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One partner for ever and ever' emotionally and physically

By Jeff Hansel

jhansel@postbulletin.com

Two local religious leaders say young people still can chose to abstain from sex until marriage, and the men say that means all forms of sexual intimacy.

Pastor Norman Wahl of Bethel Lutheran Church, said research shows young people who are involved in youth groups, attend church services and form relationships with trusted adults are less likely to engage in risky behaviors such as sexual activity prior to a committed relationship.

He said Bible studies and small-group meetings at church are good times to encourage discussion among young people. Families, he said, should talk about their sexual values.

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"Within our understanding of God's gift of sexuality, we would want to reserve oneself for one's life partner in marriage," he said. That, he said, means all forms of sexual intimacy, including intercourse and oral sex.

Gary Kadansky, executive director of Rochester Youth For Christ, agreed. "One partner for ever and ever, period. That's the only safe sex -- and that's both physically and emotionally," he said.

Kids can't be locked up in solitary confinement until marriage, he said. So parents have to be realistic. Communicating the truth and consequences of actions is important, he said. But, he said, "kids have to make that choice."

Kadansky said he knows several kids who have chosen to remain abstinent until marriage.

According to scripture, he said, "sex outside of marriage is wrong."

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