Displaying items by tag: sexual integrity

Promoting “Optimal Health” Inside the Center and Beyond

by Lori Kuykendall, MPH, President of Beacon Health Education ServicesOptimal Health Model

Optimal Health was originally defined in 2009 as "a dynamic balance of physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health." Like-minded leaders in the previous presidential administration succeeded in having The Optimal Health Model published on the government’s website, and it is used widely in the Sexual Risk Avoidance field. Optimal Health concepts help serve clients with community education and prevention programs.

The definition of "optimal health" includes key concepts for helping people achieve the best outcomes in all five dimensions: physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual. Read each of the three statements below carefully and see how applicable they are to serving clients.

1. "Health promotion is the art and science of helping people discover the synergies between their core passions and optimal health, enhancing their motivation to strive for optimal health, and supporting them in changing their lifestyle to move toward a state of optimal health."

What pregnancy help organizations (PHOs) do every day is both an “art and science” of prayerfully guiding clients toward optimal health, enhancing each person’s motivation, and providing positive support. We can help clients better understand their core needs and passions shaping their behavior (both helpful and harmful) and begin to take small steps toward choices that promote and protect their physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual health.

2. "Lifestyle change can be facilitated through a combination of learning experiences that enhance awareness, increase motivation, build skills, and most importantly, through the creation of opportunities that open access to environments that make positive health practices the easiest choice."

We have an incredible opportunity to provide personalized learning experiences that are both practical and inspirational, with the hopes of fostering a better environment for making better choices.

3. One other Optimal Health concept that gives direction and helps to set reasonable expectations for serving those coming to us in high-risk environments: Optimal Health "measures success by the degree of movement away from risk."

OH Model

The target image with "high risk", "low risk" and "no risk" helps give perspective for where our clients are, and where we can hope to support them. It guides us in working together with them to set reasonable goals moving toward lower levels of risk, and ideally on to no risk. Some examples of this are questions like "Is not having sex an option for you?" or "What steps could you take to move away from this unhealthy relationship?" Depending on the client’s unique situation and your center’s services, you may be able to discuss STD testing or other services you offer. These "risk reduction" measures require wisdom and discernment but can help facilitate an ongoing relationship with the client with the continued goal of moving them to a no-risk environment.

Concerning community education and prevention programs, the Optimal Health Model allows an emphasis on “primary prevention” in sexual health education. We want to help those at no risk (as are most young people who haven’t been involved with sexual activity yet) to have the awareness and motivation that this is the best choice for their whole-person well-being. We give clear, positive messages that normalize avoiding sexual risk by avoiding sexual activity. Students who are engaged in at-risk behaviors are encouraged that a no-risk status is an achievable option that brings both short and long-term flourishment. The Optimal Health Model emphasizes all aspects of nonmarital sexual activity and its associated physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and intellectual risks while promoting the whole-person benefits to be realized in preserving all sexual activity for marriage.

The Optimal Health model is a strong tool for use both inside and outside the pregnancy center. It is future-facing and provides guidance and hope by encouraging all toward well-being and flourishment.

Embracing Femininity

by Lora CurrentEmbracing Femininity

Several weeks ago, I was working remotely in a coffee shop when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up from my computer as she leaned close to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look so feminine.”

This took me off guard. She didn’t say, “You look pretty” or “I like your dress”.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about that comment, trying to understand the peculiarity of her using the term “feminine” rather than a more usual compliment.

The definition of “feminine” is just “having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women or girls.” However, when she said, “You look so feminine,” I heard much more than a usual compliment. I heard, “You look beautiful,” “You are strong,” and “You are gentle,” all at once.

Femininity is a complex mixture of beautiful qualities and characteristics that showcase what only a woman can. Femininity is attentive yet gentle, direct yet humble, confident yet aware, and independently dependent.

Unfortunately, the term “feminine” has been wrongfully smeared in the eyes of many women. It has become a dismissive term or rather a dismissive quality, that women now try to avoid as they strive to live bold and empowered lives.

Femininity has been shaped into an insult to say, “You are weak,” “You are needy or incapable,” “You are less than a man,” or simply “less than.”

There has even been a cultural revolt against the style or look of femininity with oversized fashion, unisex clothes, and a veer toward a more masculine physique.

Present culture tries to minimize any difference between male and female actions, looks, roles, and distinctions and says, “We are the same; therefore, we are equal.”

As a result, femininity has been an innocent casualty in a battle to discover what we perceive to be the true worth of ourselves and our gender.

"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them." - Genesis 1:27

However, even many who consider themselves feminists have rejected the false idea of dismissing femininity, saying we need to empower femininity itself rather than deconstruct the reality of true masculine men and feminine women.

To understand femininity, or rather to understand the beauty and significance of true femininity, we must first understand the beauty and significance of the distinct differences between men and women.

My argument is we are not the same; therefore, we are the other’s perfect complement

"The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" - Genesis 2:18

Women and the unique distinctions and qualities of a woman not only aid society, men, and families but also serve as an incredible complement to men in society and family. In the same way, when men take on the responsibility of being masculine men, they are not the equivalent but rather the perfect complement to women in society and family.

The unique role of each gender is intentionally designed for a specific purpose, which we each benefit from daily.

As a woman, intrinsically feminine, I rely on the men around me for leadership, protection, strength, and structure. In return, I offer insight, safety, encouragement, and patience. These roles are easier to see and appreciate inside the context of marriage and family, and within a mother’s role versus a father’s role.

However, there are many benefits of these differences outside of marriage and children. The dynamic of roles that I laid out applies to my relationship with my father and brothers, with my male boss, with the men in my church, and with other men who have specific relationships in my life. The exchange is a transaction in the sense that each party gives and receives; however, it is not a forced effort where we strain to be able to provide our side of the equation.

The beautiful thing about women is that we naturally lean toward femininity and exhibit feminine behaviors such as gentleness, sensitivity, empathy, charm, and collaboration. Because women were created and designed to be nurturers, those traits come naturally.

We should not feel pressured to suppress the want or desire to be feminine, to succeed like society says we do. In fact, when we embrace who we truly are, and our natural inclinations, we can fully utilize and benefit from the traits and qualities we have. The quality of femininity is to be valued and aspired to as we see the positive effects it has on our relationships, life circumstances, and personal growth.

Though, that is not to belittle uniqueness or individualism. For example, I am a woman who does exhibit some more masculine traits such as directness, goal orientation, and assertiveness. Those are qualities that I value about myself and that have allowed me to achieve the goals I have set for my life. Most of us express some degree of both masculine and feminine traits.

As women, we are capable of a great deal, including many tasks, jobs, or roles deemed “masculine.” And although there are times and seasons when we must step into those areas, we will always revert to our natural design and characteristics of femininity.

My warning is that when we embrace masculinity to the point of losing our feminine, definite qualities, we create a turmoil inside ourselves that is seen all too often. We will never have peace while fighting against who we are.

Women can and should be leaders. Women can and should be able to live independently. Women can and should be courageous. However, in terms of living fully within who we were created to be, women should strive to be, act, and look feminine. This does not mean “weak and incapable,” but rather empowered with the peace and fulfillment of being a woman. Understanding and appreciating all the responsibilities and benefits that come along with that.

When the woman came up to me in the coffee shop, I looked up from my computer as she leaned close to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look so feminine.”

I smiled and said, “Thank you, I try.”

The Power of Prevention in the Pregnancy Help Movement

by Lori Kuykendall, President of Beacon Health Education ResourcesThe Power of Prevention in the Pregnancy Help Movement

Planned Parenthood boasts itself to be the largest provider of sex education. Given their business model of providing abortions (and now the second largest provider of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones), it makes sense that they would want greater access to students through sex “education” in schools and community groups. Those students are potential clients. If they follow their “comprehensive sex education” guidance to use condoms and/or birth control, they will eventually need their contraception services, STI testing and treatment, and tragically too often, abortion.

I was hired by Women’s Pregnancy Center in 1995 as the Teen Outreach Director. The new position was created by the Board and directors who said, “We want to reach the girls before they need us.” God had given them a clear calling to go out to local schools, churches, and community groups with a prevention program. I was a new college graduate with a degree in health education and a calling to full-time missions. God answered all our prayers, and we got to work!

Developing Our Calling

Too many clients were sharing comments like “No one ever told me that…” or “We thought we wouldn’t get pregnant if we…” or “We had sex by accident.” Too many didn’t know God’s good plan for sexual integrity nor the dangers of sex outside that plan. In response, we developed a medically accurate, age-appropriate program for public schools and a faith-based version for churches and private schools.

Many centers, like Women’s Pregnancy Center, have felt a calling and the capacity to offer prevention programs to help address the abortion issue further “upstream.”  Many are now active in area schools, churches, and community groups sharing a clear message of abstinence-until-marriage, or what is called Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) or Optimal Health Education. Some centers develop their research-based programs and others use national curriculum.

About the Curriculum

Prevention/SRA programs share life-giving truths about the risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the emotional risks of nonmarital sexual activity. They present the miracle of life and fetal development. They encourage positive character development, healthy relationships, and respect for the inherent value of every person. Effective programs deliver clear messages using trained, relevant presenters and help to establish a community of support for making the healthiest decisions for physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

The Tremendous Impact of Prevention/SRA Programs

Heartbeat’s vision is “to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.” When we help prevent crisis pregnancies among young people through clear guidance away from nonmarital sex, we are reducing abortion among that population. When we teach a classroom of teens about fertilization and the earliest days of development, we are making abortion less wanted and life more evident. My favorite benefit is the long-term one: when we are helping young people save sex for marriage, we are strengthening those marriages and their future families and having a strong, healthy impact on future generations.

There is great power in prevention for pregnancy help centers. If your center is already active in this space, stay trained and advocate well for SRA programs in your community. If your center is considering prevention outreach, keep an eye out on our Live Virtual Classes page in the Heartbeat Academy. Watch for an announcement of the next possible online course; "Prevention and Community Outreach for Pregnancy Help Centers” is in session now and may be offered again at a future date. And if your center is not feeling the call or capacity to do so, look for other organizations in your area who are and explore ways to partner.

Romance Revolt

I want to love and be loved.by Dr. Joe Malone, PhD, CFE, LWMC, CPT

Women often express to me that they like it when a man displays chivalry toward them. They like to be treated like a lady. (This is why Jane Austen’s books and Hallmark movies are so popular with women!) Women have an innate longing for traditional courtship, traditional marriage, and traditional family. In other words, they want the kind of life that, in many cases, their great-grandparents and grandparents had. A life of fulfillment in a committed relationship for a lifetime. They want to get back to romance. That’s why I believe there is a “romance revolt” taking shape across Western societies.

What is the foundation of this? Well, I believe it starts with the beginning of human history. From the very start, God made human females to be a "one man woman."

“Your desire will be for your husband...” Genesis 3:16 CSB

Currently, we seem to be in a season where there is a relational revolt happening all over the Western world. I call it a “Romance Revolt.” Women are beginning to demand the return of romance and respect between the sexes.

A Lesson From History

It is common for many people living in the 21st century, who are largely unaware of history – especially the history of sexuality – to think that the natural course of things is for cultural conditions to become more and more sexualized as time goes on. However, it should give us great hope to know that in fact, history is not linear but cyclical in its nature; we have gone from periods of sexual integrity to sexual anarchy and back several times in the last several centuries.

The pendulum swinging back and forth has been the actual course of history.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

For over a thousand years, from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the 1600s, there was more and more sexual integrity practiced by society. That started to change from about 1660 to approximately 1800, with more and more sexual anarchy being practiced during the period of what is ironically called “The Enlightenment.” From approximately 1800 until 1920, there was a return to predominant sexual integrity in what is called the “Victorian era.” From 1920 into the 21st century, we have experienced more and more sexual anarchy. But I believe that the pendulum is beginning to swing back to sexual integrity.

We must recognize that history goes in cycles and is not a linear straight line going from more sexual integrity in the past to less sexual integrity and more sexual anarchy as time has gone on. There’ve been times of sexualization in society and then times of greater sexual integrity in response to the harm that the culture has experienced because of sexual anarchy. I believe, and the studies show, that we are at the beginning of one of those times.

Studies Show…

This seems to have started to take shape as early as 2015 when the dating app, OkCupid, shared its new survey research data.

OKCupid ResultsIn 2005, OkCupid had begun asking questions like “Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date?” In contrast to 2005, in 2015 every single demographic group was more likely to say “no.” Heterosexual women were the statistical leaders with 25% being less likely to say “yes.” When they were asked, “Would you date someone just for sex?” again, every single demographic group said “no” more than in 2005. There was an overall drop of 10% in 10 years. (Kelly Cooper, 2021)

More evidence that agrees with this trend is a large U.S. national research study of over 3,000 young adults and high school students that was released in 2017 by Harvard University. It found that a large majority of young adults are overestimating how many other young people are hooking up. This study also showed that 85% of young adults would prefer other options over hooking up, such as hanging out with friends or having sex only within a committed relationship. (Weissbourd et al., 2017)

Back To Romance!

What do women really want? Their God-given, innate nature compels them to want to get back to romance! From both my personal experience and extensive research I have found that a large majority of women want to return to a world where there is commonly a relationship of love and respect between men and women. This entails returning to a culture where sex is reserved for its proper place: within a meaningful marriage full of true love and romance!

I will leave you with this to support that perspective. I conducted 21 qualitative interviews with single, post-college women. There were 12 questions asked altogether. The following is an excerpt of an answer to a question about hookup culture versus romance and attitude toward chivalry:

“I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be spoiled. All the doors opened, chairs pulled out, escort me down the sidewalk. The whole nine. My grandfather wrote my grandmother’s name in the sand while he was in the army, took a picture with her name and sent it back to the United States with his letter.”

For more perspective on this, I invite you to join me for a recently recorded conversation with Lora Current. Watch it here!



1. Kelly Cooper. (2021, August 10). A Digital Decade: Sex. Theblog.OkCupid.com; OkCupid. https://theblog.okcupid.com/a-digital-decade-sex-c95e6fb6296b

2. Weissbourd, R., Anderson, T., Cashin, A., & Mcintyre, J. (2017). The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People’s Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Sexual Harassment. In Making Caring Common (p. 6). https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/s/mcc_the_talk_final.pdf


Recorded Conversation: Women's Sexual Wellness

What Science Says about Marriage

MarriageScienceSociety today places so much emphasis on scientific data as the only reliable source to any subject. Truth be told, when it comes to human sexuality, science speaks for itself. Dr. Joe Malone, Sexual Integrity Scientist, helps us understand why on Valentine’s (and every other) day!


Some in our 21st century Western culture are advocating many new relationship types. These include hookups, friends with benefits, throuples, cohabitation, polyamory, and more. They say that we need to be liberated from our sexually repressed lifestyles. The philosophy is that if it feels good, we should do it with as many different people as we choose. When it stops feeling good or gets old, we can switch to another or others. Being personally happy is the ultimate goal in life for each individual and the most important gifts are the ones we give to ourselves in the pursuit of pleasure, no matter how it affects the other people in our lives. Many of those we serve in the pregnancy help community have adopted this thinking. But we have a unique opportunity to share a vision of marriage, true love, and real sex with them. Consider this.


An outstanding hallmark of Christianity from the beginning has been monogamous marriage. Christians stood out within their communities because of it. Contrastingly to the above thinking and practice, think of Valentine’s Day and the giving and receiving of a gift with the one we love. We may not realize all the value of the gift, when the gift is sex in a loving monogamous relationship that we can share with the love of our life, our spouse. There are so many benefits to sex within monogamous marriage. Let’s take a look at some of them.


Sex within marriage leads to greater and greater levels of intimacy. You get to know each other better and better in a way that no one else on earth does. This helps develop a trust relationship that is sure and steady. In happy marriages this can have interesting physical benefits. Happily married couples blood pressures drop when they sleep together. Their heartbeats synchronize as well. Sex is a great releaser of stress!

Sex within marriage also doesn’t carry all of the negative baggage that sex previous to, or otherwise outside of marriage carries like guilty feelings, regret, worry about STIs or an unwanted pregnancy with someone who is not your spouse.

The physical contact involved in sex helps us to bond more strongly all of the time. There are endorphin receptors throughout the skin covering of the body and they react to intimate and loving touch, which generates endogenous (or internal) endorphins, a kind of super relaxant. Hugs contribute to this, and married couples are encouraged to hug each other at least eight times per day. Their hearts literally beat as one because of the assurance that they have that their spouse loves them absolutely and has their back at all times.


Another great benefit of married sex is that it is antiaging! Cells in the body that are anti-inflammatory are released during sexual activity. This helps the body to be able to repair more effectively and seems to be a built-in way that the wellness and well-being of the married couple is enhanced.

Sex within marriage raises our immune system by causing the release of an antibody called immunoglobin A. This helps protect our bodies against invasive bacteria and viruses. A lifelong marriage is a very holistic stabilizing factor physiologically for a couple.


An awesome married sex life helps us to sleep better because oxytocin is released substantially after sex. Cuddling afterwards and going to sleep is very natural and healthy. It helps us to have healthier looking skin as it promotes blood circulation, and it even helps women to have lighter periods. Sex within marriage raises our moods and gives us a more positive outlook on our spouse as we bond.


If we are reflective, we see that its benefits go far beyond immediate pleasure and even increased physical and mental health. When we look at the physical fruits of married sexual relationships - children - it is obvious that this is definitely one of God’s most important gifts to us. After all, his first words to humanity were to go forth and multiply.

Married sex is a wonderful example of men and women displaying consistency, intentionality, and most of all faithfulness. This is what God intended for humans and without a doubt, it is best for us.

Marriage pays dividends multi-generationally to a family and then to all of the lives that a family influences in their lifetime. As we have seen before, it is always in our best interests to do things God’s way. Profound and magnificent blessings follow in that pathway. One path leads to death, the other path leads to life. Let’s help them choose life! Let’s give our clients a gift that keeps on giving, as we share the vision (and science!) of marriage, empowering them to experience one wonderful and memorable Valentine’s Day after another, year after year, and decade after decade.

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Human Sexual Wellness and Scientific Fact

by Dr. Joe Malone, PhD, CFE, LWMC, CPTmonogamy

I have made a recent life-changing discovery. After many, many years of research and personal experience teaching in the wellness field, I have scientifically concluded, that for humans, sexual wellness equals sexual integrity. And it is exhilarating to know that my faith is backed up by reason. You may be thinking to yourself what do I mean by all of this? Please let me explain.

Many voices in our society currently say that humans are naturally promiscuous like our close genetic relatives, the chimpanzees. Let me enthusiastically proclaim that scientifically and historically this is not true at all! On a species level, scientists can determine by examining their bodies whether a species is promiscuous or monogamous. They also can compare their immune systems to see if promiscuity or monogamy has been practiced by this particular species.

For example, in promiscuous species, females develop what is called sexual swelling around the time they come into estrus (or heat) and ovulate, where their genitals swell greatly, turn red, and put out a distinctive odor that attracts males of their species. This is obviously not true for the human species where ovulation is what is scientifically called concealed. In some cases, even the women who are ovulating are not aware of it.

With the male sex there are also distinctive differences in the way the bodies of promiscuous and monogamous species are built. Going back to chimpanzees would you believe that their testicles are proportionally three times the size of human testicles even though humans have bigger bodies? The reason is they mate promiscuously. The sexual competition that is going on between the males actually happens inside the female’s reproductive tract. This means that on average the males with the most volume of semen will impregnate more of the females and pass their genes on to the next generation. Size is a factor.

Finally, the chimpanzee and human immune systems when it comes to STIs are vastly different. Humans get chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis at high rates, with STIs hitting their highest rate for humans ever in 2015 and continuing to rise to present. Chimpanzees are immune. They have a much higher white blood cell count because of generations of promiscuity where the vulnerable chimps were weeded out of the population.

Many more points of scientific evidence lead us to acknowledge that humans are biologically designed for monogamy. In fact, for humans, sexual wellness looks an awful lot like God’s plan for our sexuality.

Consider this: your pregnancy center may be on or near a university campus. Even if it is not located by a college campus geographically, chances are many of your clients fall in the 18-24 age range.  It is very likely that many of these women will never have been told the natural scientific truth about human sexuality. They instead, have been taught that sexuality is a social construct. They will not have been taught that promiscuity goes against most of their sexual nature. We have an incredible opportunity to teach them the beauty of the scientifically supported truth that for humans, sexual wellness is sexual integrity. I hope you will join me to learn more in our upcoming live course, Human Sexual Wellness, later this fall. Registration will open soon!

Check out the most recent Pregnancy Help Podcast with Dr. Joe Manlone and Lori Kuykendall.

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Call It What It Is

by Dr. Joe Malone, PhD, CFE, LWMC, CPTUntitled design 2022 01 11T120148.380

A former student of mine and I wrote a book that came out in 2018. In it, we outlined many of the damaging effects of hookup culture. From the research of others (and there are too many to name here) these are some of the low lights we discovered.

First, college women’s, but not college men’s, depression symptoms increase as their number of sexual partners in a year increase. Second, research shows that women take part in this behavior even when they feel uncomfortable doing so. Next, men especially overestimate women’s comfort with hookups. Only 32% of men said they would feel guilty about having intercourse with someone they just met compared to 72% of women. In addition, the percentage of women feeling guilty over hooking up was over twice that of men, as women tend to seek more emotional involvement in sexual encounters than men do. Then this - many young adults and again, especially women, feel compelled to take part in hookup culture. Lastly, most times alcohol is involved. In a study of 118 freshman female college students, 64% of the hookups involved alcohol use. It appears that alcohol is usually required to make especially females willing to engage in sex with someone they don’t really know.

If all of that isn’t alarming enough, let’s finish this only partial list of the negatives with two extremely big ones. Around 80% of sexual assaults on campuses occur during a hookup. In the last 15 years the prevalence of sexual assault against women on college campuses has motivated campus authorities to decry what they identify as rape culture. They are justifiable in doing so as any sexual assault is one too many. At the same time, these same authorities say nothing against hookup culture and actually send a strong non-verbal message through the way orientation is handled with condom distribution and instructions about the student Health Center for STD treatment. This affirms, in reality, that they are expecting college students to be sexually active and that this is just part of the college norm. But, when we look at the above cited statistics on college campuses these days, hookup culture is for all practical purposes fueling rape culture.

As already mentioned, a major harm of hookup culture is of course, STDs. Largely because of hookup culture-promoted promiscuity, STD rates have been skyrocketing. They hit their highest levels ever in 2015 and continued to climb. Presently, one in two sexually active people will have an STD by age 25. The 15 to 24 age group makes up 53% of the gonorrhea cases and 65% of the cases of chlamydia. Once again, STDs are more dangerous for women. Currently HPV is the most common STD in America. Both men and women can get HPV, but women are 125% more likely than men to have HPV develop into cancer. The CDC states that a female’s anatomy can place her at unique risks for STD infection in comparison to a male.

As an example, one of my students who I had in class in 2007 gave me permission to share her story. She was a somewhat typical sorority sister who drank and was sexually active. Without realizing it, she contracted HPV. She married after college and had two little boys. About eight years out of college she found out that she had cervical cancer and had to have everything, but her ovaries, removed. It was a very scary, possibly life-threatening experience for her, and she felt fortunate that she and her husband had completed their family before she had to have a hysterectomy. There are many more harms and related heartbreaks that we could list here.

I recently listened to a podcast called Just Sex that I found very curious and even disturbing. The promotion said that it concerned hookup culture on college campuses. One of the first statements it made was that there are certain ideas that send the media into a panic, one of them being hookup culture. The inference was that hookup culture is routinely demonized by the media when it is really not that big of a deal and the panic is unjustified.

From there it went into an interview with the author of a book on hookup culture. What I found curious, and quite frankly disturbing, was that from that point on, despite the opening expectations that hooking up is just what young people do these days and that it is normal human behavior, nearly every observation of it showed how negative and unnatural it is, with so many demonstrated harms. The harms being especially hurtful to young women. As a matter of fact, they flat out stated hookup culture does not serve women well. This is where I could find complete agreement, because I believe hooking up fundamentally goes against the woman’s sexual nature.

As I listened, I found their seeming approval to be paradoxical. It soon became clearer though why this might be. They pointed out that hookup culture had come from the 1960s Sexual Revolution and feminist movement. (I had a suspicion that anything that originated with those movements would not be criticized by these two people for deeply held, shared political reasons.) They went on to discuss many, many negative effects of hooking up. For instance, hookup culture says you should be embarrassed for having feelings and feel weak for wanting connection. The author stated that hookups are decidedly not about finding any kind of romantic connection. They had an example interview of a young woman who felt that she was being used in hookup culture, but she also felt she had no choice other than to be used. They stated that the worst thing you can be called in hookup culture is not a slut or even a prude, but you must avoid at all costs being labeled desperate. They also stated that hookup culture demands carelessness, rewards callousness, and punishes kindness. And the misery of living in hookup culture does not end there. They stated that it is important that hookups be meaningless. In fact, ironically, and nonsensically in a normal world, they stated that people generally will have sex with people they don’t like, and not have sex with people they like. They said loving behaviors and mutual respect are to be limited to relationships. A concluding thought was if a woman wants to be respected, she must either opt out of hookup culture altogether or expose herself by hooking up for a period where she just accepts the disrespect.

The book was published in 2017 and the interview was done around that time. At one point during the interview the author did characterize hookup culture as “toxic.” Even so, in this 2021 update to her research to see how the pandemic may have affected conditions, instead of hookup culture being described as the generally hurtful and heartbreaking phenomenon that it is, and calling for a movement against it, it was stated that students in 2021 just want safer, more accountable, and more pleasurable hookup experiences.

The concept of the entire validity of hookup culture was still not questioned or challenged. To me, with all the emotional/mental, as well as physical health problems that hookup culture generates, especially for young women, it would only make sense to build a movement back to romance.

In my own personal research that I conducted in 2019 and 2020 on 437 college students at a large Southeastern University, I found that 60% of the men wanted no part of hookup culture, and 80% of the women wanted nothing to do with it. At the same time, 97% of both sexes said that they wanted more romance and real love in our society. Again, maybe it is time for a Romance Revolt in which young adults unhook from hookup culture and find real love! This would be in direct contrast to what right now many young adults find themselves in, what should be more accurately labeled “hookup hell” on campuses around the world. After viewing all of the damage and destruction caused by hookup culture itself, lets call it what it is - Hookup Hell -and strategically learn to avoid it (like COVID) especially by young women who deserve far better!


Dr. Malone holds a Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance with a specialization in sexual wellness. He has presented at Vanderbilt and Princeton as well as other major universities. Joe served on the CDC Initiative for STD Prevention for Tennessee. His wife of 44 years Jody and he founded the nonprofit Sex IQ: https://www.sexiq.org/

Stronger Future Fathers: Escaping the Testosterone Trap

by Joe Malone, PhD, CPT, LWMC, CFETestosteroneTrap

Father’s Day brings pleasant thoughts to some young men especially about time spent with their loving fathers, and unpleasant thoughts to others, whose fathers didn’t do as good of a job raising them. In some cases, this was due to the fathers, who as younger men, were finding themselves attracted to women who were not their wives. In some cases, they acted on that attraction, which led to the breakup of their marriage and the end of their precious family unit. This is such a tragedy to everyone involved when it happens, and it can be avoided if young men can gain knowledge about how their minds and bodies work differently from young women’s in young adulthood.

Biology, psychology, and sociology all influence young men’s sexual behavior. It is especially influenced by brain anatomy and biochemistry. It is so beneficial for males to understand the forces that are at work in their brains and bodies that have both biochemical and societal origins. The circumstances these forces help create can truly fashion a “Testosterone Trap” in which our young men find themselves ensnared. This is to their detriment as well as those with whom they have interacted and particularly the women in their lives.

Males need to learn that they hit their peak testosterone levels at age 17 and overall levels only begin to decline by 1% a year after age 30. The average man has 7 to 8 times as much testosterone as the average woman and some high-testosterone men have up to 183 times as much as low-testosterone women. The male brain has 2 ½ times more space than the female brain devoted to sex drive which is activated by testosterone, and also has a larger brain center for action and aggression. This means that sexual thoughts run through a man’s mind far more frequently that they do a woman’s. A man’s brain chemistry can create a craving for new sexual experiences the same way an addict’s brain craves cocaine or heroin. Its main ingredient, dopamine, plays a major role in motivation and reward, surging before and during pleasurable activities like sex. Dopamine in a man can especially be boosted by novel partners. All of this is only a possibility, though, not a foregone conclusion. Humans are a species that, because of our unique, proportionally large brains and their executive decision-making cerebral cortex, can override our basic instincts.

When males bond with a female and create an ongoing trust relationship their testosterone levels begin to drop and their bonding chemical, vasopressin, begins to rise. When they marry this woman, the love of their life, testosterone levels drop even more as vasopressin rises higher. When this couple has children, the young father’s testosterone levels fall even more, and their vasopressin bond grows even stronger. This leads to many health benefits for both the wife and the husband but by far, it benefits the husband the most. For example, married men have better immune systems, they report lower levels of depression and stress, and they are less likely to commit suicide or murder. Finally, married men are 250% less likely to die prematurely than divorced men from any cause. It seems that God has designed marriage and fatherhood as a strong pathway for men’s well-being.

Socrates’ famous philosophical statement is “know thyself.” When I was a young man, I often wondered what he meant. I believe as I have lived life, I have come to understand his meaning. By learning to know themselves and especially their chemistry young men may be able to better self-manage and forge a more positive future for themselves and our greater society. They are sure to become wiser and better men in the process. And they are sure to become better fathers and raise happier children who will have many joyous and memorable Father’s Day’s with the man they want to grow up and be just like. We all have an opportunity to be that man. Let us take it!

JoeMaloneDr. Joe Malone taught for many years at Middle Tennessee State University and has guest lectured at Vanderbilt, Princeton, Catholic University of America as well as other major universities. He holds a Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance with a minor in neuropsychology and a specialization in women’s health and sexual wellness. He is the former Chair of the Nashville Community Health and Wellness Team and the current Topic Network Chair for Health Promotion for the Study of Emerging Adulthood. Dr. Malone draws from his life experiences as a former model, Division I college football player and coach, celebrity trainer, elected official, and husband and father in his teaching. He has been happily married to his wife Jody for over 40 years. He is coauthor of Battles of the Sexes and founder of Sex IQ.


by Annabelle Nakabiri Ssebakijje

Annabelle Ssebakijje will be presenting a workshop titled Saving Two Lives at a Time at the 2021 Heartbeat International Virtual Conference.Crushed

It is not very common for me to be silent for 3 hours while having a conversation with another person. The staff I serve with always have to remind me of time when we have a meeting. It even gets more challenging when I am talking with girls – I think it comes from a place of wanting to pour my heart out into every conversation.

As I continue to interact and serve survivors of sexual abuse and young women that come through our doors; I have learnt to BE QUIET and LISTEN!

(Shared with permission)

A couple of days ago I met this young lady I will call Pat. She got my contact off Facebook and sent me a long message. She needed help.  After a couple of chats I realized I needed to urgently meet with her in person. For the first time, she had found someone willing to listen. She had found a place she can let it all out. I am not sure I was prepared for the 3 hours of deep sighs and tears as I listened to a spirit of a beautiful girl – so crushed and feeling completely helpless.

This young lady comes from a polygamous family. She lost her father at age 13 and this meant she couldn’t continue with school. The step sisters quickly threw her and her mom out of the house. They had to struggle through life to find a place to stay and afford a meal. Left with “not so many options,” she found herself a young sweet love who promised her a life of big dreams. When she shared the news about their pregnancy, the young man offered her money to have an abortion. She took the money but decided to keep her child. The prince of her dreams was not ready to be responsible – so he left.

Now there was a child to care for. There was no family support. There was no baby-daddy and no love. She lost the right to be just a young girl. She had someone calling her “maama” (Luganda word meaning mom) and to society – she was the wasted teenager. This was not the future she had imagined. All her dreams were “crushed.”

One of the most common things that happens to people that have suffered abuse and painful losses is they learn to settle for anything – because they have to get by – they need to SURVIVE. I fail to count the number of times I have heard the statement “I had no other option” during counselling sessions. The pain we experience serval times makes us so vulnerable and desperate – and as a result, there is repeated abuse.

For Pat, she was forced to learn the art of sex trade early. Sleeping with at least 5 men a day. Some paid for her services. Some did not. Some required that they do not use protection. More than 3 times, she got pregnant and felt her only option was to abort. Each time she had to go through this cycle of pain alone. She would remind herself – “I have no option.”

A couple of years later – the “way of survival” was not bringing in as much as she needed to meet the needs of her growing child. Someone introduced her to what sounded like an exciting opportunity. She was to be an escort. Escort is a common term used in the sex trafficking industry. This meant she was expected to walk around with guests that came to Uganda through a tour company, and they needed girls for sexual pleasure. The offer was that for every girl who pleases the “white” clients, they get a pay close to 1m per month, a business set up for them and travel opportunities. Well, this sounded exciting – until she learnt that to qualify for the juicy slot – one needed to go through series of preparation and practice. Her and a group of other younger girls (16 – 25yrs) were always expected to have their nude pictures taken and recorded sex sessions with young men during “rehearsals.”  The madam running the business called this – training. No one expected to be paid for the training sessions. There was no food benefit. No explanations why the sessions were recorded. The pictures were to be sent to potential company clients to choose which girl they want as an escort when they arrive in the country.

One day, as Pat walked out of the training session; she felt a rare deep pain. Whatever her life was is NOT anything she really dreamt of or even wanted. But she felt so trapped and didn’t know how to get out. She kept on convincing herself she needed to do this for her dear child – but she wasn’t sure she would live long enough to raise him.

By the time she was done pouring her pain out; I asked the Holy Spirit – How does one recover from all these layers of pain and abuse?

What Does “Abuse” Mean?

Abuse is defined as “to be misused, used improperly or to be wasted; to use in such a way as to cause harm or damage; to be treated cruelly.” Any time we are misused or used for a purpose other than what God intended, it’s damaging. And I realize many people can relate to this. For some of you reading this article, I’m just telling your story. You know what it’s like to live with a terrible, shameful secret that is eating you alive.

I see me. I see Pat. I see hundreds of girls we serve through our ministry. I see the many texts I receive after television shows and from social media; from parents, youth, older women and men reaching out to seek for help. I read of the thousands of girls trafficked every day and how some human is profiting from that as a trade. The thousands trapped in the red light districts; living off drugs to help them forget the sorrow of the day. I read of the hundreds dying; some committing suicide, many murdered for saying it’s enough – I want out. I see children born without Fatherhood identity – there is just no way their moms can identify who was really responsible. I see daughters that have known perversion as a form of love. They are ashamed of themselves and ashamed of the people that abused them. Constantly afraid and with such a low esteem. Pretending to live a normal life but feeling so lonely all the time and different from everyone else.

I may never imagine the extent of this damage. How many destinies have been crushed? How many more shall it take until we see change?

Even after years of dealing with these experiences almost on a daily basis – I never get used to the pain. I have learnt to allow myself to feel all the emotions. And I encourage you to do the same. It is ok to ask questions. It is ok to cry. It is ok to feel bitterness. It is ok to lash out. It is ok not to have answers. It is ok not to know what to say.

There is a reason why we have the book of Lamentations in the Bible. I want to believe God understands that we experience human pains – that is what makes us human. Sometimes we completely lose it – and ONLY GOD knows how to raise us up!

As I prayed through the session with Pat – I heard the Holy Spirit whisper Ezekiel 37:3 – child of mine (Son of Man), can these dry bones live again?

I find comfort in knowing that there is a God who is able to re-write stories of death – into stories of Life and significance.


Annabelle Nakabiri Ssebakijje

Founder and Executive Director

The Remnant Generation (www.theremnantgeneration.org)

Annabelle is a survivor of sexual abuse and child marriage. She has dedicated her life to rescuing lives of teen moms that have survived sexual abuse in Uganda.

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