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[whitespace] Students told to wait until they're married to have sex

Campbell--"It," scoring, banging, screwing, jumping bones, boinking, the wild thing and knocking boots--they're all terms high school students use to describe sex.

"It" is exactly what Brad Henning, a nationally recognized speaker, talked with students about last week at Westmont High School. The message, essentially, was don't do "it."

"There isn't a guy who won't agree that, if a girl is easy to get into bed, she isn't worth keeping," Henning said.

More than 100 curious parents crowded Westmont's library to hear Henning repeat what he'd told their kids the day before. The Men are from Mars-ish meeting took on the feel of group therapy combined with stand-up comedy, as Henning stood before parents and told them what they already knew about themselves, but needed to be reminded about the opposite sex.

The women tittered when Henning said, "Guys tend to be impersonal. Women tend to be personal." He wrote this on a white board, following it with multiple exclamation points.

"Men get over fights quicker," he continued. "Women solve the argument.

"Sixty-eight percent of men like their bodies. Only 22 percent of women like their bodies."

He asked the audience how many people had ever been so insulted by what somebody said to them that they never forgot. The majority of people who raised their hands were women. Henning explained that this is why 98 percent of anorexics and bulimics are women. Whereas men have comebacks to insults, women will dwell on it and figure out how to avoid being insulted in the same manner again.

Guys compete for stupid stuff, Henning said, and women compete to be the most attractive. This is exemplified by the fact that women all wear different dresses to formal gatherings, but men almost always wear the exact same things - tuxedos.

Men think, while women feel, Henning said, stressing that this does not mean that women don't think. The average man speaks 12,000 words a day and the average woman speaks 24,000.

"Men communicate what they're thinking right now," he said. "Women think about it for a long time."

This is why certain things take on different meanings for men and women, Henning said. If a woman tells a man she loves him, she's thought about it for a while and when she says it, it has an underlying meaning. She is also saying that she's willing to spend the rest of her life with that man, get married, have children, etc.

When a man tells a woman he loves her, he means it at that moment in time, but has, most likely, not thought quite as much about it as the woman has.

Likewise, women read into everything, but men do not, which is why they can't take hints, as Henning comedically explained.

"When a guy says 'I love you,' what's the first thing every girl wants to know?" he asked the audience. "Why?"

Women sometimes suspect men profess love just to get them in bed.

As evidence of women overanalyzing, Henning held up YM magazine, a popular publication aimed at teenage girls.

One article had the headline, "His love letter dissected." Another said, "Decoding his postcards."

"I've got news for you. Guys don't even send postcards," Henning said.

Conducting an experiment, Henning told all of the women to close their eyes and raise their hands to choose whether they would rather receive a dozen red roses, three roses, or a single red rose from a man. Most said they preferred the single rose, with reasons that were almost exactly the same given by their kids when Henning asked them.

They said it was romantic, special, sweet, symbolic and thoughtful.

Henning then addressed drugs and alcohol, and why girls will take whatever guys give them. Women value security, making them willing to do just about anything to find the one guy who will take care of them.

On the other hand, men value freedom, which seems to be almost the direct opposite of what women want.

"At the wedding, her life's gonna begin and his is gonna end," Henning joked. "If guys could have their ultimate dream, most guys would say 'I want access to as many gorgeous girls as I want and not get rejected by any of them.'"

Fear of rejection is what keeps most high school boys from asking girls out. This is the same reason that the most gorgeous girls in school almost never get asked out, Henning said. The girls become confused and try all sorts of different tactics to snare a man, to no avail. Eventually, a jerk comes along and asks her out and she accepts because she's so desperate by then.

That exemplifies Henning's next point.

"Most girls just want one guy who will understand them and treat them right."

One of the main point Henning tried to emphasize throughout his talk is that love is not a feeling.

"Love is choosing the highest good for the other person," he said.

This means doing everything that you know is best for the other person. That is why when jilted lovers kill their ex'es, it wasn't truly love, because they were not doing what was best for their ex'es.

Henning asked the sexually active students in the audience on March 26, to try an experiment. Go 10 weeks without sex and see how well each person really knows the other. He said most students who actually try this don't stay with their partners.

The best thing for students to do, Henning said, is to imagine their future husbands or wives and ask themselves if it's OK for their future life partners to have sex with other people before they meet. Usually, the answer is no, and Henning says students should live by the Golden Rule and abstain, as well.

"The goal here is not to break kids up," he said. "The goal is to help them understand what love is."

Westmont sophomore Marcus Granger said he appreciated Henning's talk.

"I thought it was one of the few times that a person didn't throw condoms at us and say it's OK," Granger said.

Marlys Clapp said her daughter, a Westmont junior, found the talk very useful.

"I think he's wonderful," Clapp said. "I think the nicest thing is it gives kids permission to make choices."

Westmont Activities Director Erik Burmeister told parents that Westmont is a very sexually active campus and that the staff at the high school has been proactive with issues the students face.

"We want them to know there are reasons to abstain and that they're supported," Burmeister said. "It's sad the few times kids hear it's OK to not have sex. There's a lot of hurt and a lot of pain. Kids are making adult decisions and they don't really have the capacity."

Burmeister said that Henning is such an effective speaker because he's nonthreatening and humorous.

Henning said humor is a common language among kids and that it brings them hope. He said he found out that kids were suffering and he wanted to help.

"I saw kids absolutely devastated by what was going on in the sexual arena," he said. "People were getting absolutely hurt. That's why I do it, and it's working. Literally, kids are begging for someone to tell them the truth."

Henning said 75 percent of high school students have been sexually active at one time or another, which includes people who have sex only once.
Erin Mayes

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