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Oy vey.

I don’t usually watch commercials on TV because my husband built a PVR that has an imported software module that cuts the commercials out of the shows.

However, my husband was sleeping on the couch this afternoon, the TV went into live mode, and I heard someone on the TV say “Tell your kids you want them to wait until they’re married to have sex.” Of course, hearing such idiocy, I had to look up and see what was on. On the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, I saw a www.4parents.gov logo. I groaned, and my husband woke up and switched something on the TV so the commercials disappeared again.

In the meantime, I went to the URL and found this:

Waiting until marriage to have sex is a very healthy decision for teens. You can help your pre-teen or teen decide to wait.

Ok, so that’s stupid. But there was some good advice on the site.

You don’t have to know everything about teens and sex. What you really need to know is how to talk to your child, pre-teen or teen about what you believe. You should talk early and often. It’s never too early to start the conversation. And it’s never too late.

I take it back. That’s not good advice. You don’t need to talk to your teen about what you believe. You need to talk to them about scientific health information. And you do need to know quite a bit more than what’s in the ineffective abstinence only education programs that are plaguing US classrooms. And it’s too late once your kids have learned about sex elsewhere. Which is probably when they are 8 or 9 years old (or is it even younger now than it was when I was a kid?). Ok, the only part that’s good advice is that it’s never too early. But most people who believe that it is better to abstain from sex before marriage probably would be embarassed to talk to their kids about sex, or think that their kids are too young to hear about this before high school. Sigh.

All in all, this is none of the government’s frakking business and I don’t want my taxes spent on paying for TV commercials to promote this kind of crap when over 15% of the US population does not have health insurance. I’m sure some of the money spent on stupid commercials could go toward getting these 45 million people covered.

I have written before about why I think waiting to have sex until marriage is stupid, and maybe even immoral. Please forgive me for quoting myself. Here are some reasons for having sex before marriage:

1. It’s fun.

2. You need to try before you buy.

3. Sexual repression is not healthy for people or for society

4. People are marrying late in life, and some are not marrying at all. How ridiculous and tragic to be a 40-year-old virgin in real life.

I think point 2 merits elaboration:

Second, you wouldn’t marry someone before getting to know if they can balance a checkbook, whether they are a neatnick or a slob, or if they put the toilet seat down and the cap on the toothpaste. So, why would you marry someone when you don’t know if they are a sensitive or good lover? Although many (if not most) hetero men can enjoy sex with any naked woman, most women need lovers who take the time to make sure they are satisfied. How sad to go through life with an insensitive lover or with a lover who can’t or won’t take the time to give you an orgasm! Too many women in the past have lived like this and it’s not acceptable.

So there.

Donna

P.S. Do I sound grouchy? I had an anti-religious outburst today. I’ll see if I want to write about if after I calm down. It involves messages from a private writing Yahoo! Group that I’m a member of, so I have to figure out how to show the stupidity of the messages that ticked me off without violating the privacy of the posters.

writerdd

Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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17 Comments

  1. I was preparing to disagree with you AndrewC but then you mentioned you got married at 20 so now I'll just say I think you just have a quite unique perspective!

    As it turned out I have only ever had sex with my husband but it is not because we waited it is just the way things worked out. And the reverse is not true of him. Each person is an individual and will react to situations differently but I don't see how you can be jealous of anything that happens before you meet or start dating a partner. That's just my opinion.

  2. Hello,

    I disagree with some aspects of your viewpoint. I agree with you completely that abstinence-only sex education is dumb. The majority of people aren’t going to wait until marriage, so it’s dumb not to teach them some reasonable precautions.

    However, I believe there is value in waiting until marriage to have sex. Neither my wife nor I had sex until we were married. I don’t feel we missed out on much. Since I never had sex with any of my ex-girlfriends, my wife doesn’t feel any jealousy toward them. This may not be the case with all women, but my wife has made it clear she definitely WOULD feel jealous if I had had sex with other women before her. As a result, both of us are still friends with almost all of our exes. Also, I believe that sex has a lot more significance than just fun. It can be a deep bond between two people, drawing them closer together emotionally. I’m glad that the only woman I have been that close to is my wife.

    Admittedly, my perspective on this issue is shaped by getting married young. I got married at 20, so I didn’t have to wait all that long.

  3. Yeah, Andrew, you’ve reminded me of a strange phenomenon I’ve noticed with my college friends. Those who proclaimed abstinence before marriage? Married right out of school. Those who made no such proclaimation… none married yet. I personally think that it’s silly to rush into marriage, while struggling very hard against natural urges during the engagement, just because you think it’s only way you can have sex. (Not, of course, judging your situation. It’s just a trend I’ve noticed)

    In any case, as a former fundamentalist nut-job who was utterly convinced I’d remain a virgin until marriage, I just have to say…. I have no idea what I was so worried about or scared of. Because that really is the issue. Fear is what drove that particular conviction (and, let’s face it, the utterly naive idea that “OMG everything is always puppy dogs and rainbows once you’re married!”). Actually, now that I think about it, the only fear about sex that I had that wasn’t applicable to married women too was that I’d make Jesus cry. Or something equally silly.

  4. “It’s never too early to start the conversation.”

    _never_? I have a four year old and a six year old. I expect the six year old to start asking awkward questions any day now (actually she asked what a virgin was at breakfast today) but I think it might be a little early to have “that conversation” with a four year old.

  5. Hey, I got “the talk” when I was five. That’s because my nine year old brother was asking questions and my dad said, “I’m only dong this once!” and gathered all the kids (my seven year old sister, too.)
    Anyway, I agree that sex is a good thing and too many people take it too seriously. I think it’s time to stop treating virginity as such a sacred thing.
    I’ve also noticed the same phenomenon as kellbelle. Some people will rush into marriage so they can have sex.
    So premarital (or non-marital?) sex is good, but extra-marital sex is still right out!

  6. Kellbelle, I haven't seen that among my friends. Those who proclaimed abstinence until marriage are about as likely to be married as those who had sex with whoever held still long enough.

    My wife and I did have a pretty unusual relationship. We started talking about marriage after dating for about three weeks. We didn't get married for another two years. Mostly because we wanted to wait until she turned 18 to get engaged, and then had to plan a wedding while doing school and work.

    For me, fear of God's Wrath wasn't what kept me from having sex. It was that I wanted to be able to give my wife something that no one else had ever had from me. It also has the huge advantage that when we're hanging out with one of my ex-girlfriends, none of us feel awkward!

    If I'd planned on getting married when I were older (say, 30), I probably would've gone ahead and had sex beforehand. There's only so much a person can do to override a pretty fundamental part of their biology. However, for me I believe waiting until marriage was very valuable, and both my wife and I are happier now as a result.

  7. csrster: I got the sex talk when I was 4. So, I'd say that yes, it is Never Too Early (excepting the obvious, you know, like before language comprehension). Although, I did have a multitude of cousins being born, was fascinated with childbirth, and pestered my mom with all sorts of questions. But I certainly know that having the talk earlier is in no way harmful, and can definitely be beneficial (no erroneus ideas gleaned from the schoolyard).

  8. Ah, for fuck's sake Andrew, did you ever stick your tongue in your ex's mouth? Why doesn't that make for an awkward moment?

    writerdd: I'm all for it, if everyone was getting laid 2-3x a week, the world would be a quite different place. Minors included.

  9. Thanks for alerting me to this. I too, am pissed off that my tax dollars are paying for this stealth fundamentalism. Thomas Jefferson fought just this sort of thing (attempts to place clergy on state salaries, for example), and we should too.

  10. Abstinence until marriage is kind of like buying a new car without taking it out for a test drive. You never know what you get. Or also like discovering you like ice cream but only trying one flavor never to discover you might like others even more or even less.

  11. Andrew said:

    and both my wife and I are happier now as a result.

    Happier than…. what exactly? How do you know? You have no experience with which to compare. In the ice cream analogy, what you've said here equates roughly to "Boy are we glad we've never tried any other flavor than vanilla! Vanilla is our favorite! We don't even like those other flavors."

    It doesn't even make sense.

    I once heard it said that virginity is a minor birth defect that's easily corrected without surgery sometime in the early to mid teenage years. I kinda like that attitude.

    In fact, I think we should bring back the custom of "Aunties". Some folks need a little training before they can be cut loose to disappoint the world. Call it "pre-coital counseling", and let's get it covered by insurance.

  12. Ahh, the joys of analogies. Why would having sex with one of my exes make things awkward when making out with them didn't? Because, at least in our culture, making out has far less significance than sex!

    Why would I buy a car without test driving it? My wife isn't a car. She doesn't exist solely (or even primarily) for "driving". Sex isn't the point of marriage. It was so I could spend all my life with this wonderful woman. So I could talk to her, cuddle with her, support her in her challenges as she supports me in mine. Sex is part of that, but it isn't the entire point. the "test drive" was the two years we spent dating and getting to know each other.

    As for ice cream flavors, like the car analogy, women aren't ice cream. There is so much more to a relationship than sex. I tried several other women. I didn't want to spend a lifetime with any of them. With my wife, I want nothing more.

    On a related note, New York is ditching abstinence only sex ed! Go NY!

  13. AndrewC, it's your wife who should have test driven you, actually.

    If sex isn't the "point" of marriage, then why can't you (generally speaking) have sex outside of or before marriage?

    You are contradicting yourself in spirit if not in the letter.

    Glad you're happy in your marriage. But it's a happy accidnet. I couldn't recommend it to anyone.

  14. I don't believe there is a contradiction.

    The point of marriage isn't sex. The point of marriage can best be summed up as love and commitment. Sex is a way of expressing love. Not having sex with other people is a way of expressing commitment. I believe sex is the ultimate expression of love, and for this reason, I wanted to save sex for the woman I loved more than any other.

    For those who don't view sex as the ultimate expression of love, or who don't feel waiting until marriage is a good way to express commitment, none of this applies. Go have sex, have fun.

    Since I do believe these things, it was valuable for me to wait. I don't believe it was stupid of me to do so, nor immoral.

  15. AndrewC my comments about cars and ice cream were not directed at you. I hope you have a long marriage together. The biggest reasons marriages break up are sexual incompatibility and financial. I am 46 and did not get married until I was 33. I was important for me to do things that are best done young, like travel the world and be financially stable before making a life long commitment. While I wish you the best, I will say that the people that I know who got married as young as you did were all divorced by age 30 (more often sooner). At 20 most people are simply not mature enough. However, most people that I know that got married that young had to (shotgun wedding, they had sex and got pregnant). Personally I believe getting married before one can legally have a beer is too soon. Again my comments were not directed at you, but were instead meant for general consumption and are my personal opinions. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one. Good luck to you.

  16. I've been seeing several of those commercials recently. And I too caught the abstinence only bias in those commercials. While I would say Don't Have sex too early, I wouldn't restrict it to only within marriage, or does until mean possibly after ? reasons:

    1. The movie was the 40 year old virgin, not the 40 year old batchelor :)

    2. Wait till it's legal, or move to massachusetts if your gay.

    — remember 'make it mass' change it to 'make out in mass'

    Ok Seriously, you don't need to enforce your (or the government's) belief that a Deity is intimately interested in your sex life. But there are I think ages where sex is too risky, and one is during High School. — But then I graduated at 17, so I was young for my class.

    College — maybe — but be sure you can handle the emotial issues.

    Here's an idea, (particularly if the Catholic League) is anyway behind the abstinence only push — teach them the history of sex, (or watch the show with them on the History Channel) point out the episode discussing the Catholic churches ownership of brothels, some centuries ago.

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