Column: Waiting for marriage

By Zachary Schuster

I’ve had some pretty outrageous conversations with my mother. But nothing, and I mean nothing, prepared me for the one I had a couple months ago. Out of nowhere she says, “Son, if you ever get a girlfriend and fall in love with her, it’s OK to have sex with her.” Oh wow, my mom definitely told me that it’s A-OK to get laid. If only everyone’s mother was as cool as mine.

Never fear though, my mom’s wishes won’t be coming true any time soon. Some friends made me take one of those Cosmo quizzes titled “Are You a Sexpot?” My score on the quiz classified me as something like “Catholic schoolgirl.” That being said, I did give my mom’s words some consideration, if not for me, then for the rest of mankind.

I think it’s safe to say that our society still encourages parents to raise their children with the idea of waiting until marriage to have sex. I was taught this as I was growing up, and it always seemed to me to be a good way to go. Living in 2005, however, I think there might be good reasons for the tradition of waiting until marriage to change.

One of the tough spots with waiting until marriage is that, well, having sex feels really good. And why not? If having sex were like going to the dentist, the human species would be long gone. Sure there are other things, such as root beer floats, that make people feel good, but last time I checked you’re not going to hear your buddy say, “I’m really digging Suzie Q, I want to go to A&W; with her.” No, when humans are attracted to each other, they want to have sex. It’s human nature.

So if sex feels so great, we should all go out and try to get laid tonight, right? Please don’t construe this as my approval to go out to the bars and try to get some action. I still believe that relationships based solely on sex are ultimately selfish and fairly meaningless.

Turning again to my mother’s words of wisdom, “If you ever get a girlfriend …” She makes a point that most parents would agree with: young adults should pursue meaningful, committed relationships as opposed to “friends with benefits” and the like. After all, healthy dating relationships eventually lead to wedded bliss.

The hang up with remaining celibate until marriage while pursuing serious relationships is that sooner or later a guy falls in love with his girlfriend. And when a guy falls in love with a girl, he wants to have sex with her. It’s a fact of life that can’t be denied. What’s a guy to do after he’s been with his girlfriend a while? After six months is he supposed to say, “Well I’d love to take the next step, but I’m waiting until marriage, so I guess we have to break up”? A lifetime of aborted relationships does not a marriage make.

I think it’s silly to believe that you can only fall in love once in your life. The tradition of waiting until marriage worked great when people got married at 14 and were dead by 35. And 14 is just a few years removed from the age when cooties ran rampant through school hallways, so the idea of a first and only love was still a reality. Now, with people waiting until their late twenties to get married, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect to fall in love more than once.

In the end, I think college-age people should pursue loving relationships. If a man and woman are in love, but not yet ready for marriage, having sex can still be part of deepening a relationship that may one day lead to marriage. The only caveat is that both man and woman must be fairly certain of their feelings for each other because part of the decision to have sex is to accept the responsibilities that may come with that choice.