Whether they’re just thinking about it or doing it, sex takes up a lot of a teenager’s time. This new, unknown territory is a cause for concern, excitement and exploration.
For both boys and girls, the key to sexual drive is the sex hormone ‘testosterone’. When testosterone levels reach a certain threshold, teenagers start thinking about sex.
Sex is great so why delay the experience? Those who wait until marriage can have a lot of sex once they tie the knot. But waiting often means both early marriage and conservative views on marriage and gender.
People who marry early and/or hold traditional views on marriage and gender tend to have higher divorce rates and unhappier marriages.
There are lots of benefits to marrying later and to gender-egalitarian marriages. Couples who both work outside the home and also share housework duties have more sex. Financially independent, college-educated women who marry later in life have extremely low divorce rates.
Feminist values, not “traditional” feminine ones, lead to the most stable marriages. And feminist views plus later marriage typically equals premarital sex.
Most adults naturally desire sex. Despite the right-wing emphasis on concepts like “purity”, having sex does not actually make you a dirty or “impure” person.
Sex is like most other pleasurable things in life. You can have sex in ways that are fulfilling, fun, good and generous, or you can have sex in ways that are harmful, bad and dangerous.
Marriage is not, and has never been, a way to protect against the harmful, bad and dangerous potential of sex. Rather than fooling ourselves into thinking that waiting until marriage makes sex “good”, we should focus on how ethical, responsible sexual practices.
Like taking precautions to protect the physical and mental health of yourself and your partner. Having sex that is fully consensual and focused on mutual pleasure. This is part of being an ethical, responsible person.
Sexual morality isn’t about how long you wait. It’s about how you treat yourself and the people you’re with.
Sex, of course, isn’t all ponies and rainbows. The US has one of the highest unintended pregnancy rates in the world. We have one of the highest abortion rates. We have one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted infections.
Our problem with sex isn’t that we’re having it before marriage. It’s because we’ve made it shameful and dirty.
When our collective cultural consciousness says that sex is ‘disgusting’ we don’t have the incentive or the tools to plan for sex. We can’t see it as a positive responsibility and to make healthy sexual choices.
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