Virginity is a very touchy issue in just about every culture. Curiously enough, it’s almost always exclusively about female virginity. This woeful double standard gives rise to emotional conflicts for both genders. But again, it is young women and girls who bear the brunt of it.
Let’s begin with Katelyn who’s 18 years old:
My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year. We’ve just started talking about having sex even though we both took a virginity pledge through our church. We love each other very much and plan on getting married in a couple of years. If we are practically engaged do you think having sex now would be like breaking our promise?
I’m pretty sure that the creators of all those “abstinence only” and “virginity pledge” programs out there like to think they’re keeping kids like you safe from the unforeseen consequences of sex. I’d probably have less of a problem with them if they didn’t have at their base some pretty rank scare tactics.
Scaring people away from sex is a time-honored means of controlling people.
If you have sex, you well surely get a disease!
If you have sex, you will surely get pregnant!
If you have sex, you will be breaking the commandments and you’ll go to hell!
If you have sex, you will be a slut and no one will want to marry you!
And my all-time favorite: If he gets the milk for free, why would he buy the cow?
These sex-negative messages only frighten, intimidate and instill guilt. They certainly don’t teach people how to behave knowledgeably and responsibly. And they do absolutely nothing to prepare even those who wind up honoring their pledge of abstinence for the inevitable sex life they’ll have later in life. And that to my mind is criminal. Young people have a natural, healthy curiosity about their bodies and the bodies of others. Stifling this natural curiosity with veiled threats and fear-mongering does very little good—and a whole lot of harm.
But before I respond to your question, I have a question for you. I hope you’re not actually thinking I might help you rationalize away your impending behavior—Oh sure honey, if you’re gonna marry the lug anyway, why not give it up now?—because I won’t go there. Have the courage to make up your own mind. If you’re old enough to be considering sex, you’re old enough to take responsibility for your actions.
If you abstain from sex out of fear or religious duress, then where’s the virtue in that? It’s just as bad as having sex because you fear losing your boyfriend. Neither option suggests to me that you are behaving knowledgeably and responsibly.
Of course, it’s always easier to decide on a course of action when one has all the information. And that’s where I can be of some assistance. I’m not gonna tell you what you oughtta do, but I can offer you some timely information about human sexuality that you apparently aren’t getting from your family, church or your community.
There are many sexual alternatives to full-on fucking. And if you want to remain a virgin, at least technically speaking, you might want to explore these options.
Are you both masturbating? If not, then that’s a good place to begin. You should both be familiar with your own pleasure zones and sexual response cycle before you launch into partnered sex of any kind. I believe that the best sex is mutual sex, where the partners knowingly and without reservation gift themselves to one another. And I don’t see how that’s possible unless you are well-acquainted with the gift…your own body.
I can guarantee that your boyfriend won’t know how to pleasure you, especially if he’s still discovering the pleasures of his own body. And you’d be a very remarkable young woman if you understood the mysteries of male sexuality. So if you’re both unversed in the joys of human sexuality, why not discover them together? Mutual masturbation—as well as oral sex—will help you appreciate the particulars and uniqueness of each of your sexual response cycles. And just think how far ahead you’ll be when you guys actually decide it’s time for full-on fucking. You’ll already know how your bodies work.
Even so, the two of you should be familiar with several different means of birth control—and practicing at least two methods. This is a precaution because, in the heat of the moment, you may decide to escalate things to include vaginal penetration. And if you do, you’ll be prepared. Always have water-based lubricants on hand, even for masturbation. These lubricants work very well with latex condoms. Oil lubricants, like petroleum jelly, baby oil or cooking oil, can cause latex condoms to break. So stay away from them.
I realize that procuring all this stuff is gonna be a challenge for young folks like you. But don’t just blow them off just because they’re not readily available to you. This is a big part of being knowledgeable and responsible about your sexuality. If you’re not prepared to go the distance in terms of preparation, you’re not ready to have sex.
Young men and boys have their share of trepidation about impending partnered sex. Here’s 18-year-old Tabor.
I feel kinda silly asking a complete stranger this, but here goes. I’m a pretty normal 18 year old. I’ve had a few girlfriends over the years, nothing really serious, though. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of this one girl; she’s 20, a junior at my school. I really like her and we’re discussing taking our friendship to the next level, but there’s a problem. I’m a virgin. My girlfriend is way more experienced than me and that makes me a little nervous too. She wants me to decide when the time is right. My question is how will I know when I’m ready for sex?
I have a question for you, Tabor, and I hope it doesn’t sound flippant. When do you know it’s time to eat, or sleep? I know many of us eat even when we’re not hungry and sometimes we don’t sleep even when we’re tired. That aside, I suggest that the same bodily signals that alert you to hunger and exhaustion will let you know when it’s time for sex. You’ll want to have sex when you feel the desire to be sexual. I’m not trying to be evasive; I’m trying to get you to listen to your body, because that’s how you’ll know. To be perfectly frank, that’s how all of us know it’s time for sex. We get a hankerin’ for some pleasure and we pursue that till we’re satisfied. Sometimes that’s solo sex and sometimes it’s partnered sex.
If I were to advise you further I’d want to know how much sex you’ve already had with your GF. Has there been any sex play at all? Probably some, right? Otherwise how would you know you like her well enough to consider taking things to the next level?
Penis/vagina intercourse, or as I like to call it, “fucking,” can bring more intimacy and more pleasure than other forms of sex, but it’s not the be-all end-all either. Fucking also carries far more responsibility, particularly for fertile young puppies like you and your honey.
Is it safe to assume that you are well-versed in the complexities of the human reproductive system? I hope so. Not everyone is, of course, even some otherwise smart people. If you’re not clear on the whole concept, there’s no time like the present to do a little boning up, so to speak. Being responsible about sex is as important as being sexual. And being informed about health risks and contraception is the beginning of taking responsibility for your sexual activity.
Remember what I said earlier—that you’ll want to have sex when your body says so? Well, if you take the time to prepare now, you’ll not need to interrupt the moment when your body tells you I’m ready! You should discuss birth control with your girlfriend in advance of any foolin’ around. You should have condoms and lube available. Don’t expect that you’ll have your wits about you when your dick is hard. Remember, you’re not the one who’ll get pregnant if ya’ll screw up. I’ll bet your sweetheart will be impressed with your forethought, too.
Remember, even if your girlfriend is on the pill or has a diaphragm; condoms are a must. One in every ten sexually active teens carries one or more STDs or as we call them nowadays, STIs (sexually transmitted infections). You can consider dropping the condoms only when you’re in an exclusive relationship.