I was on a trip with my family and found myself subjected yet another time to my grandmother’s (mistimed) lectures on the dangers of premarital sex. Among the standard caveats — STI’s and unwanted pregnancy — she threw in a few other colorful ones. One that I found most bewildering is the idea that I shouldn’t have premarital sex because one of the guys before The One could be a better lay than my future hubby and I would forever be haunted by the knowledge that my beloved is bad in bed.
To this I say: sex is not the point of marriage. Some might argue that procreation is, but even so, not really, because then we would just breed people like animals, so by joining two people in an exclusive marriage, we are inherently saying that there is something more to it than reproduction. That “something more” is love, and pitching the idea that you wait until marriage to have sex fosters the dangerous idea that you get married in order to be able to finally have sex instead of getting married because you love someone. Cajoling people to wait until marriage hypes up sex to a dangerous level, making it the be-all and end-all of marriage, a practice that is supposed to be about love. Intangible, abstract, indefinable love is all that’s necessary to express itself, and to shackle love to something so material, basic, and transitory as virginity devalues the emotion it’s purporting to validate.
Those who experiment beforehand ensure that once the novelty of sex has worn off, there is still a meaningful connection besides the fantasies they have created. Passion rarely lasts, so counting on utter devotion based on never having been shared by another partner is not only possessive, it’s self-deceptive. Experimentation ensures that when people finally settle on their partners, they are doing it not only with full knowledge of how they function with that person, but also with the full knowledge of all the options that came before – the ones that they passed up to choose this one. Rather than depriving myself of knowledge to be contented with a lackluster sex life, I want to enter into matrimony with a portfolio full of experiences that I can use to learn from and teach with rather than blindly resigning myself to never knowing what else is out there.
Perhaps my grandmother was okay with settling, but as for me — well, by the time I settle down, I’ll have enjoyed enough grass to know that the one I decide on is truly the greenest, and if it isn’t yet, I’ll know exactly what to do to make it so. But more importantly, I’ll know that it isn’t so much the scenery that’s the most important — it’s whose hand you’re holding as you appreciate it together.