The one thing Pam Stenzel heard the most from young girls in her nine years working at a crisis pregnancy center in Minnesota was, "Pam, I didn't know."
Stenzel is now a speaker and author, and has traveled around the world for years talking about the consequences of sex outside of marriage. She has a wealth of information from teenagers, she said, not only from her counseling experience, but from the more than 500,000 teens she presents to each year.
Stenzel, whose DVDs include "The High Cost of Free Love," and "Take a Look in the Mirror," was in Silverthorne Monday night to speak to local teens and parents. The talk was sponsored by Women's Resource Center of the Rockies, an organization serving Summit and Eagle Counties offering free support and education. Some 25-30 local parents and teens showed up for the event.
"God created sex, but he created it with a boundary,'" Stenzel told the crowd. "In that boundary, it's awesome. Outside, it's destructive."
That rule doesn't just apply to teens, she said. "If you are not married, don't do it ... absolutely no one has ever had more than one partner and not paid."
Stenzel's argument: consequences of sex outside marriage are both physical and emotional.
Most teens worry about pregnancy, but they forget about diseases, she said.
"You have a four-time greater risk of contracting a disease than becoming pregnant," Stenzel said. Teens tend to think diseases won't happen to them or their friends, but that's because people aren't prone to telling others when they do. Or, it could be that the individual just doesn't know they have one, she said. There are over 30 different sexually transmitted diseases, and of those, 30 percent aren't curable, Stenzel told the crowd.
If a teen does accidentally become pregnant, there's "no easy way out." Teen moms are the number one indicator of poverty in the United States, she said, adding that having a baby "is not a game, this is not a new puppy."
But, abortion is an even worse selection, she said.
"There are consequences forever with that choice," Stenzel said.
The third option, adoption, "takes a lot of courage, a lot of maturity, a lot of love."
Stenzel got personal with the crowd, telling them she was adopted - she has never met her birth mother, who was raped at the age of 15 before she decided to carry Stenzel to term - and that she and her husband were both virgins at marriage. Stenzel's 26-year-old daughter was also a virgin for her wedding last summer, as was her new husband.
When she meets others who have kept their virginity until marriage, Stenzel always asks them how they managed to do it. The answer is always the same, she said: Their faith.
"I don't care what you did before you came in the room today, it's what you do when you leave," Stenzel said.