Tuesday, April 6, 2010

sex before marriage; do it for your health

whilst flipping through old writings the other day, i stumbled across an essay i wrote back in college. it tickled me that the topic was 'sex before marriage' because i was just having a conversation with a coworker the other day about just that. specifically, how archaic an ideal that was, how rare it is to find in modern-day relationships, and how it doesn't seem to apply to homosexual relationships.

don't get me wrong, i'm not trying to further the stereotype that homosexuals are sexual deviants, who throw morals and caution to the wind when engaging in sexual acts (because if you want me to break it down and get real with you, we are all humans- hetero or homo, it matters very little...we all are capable of terrible things). i am stating however, that it isn't uncommon for people to not know the extent of their feelings towards one sex, until they act upon it. now that gays can get married in some states and countries, we have to consider if this ideology applies to us.

sex a personal, private choice- that much i understand. my biggest frustration is the stigma of supporting a sexually assertive lifestyle. the general assumption is supporters of sex are loose-moraled, down to sleep with strangers, probably cool, and started smoking cigarettes when they were 14.

my father always told me that assumptions do nothing but make an ASS outta U and ME (get it?! it spells assume! my father is full of adorably appropriate, borderline trite, sayings). while normally i would embrace the title of 'probably cool', i just can't accept that because my morals are different than yours i am the unorthodox one...i am the one who is deviating from what is 'socially acceptable'...but that's a rant for another day- in the meantime enjoy today's post!

sex before marriage

Although the meaning of life has never been clearly defined, humans know that one of their main purposes on earth is to produce offspring. In order for the human race to sustain life as we know it, procreation is the only way. It has been going on since literally the dawn of time and will continue to forevermore. But at the birth of the religious age a widely accepted principle came upon the scene, that sex was reserved only for the married, and was for the sole purpose of procreation. No pleasure, relief or happiness was to come out of the act of sex, merely a child. Sex before marriage was seen as a social taboo, and children out of wedlock were looked upon sinfully. Even to this day it is a difficult and uncomfortable topic for many of the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation and religious right wingers to discuss, is sex before marriage so wrong? Morals aside, sex outside of marriage is not wrong. In fact, it can be a vital step towards a lifetime commitment with one’s significant other. Testing the waters of sexual compatibility is a healthy option versus jumping into marriage pre-sex. Knowing one’s partner completely before marriage truly plants the seed and prevents divorce. Many marriage statistics cite ‘sexual issues/incompatibility’ as the leading causes of divorce in America. Religious doctrines argue that copulation is purely an act of breeding, but today many leading doctors argue the opposite. Stating that sex does have a health purpose, and it is one that everyone should practice. There are many health benefits to safe sex, ranging from better teeth to better mood. Finally, there is evidence to support the changing trends in society towards pre-marital sex as statistics support that more people are engaging in sex before marriage.

In his research, Dr. Lawrence B. Finer, author of Trends in Premarital Sex 1954-2003, concluded that “…almost all Americans have sex before marriage…” Not that that is proof alone that sex before marriage is acceptable, but the exhaustive statistics he found certainly support that truth. Years ago, sex was primarily for pro-creation and, therefore, considered acceptable only within the bounds of marriage. That was during a time when women married young and the average life expectancy was considerably shorter than today’s standard of living until the average of 77.6 years, according to the Center for Disease Control’s National Center for Health Statistics. Today, according to a recent USATODAY article, the average age for marrying is 26. The average age for having children is currently 24.9 years (according to an article by Herbert Klein; The Changing American Family, 2004). While those statistics support that women are having children before marriage, they actually help to counter the religious belief that if you have sex before marriage, you are “tainted in some way to be unmarriable.” Research supports that times are changing and thus ideals are changing with them. Therefore, the philosophy that “sex is wrong” is no longer supported and can be the first line of defense when stating that sex before marriage is not only okay but healthy and right.

Joann Rodgers, Director of Media Relations and a lecturer at Johns Hopkins Medical Institution, says “…People are hard-wired to have sex…and they engage in it as a biological imperative.” This quote suggests that there is a certain nature to sex, one that is biologically hard to deny. Alex Farnham, author of the article, Is Sex Necessary, lists at least nine, medically-supported or researched, benefits to having sex on a regular basis. They range from better heart health, to reduced depression to even better teeth. His research, supported by medical professionals, suggests that there are health benefits to having sex. Furthermore, he goes on to state that there are no discernible health benefits to abstinence. While his article does not mention sex either before or after marriage, you can confer that sex is better for your health or perhaps that waiting for sex does nothing from a health standpoint. What further proves the point that sex is more than a means of producing children, is the seemingly limitless array of different sexual orientations. Other than that of heterosexual relationships, no other orientations produce offspring naturally, and yet, they all engage in some form of sex. Sex is not simply the act of ‘mating’, but an intimate exchange between two (or more) people. Copulation is more than just an action that humans are supposed to do, but rather something they want to do.

In an article entitled “Will Your Marriage Last, “ (Psychology Today, April 2000) Aviva Patz, executive editor of Psychology Today, concluded from the 56 couples asked about their own reasons for divorce, that one of the most prevalent reasons cited for a divorce was “…loss of affection…”. While this hardly suggests that sexual incompatibility is the problem with the loss of affection, it does suggest how important sex is overall in a marriage. Sexual incompatibility was listed as one of the leading causes for men to divorce, according to a 1966 study by Dr. Levinger, a social psychologist. That reason still holds true today as one of, if not often the top, reason for divorce, cites Dr. David Schnarch in an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy article. In conversation it is not uncommon to hear of a marriage broken up because of infidelity of one or more of the parties. Men and women can not help the need to be satisfied, and if they are not fulfilled then they tend to look elsewhere to fill that need. Sexual fulfillment is the number one reason that people stray from a stable relationship. Raised with a belief that sex-talk is ‘taboo’ many feel that speaking openly with their partner on sexual issues is wrong, thus leading too unhappiness.

Sex has been around from the beginning of time, and it seems that the mentality that sex is reserved for marriage has been around just as long. It is imperative that humans have sex before the institution of marriage is enacted for a number of reasons. Whether it means being able to fully understand a partner, or preventing divorce, or simply fulfilling a pleasure, sex is important for people to understand outside of the walls of marriage. When practiced safely, sex is more than breeding, it is a different form for humans to express themselves, relieve tension, and bring themselves to a higher state of being. Being in touch with ones sexuality, as well as your partners leads to a greater understanding of a person on a basic level. Sex is not designed to be a sole objective act, it has many benefits when done properly and safely.

No comments:

Post a Comment