On April 26, Teen Vogue shared “Why Sex Work Is Real Work,” an article written by Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng. In this Op-Ed piece for a magazine that brands itself as “the young person’s guide to saving the world,” the author explains why she thinks sex work should be decriminalized. “The idea of purchasing intimacy and paying for the services can be affirming for many people who need human connection, friendship, and emotional support,” wrote Mofokeng.
Now, my initial reaction was to think of this passage: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Isaiah 5:20).
But I didn’t really think much more of it until a few days later when I heard about the results of a University of California-Berkeley study.
In 1989 researchers began tracking more than 150 heterosexual couples. The latest results show that while the beginning and middle stages of marriage can be marked by disagreements, couples who are married more than 35 years are more mellow, more tender, and demonstrate more positive emotional behaviors. They have more humor and affection and spend less time being defensive and criticizing each other. In the news release about the findings, Berkeley News shared, “The results challenge long-held theories that emotions flatten or deteriorate in old age and point instead to an emotionally positive trajectory for long-term married couples.”
These two news items mean it’s time for adults to have some conversations with the young people in their lives. Right now, teens are reading one person’s opinion that if they exchange sex for money, they will be empowered, make connections, find emotional support, and feed their need for friendship. What they need to hear from us is that a one-night-at-a-time approach will simply leave them alone again every morning (whether there is money exchanged or not, frankly). Instead, God’s long-term plan for marriage—every night for the rest of their lives with one person—offers true companionship, true connection, true happiness, and true affection. (By the way, if you want to read more, his plan can be found in the Bible, which is the guide for how God already saved the world.)
Finally, for those who have been married fewer than 35 years and don’t want to wait ’til then to be more positive, check out “8 conversation starters for your marriage”—and get a jump on greater marriage satisfaction right now.
Linda Buxa is a writer and editor whose 20th anniversary is coming up this fall. That means she still has 15 years to work on being mellow and funny.
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