Sex Column: Losing your virginity

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that you went to high school. And if you went to a high school, especially a public one, you may have had to sit through some kind of seminar where you were asked to make a pledge to hang on to your virginity until you were married.

Besides the fact that this is creepy, disgusting and prohibitive to your free will, there’s a good chance that if you took that pledge, you’ve already broken it.

According to a study from 2007 conducted by Mathematica Policy Research, there was no statistically significant change in sexual activity between groups of teens who sat through abstinence education programs and those who did not. But one change that was noted was an increase in STD transmission and pregnancy rates among teens who attended abstinence programs. Why, you ask?

I have a theory that I have unfortunately not yet been given the funding to test. If you put two teenagers who are attracted to each other in a room, they’re going to mess around with each other eventually, regardless of religious upbringing. However, participants in abstinence-only programs are only taught about the failure rates of condoms and not about their effectiveness. As a result, some teens don’t use them. That’s how I like my irony served.

What makes this worse is that “saddlebacking,” the reasonably well-documented phenomenon of Christian teens having unprotected anal sex to preserve their virginity until marriage, is used as a way for some kids to rationalize sex without offending God’s delicate sensibilities, according to well-known advice columnist Dan Savage who writes “Savage Love.” Never mind the fact that God doesn’t want me to have anal sex with a man, but I guess if you’re straight it doesn’t count as sex.

But I digress. Why lose your virginity? Because it’s awesome. Safe, consensual sex is one of the most amazing things that two (or more!) people can enjoy together. Losing your virginity can mean a lot of different things to different people, so I think intent is the most important thing that matters.

A word of warning: When you’re finally getting ready to swipe your V-card, don’t get your hopes up. A WebMD.com article called “Virginity Lost, Experience Gained” discusses the disappointment felt by until-marriage virgins, who hope for the perfect virginity-loss scenario and are inevitably devastated. “If the experience doesn’t meet their expectations, they can be disappointed or even devastated,” according to the article.

Don’t let anyone try to tell you that all premarital sex is emotionless, wrong or destructive. I know happy couples in relationships that aren’t suffering because they had sex before marriage.

However, figuring out what you like about sex is important before you make a long-term commitment or choose a life partner. If you wait until after that commitment, you could find out that you and your partner have the worst sex imaginable and then you’d be stuck with that person.

I’d like to leave you with this thought: You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, would you? No, you would not.

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