and I know better. I know that having sex out of wed-lock is the worst thing you could do  
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even though all sins are sins, they’re equal (a sin is a sin). One of my desires is to find my soul mate and have a family of my own, and that’s one thing that keeps me from having sex. I am grateful for my parents and love them; they’ve pushed me in the right direction. Even though I’ve experienced having sex behind their backs, I know how it feels to break their hearts and be looked at as dirty and a liar by my loved ones, the ones who brought me into this world, who raised me from birth, and kept me safe. They probably haven’t and will never forget, but forgave me because they love me. 
            Having sex would affect my friends, because they would feel like they’re missing out on something or just wants to fit in, so they’ll do it too. If your peers hear that you’re having sex, they could start stories and/or look at you in a completely different way than they did before. Having sex and being a virgin comes with two different reputations most of the time. If you worry about what your peers are doing or what they think, that is not important.  The devil may try to make you think that it is okay for you to have sex, because everyone else is doing it too. WRONG! It is not okay, you shouldn’t want to be like everyone else. Everyone else might just look like they’re okay, but you don’t know what’s going on behind closed doors, you don’t want STD’s and diseases like some of them. It’s okay to be different, people, my elders have told me, it’s okay to be different. People feel like they want to fit in, get attention, or just be liked. But don’t pay attention to what everyone else is doing, pay attention to you. Everything that everyone else is doing in high school, like having sex, isn’t going to get them to be successful, graduate, make their parents proud of them, or make them feel good about themselves. They runoff at the mouth and tell you all the good things about having sex, but you don’t hear them telling you how having sex doesn’t benefit you or helps you in your future. There is always two sides to everything. I’ve learned that you don’t have to have sex to have fun or follow your friends/peers. Let them do them, while you do you, because you’re going to be the one that makes your future good for you. Your friends/peers are not worried about your future. But the ones who love you, your parents and your siblings care about your future and your life, and so should you.

2011 Pure Love Essay Contest
2nd Prize Middle School Category
Latrice J.
Age 14    Grade 8   

                               “Sexually Active at Age Thirteen”
 “It’s my body I can do what I want!” Have you heard this before? Or, “Everyone else is doing it?” These are statements among teens that are heard frequently. When teens say this, do they really understand what they are saying? I’m guessing they do not. What they are saying is, “I will suffer the consequences, not any one else, and it makes it okay because everyone is doing it.” Well believe it or not, these are false allegations. God says in John 15:19, “The world would love you as one of its own if you belonged to it, but you are no longer part of the world. I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you.” 
When I read this scripture, I began to accept the fact that what every one else is doing doesn’t have to be what I’m doing. After all, everyone else is apart of the world and I am not. This is saying regardless of what the world displays, we should not be a part of it. You may have heard the saying “You are what you hang around”.  This is sad, but true. If you start to hang around people who do drugs and have multiple sex partners, you will start to have these traits too. 
There’s a 13-year-old girl in the eighth grade that is a dear friend of mine. She used to come to church, get great grades in school, and was a great athlete. Then spring break came. She began to go to parties, drink and smoke, and no longer attend church. When I noticed her behavior, I asked her why was she doing these things. She responded, “It’s my life and I’ll do what I want with it. Plus everyone’s doing it.” When she said this to me I couldn’t believe my ears. I told her she wasn’t thinking straight and that I would give her some time to think about what she had said. I called her two months later and she informed me she was pregnant and living with her boyfriend. I told her I had to call her back. When I hung up the phone, I realized that in a matter of two  months she was destroying her life. Then I began to strategize how to get her out of this situation. 
I thought of counseling, Child Protective Services, and even thought about having her move in with me. But when all my ideas failed, I finally thought God. He says in John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." My friend and I read this verse together and then that’s when we knew she would be make it through.
           After the baby was born, my friend asked me “How have you kept your virginity for so long?” I responded by telling her that I never put myself in a situation where I feel tempted. I have had friends who told me to, “just try it”, and, “it feels really good”, but feeling good isn’t worth letting someone invade God’s temple. This is the same as saying, “Here! Take my new car!”, to someone who lives in Canada. I highly doubt you would see that car again. This is the same for your virginity. Once you lose it, you can never get it back.