Sex. It drives us, makes us who we are. I write it and I have a lot of opinions about it. And about other things--everything from movies to politics to education. In fact, after several months absence I've come to realize that I am no sex-pert and that my opinions and passions are far too varied to limit myself to only sexual issues. So....since this is my blog, I figure I should be able to voice my opinions about whatever I please.
If that makes me a be it!

So read, comment, ask questions, rant and rave...but most of all enjoy and open your mind to possibilities!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Forget the purity ring...and just DO IT!

I don't know how many of you are familiar with MLIA, but every once in a while when I need a "feel good" fix I head on over there. The quips and anecdotes are occasionally a bit inane, but every once in a while you get a gem like this one:

My grandfather noticed a new ring I was wearing and asked me about it. I explained to him that it was a purity ring and what that meant. He looked at me a bit strangely and said, "I think you should get a Nike ring." When I asked what that meant he said, "Just do it."

I just ADORED that response and wished my kids had a grandfather like that! But what makes this relevant now...what brought it to mind, was this not so insignificant detail about the new health care legislation that Obama recently signed: $250 Million for Abstinence Education. Basically the bill includes a provision for schools to get funding for sex education, but ONLY if it focuses on and promotes abstinence rather than responsible sex. This is wrong on so many levels! But basically, as the article says, this approach has been proven--quite simply--to NOT WORK! If you give kids an all or nothing choice without educating them for anything in between, invariably they will end up somewhere in between...and will be totally ill-equipped to deal with it. However, I have a different angle on this particular issue.

I WAS one of these kids. Because of my religious upbringing, as well as an absolute CERTAINTY that if I ever did it without protection I would most definitely get pregnant (something that was pretty much confirmed by the success of our first-ever pregnancy attempt), I abstained from sexual intercourse with with my now-husband until our wedding night. So, from age 19 to 23, after four-and-a-half years of dating, yes...I was a virgin on our wedding night--albeit a technical one. By that I mean we had indulged in just about everything ELSE but intercourse, but still....

So, was I glad I didn't indulge in unprotected sex? Of course! We had our first son after four years of marriage and that was a smart and good decision. Having a child before marriage would have been stupid, not to mention damn inconvenient, even with a committed partner. However...having been there and done the abstinence thing...I would never recommend it to my children. Or anyone. And I certainly wouldn't recommend it for that length of time.

I'm not talking about the common fear that if you never have sex with a partner before marriage you have no idea if you're compatible or not. If you're involved in kissing, foreplay and perhaps some oral, then I think you've got a pretty good idea of how the other partner will perform in bed. I certainly did. I had no disappointments in that area. However...after so many years of denial. Of trying to "turn it off" and/or call a halt to things just when they were getting...interesting. It is not an easy thing to simply...switch it back on again. Sexual desire and behavioural conditioning don't really work that way. Let's just say our honeymoon was less an exercise in passion and more an exercise in scaling hurdles. Trying to get past this innate sense that "this is wrong." "I'm not supposed to be doing this." "Why is this suddenly okay?"

So there was Pavlovian conditioning, religion-inspired guilt, not to mention getting past the huge image of what sex is supposed to be that I had built up in my mind over the years.

Eventually I got over it. Obviously. But it did take a lot  of time and work on both our parts. So, that's my "been there done that" argument against abstinence. Just get all those hurdles off the track, people.... so you can just run with it!


  1. Somewhere, long before Christianity, some guy had the bright idea that denial was a good way to focus energy on other, more important things. This was all about attention span and energy and living in the moment. Somewhere along the line...around the time of Augustine (later to become St. Augustine) the general idea of denial spread to all human endeavours in the Christian world, including, our raison d'etre - human sexuality. Augustine, who was certainly no saint when he was alive, wrote (and I'm paraphrasing) that hanging around with women was not the greatest thing for men to do. Regrettably, some interaction was necessary for procreation and laundry and such, so marriage was imperative.

    Sex, for some, became an official duty do be postponed and delayed until marriage and then done only for procreation. History, of course ignores the countless young boys and girls and chattel-like women who became (and still are) the behind the curtain/under the desk servants of church fathers and political leaders.

    This stream of denial has woven its way through all elements of western life...think about the boxer or hockey player who is told not to screw anyone the night before a big match. Not because he'll miss out on sleep, but that he might dissipate his desire to win, or beat the crap out of his opponent...

    The abstinence movement is nothing more than a thinly veiled refusal of parents, religious leaders and legislators to take some responsibility and educate their offspring about the rules and customs of human intercourse.

    What is appropriate? When is it appropriate? What are the dangers? What are the benefits? When are you old enough? Who should you confide in? What are those stains?

    Show kids both sides of the equation and maybe, just maybe they won't jump right into multiplication.

    Denial and abstinence uses as its appeal a promise of "something special". Premature ejaculation on one's honeymoon is special alright - and first time newlyweds will remember that "special moment" for the rest of their lives.

    A parallel to this denial trend is related to diet. The success of denying one's needs for tasty nourishment can be documented in soaring obesity and diabetes levels in North America.

    At the end of the day, humanity has become lazy and irresponsible.

    It is easier to say no. It is easier to procrastinate making adult choices. It is easier to forget and ignore the playful, childlike nature nascent in every one of us.
    It is easier to just say no, Nancy Reagan.

    The decision to engage in any level of intercourse from talk to the other four letter activity should be based on good reasoning and ethics and beliefs and desires. It should not be based on some abstraction, religious or political, dictating human interaction.

    Unquestioned Abstinence is not a decision, it is an abdication.

  2. many good points here worth commenting on. I might have to do a blog entry just to expand on them!