While I am fairly certain that abstinence is a dying notion saved only for bible-toting homophobic teens living under a rock, it is preached in many high school sex education programs. Do not get me wrong, I think it is great to mention no sex as a form of safe sex, but our youth need to be made aware of other ways to protect themselves. Let’s be real, the majority of high school students have more active sex lives than people our parents’ age and know moves even we may not yet be aware of. However, my blog is not aimed at kids or teens. In fact, I would actually encourage girls to wait until they are ready before sleeping with someone because sex is something that you can never take back. I personally waited until college and do not regret it and I am sure there are people who entered college very experienced and did not lament about it either. While, you should not go out giving it up to every interested guy, for the sake of self respect and in fear of STDs, you should also not live your life with the perception that a picture-perfect marriage involves betrothing the first and only person you sleep with. If you do, you are setting yourself up for heartache.
I would recommend having sex with a few people before you commit to “the one” for a number of reasons. (nsfw)
First, a lot of people build up their first time to be a special occasion. Whether there is candlelight and rose petals or just an exceptionally significant amount of time dating prior to the sex, all the romance and anticipation around it could do one of two things. You can mistake lust for love and assume he/she is the one or it can be terrible because of the nerves and inexperience but you may just assume that sex is overrated. Give it time to get better but if there is no physical chemistry after a while, you may have to be just friends. Also, make sure that if you take away the sex from your relationship that there is still sufficient reason to be with him.
Second, gaining some experience will make you a better lover and also will help you be more capable of settling down with one person in particular. If you marry the only person you have ever had sex with, you will likely find yourself wondering what sex with other people is like. Furthermore, if your husband or wife has had sex with other people and you haven’t, it will grow increasingly hard to handle that disparity. Jealousy, one of the most useless emotions, will undoubtedly creep in (both envy of his/her experience and suspicion of all members of the opposite sex) and may become too much to bear.
I have a friend who married a girl relatively quickly out of college. They grew up together and never dated in middle school or high school but reconnected later and fell in love. Shortly after the wedding there was trouble in paradise—and in reality, their relationship was really never the bliss they guised it to be. While he had dated a few people before her and slept with a few girls, she was a virgin when she started dating him. As a result, he is presently guarded like Fort Knox and can no longer see his female friends. The protectiveness actually is so extreme that no single ladies other than his sisters were allowed to attend the wedding, leaving those of us who had known him since he was freshly out of diapers having to view the wedding through his relatives’ Facebook pics. They are both great people as individuals, but they have a number of issues to work out if they are going to make it as a couple.
I have another friend in an alternate situation. She has had sex with a number of people and is with a man who is most likely with “the one;” however, she still has fears and dread about marrying him. It is not that she doesn’t love him or is not capable of spending the rest of her life with him because they are great for one another and still make each other happy every day. However, in the back of her mind (and sometimes at the forefront of it) she wonders what sex with someone else would be like and is afraid to fully commit to him for eternity based on this wanting for one last sexual encounter just to make certain that he is right for her. It is a hard enough decision to commit to one man or woman for a lifetime and feel utterly confident that he/she is the one even when you have seriously dated other individuals. While it may seem like an easy decision at the time to marry the only one you’ve ever been fully intimate with because you have nothing to compare the experience to, after a few years you will unquestionably have doubts; and, at that point, you will be so invested that it will be hard to leave.
To share a more personal example or the tribulations of why committing to a life with the person who took your virginity is never a good idea, my father was the only man my mother was ever with and their marriage did not work out. Obviously there were a countless number of reasons for their relationship’s failure but I do not doubt that this played a role in their arguing and I know it made her heart break even more after her twenty year marriage was dissolved. He, being ten years older, had been married once before, and I guess was somewhat of a ladies’ man (gross). My mom was actually really beautiful when she was young and probably could have had her picking of men but she fell for the first man she slept with and devoted herself to forever with him. A few years later I was born. Not many years after that, they were two of the most bitter, miserable, and argumentative people you could ever meet. They stayed in the marriage for me and, before they knew it, two decades had gone by and they could not even be in the same room together.
While my dad moved on and married less than three years later, my mom started the cycle again. Rather than go out and have some single fun, she fell for the first guy she dated post divorce. She probably felt that being in her mid-forties put her at a disadvantage because the market of single men in her age range is slim pickings. This man was separated from his wife, living in his mom’s basement, had two small children, and was a pothead evolving into a cokehead. Less than a year later it was the divorce PTSD all over again. Had my mom had more confidence and not allowed physicality and emotionality to become so intertwined, perhaps she would not have had such an unfortunate, heartrending dating life and would be a happier woman today.
Ultimately, I am no way saying to go out and have some meaningless sex just for the sake of practice and a fear of perceived regret later had you not. I just know from the experience of so many friends and family members that forever is a long time and before you walk down the aisle and commit yourself and your future to one person, you have to be certain that in 3, 30, and 50 years you will be satisfied with them being your only sexual partner and life companion. The person you marry should be your best friend whom you go to for guidance, trust implicitly, and find pleasure in spending your days with. He/she should also be someone you are wildly attracted to and with whom you see decades of passion with. This individual should share similar ideologies with you such as religion, views on children and child-rearing, long-term goals etc. Marriage is not about taking the next logical step or “just something you do because it is time;” it is a choice you make whenever the time is right if it is ever right. Do not mistake lust for love or allow societal pressures to drive you to be with the wrong person. Ending things because you do not see a future with someone or because you are too sexually naïve does not mean you cannot remain friends and, in fact, the odds of you having positive interactions are greater if you break up early on than if you divorce after years of feuding and resentment.