THERE are two sides to every discussion, including the decision to have sex. Our lifestyle editor, Elisa Scarton, shares her thoughts on not waiting until marriage.
Sex before marriage has always been a dicey subject. I know, because I originally intended for this to be a piece arguing against waiting.
After what felt like 20 failed drafts, I realised I’m in no position to make an argument on this subject.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your decision to have sex. You may wholeheartedly believe there is, but your conviction is nothing more than that – a belief. And you, like myself, are in no position to tell anyone what to do or what to think.
Being forced into abstaining until marriage when it is not your belief is just as bad as being pressured into sleeping with someone when you don’t want to. Choice is something no person should be denied.
I chose not to wait until I was married to have sex. It just so happened that the first man I slept with was my soon-to-be-husband, but I never planned that.
The idea of waiting until the marriage contract was signed and sealed wasn’t something that appealed to me. I was far more interested in waiting until I was ready and comfortable to share that experience with someone.
I thought long and hard before I decided to sleep with my, then, boyfriend. I wanted that emotional and physical connection with him. I knew it was the right time for me.
The opposite of abstaining is, in many people’s opinions, flagrant promiscuity. That wasn’t the case for me. That isn’t the case for many people.
My husband-to-be had sexual partners before he met me. He could count the number on one hand, but that hardly matters. Whether he had been with five people or 50, I cannot bring myself to judge him for what he did before he even knew I existed.
I fell in love with the man because of the way he treated me. I refuse to believe he is any less deserving of my love because he slept with other people. Hindsight is a beautiful thing, but how can any of us know for certain the person they are with now is the person they will be with forever?
I am not of the opinion that a gold wedding band protects me from the emotional or physical consequences of sex. When it comes to relationships, nothing is certain. Couples grow apart, go through divorce, experience infidelity.
The risks that accompany you before marriage can still be present afterwards. Waiting until we were married would not have protected me from an STI if my husband had one. Being married does not automatically make me ready for children either.
If you only take one thing from SEXtember, it should be that safety is everything. The time doesn’t matter, the relationship status doesn’t matter. What matters is your safety. And I’m not just talking about contraception.
Safe sex is about making an emotional decision as well as a physical one. Just as you should always protect your body, you should protect your mind as well.
If you are not ready to have sex, don’t, regardless of whether you are married or not. Don’t rush into a decision. Be informed. Read information from reputable online sources. Talk to your parents, your friends, your university’s health counsellor. You can’t make the right decision if you don’t have the right information.
Think it through and do what feels right to you. And never, ever, let anyone condemn you or make you feel guilty for the decision you have made. I am not ashamed to say I had sex before I was married and would have a very low opinion of anyone who even tried to make me feel that way.
Whether you choose to abstain or whether you don’t, it’s your choice and your choice only.
This is one side of the Great SEXtember Debate. Read Marcella’s side here.
Agree? Disagree? Share your thoughts below.
This article is one of many different views we hope to share this Sextember. Find out more about the campaign and how you can contribute here.