When you’re new to college, it’s easy to get caught up in the sexually charged culture that seems to be everywhere. Fraternities and sororities, peers and professors, even the sex column of this very newspaper can make sex seem like a normal part of any healthy dating relationship and essential to having a good time at college. Although these so-called “norms” are prevalent, you shouldn’t give in to peer pressure so easily; it is okay not to have sex.
When you look at sex on a purely scientific level, two facts become immediately apparent. Sex is extremely powerful and not to be taken lightly, and it is meant to be between two people in a married relationship. When two people have sex or are even sexually aroused, the body releases a hormone called oxytocin, which acts as a human superglue, bonding the two people in a tight emotional bond, according to a study at Rockefeller University.
This hormone is released in only one other instance in humans, which is to help a mother bond with her newborn child. Oxytocin is specifically tailored for bonding in a stable, lasting relationship. Studies have shown that as the number of sexual partners increase, the levels of oxytocin decrease, making it more difficult for one to emotionally and psychologically bond with later partners. According to a report from the Abstinence Medical Council, “People who have misused their sexual faculty and become bonded to multiple persons will diminish the power of oxytocin to maintain a permanent bond with an individual.”
A choice made in college to have sex frequently and outside of a lasting relationship affects the success rate of marriage later in life. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control, women having no non-marital sexual partners had an 80.47 percent chance at a stable marriage. By contrast, when a woman had just one non-marital sexual partner that chance dropped to 53.6 percent. If a woman had five sexual partners outside of marriage she has only 29.70 percent chance of stable marriage.
There is not enough room to print the other hundreds of studies that all point to similar conclusions. Sex is an extremely wonderful and powerful gift given to humanity but it is powerful, both biologically and psychologically. That’s why it hurts so much when you break up with someone you have been especially close with: Your body has created a strong bond with the other person and when you rip that apart the pain is bad. Our bodies were made to be with one another, to form a strong loving environment to raise children and to be together for the rest of our lives.
When sex is used as recreation, it causes pain and suffering for everyone involved. Don’t worry, if you are not a virgin you still can have a happy future, but it may be tougher. That’s why it is more than okay to wait to have sex; it’s the smart and considerate thing to do.
The writer is a senior majoring in international affairs and the liberal arts.
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This article appeared in the February 12, 2009 issue of the Hatchet.