In Defense of Having Sex Before Marriage

Rant 44

wedding ringsLast week, conservative blogger Steven Crowder wrote a holier-than-thou column discussing how "waiting 'till his wedding night" was the "right" way to get married. Women who said his wedding night sex would be "awkward and terrible" are, in his mind, "floozies," and apparently, men who said the same, "with their fickle manhood tied to their pathetic sexual conquests, felt threatened." Did he come off as judgmental? Condescending? Self-righteous? Hell yes! He even admitted it -- and was proud, using the defense that he's been judged his whole life. Womp womp.

Crowder isn't alone. Many who wait for marriage have been acting as if they know better than the rest of us heathens for decades. It's about time someone on the other side fight back, and thankfully, that's what writer Jill Filipovic recently did in The Guardian.

She put the truth out there, clear as day: "Having sex before marriage is the best choice for nearly everyone." She says that not only does sex bolster happiness, lead to a longer life, release stress, boost immunity, help you sleep, bolster heart health, etc., but people who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender -- aka people like Crowder who think the only "right" way to marry is as a virgin -- tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages. Go figure!

It's incredibly heartening to see someone finally speaking out from a sex-positive place and touting the pros of premarital sex! In fact, for the majority of Americans (95 percent or nine in ten people in our grandparents' generation! who didn't wait 'til their wedding night), it's very, very right. Having sex before marriage means you'll have a better shot at sexual satisfaction, learning whether or not you're sexually compatible with your partner (a major key to a lasting marriage), and as Flipovic says, figuring out "what love is, what we like physically and emotionally, and how to negotiate our own needs with someone else's."

Yes, our country has a ridiculous and embarrassing number of unwanted pregnancies and STDs, but they aren't strictly linked to premarital sex. They're tied to our society's Puritanical "let's bury our heads in the sand and hope it all gets better!" attitude about abstinence-only education, family planning, and education. (Never forget the wise words of Donna Martin: "It’s like if you have a swimming pool in your backyard, you can tell your children not to go in it, you can even build a fence around it, but if you know that they’re going to find a way in to that water, don’t you think you ought to teach those kids how to swim?")

In the end, I'm all for people doing whatever they are most personally comfortable with. I could never imagine telling someone who wanted to wait 'til they said "I do" not to. That's their decision.  Similarly, I can't imagine being told what I did by having sex for the first time with someone I loved wasn't "right" -- just because it wasn't within the confines of a legally-binding marriage.

That said, I am all for calling out someone like Crowder for promoting a narrow-minded, antiquated idea as the only "right" way for ANYONE to go about kicking off their sex life. Just like the progress we've made with marriage equality, it's time to stand up and admit that "sexual morality" -- which is more about how you treat yourself and those you have sex with -- doesn't belong exclusively to either those who wait or those who don't.

Where do you stand in this debate?

 

Image via Rich Bowen/Flickr

love, marriage, sex