We recently had Michael Johnson, co-founder of Future Marriage University, on campus as a part of our Sex & the Soul week — a week designed to engage students in conversation around the themes of sex, sexuality and faith. This year we were more specifically exploring the challenges of being single longer — since statistically-speaking, our students are much less likely to get married right out of college… and are instead choosing to postpone marriage until their 30s or 40s… if ever. That being the case… how can we help them to approach their *singleness* with both courage and conviction during their formative college years?
MJ gave a talk entitled: What’s Driving Your Sex Drive? In it, he shared some enlightening information explaining why so many young people are engaging in sex as a way of searching for their significance.
He shared that the search for significance (through sex) often manifests itself it two main ways:
- Aggressive pursuits
- Passive explorations
Johnson pointed out that the aggressive pursuits are more common among males (but aren’t entirely masculine) while the passive explorations are more common among females (but aren’t entirely feminine).
From each of these pursuits Michael identified two unique profiles that seemed to personify each pursuit:
Profile: The Conqueror
It’s all about the conquest for these individuals. Overcoming obstacles and achieving the set objective — namely, having sex with as many individuals as they possibly can. It’s about quantity and consumption. In reality, the conqueror finds their significance in controlling others in order to get what they want. They fear being turned down and this can result in aggressive behavior and even date rape.
Profile: The Perfectionist
For these individuals it’s all about being the best — achieving excellence. These individuals are constantly trying to hone their skills in order to improve their performance. It’s about quality — and practice makes perfect. In reality, the perfectionist finds their significance in gaining the approval and praise of their partner/customer. They fear a bad (sexual) reputation and how it could impact their future prospect which propels them forward — constantly striving to achieve new levels of satisfaction, pleasure and sexual achievement.
Profile: The Flirt
For these individuals it’s all about attraction and being attractive. They long to be alluring and even irresistible to the opposite sex. They desire “second glances” from the masses. In reality, the flirt (or model) believes that their significance lies in their physical/sensual attributes… and how many admirers they attract. Their biggest fear is being overlooked. Consequently, these individuals will tend to wear less and flirt more in order to get the attention they’re longing for.
Profile: The ‘Owner of a Lonely Heart’
For these individuals it’s all about love and acceptance — which sounds good (even right) initially, but too often this profile stems from a place of brokenness (possibly an unloving or unapproving father-type in their life). They long to be approved for who they are without having to hide anything. They want to be seen as “good enough” and therefore long to simply give and receive love. In reality, these individuals often wind up giving sex to get “love” from a partner that’s “giving love” to them in return. Rejection is their biggest fear and this manifests itself in the individual being willing to subject themselves to anything in order to “keep” their partner’s love.
Two pursuits, four profiles… and a lot to think about.
Our students’ search for significance is causing them to take desperate, even foolish actions.
We’ve got to find a way to help them understand how valuable they are in God’s sight — and how their search for significance should both begin and end in this same place… leaving sex to be what God intended it to be — nothing more and nothing less.
What do you think?
How do you see this being played out on your campus?
Is there anything you’d add to Michael’s list of pursuits or profiles?
How can better understanding these pursuits and profiles serve you in your ministry with college students?
Please take a moment to share your thoughts, comments or questions in the comment section below. And if you’d like to learn more about Michael Johnson and his ministry at futuremarriageuniversity.org then I’d encourage you click here.