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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Abstinence--What do you think about it? (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Abstinence--What do you think about it?
logic_grrl
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Ditto to what Milke said .

quote:
I'm just gonna warn you, this will probably sound rather religious (if that's the right term) to some of you.

Hey, there's nothing wrong with having religious views, and with sticking by what you personally believe in!

But it's obviously worth bearing in mind that if your views are based on a particular religious belief (e.g. that consensual sex outside marriage "defiles" the body), then they aren't going to have the same force for people who don't share that particular religious belief.

A parallel example might be Jewish dietary law: the rules on what foods (and what combinations of foods) are kosher are also based on religious beliefs about purity and impurity (what is "kosher" is what is ritually "pure").

But people who believe very strongly in those laws (and not all Jews keep kosher - just as not all Christians hold the same beliefs about sexual behaviour) generally don't expect them to be shared by people who are not Jewish. Nor do they consider those people to be morally evil for, say, eating a bacon sandwich.

In some ways I am puzzled by your statement that:

quote:
We promote abstinence, but I've been careful not to inject my religious views while teaching.

But all your comments about abstinence until marriage here have invoked beliefs about "purity" and "defilement" which are essentially religious beliefs.

If those are your personal religious beliefs, then fine - you have every right to hold whatever beliefs seem right to you. But since they seem pretty integral to your views about abstinence - and to be the primary reason why you believe people should be abstinent before marriage - I'd be interested to know how you go about promoting abstinence without involving your religious beliefs.

[This message has been edited by logic_grrl (edited 04-01-2003).]


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mystic
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I think that before two people decide to get married they ought to know each other properly, and I think that knowing each other sexually is very neccessary.
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MarvellousPurple
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Personally, i'm not into abstinence. It's just not for me, and I'll say that to preface the rest of this.

My main problem with those people who promote abstinence as the right choice for everyone is that, rather than making sex less of an issue, it seems to give it more weight in a relationship. It's the forbidden fruit idea: if you're not allowed to do it, it must be something wonderful and amazing and huge.

While i do think sex (and by sex i mean "all sexual activity") is an issue in a relationship, i don't think it's the defining characteristic it's often made out to be. For example, if my partner and i (who are sexually active) broke up tomorrow, i can guarantee that i would be rather devastated on many levels, but i think that our sexual relationship would be one of the least upsetting. do i enjoy our sex life? definitely, but i think that we share much, much more important things.

Hopefully, that all made sense.

(quick disclaimer: i'm also not saying sex should be taken lightly in terms of preparedness and safety, but... well, you probably get the gist by now. cheers.)


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a_c_munson
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Sex is fun
Sex in a loving commited trusting honest relationship is amazing!
I am married. WE were together for 5 years before we got married. We did not wait!
My brother is getting married to his GF of 13 years this december. They did not wait.
My Best friend got married to her BF of ten years this weekend. They did not wait.
My parents have been married for 39 years and they did not wait either.
Marrage is a BIG deal. My fear is when you wait to be married you will rush into it before you are ready because you are ready for sex and not marriage.
I am also a big believer of not getting married just because you are pregnant either.
I will respect everyones decision regarding when they have sex for the first time. Be it a one night stand or on your wedding night. No one else can tell you when you are ready.
Keep in mind though what is right for you at 15 may not be what is right for you at 25.


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Heather
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(Just a reminder to posters here: please remember that "sex" meaning biological sexual intercourse is not a possiblity or desire for all couples, as is also the case with marriage. We're not all heterosexual, here or in the world.)


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nacarter
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This has proven to be a most interesting topic with a diverse range of opinion. I would like to comment on a few issues.

I agree with the idea of "whatever works for you". I congratulate anybody who has chosen abstinence and is able to maintain that lifestyle faithfully. I also congratulate those who have chosen to have sex in a responsible manner that promotes the health and wellbeing of both partners. Both choices are equally good.

Concerning the study that was mentioned above in regards to higher divorce/separation rates for those who co-habitate before marriage, it should be noted that this study has been roundly criticised for methodological problems and has been refuted in subsequent studies. Of course, groups such as Focus on the Family don't publicize these further findings.

Finally, I'd like to bring up abstinence and sex-ed. It has been mentioned that abstinence-only programs don't work. This conclusion may be somewhat premature. Research on teaching methods in sex-ed classes has shown that large numbers of teachers are uncomfortable with alternative teaching methods used in sex-ed curricula (both abstinence-only and comprehensive). This leads to topics being covered in a manner not intended by the curriculum or to be skipped altogether. When these programs are then reviewed they are deemed to have failed because the anticipated behavioral change has not occured. However, one must eye this result critically. What's being evaluated - the proper curriculum or the version with the flawed implementation?

Comprehensive programs have the same problem with the same outcome as noted in the 2002 DiCento et al. study. This is not to say that abstinence-only programs would be any more effective with proper implementation (my current research is showing that cultural compatability issues may undermine any sex-ed program regardless of how good the implementation is). I think that more research on the topic is badly needed and that government lobbying for more research funding is necessary whether the program promotes abstinence or is comprehensive in nature.


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Heather
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True enough -- and I appreciate your view on diversity of choice -- but you can look at some of the curricula in their raw form and see the flaws (and blatant misinformation) BEFORE execution. Several of such prgrams, for instance, stand in direct violation of the medical accuracy bills and standards in several states. Not to mention, I don't know of a single ab-only program which addreses GLBT youth at all.

This one is a popular program, for instance: http://www.choosingthebest.org/faqs/index.html

You'll note that they state that "abstinence is the only method to eliminate the risk of pregnancy and STDs," and they "do not advocate or demonstrate contraceptive methods for teens."

Some other curricula are even worse, citing things like that condoms have "holes" which HIV can pass through, etc.

Right now also isn't the first time in hostory we've tried chastity campaigns, nor is it the first time they have failed, in some cases reaping horrendous results (like the US soldiers being the ONLY country to bring back syphilis en masse from WWI, because all other countires provided condoms, while we pushed abstinence).

To boot, there is extensive research out there that has shown that the simple availbility of birth control methods -- and teaching about what they are and how to use them -- has caused the teen pregnancy rate to drastically decline over the last 40 years. And right now, we aren't going to see the efds lobbying for any sort of sex ed but that which meets the conservative morality agenda, regardless of it's success or failure.

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Heather Corinna
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CMTFlovesHAH
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I love my boyfriend very very much and we don't have sex to prove to each other that we love each other we have sex because we love each other and we are comfortable with the choice we have made.
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CMTFlovesHAH
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Sorry I posed 2 times

[This message has been edited by CMTFlovesHAH (edited 04-30-2003).]


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cupcake
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THIS is the kind of thing that frightens me....
http://net-burst.net/singles/virginity.htm

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nacarter
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Cupcake, I read that article and I have to agree, it was scary. Americans often worry about Muslim Fundamentalists threatening their way of life. Far more dangerous and yet acceptable to our eyes is the Christian Fundamentalist. This isn't an attack on Christianity or Islam, rather one on Fundamentalism.

The best combat against this kind of Fundamentalism is itself. I always find it amazing that this brand of theologian will claim that God is infinite and beyond our understanding, yet they make pronouncements that claim they know the mind of God... funny, indeed.

Celibacy and Marriage are ideals - for some people. Many are either never prepared to make the sacrifices necessary for a marriage to work, while others who have been married in the past are never prepared to be married again. Is celibacy the only option? In light of the fact that VERY few people can maintain a celibate lifestyle faithfully, I would suggest that trying to impose such a lifestyle is morally harmful.

Basing such an imposition on a biblical claim made 2-4000 years ago ignores the realities of modern society. In biblical times, maintaining a celibate lifestyle was far easier when many were married even before they had exited puberty. The time gap was quite small.

Today, when one considers that many do not finish their education until they are 25+ and may still be a few years away from being ready to support a wife and family (if they ever are) and they reach sexual maturity (physical) at age 12-14, asking a sexual being to deny and suppress their urges and feelings is quite a different undertaking than it was in biblical times.

This isn't to say though, that we should abandon all moral considerations when talking about sexuality. It's just time to start considering other options. If interest permits, I'll discuss some of these in another post.


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Lee
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I advocate that everyone make their own choices when it comes to sex. If someone wants to wait until they are married then who am I to tell them that they're wrong? The same thing goes for someone who does not want to wait. Sex is a personal issue first and foremost. Its political nature stems from the fact that some people think it is their duty to pry into the personal affairs of others.

The only condition I have is that people make informed choices, and unfortunately the "information" that is provided by the sex education programs in public schools today is BS and propaganda. Comprehensive sex education in this country is something that the left wing has long advocated and dispite my general distaste for the left I do agree with them on this point. An understanding of sex is something that everyone should have, not just people over the magical age of 18. That is not to say that toddlers should be taught EVERYTHING, but neither should sex be something that is hidden away from them. Sex is an ordinary part of life, and it is time that our culture treat it as such. Like many things it is something that should be handled responsibly, and it is hard to handle something responsibly when someone has been lied to, misled, deceived, and generally kept in the dark about it all their life.

Lee


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Blue Roses
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I agree with much of what has already been posted - that celibacy until marriage is great if it's your thing, but shouldn't be imposed on someone who doesn't want to follow that path. One thing that I don't think anyone brought up that has been a reason for me not to wait is this: While sex life certainly shouldn't be the deciding factor in marrying someone, I think it would be good to know whether that is something you have to work on a lot as a couple. I get the impression that some people think sex will happen instantly and wonderfully as soon as they hit their wedding night...and if it does, great. But I'd personally have felt really disappointed if my first time had been after waiting until we were married. Marriage has its own slue of problems, and initial sexual incompatablility really doesn't need to be thrown in there.
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hickorystix
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it feels good. no offence to anyone who doesnt wanna have sex but I wouldnt wanna leave myself out of it if I dont even know if it feels good or if it doesn't. what if. I support u if u dont.
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Milke
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Well, some people enjoy partnered sex, others prefer masturbation, yet others want none of it. What we do is up to us as individuals, and no blanket statement applies to everyone, so don't be statin' personal opinions as facts.

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Milke, with an L, SSBD, RATS, TMNTP, MF

'What has the rest of you been doing while your hand has been playing Atari?'


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The1andonlyAmber
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I agree with most others, that it's down to personal choice.
It's like at college, some people choose not to drink, some people choose to smoke etc. We don't judge them, why should we judge someone for not wanting to have sex.

Personal Choice!

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Why is it that the person that makes you cry, is the only one who can make you stop.


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logic_grrl
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quote:
it feels good. no offence to anyone who doesnt wanna have sex but I wouldnt wanna leave myself out of it if I dont even know if it feels good or if it doesn't. what if. I support u if u dont.

You know, it's not necessarily about "not wanting to have sex". Someone who's never had sex can still think about whether they're ready to be sexually active with a partner or not (for example, by using guidelines like Ready or Not? –The Readiness Checklist).

Some people, because of their religious or moral beliefs, feel that they're only going to be ready for sex once they're married.

Now, I feel very strongly that such beliefs are not right for everyone (or even applicable to everyone) - as is probably very clear from my other posts in this thread.

But rushing into something that you're not ready for (either because of your beliefs or because you aren't ready in other ways) just in case it might feel good isn't my idea of a smart move either.

As far as "feeling good" in a purely physical way goes, you might want to remember that your genitals don't know the difference between someone else's body and your own hand.

Partnered sex inevitably involves a lot of risks and complications that masturbation doesn't - even leaving aside pregnancy and STD risks, just the fact that there's a whole 'nother human being involved complicates things. Even if it's a "one night stand" or "no strings attached" relationship, you still need to deal with a lot of other factors other than whether or not it feels good.

Being prepared to think about and deal with those factors is part of being ready for partnered sex.


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PrettyGirlSuffering
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Not that I am against or for sex before marriage, even though I have had sex and I am not yet married. I sat and thought about it. What if you and your boyfriend/girlfriend were perfect for each other in everyway, and clicked really well, BUT you waited to have sex until after you're married, and decided that you two just didn't connect well through sex. Sex is a big part of a marriage so I see. Does anyone get what I mean, and where I'm coming from??

If you don't get what I'm saying, I'llt try to break it down.

If a husband and wife or whatever your sexual prefrence may be, wait to have sex with each other until after they are married. Are perfect for each other and love each other, but the sex is horrible and they just don't connect. Why wait until marriage? Would you rather know if you're meant for them in ALL areas and aspects?

I'm not trying to pick a fight, or insult anyone. I'm just curious

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Confused boy
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That is a reasonable point but I imagine that in nearly all cases, two people who loved each other in every other way would be able to get past initial sexual incompatibility problems. Since their relationship was already very close and open, they would be able to communicate their desires to their partner with relative ease, which is perhaps the key to enjoying sex.

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Heather
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I'd love to agree with that, Jules, but basically sex research shows us that this isn't always so, and in many cases, in fact, it isn't so often.

Most couples who have sexual incompatibility -- especially major incompatibility -- CANNOT get past it completely, and many can't even get past it partially, which isn't all that surprising: sexuality is very varied, and a lot of our sexual likes and dislikes are pretty hard-wired from when we're young. A foot fetishist is likely always going to be one and carve that, a bisexual a abisexual, a person who likes or needs lots of foreplay is going to be just that, as is the person who just can't drum up interest in it.

I don't think that needs weigh all that heavy on people who choose to be abstinent, especially if that choice is based on them personally feeling sex isn't a major factor in their lives, however.

And sex needn't be a big part of marriage either: in fact, in a lot of long-time marriages it ttends to evolve into relationships based more in friendship than anything else.

I think though where this try-out view gets tricky (and I agree, pretty, I personally, were lifelong marriage a route I were going, would want to be sexually active first, but I'm so many exceptions to those rules, that's almost moot) is because in that vein the assumption is that once you're in a marriage or long-term partnership, you're stuck there. If you follow.


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sachie
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i'm an advocate of "do what you want, as long as you're safe". i technically lost my virginity at age 14, and although i regret it and am now going to be celibate for a while, that doesn't mean i'm going to force everyone ELSE to be. that's dumb. and i don't believe in abstinence before marriage, because i don't know if i'll be getting married. and besides that, if you and your partner can't have good sex, and you'd waited til marriage to find that out, that really sucks.

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libido ergo sum.


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