Did you know that research shows a link between sex and depression? It's true. Researchers found that 25% of sexually active teenage girls reported they are depressed all, most or a lot of the time. (1)
What about you? Have you felt depressed lately, but don’t know why? You need to realize that research is now finding that guys have the potential to get you really depressed. Especially when taking the self-centered approach to dating.
"One study of 8,200 adolescents, ages 12-17, found that those involved in romantic relationships had significantly higher levels of depression than those not involved in romantic relationships." (2)
Yep...you read that right! Most people think it’s more depressing to be alone and single, but research is finding the opposite to be true. Unfortunately, guys will not solve all our problems. In fact, they can create more if we’re playing the self-centered dating game and experiencing intimacy without commitment, especially when it comes to sex.
Do you wonder why suicide is the third-leading cause of death for teenagers? (3) Or why "one-third of the adolescent population has thought of killing themselves"? (4) Many times depressing thoughts lead to suicidal thoughts. And What is causing depression in teens? Sex and romantic relationships.
You may think sex is the answer to your problems because it can be fun and exhilarating. But, it's only a temporary high. Short term relief. After that good feeling wears off, you actually are likely to feel more depressed.
According to Dr. Meg Meeker who works with many young girls in her practice, "one of the major causes of depression is sex... Teenage sexual activity routinely leads to emotional turmoil and psychological distress." (5)
One of the reasons I'm writing this website and speaking to teen girls across this country is to let you know you are not alone!
I've felt alone many times in my sexual struggles. But, I now realize there are many other girls feeling the same way I do, struggling with the same things I struggle with. One of the reasons I felt so alone in the past is that most people don't talk about sex. It's uncomfortable and a private matter that is not often talked about. Especially in the church.
But, I believe we need to be talking about it. We need to know what God's standards and how He can help us through our struggles. We need to support each other and know that we're not the only ones struggling. To know there are others taking a stand for purity. You are not alone.
Statistically, if you are a teenager in high school, the odds are your romantic relationships will not last. Very few do at that age. Ultimately there are only two options. Either you will get married or break-up. And since most high school relationships don’t last until marriage - you’re likely going to break up.
The longer your relationship, the farther you go sexually, the more of your emotions you share, the harder the break-up will be.
I heard someone describe it this way once. It's like you just glued and nailed two boards together. Now, try to pry them apart. There is going to be some damage. The boards are not going to be exactly as they were before. And most likely part of each board will be left on the other one.
That's a picture of what happens when we give too much of ourselves away in a dating relationship and then break-up. It can also feel like an earthquake just destroyed your life. Sifting through rubble. Incredible feelings of grief, saddness and loss.
Knowing this ahead of time can protect you from a lot of damage. Physically and emotionally. It's easy to say this won't happen to me. I'm different. I can handle this.
But, what if you knew that when you left your house this morning, you would leave your curling iron on and it would burn your house down. Would you think, "This won't happen to me, I'm different. My house can handle this." No! You would double and triple check to make sure your curling iron was off and some of you might not even use your curling iron anymore.
When we know what the consequences of our actions will be, we are then given the opportunity to decide if we want to change our actions. Are you tired of the cycle of short term self-centered dating relationships? Are you ready to surrender this area of your life over to God?
Want to see your depression evaporate? One way is to deal with the spiritual side of things. Depression many times can be a result of trying to fill our lives with relationships and things outside of God. So, when we take care of the spiritual side of life, our depression lifts.
Are you ready to take this step? Find out one way to see your depression evaporate here.
I have felt what it feels to be broken hearted and feel spiritually and emotionally crippled. Do you feel this same way? If so, I want you to know there is hope. Read here to find hope.
Have you had a difficult break-up? Wherever you are in the healing process, it's good to know you are not alone. This is a place to help and be helped. So, please give your advice and encouragement to those who share their stories here.
God is able to heal the brokenhearted and one way He does that is through supporting each other and praying for each other.
Shelley has a heart for teen girls that began from her own journey of finding her true beauty in Christ. She is currently serving God by helping other Christians learn to let their light shine.
Connect with Shelley online:
(1) National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, Wave II, 1996.
(2) Kara Joyner and J. Richard Udry, "You Don't Bring Me anything But Down: Adolescent Romance and Depression,"Journal of Health and Social Behavior 41 (2000): 369-91.
(3) Armand M. Nocholi Jr., M.D., ed., The Harvard Guide to Psychiatry, 3rd ed. (Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press, 1999), 622-23.
(4) A.M. Culp, M. M. Clyman, and R.E. Culp, "Adolescent Depressed Mood, Reports of Suicide Attempts, and Asking for Help,"
(5) Meeker, Epidemic, 63 Adolescence 30 (1995): 827-37.
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