I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but there seems to be a nearly tangible divide between certain groups of college students. There’s the involved and the uninvolved, the passionate and the ones who are just trying to appease their parents, the drinkers and the non-drinkers, and the sexually active and those who are waiting until marriage.
While I respect a person’s right to choose when they are going to have sex, I’ve realized something lately: it’s a really bad idea to wait until marriage. The thought itself is lovely – being penetrated for the first time on your wedding night, surrounded by candles, with the man who is wearing a ring on his left finger that matches yours – but logically speaking, it’s not quite that simple, and definitely not that practical. It’s also incredibly naive.
First off, something a lot of people are too afraid (or too “nice”) to admit – sex is a huge part of a relationship. I’m not trying to patronize virgins, but maybe when you haven’t had sex yet, you don’t realize how true that is. Being intimate and sharing those vulnerable naked moments are important for getting to know someone as a whole. Who someone is as a person and who they are sexually can sometimes be completely different. Would you really want to marry someone who has an entire part of their being that remains a mystery to you?
Along with the fact that waiting can put you in an awkward position (for real, what would you do if the sex was awful?), but according to this ABC News/Health article, waiting until later in life to lose your virginity can actually be detrimental to your sexual satisfaction, and could even cause sexual dysfunction. There are lots of factors involved that I’m honestly not qualified to get into, but… it’s scary.
Regardless of how often we’re told it’s slutty of immoral, it’s a normal feeling to want to experience what sex is like with more than one person. As a friend once told me, “they call it growing up and settling down for a reason. You’re settling down from being wild and crazy. So do wild and crazy things,” – how perfect. As much as they might tell you otherwise, marrying someone who hasn’t gotten to experience other people is a risk. Not everyone has the desire to sleep around – but it is something that needs to be talked about and negotiated before saying “I do.”
So much value is put into virginity. It’s old-fashioned to believe that a person’s virginity is the key to their “innocence” or “purity,” and those outdated ideas just add to the disappointment, guilt and shame that can sometimes follow people if they don’t wait (plus the whole “what would Jesus think?” thing I’m trying not to get into). I never put a lot of thought into my virginity; it was just a fact for me, not the value of who I was. When I did have sex, I didn’t feel like I had lost a part of me, I didn’t feel like a different person, I was just Ness who happened to have had sex before.
I’m going to come out and say it – I think there are people who wait until marriage just to say that they waited until marriage. Of the people I know who have waited, or continue to wait, none of them are quiet about it. “My husband and I waited, because he loves me enough to only be with me,” as if a man who has been with other women can’t possibly love their partner the same as someone who has only been with their spouse. Or, “I’m waiting until I’m married, so then it will be special,” as if having sex before marriage can’t possibly be special. Or, my personal favorite, “I want to give my husband something I’ve never given anybody else!” Um… what about the fact that you’re marrying the guy? You haven’t given that to anyone else. I call bullsh*t.
Not all “waiters” are like that, of course – but I find there’s a definite sense of superiority resonating from those who wait. If waiting is your choice, then it’s just that, a choice to make at your own risk. I just think it’s important to point out that the morality in sex lies not in when you do it or who you do it with, but how it makes you feel in the long-run.