The O2 Experience is an organization that goes around the country giving talks on “Life, Death, Sex, and Romance”—which of course is code for “how to avoid both hell and sex before marriage.” On their webpage they describe their conferences as “an opportunity for young people to hear the life-changing message of the gospel and understand God’s plan for their sex lives.” From a reading of the group’s webpage, it looks like you take sex and hell, and throw in a little shame, guilt, and fear tactics on the side, and you’ve got the perfect formula for winning converts. After all, I suppose, you’d be hard pressed to find a teen who doesn’t think sexual thoughts at least once in a while, and if the group shares the views of the Josh Harris book they promote on their website, all they have to do is tell teens that those thoughts are sinful and will damn them to hell unless they recite the sinner’s prayer.
This promo video offers a flavor of their style:
This is a blatant attempt to make virginity hip. Note that this isn’t girls with long uncut hair and denim skirts—it’s ordinary teens with baggy pants and spikey hair. They want to make virginity trendy.
Look, I don’t have a problem with people deciding not to have sex. In fact, I don’t even have a problem with people deciding not to have sex based on their religious convictions. I also don’t have a problem with teens who want to ensure that virginity is a socially acceptable choice, and not something that is ridiculed. I think that every sexual choice (provided it doesn’t involve nonconsensually harming someone else) should be seen as okay, and not as something to be put down or made fun of.
What I do have a problem with is the use of misinformation, shame, and threats of hellfire to manipulate children’s sexuality and sexual choices. I mean for goodness sake, one of their slogans is “Hold Out for Honor.” Because apparently, if you have sex you lose your honor. Way to encourage virginity, there.