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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Need advice/support...

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Author Topic: Need advice/support...
confusedgirl17
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Hi! I am stressed right now about thoughts of premarital sex... half of me is all for it, I'm 18 and I'd really like to, um, enjoy myself right now... but the other half of me is worried. I'm not particularly religious, I don't attend church though I do consider myself a Christian, and I am just worried that if there's an afterlife I don't want to ruin my chances at having a good one because I didn't have self control now... so... how did everyone form their opinions on premarital sex? Any religious people here think it's okay? I just need to get my feelings on this issue figured out, and advice is appreciated!
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Gumdrop Girl
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Well, I'm a Buddhist and we don't view premarital sex quite in the same way Christians do.

Here's the secular and ecumenical (if you don't know what those mean, consider this your SAT prep lesson for the day) processes I went through when I gave premarital sex some serious thought.

On a practical level, I did the math and figured out that my chances of marrying before 30 were pretty slim. At 19, I figured I didn't want to spend 11 years of my adult life abstaining.

Spiritually, I had done a little research. In my sect of Buddhism, there is a stated rule about sex, but what it amounts to is that a good person doesn't use sex to harm other people. That rules out rape, or revenge sex. That, in some interps. also rules out having premarital sex with a girl who is already betrothed -- to someone who isn't you. In this cultural context, there probably was a dowry involved, so having sex with her would be a breach of contract. interesting, innit?

As for you, if you have ANY misgivings, I think that's a dang good reason to abstain. You may wanna talk to some clergy folks. Pay a visit to a few pastors. you said Christian, so I will assume you're some kind of American Protestant (and if you dunno what that means, maybe you should rethink your religious affiliation)? If so, talk to a whole range of clergy. The Southern Baptists are the most conservative. The Methodists are the most liberal. You might wanna seek the help of a Unitarian, too.

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Heather
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Also know that the idea of "premarital sex" doesn't even exist for everyone. That may not be directly relevant to you, because for you it obviously does, nut it's good food for thought when figuring these things out.

For instance, for most people in same-sex relationships, as for many, marriage isn't even an option, it's a nonissue. For those of us whose spiritual systems/religions don't really deal with marriage as a tenet of our religion, like Gumdrop and myself who are Buddhist, for instance, it's a nonissue. For myself, being bisexual, being feminist and my spiritual beliefs not including marriage made the whole thing a nonissue from the get-go, and it remains at nonissue. I'm 35, and still have no plans to marry, and would prefer not to entertain any, either.

But even when it IS a moot point, engaging in partnered sex and feeling like you don't have complete control over your choices isn't a wise idea. One of the biggest things that keeps partnered sex healthy is the partneres involved coming TO sex being able to feel capable of making informed, purposeful choices, rather than just falling into things.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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confusedgirl17
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Thanks for the resonses, they were interesting [Smile] I don't even know where I stand on the issue of marraige.... I'm straight, but at the same time, I don't know if I'll want to marry.. it seems somewhat confining... yet the idea of a wedding seems so romantic too... and, I'm not actually in any type of Christianity. My parents raised me without a religion, to figure it out later once I was older... so I'm lost about that. I just feel that God exists... I've been planning on looking into churches once I move out of my parent's house next fall, and try to find a progressive/liberal Christian church. It's a good idea to talk to some people within the Christian faith though, thanks!
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-Lauren-
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I was actually in the same mindset as you a few months back. At first when I got with my boyfriend, I really wanted to wait till marriage. I guess I was infatuated by the idea of a perfect white wedding and being the perfect white bride. And you know what? Abstaining from intercourse worked just swimmingly for the first, oh, 20 months. If you look at traditional marriages before our time, most of them took place in a much shorter timeframe than most courtships/relationships do today. Easy to wait till marriage when it's only a few months! But for those of us who can't up and marry, that's where you have to do some thinking. Well, to each their own, and I hope this helped some.
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confusedgirl17
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It does, it's nice to know there's other people who've gone through these feelings [Smile] And it's true that people used to get married a lot sooner, and a lot younger too... it's a lot to think about. Thanks [Smile]
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DarkChild717
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(Just an aside--Wedding dresses are white thanks to our Victorian elders. Some wanted to show their money, so they bought an impractical white gown to show they had money to burn on something that can't be used again. Somehow, the white came to symbolize virginity, but the original meaning is still a bit funny. [Smile] )

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Irm
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This is my scholarly side stepping in, rather than my spiritual one, so if the view I am about to present is one that is offensive to you or not compatible with your religious beliefs, then feel free to disregard it.

One thing to keep in mind about the tradition of waiting till marriage for sex is to think of how old it is, and thereby why it likely developed. The Bible is a very OLD text from a time when humans did not have condoms, the pill, DNA tests, nor fantastic medical technology. Though people didn't quite understand HOW it all worked back then, they sure did know one thing: a surefire way to pass on a plague or disease or infection was to have sex! Because "safe sex" wasn't around, the only real way to stud the spread of diseases by sex, without out-ruling reproduction and carnal enjoyment alltogether, was to restrict all people to ONE partner. This ensured that people COULD reproduce and experience sexual joy, but it also made sure that this practice was "contained". Waiting until the ceremony was completed and the commitment made was reasonable, as the human desire for sex is generally (not for all, of course) a beast that needs some pretty strict bondage. (No pun intended. : P)

Also, partly because people were still somewhat confused as to how babies were made and because DNA tests weren't around, restricting sexual activity to committed partners made it pretty damn simple to tell WHOSE baby it was when a woman became pregnant. This was a time when blood-heritage was EXTREMELY important--heck, it is NOW-a-days to a lot of people--and "family lines" had to be protected. (There is a big emphasis on that in the Bible.) There were times in human history when the paranoia of a woman conceiving with anyone but her husband were so high that women would literally be put on "lock-down" the moment they were married, imprisoned in a house/room and not allowed to even LOOK at a man other than her husband. If she had ANY sort of interaction with another man, even so much as a chat with a guard, she would be "disgraced" and sometimes killed/maimed/outcast/etc. Sad times.

Anyhow. Quick cultural review. Personally, I think that these factors, more-so than spiritual ones, contributed to the emphasis on sex-after-marriage in the Bible. If you are one of those who believes that the word of the Bible is law letter-for-letter, then I'm certainly not opposing that--whatever you choose to believe is great for you. I am simply sharing my personal view, which is that a lot of the Bible's contents can really be dissected and interpreted by the cultural and geographical contexts in which it was written. In my eyes, if there is truth to the basic Christian principles, then it seems like the issue of sex would lean more towards engaging in it on the basis of love and good virtue, rather than "revenge sex" or rape and such as stated above. Again, just a viewpoint, but food for thought in your quest to find whichever opinion is right for YOU. : )

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Beppie
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quote:
Originally posted by RedGoddess:
Waiting until the ceremony was completed and the commitment made was reasonable, as the human desire for sex is generally (not for all, of course) a beast that needs some pretty strict bondage. (No pun intended. : P)

It's also worth remembering that in a lot of places that have been dominantly Christian over the last two thousand years, there wasn't an official wedding ceremony, and the concept of "marriage" was much more a matter of common law (or de facto) rather than something sealed by a legal ceremony-- this was often something only done by the upper classes, because it involved land etc. In fact, you'll find that in most Germanic languages, the words for "husband" and "wife" are simply the words for "man" and woman" (the word "wife" in English, is in fact the Old/Middle English word for "woman")-- the idea of being "married" simply meant being in a monogamous heterosexual relationship (of course, monogamous non-heterosexual relationships also existed, but unfortunately western cultures have been heterocentric for a long time). This certainly wasn't the case for ALL followers of Christianity over the last two millennia, but it was pretty common.

If you look at what the New Testament of the Bible says about marriage and sex (since if you're a Christian, I'm assuming the Old Testament is less relevant to you in terms of it setting out strict laws), there is no clear prohibition against sex outside of marriage. Paul says in Corinthians that Christian men should not visit prositutes, and that if they can't control themselves, they should get married, and he also says that if a man (most of the time he only addresses men in his letters, though there are exceptions) is engaged to marry a virgin (a term which also had a different meaning in the original Greek, simply meaning a woman who had never been sold in marriage before, though it does seem he presumes these women are also sexually inexperienced), he should not pressure her into having sex with him before they are married.

Many Christians believe that the whole man and woman being "one flesh" thing, which is first referred to in Genesis, and is later picked up again by Jesus, refers explicitly to sex, and indicates that sex basically is the equivalent of marriage. Again, this is very heterocentric, but this interpretation implies that having sex in which marriage is not implicit is a bit like visiting Paris without setting foot in Europe-- it can't be done. The most conservative supporters of this interpretation will say that having sex and then leaving the relationship is equivalent to divorce every time (which Jesus says he is not cool with).

As you can see, however, it all comes down to interpretation. There is no explicit command "thou shalt not have intercourse without first having had a wedding ceremony," though many Christians feel that this is implicit in many of the teachings of Jesus, and later the teachings of Paul (who is said to have been inspired by Christ). Many Christians also feel differently, noting that Paul in particular was fairly misogynistic as a result of the culture he lived in at the time, and recognising that Jesus himself seemed to think that beating a woman to death by throwing stones at her was a far greater crime than sexual misdemeanours.

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Heather
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quote:
One thing to keep in mind about the tradition of waiting till marriage for sex is to think of how old it is, and thereby why it likely developed.
And by all means, don't forget in this review, that the "waiting" was generally only culturally enforced for WOMEN, and in many traditions which required waiting, it was sometimes even only directed to women.

And that wasn't about disease, or even about paternity. That. m'dears, was -- and in some respects still is -- about control over and ownership of women.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ax50607
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Also, according to Christian teachings, you are not going to go to hell for sinning nor are you going to get into heaven by good works. Jesus died as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins so this would not have to happen. Believing in him is what gets you into heaven, not following any set of laws or whatever.
I'm certainly not trying to enforce the religion upon anyone, but you yourself said you identified with the Christian religion.
So, whether premarital sex is "wrong" or not, youre not going to hell for it. It's all about whether your heart is in the right place. And if in your heart you feel like this is the right thing to do, then go for it.

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confusedgirl17
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Thank you so much everyone!! [Smile] Your posts really are a big help. One of my friends did explain to me that the only way to get into Heaven was to believe in Jesus - which I do - I still don't want to do things now though, intentionally, that I know He would not approve of. I honestly didn't realize that nowhere in the Bible did it clearly state that sex without marraige is wrong... since, my Christian friends are so strongly against sex before marraige... I seriously need to read the Bible, I just don't have a chance to get a copy until I move out. But really thank you everyone [Smile]
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Momof3
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Believing is only the first step. Accepting God and giving Him your life is the next step. Living according to God's will is how you get to Heaven and recieve God's blessings while on Earth.

About receiving God: http://guidance.gospelcom.net/answer.htm

How you should live your life if you are a Christian. Romans 6 (All of the chapter.)
1 Corinthians 6:9-20

A word about marriage
1 Corinthians 7

I use a Life Application Study Bible with a New Living Translation. It gives alot of insight when some of the verses aren't so clear. But here is a good online Bible http://www.biblegateway.com (use it to look up the verses and search the topic premarital sex)

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DarkChild717
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Bear in mind that Scarleteen embrasses all denominations of religion, and doesn't ask members to justify their faiths.

As such, the links above can be used as a tool for those that wish to use them, but remember that not all of our users identify as Christian.

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Miss Trixxie
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Confused girl:
You asked a pretty interesting question... I'm Lutheran my self so I guess you could call me religious (although I have some major problems with the "Our father in heaven" things, but that's for another time). Anyhow, I do believe that sex before marriage is okay, and I myself am not going to wait until I get married to have sex. I formed this opinion pretty much on my own, with a little bit of input from my parents (more like my mom shouting "DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU'RE MARRIED") and friends. Basically, my opinion was formed by asking questions. What if I never get married? What about divorce? Thing is, I've always been taught that God, Allah, Yewah, The Goddess, or whoever else people choose to believe or not believe in, is a forgiving diety who is concerned with more than sex.
However, if you are really anxious about it, it would probably be emtionally unsafe to have sex just yet. What I would recommend (and I should stress I'm no expert) is to step back and look at the facts. Instead of concentrating on what your partner, friends, family members or peers believe on the matter, try to figure out what you believe about sex. And please, don't have sex just because you've weighed the pros and cons, and their happen to be more pros.
And lastly, please try to relax a little bit. Yes, sex is a huge part of life. But it isn't all that life has to offer.

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"In all history there is no war which was not hatched by the governments, the governments alone, independent of the interests of the people, to whom war is always pernicious even when successful." ♥ Tolstoy

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O
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[ 12-12-2006, 07:50 PM: Message edited by: Officer Friendly ]

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LilBlueSmurf
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Why should something that is such a small, trivial part of life as a whole be such a concern to so many people?

Don't you think this is a little condescending?

You don't get to decide what is trivial in someone elses life.

While i agree w/ the sentiment (i think), i think you need to tone it down a little. Stating what YOU think is important or trivial in YOUR life is fine ... Stating what you think should be in others is not.

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Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

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O
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[ 12-12-2006, 07:51 PM: Message edited by: Officer Friendly ]

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LilBlueSmurf
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Absolutely. And thank you for that.

(And, do note, for future referance, the date of the originally poster's first post -- 03/03/2006 ... That was a long time ago. It is unlikely they're still visiting this thread.)

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Nursing is a work of heart!
~ unknown

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