From Issue: 467 [Read full issue]

Controlling Your Impulses

Man is an amazing creature! We splice genes, build skyscrapers 100 stories high, and fit a thousand million transistors on a silicon chip the size of a fingernail.

I have a friend, Erik Weihenmayer, who climbed Mount Everest - blind! I've read about Joan of Arc, the courageous 14-year-old French girl turned warrior, who saved France from its enemies and was later burned at the stake. I remember watching the TV news coverage of a plane crash in an icy river, and seeing a man pass the lifeline again and again to others until, exhausted and freezing, he sank below the surface, giving his life for people he didn't know. These are examples of the triumph of the human spirit.

So, when I hear someone say, "Teens are going to have sex because they can't control their hormones," I want to throw up. I mean, c'mon. It's not like we're a bunch of dogs in heat. If we can split the atom, we can control our urges. We're human beings, not animals, after all. And we have the freedom to choose.

There are three notable things about our sex drive. First, it is strong. Second, it is constant. And third, it is good. Without it, no one would want to settle down and have children and the world would soon run out of people. It just needs to be used at the right time and with the right person, and it needs to be controlled, just like any other impulse.

I mean, what kind of world would we have if we responded to every passing urge? If you got angry with someone, you'd simply punch'em. If you felt like sleeping in, you'd skip school or whatever and sleep in. Heck, if I gave free rein to my urges I'd weigh 420 pounds, because my instinct is to eat everything I see. But I have to control myself because I don't want to weigh 420. Shouldn't we apply the same logic to our sex urges?

It takes a little discipline, but it's well worth it. As business philosopher Jim Rohn puts it, "We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons."

I just don't buy the idea that waiting to have sex is unrealistic. It's not unrealistic. Millions of teens worldwide have waited and are waiting and so can you. Self-control is stronger than hormones.

Yes, your sexuality is an important part of your life. But it's not the be-all and end-all of your existence, as our culture may lead you to believe. There are more important aspects to little ol' you than your sexuality, like your intellect, your personality, your hopes and dreams. As one teenage girl put it, "We are so much more than our urges."

"The 6 Most Important Decisions You'll Ever Make" - Sean Covey, pp. 198-200