As part of her research for the KSL special “Love and Marriage: A Modern Take on a Traditional Vow,” producer Candice Madsen visited separately with Dr. Jason Carroll, a Brigham Young University professor and author of “Sexual Wholeness in Marriage,” and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, a psychotherapist specializing in relationship and sexuality counseling.
The topic: The challenges facing single adult men and women who wish to develop their sexuality in a healthy way, yet reserve sexual activity for marriage.
The questions and responses have been edited for clarity and length.
Candice Madsen: With more and more adults delaying marriage into their late 20s and 30s, reserving sexual activity for marriage has become an even bigger challenge for those wishing to remain chaste. Many single, LDS adults feel like they are treated like teenagers in this realm. How would you respond to those young adults.
Jason Carroll: While teaching healthy sexuality in my classes, many LDS young adults report that the only discussion they have had about sexuality is when they were taught about the negative outcomes of premarital sex and pornography. These negative attitudes, combined with the reluctance of parents and others to address these matters frankly and consistently, leaves many young adults feeling that their sexual feelings are wrong, shameful and contrary to a spiritual way of life.
Such negative conditioning may have long-term consequences in single adulthood and later in marriages when individuals try to “reprogram” their attitudes about modesty, sexuality and intimacy.