I cannot stand the double standard that still exists in some cultures regarding this issue: daughters are expected to save themselves for marriage, but sons are actively encouraged to have as much sex with as many women as possible before they are married.
More to the point, I think that having sex at a young age lends itself to problems other than the obvious – STIs, unwanted pregnancy, etc. I don't believe that young people – adolescents - are mature enough to appreciate the enormity of sexual relations or the possible implications of being intimately involved with another person.
Not only this, but with body image issues propagated by the media and pressures placed on both sexes by pornography, I think it is very easy for people, especially young girls, to be pressured into committing acts they ordinarily wouldn’t consider. I watched a documentary last night on the SBS wherein both young men and women admitted that navigating boundaries in the bedroom was very, very difficult and often not done as a result. One commented, “you try [anal sex] without asking and hope for the best”. I think that respect in sexual relationships between young people is a major issue and one that people choose to turn a blind eye to.
I also believe that every time you are sexually intimate with a person, you give away a little bit of yourself. I suppose it depends on the individuals involved whether or not this is ok. In my experience however, this process can be very emotionally taxing - not to mention the health risks involved.
Ideally, I feel it would be nice for both parties to remain virgins until they are married. I believe that our bodies, and their union, are sacred and meant only for the one you choose to commit yourself to for life. I realise that, in today's day and age, this is a very unrealistic expectation because our culture feeds us lies about what it means to love and be loved and what it means to share oneself intimately with another. It’s important for us to see beyond the lies and deceit and recognise that we are worthy of profound respect and profound love.
The raunch culture these days, with young people learning about sex from pornography, is disturbing. That line about anal is especially. I think sex ed classes should include teaching about the importance of consent. This video by Laci Green covers it really well:
Couples need to be able to communicate openly and honestly with each other about what their expectations are before they have sex for the first or the hundred and first time.
And in the sidebar while on the Youtube page I notice that Laci also has a video on the very topic at hand, Losing Your Virginity.
I love what she says about how it is not actually losing anything, but rather making ones "sexual debut".
If you want to wait until marriage I think that's admirable. It's not something anyone should feel pressured into doing if they're not ready.
It is very old fashioned thinking. Regardless whether a woman is a teenager or fifty years old, married or unmarried when she has sex for the first time, her sexuality is hers alone. It doesn't belong to a man.
Why should a woman's virginity matter more than a man's? Why is virginity even made into such a big deal? Sure, sex can be a very big deal emotionally, but it's not a one off all or nothing affair. If a girl doesn't stay with the person she loses her virginity with forever that's not the end of the world. I think it might be nicer not to think of it as something you give away or lose, but rather as an experience you share with whoever you like whenever you choose. You don't think of doing anything else for the first time as losing something. Eating your first slice of chocolate cake isn't called losing your cake virginity, and you're always free to eat cake again, even with a different person, or on your own.
By the way, I don't think teenagers are having sex earlier "in this day and age". Go back a few hundred years and you'll find people had sex pretty early, especially girls, who were routinely married off in their early teens or even younger (as in some countries they still are). Teenage sex is not a modern phenomenon. Nor is premarital sex. People were certainly having sex before marriage was invented.
Jennifer, I agree that people used to have sexual relations at young ages in times gone by, but times were different then. People were more likely to wait until they were married, people were married younger then too and, going back a couple of hundred years ago, adolescents, even what we consider children today, were regarded as adults. I also doubt that people were as promiscuous then as they are now. It's a fact that STIs are becoming more of a problem today than they ever have been. Surely that must say something.
I'm not sure that is a fact. Look at some of the outbreaks of various STDs in history. "The first well-documented outbreak of what is now known as syphilis occurred in 1494 among French troops. The disease then swept across Europe. As Jared Diamond describes it, "when syphilis was first definitely recorded in Europe in 1495, its pustules often covered the body from the head to the knees, caused flesh to fall from people's faces, and led to death within a few months." (The disease is less frequently fatal today.) By 1505, the disease had spread to Asia, and within a few decades had "decimated large areas of China".:50,60"
You don't get so much syphilis today because of condom use.
As for premarital sex, in Britain, Prior to the Marriage Act 1753, British couples could live together and have sex after their betrothal or "the spousals". Until the mid-1700s, it was normal and acceptable for the bride to be pregnant at the nuptials, the later church public ceremony for the marriage. Indeed, in the 1170s in Wales "it was common practice for ordinary couples to co-habit before marriage and for cousins to marry one another" despite the disapproval of clerics sent to Britain by the Paris-based "Reform Church" movement, a Catholic faction that attempted to refocus society's moral compass with a particular emphasis on sex and marriage."
I seem to recall reading at uni that William Shakespeare's mother was pregnant with him before his parents were married.
In the USA "During the colonial period, premarital sex was publicly frowned upon but privately condoned to an extent. Unmarried teenagers were often allowed to spend the night in bed together, though some measures such as bundling were sometimes attempted to prevent sexual intercourse. Even though premarital sex was somewhat condoned, having a child outside of wedlock was not. If a pregnancy resulted from premarital sex, the young couple were expected to marry. Marriage and birth records from the late 1700s reveal that between 30 to 40 percent of New England brides were pregnant before marriage.
Historically, at least a significant portion of people have engaged in premarital sex, although the number willing to admit to having done so was not always high. In a study conducted in the United States, 61 percent of men and 12 percent of women born prior to 1910 admitted to having premarital sex; the gender disparity may have been caused by cultural norms regarding the admission of sexual activity or by men frequenting prostitutes."
I don't have any info on the history of premarital sex in Australia but I would imagine it would be similar. These are just Wikipedia pages, I know, but could be used as a jumping off point for further reading if you're interested.
I really doubt that people in days gone by were on average ever any more inclined to wait until marriage. There have been moralists throughout history ranting about the immorality of premarital and extramarital sex. They would hardly have been doing that if it wasn't going on.
My bad. Perhaps I should have checked my facts. Interesting isn't it. I mean, I always knew there were people who went out and practices premartial sex, but for that to be the norm is a little unexpected, especially when people today (including myself) are so readily inclined to think that the world was much more conservative than it is today. I still think this to some extent, but like the fallacy that people were more "religious" in the past, we should certainly do our research before jumping to conclusions. Thanks for sharing Jennifer.
I just did a fair amount of looking into STI's.
The Doctors who wrote the papers say it is on a increase, to the point of even saying''It would be far better if people could wait till marriage''.That was not my words.He says, that the numbers are growing...and of course why wouldn't they! people are engaging in sex, with many more partners.Why I wrote 'I am glad I don't have a daughter', is because the thought of (who knows how many even one young man, may have slept with slept with), is to me a big worrie.
Then it increases, because of how many people that other person has slept with.
Not to mention, if he may have also slept with another male or two.On looking at the pictures of some of the STI's(people have) on Google....I felt what these people go through must be quite 'hellish'.
It's just not worth it, seriously to prove that all are equal.All have rights, all can do what they like.Sex is for everyone.
Clearly there is a high price to pay, for that.
Jonaj I was certainly not suggesting that we all need to engage in casual sex "to prove we are all equal." Not everyone wants that. But yes, sex is for everyone, we do indeed all have rights and we can do what we like. That doesn't mean we can't exercise caution and think about the consequences of our actions, and we absolutely should. That's why I think it's very important that we educate young people about the subject (about STIs, pregnancy, birth control, consent, charting cycles etc.) so people can make informed choices about this stuff and protect themselves physically and emotionally. I do have a daughter, and a son too. I will try and equip them both to deal with these things as best I can. I don't think it's more of a worry for my daughter than it is for my son.
Any citation on the STI comments? I could believe that certain STIs might have increased in the past couple of decades (a whole lot of factors can change that, like availability of condoms, what kids are being taught in schools etc.), I was just disputing that they were the highest they had ever been.
You can only give away your virginity once, so if you had to put a value on it, you could argue that makes it quite valuable? Some people would say "sacred" but that's getting into moral and philosophical debate, which personally I can't be bothered with (we all have our own moral values and the law says we must respect that).
Personally though, I think both the male and female saving their virginity as a wedding present for each other is very special, and there is evidence to suggest that it also contributes to higher rates of successful marriages.
I don't believe the analogy that many people use "try before you buy" is appropriate because, if we buy a new car, we test drive the demo that everyone else has also driven and then ask for the brand new one wrapped in plastic with no kms on the odometer. Regardless of whether we buy a new or second hand model, the vast majority of us tend to dispose of it when it gets old and worn out - opting for a newer, lower mileage model as a replacement. So that little analogy is fine if you have no intention of sticking by your wedding vows (and if that's the case, why marry in the first place? - it just makes the dissolution of the union more difficult later on).
More importantly research has shown for decades that the more cohabitation and number of sex partners you have before marriage, the less likely your marriage is to succeed. And before someone says "correlation does not equal causality", a) that's what tobacco companies said about smoking for nearly a decade, and b) subsequent research has looked into why this might be the case and discovered that it is likely that premarital cohabitation and multiple sex partners changes attitudes towards life-long unions - I think from memory it was more specifically that it lowers one's expectations that there is such a phenomenon as a successful life-long union (self fulfilling prophecy perhaps??) and increases one's tendency to abandon a relationship rather than attempting to address a given challenge together (apparently that's more likely to be perceived as "too hard" when the option of running away from it has been seen from personal experience to be a viable and easier alternative than solving a problem). That's not to say that all divorces can be put down to people not being prepared to work at it - I'm sure we can all cite examples where one of the partners intentionally betrays the other's confidence in some way, but ideally you would hope that should be the exception, rather than the norm.
Personally, because I've never had another sex partner, I don't have any other experiences to compare with. My wife and I have learned together and are happy - partly because we don't know any different. I'd prefer not to change that (if it ain't broke, why fix it?). Why isn't this research more widely known about? Because it is very unpopular and challenges current attitudes that sex is "just" a physical act, like a game of tennis or going for a run. Every living being will prefer to go with what "feels right" and try to avoid things that we find inconvenient, and for most, in the heat of the moment sex feels REALLY right :-) and achieving the golden wedding anniversary just seems so far away.
All I can say is that, with every year of marriage (now totaling 21), my wife and I have increasingly learned that "becoming one" was the right thing to do because with every year, the tally of challenges that we have collectively overcome increases, which in turn gives us more confidence that we can face together whatever life deals to us in the future. She is far more than my life-long sex partner, she is my best friend and confident, and I am hers. She literally is, my other (better!) half. If one of us has an accident that prevents us from having sex for the rest of our lives, or we get "too wrinkly" I know we will get through that together because our union is based on far more important things than sex. I know I am so important to my wife that she saved something for me that she could only ever give to one person. And that gift was never "lost" because we became one - there is no longer "mine" or "hers" - just "ours".
Depending on whose figures you cite, we are one of the 1-10% of couples where both partners save their virginity for the wedding night (I reckon it's probably closer to the 1%).