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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Young Christians At Odds with Sexual Doctrine (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Young Christians At Odds with Sexual Doctrine
Heather
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This interesting article at the UK Telegraph brought up how many young Christians feel differently about some sexual attitudes than the doctrines endorsed by their religions:

"Young Christians disagree with their Churches' moral teachings and believe sex outside wedlock is morally acceptable. A survey of social attitudes among teenagers of all faiths found that, while most young Muslims accepted their religion's values, Christians did not. The findings represent a further blow to the Church of England, which is struggling to keep younger worshippers.

Eighty-two per cent of young Anglicans reject life-long marriage and believe divorce is acceptable. Among Roman Catholic teenagers, 85 per cent dismiss their Church's teaching that sex outside marriage is wrong."

Whether you are Christian or not, how do you feel about it? And how do you deal with these issues, when your feelings about sexuality conflict with those of your spiritual tradition? Can you make it all work out and sit well with you, or do you feel torn at times?

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Lin
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I grew up in a Christian background. My parents are Christian and I was in an Anglican school.

I naturally believed that sex was bad. Being young I didn't really read the bible. I just heard from people around me that "If you have sex, God will send you to hell."

A scary thought for a 12 year old. When I grew older and got more in touch with my sexuality and started reading Jackie Collins novels with sex, sex and more sex, I also started exploring my own body.

And everytime after I masturbated or read a torid sex scene, I felt horrible and dirty. Because a part of me still thought I would go to hell. That God would hate me.

Until I grew older. When I was around 17, I realised that I was only a Christian by name. I didn't believe in alot of the Bible's teachings.

It took me a while to realise that as long as what I was doing wasn't hurting anyone, it was okay. And that is how I live my life at this point of time.

I live my life with a clear conscience and that is what is most important to me.

Plus, seeing so many gay and lesbian friends in turmoil because supposedly, the Bible says that they cannot be with someone of the same sex is something that greatly upsets me. Would God be happy knowing that his child was suffering because of a passage in the Bible?

If he is, then that was the God I denounced. My God is someone who is loving and compassionate and not someone who will send us all to hell because we lied, cheated or fell in love with someone of the "wrong" gender.

My 2 cents.


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Baptist
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I am not having sex until I am married. I'm sure that many here will mock me and look at me funny for saying that, but I don't really care. I'm used to the fact that many around me are doing things that I don't agree with. However, if someone asks me for advice, then I will give them my opinion on what they should do.

I like to think of sex as a serious issue and not something casual. I want to stay pure to my future wife and give my virginity to her.

I people cause their own suffering by sinning. I mean, think about it. When you were a kid and your mother told you not to touch the stove because it was hot, what would happen if you did? Of course you would be burned. Would it be your mother's fault for telling you that the stove was hot?


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Milke
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No one has ever bothered me by choosing to have sex -- or not to have sex -- unless I felt that they were harming themself or someone else (like when they didn't even consider birth control, or a partner's feelings). So, no worries there, Baptist. Irresponsible or unkind sex just seems downright wrong to me, and that's something I'd consider immoral. However, I feel that way because I don't like people getting hurt, not because of religious teachings. I like what I know of Jesus, and I do see his teachings as being love rather than hate-based, so I don't have a problem reconciling sex that doesn't happen in a legal marriage with that. My father's a liberal Christian who's done a lot of reading of some extremely intelligent and open-minded authors, and much of what I know about that religion I know from him. I'm just glad that I was taught by someone who was willing to do the research, and find the best of that that he could, rather than blindly accepting all that he was told.
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Heather
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Hey folks: let's keep this conversation mainly about OUR own feelings about OUR own sexual lives, rather than looking at that of others, okay?

That helps keep it in the right vein, and lets people feel safe posting about topics like this without feeling judged or attacked.

Grazie mille.

(And Baptist, no one at these boards is going to be making fun of anyone else's sexual choices. That just isn't how things work here, and it's what makes most of our users like posting here so much.)

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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pink
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Well as the Flaming Atheist (as recently called by my friends), I think it's about time. Sex doesn't have to be saved for marriage for me. Any kind of sex though, should not be casual. It ought to be done with someone you care for, and the feelings ought to be mutual.

Of course, even in marriage, protection should be used.

As far as divorce goes, it's neccessary for it to be accepted. Divorce is the only way out of a lot of tough situations-abuse, neglect, anything else horrible.

I say, way to go open minded Christians everywhere!

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Sin by thy lips? Oh trespass sweetly urged, give me my sin again!


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Heather
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The Flaming Atheist?

Is that served with a baked Alaska?

(And again, lets remember not to judge. pretty please. If casual sex -- which can, by the by, involve mutual respect -- is done responsbily and the people involved feel okay with it -- it's okay. If it's not okay for you, that's another matter. "Should" is a word to watch out for.)

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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pink
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That's right, the flaming atheist .

I'm rather proud of it.

I guess I could have worded it a little better. A disclaimer on my other post- It's just MY opinion.

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Sin by thy lips? Oh trespass sweetly urged, give me my sin again!


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Confused boy
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I believe that Christianity at the time it was invented, served a good purpose by not allowing sex before marriage. In those days, nobody knew much about STDs and there was very little birth control. By having marriage you could ensure that there was not a massive spread of disease and that most children would have two parents. In this day and age, however, its less a practical problem and more of a moral problem. Personally I do not intend to wait till marriage before having sex but I am certainly not in any hurry to rush into it. Its still a serious decision for me.
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LilBlueSmurf
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Am I the only one here who doesn't believe in marriage?

That being said, no, i'm not waiting for marriage to have sex.

And i don't really have a religion as of yet. I guess i'm still sort of atheist. I don't believe in anything b/c i don't know what to belive. Altho i was raised Anglican w/ a little bit of Presbyterian. My parents never really expressed any wishes for me to wait to have sex. My mom prepared me w/ knowledge and my dad just sorta ... told me he would buy me lots of "medicine" (birth control pills) so i wouldn't get pregnant. What more could i ask for?


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Heather
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Not necessarily, Smurf.

Growing up, and well through most of my life, I didn't either. Not as some abstract concept that could apply broadly to just any person or any situation, anyway. And I'm still not fond of it as a legal contract.

However, (as may be obvious) I simply happened to realize that I was with someone in particular who I WANTED to make a contract between us with, and who I wanted to "marry," in terms of what that meant to both of us.

We did our own ceremony, and we are not legally married at this point. I may be one of the only people around in this culture whose parents not only didn't pressure her to marry, but who when I said I wanted to get married, said, "What for?"

So, no, you aren't the only one. However, I think believeing in "marriage" as an abstruct is a different animal than seeing how any particular union works for yourself.

That make sense?

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Baptist
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I was reading an article some years back about how women who have had multiple sex partners are more likely to have cervical cancer. The article also talked about how men who have had multiple sex partners are more likely to get prostate cancer.

Reading about that was enough for me to wait before marriage. If I ever find the article, I will post a link to it.


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Heather
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Yes and no.

Having more sexual activity/intercourse before marriage or sexual activity with more than one partner or multiple partners in and of itself does NOT increase cancer risks.

However, those with multiple partners -- especially if they do not ALWAYS engage in safer sex practices -- are at a greater risk for STDs and STIs, and having had STDs and STIs puts men and women at a greater risk for reproductive and genital cancers.

So again, yes and no. Since someone with one partner to whom they are married can also contact an STD or and STI, and since marriage in and of itself does not guarantee monogamy, but only (in some forms of marriage) the goal of monogamy, one cannot accurately say that marriage or waiting to have ONLY intercourse until marriage does by defintion or in practice offer any safeguards against cancers, or STDs which may increase the risk of those cancers.

It would, however, be accurate to say that someone who had NO sexual activites or contact (intercourse, oral/manual sex. perrint, kissing, etc.) as well as no genetic precursors to cancers or STDs or other risk factors, and only did have any sexual activity upon having one partner, to whom both of them remained solely monogamous throughout their lifetimes, would have a lesser chance of contracting those cancers than someone who had multiple partners and contacts which resulted in an STD or STI.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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smittenkitten
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For me, sex is important, but isn't something that should be saved for marriage. Sex is about love, you don't need a marriage certificate to have a loving relationship.

My sexuality is more conflicting with my religion then anything. I'm Anglican. I believe the Bibles teachings on sex & sexuality are from biast editing of it during the middle ages more then anything.

Recently I read a book that explores the notion that Jesus' crucifixion was faked and he took the Holy Grail to France with Mary Magdelene and their family. It says that it would be odd for a man to be single and celibate, or either on their own. It was never said that Jesus was either or both of these. He teaches us to love everyone. Therefore, I believe that any anti-gay/anti-sex statements are forfieted by Jesus' newer account.

I dabble in many religions, but I am only confirmed as a christian.

Love,
Winnie aka. the Queen of getting carried away

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Baptist
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Here are a couple of links to the articles to which I was refering:
http://answermd.com/HealthAndVitality/cervixcancer1.html
http://www.cap.org/html/public/results.html

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Heather
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...both of which, as I explained just above, if you look into the main cause of such cancers (and STI, often HPV), states WHY that would affect a higher risk of such cancers.

And again, let's PLEASE try and stick to the topic (re: how do *you* feel your sexual choices mesh with your *own* religious tradition), and let's please not make gargantuan leaps of logic in discussion with no support, especially when those leaps verge on being misinformation.

Waiting for intercourse or other sex until marriage is a personal choice. Doing so, however -- or not -- does NOT offer definate health benefits, even if the above were literally the case because marriage does not guarantee monogamy nor physical health.

Believe me when I tell you that if there were solid evidence to state that it did, and that marriage or monogamy in and of itself guaranteed a lack of STI transission (which there isn't) I would be right up there on the front of the bandwagon, and so would the CDC and the AMA as well as Planned Parenthood and other groups with a very vested and philanthropic interest in helping to keep people well.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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Baptist
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I believe that there is evidence to prove what I say to be true. Scientists just haven't found it yet.

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand, I'm keeping my virginity until I am married. I see no reason why I shouldn't wait.


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Heather
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That is fine for you to believe or speculate on your own.

However, our statement of purpose here at Scarleteen -- and the only way we can do what we do ethically on a professional level, and why we recieve accolades from the medical and educational communities for doing so -- involves using the most currently accurate information regarding these issues.

We ask that our users do the same while they are here.


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Laughs_Wisely
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Sadly, I can't wait until marriage due to societal constraints. Not in this day and age. In my religious tradition, as well as in my girlfriend's, sex is something sacred and special, something the individual controls and makes decisions about. Marriage isn't neccessary for sexual relations, but it's recommended if you intend on procreating. Intimate encounters of any sort are supposed to be handled maturely and with the 'sacred and special' label in mind. You are sharing a part of your soul with that other person, for however long you're together.

To speak to my 'virtue', I am not a virgin in my opinion, though I am wholly monogamous and careful. And it's a heck of a thing.

[This message has been edited by Laughs_Wisely (edited 04-01-2001).]


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alaska
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This article didn’t surprise me at all. – It rather reflects my experience and that of my friends.

I was raised roman-catholic and actively lived within that religious group for a very long time. Over several years, I was involved in my church community, was in liturgy group, helped to organize church run summer camps and was group leader there, traveled to the World Youth Days (the largest get together of Catholic youth), saw and prayed in masses with the pope several times – all in all, I was a pretty active member of my church. I did believe in the basic Christian/catholic message of love and forgiveness and lots of other things, too. However, this all did in no way influence my sexual choices at all.

Why wasn’t I at all influenced? The reason is rather simple – for me personally, those doctrines had little to do with my actual belief and with the basics of what made me Christian but rather a lot with “church doctrine”. I simply saw a huge discrepancy as to how I understood Catholicism as a concept and what the “institution catholic church” expected.
In my church community, it simply didn’t matter. No one cared about whether you were sexually active or waiting until marriage (which was a small minority), simply because that wasn’t the core of us (young people) being Christian or catholic. The core of being Christian would have rather have been doing community work, furthering our personal development in regards to beliefs and the concept of forgiveness – and not “waiting with intercourse until marriage” as the one defining thing that marked us as Christian. Back then, I already understood my sexuality as just one part of me, not the overall defining part, just one part. Waiting never occurred to me as a serious option, and I honestly don’t regret that. I still see my sexuality and having intercourse with someone as important and something “special” and maybe something “spiritual” but not as something that marked me as “pure” or “impure”.

If I were to follow the catholic churches doctrine, the only birth control method I were allowed to use would be fertility awareness and I would have had to wait till marriage before I had intercourse. I’ve been on the pill now for several years now, and have had my fair share of sexual experiences without being married. I know, one could argue that it’s shabby to only accept those bits of a belief that you like and not the things that are harder to accept, but for me, it really didn’t matter at all, because the “rules” coming out of the Vatican were and still are so far removed from my life and even more of what I wanted Catholicism to be like and from what I experienced in my community that I simply didn’t want to compel.

While I enjoyed working for my community and liked the community aspect of belonging to a church and especially the community I was part of, a big chunk of Catholicism and the bigotry I encountered disgusted me very much. That was why I took part in a large movement in Germany (back in 1995, called the Kirchenvolksbegehren– just in case you know any German!) that aimed to bring the catholic church “back to the people”; i.e. opening priesthood for women, let lay people participate in preaching and decision making in the dioceses, further a positive picture of sexuality and be inclusive towards all sexual orientations, recognize the freedom of choice, enable divorcees to go to communion, end compulsive celibacy for priests and in general send a positive message of Christianity, instead of a fearful and frightening one (something the Catholic church still thrives on sometimes). – All things that the community I belonged to wanted to have too, and was partly already doing (such as very wide participation of women etc. – our priest regularly got in trouble for that) That initiative was reasonably successful – almost 2 million people signed a thesis paper, which was, in its overall message heavily influenced by the 2nd Vatican council.

However, these days the split between what the institution of the catholic church accepts as the message of the bible and how I understand it, is simply too big. I can’t and don’t want to be part of a church institution that forced the German bishops to get out of the German abortion counseling system (a very complicated matter, but in short, the Vatican forced German counseling centers run by the catholic church to stop offering abortion counseling, something every woman seeking an abortion has to go through before she can have an abortion, thus leaving women in more rural areas often without the chance to get counseling and IMHO also leaving women seeking help alone), that is in constant denial about the fact that the world is changing, that is not furthering understandable family planning in the third world, that way too often shuts up when faced with atrocities around the globe.

Many of my views are still heavily influenced by Catholicism or Christianity, but they generally have little do to with the opinion of the “Institution” of the Catholic Church. Funnily enough, I recently did some kind of nonsense “Choose your religion” test online, and of all featured belief systems and religions, Catholicism came last on my compatibility list (on top were Liberal Quaker Hicksites and Wicca). Which made me laugh quite a bit. –

Anyway, to get back on topic and sum it up: I didn’t care about my church’s opinion on sexuality, simply because it had nothing to do with the core of my belief system. And it seems like I’m not the only one. –just as the article shows.

[This message has been edited by Alaska (edited 04-01-2001).]


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Baptist
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Another reason why I wish to stay a virgin until I am married is because the Bible says that when a man and a women have relations, they become one with each other. I would not wish to share that with anyone else but my wife.

What makes me very angry is how society treats virgins today. I don't like to tell my peers that I'm going to wait until marriage because they make fun of people who say such things. It seems as though it's "cool" to lose your virginity before marriage and anyone who doesn't is looked upon as being different and strange. Such is why I don't like popular culture today.


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emsily0
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i have to say, i sort of disagree with that, baptist. yeah, pop culture certainly sells sex to kids who may or may not be too young for the message, and i think that's probably both wrong and unneccesary.

however, i personlly would never give anyone grief for a decision as personal as celibacy, and i really don't think any of my friends would either. maybe it's just us, maybe it's a societal difference between where i live and where you live. or maybe you're just very defensive about a decision that you think would cause people to look at you differently.

em

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Tout est au mieux dans la meilleure des mondes possibles

Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.
-Voltaire


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LilBlueSmurf
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I think i agree w/ Em here ...

I'm the only one of my friends that's no longer a virgin. Why? I don't know. They didn't congratulate me for it. But they didn't look down on me for it either. It was my decision. I didn't ask their permission or advice and they didn't give it to me. It's none of anyones business really ...

However, losing your virginity strictly b/c you feel you're supposed to is a lame a**ed reason. What other people would think of me didn't even cross my mind while i was deciding to have sex or not. It shouldn't.


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Baptist
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Believe me, there are plenty of people around to give me grief over the fact that I want to stay a virgin until I'm married. They have tried to persuade me to lose my virginity but I'm not bending to their will. They always talk about how "fun" it is and how much I'd "like it." I'm not saying that gets to me too much, but it does get overwhelming at times. Such is why I no longer discuss these matters with my peers. I just can't trust people to accept my Christian way of life.
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Lin
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Anybody who pokes fun at somebody for not being a virgin or being one is really not worth getting upset over.

It's your personal decision and you don't owe the any explanations. Just ignore them. They will grow up eventually. Hopefully.


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KittenGoddess
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I don't really think the content of that article suprises me at all. I think I've had the interesting experience of seeing both sides of the issue on this in some ways. I went to a very conservative school where having sexual thoughts or feelings at all ourside of marriage was considered a huge sin. And I went to a church where many of the youth felt that premarital sex was completely ok. I think alot of teens within religious groups who make these choices are very influenced by their parents, and their choices...or at least that's been my observation. Many of the parents at my church took a more laid back attitude when it came to their childrens lives, allowing them to make their own decisions and form their own values. Yet at school, it was just the opposite...many of the parents hadn't ever even kissed before their wedding day, and had firmly impressed their own values onto their children, and strictly regulated their lives and values for them. So I think that these kinds of decisions come not only from your church, but also from your parents views as well.

For me personally, I have chosen to wait. This decision comes from many things, my religious belief is a part of that, but at this point in my life, it's not the major reason. I've never met anyone who has ever pressured me to have sex just because it was the 'thing to do', or given me grief over it. Even my boyfriend, who has made a different choice (I won't go into that situation), respects my choice and my limits. I don't see the social pressure as being a big issue for me personally...the part that I see as more difficult is reconsiling my beliefs with what my body wants. That's the only place where I see it to be an issue at all.

~KittenGoddess

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"Am I nervous? Am I scared? Is it worth it? Should I even care? ...Man I like this guy, I really like him alot!"
~Pam Tillis, 'Please'

~*~4 days till M-day~*~


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Lisa D
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I'm sure you do receive lots of flak for wanting to stay a virgin, Baptist. However, who cares what others say - honestly, from what i've seen of your posts, you're secure in your beliefs, so I'm sure it isn't that much of a big deal...

Sex is personal and sacred to you, and you only want to share it with the person you choose to spend your life with (barring divorce, of course) For the record, I've had many friends wait until marriage - at least 3 couples i can think of off hand. While that isn't the road most of us opt to take, it doesn't mean it isn't a fine choice for you.


Posts: 442 | From: Dublin, OH USA | Registered: Jul 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
LilBlueSmurf
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Very good point Lisa!

You can stand up to us ... Why can't you stand up to them?

Standing up for your beliefs is a sign of maturity However, accepting when you're wrong, and having the decency to admit it is also a sign of maturity. Two sides of the same coin ...


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Lilbluesmurf,

I do stand up to them, but they just seem to make fun of me more. I'm used to scrutiny though, because they make slandorous remarks about my religion about every other day. I deal with it the best I can. I really don't know what's so funny anyway. I'm only going to have sex within the covenant of marriage. What is so appalling about that?

Also, what did you mean by...?

Quote:
"However, accepting when you're wrong, and having the decency to admit it is also a sign of maturity. Two sides of the same coin ..."

Was that about my decision to wait or something else?

------------------
"The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."

-Thomas Jefferson


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Heather
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Honestly, your sexual choices and habits is pretty personal information.

Really, why anyone whould share them completely with those who are not partners or friends is a little beyond me on some level.

So, if your friends are making fun of you, might want to point out that that isn't how friends treat one another. And if it's people you hardly know, perhaps simply stating that your sexual life is a personal matter would save you some frustration, and be more appropriate anyway.

Worth a shot.


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Baptist
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Whether I tell them directly or not, they will find some way of finding out. They ask me about such matters and I tell them the truth because I want to set a positive example for others around me.
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Moth
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Baptist:

<< What makes me very angry is how society treats virgins today. I don't like to tell my peers that I'm going to wait until marriage because they make fun of people who say such things. It seems as though it's "cool" to lose your virginity before marriage and anyone who doesn't is looked upon as being different and strange. Such is why I don't like popular culture today.>>

Maybe you're confusing your friends' (and society's) disagreement with the *principle* "no one should have sex until marriage" with disrespect for your *personal opinion* to not have sex until marriage. I.e., they don't disagree with you saying "I won't have sex before marriage"; they disagree with you saying, "*No one* should have sex before marriage". Maybe you're not saying that, but it's easy to send that impression, and that could easily be what your friends are reacting to.

Just my two cents- hope it wasn't offensive.

-Moth

P.S.- I don't like pop culture, either. <g>


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Moth
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Sex? marriage? morality? Hmmph.

I believe that everyone needs to choose very carefully *for themselves* what is correct for themselves. *In general*, I do not believe that marriage is necessary for a healthy sexual relationship. Mutual respect is necessary, as is attendance to safety, and I'd say that that's about it. Personally, I would not want to indulge in casual sex; however, I feel that it is a person's right. It is also a person's right to abstain until marriage. It is a person's right to do whatever the heck they want with their body, provided they're not hurting anyone like that.

And now that I'm done sounding like a "wishy washy liberal", as I seem to get called so often . . . I'll step down. <g>

-Moth



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Aquamarine
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Thanks, Moth! I too must be a wishy-washy liberal, because you summed up my views perfectly In fact, a lot of people in this thread seem to share similar views on the topic, so I won't go into great detail...since I always go on and on... I was never reared in any specific religion, and it has always been my understanding that sex is something that should not occur until one is ready on physical and emotional levels. In my mind, this kind of readiness is not necessarily connected with marriage.

Many of my friends have decided to stay celibate until they marry, and I respect that decision. Why wouldn't I? A person has the right to do whatever they want with their body, and others do not have the right to criticize their decisions.

No one that I know has ever been censured because they are a virgin or because they plan to remain a virgin until marriage. Really, if a person ever dared to criticize me on the basis of my sexual status, I'd give them a piece of my mind. It is *my* decision and mine alone. Conversely, I would never try to influence others' sexual decisions apart from offering information on legal age, condom use, STDs, etc--because the decisions they make are theirs alone. I fail to see how trying to impose your views on other people helps them to see "your way."

(And while I was at it, I thought I'd mention that whenever I used the word "alone," I meant it to be in conjunction with a partner who had also agreed with the decisions of the individual. Darn, I rambled again, didn't I?)


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Baptist
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What you all seem to miss is the fact that I live in a very liberal area. My peers hate anything to do with the Judeo-Christian ethic and anything to do with conservatism. This sort of hatred against Christians is nothing new. They are of the mindset that everyone is supposed to go out and have sex with as many people as possible. They have told me such and even tried to get me to go to these parties of theirs. They believe that relationships have nothing to do with love and everything to do with sex. To me, that is simply appalling.

I'm tired of people persecuting me because of my religious beliefs that sex should only be within marriage. What I do with myself is my buisness. Just because I don't want to go defile myself with them, doesn't give them the right to harrass me over it. If popular culture wishes to do such things, I don't care, just leave me out of it.

NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM


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