Guest ElizabethLee

Waiting Until Marriage To Have Sex

72 posts in this topic

I don't understand how anyone could commit to a mariage without the experience of living together.  I understand that it is possible, but I think it is a huge risk.  There are things that can only be known by living together day in day out.

Most of those same things can be learned by just spending sufficient time with someone. You can spend weekends or vacations with a lover and learn a lot about their habits while maintaining separarte residences. That is what Dagny and Dominique did.

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....

In regards to living together before marriage, this one completely depends on the nature of the relationship. For Alex and I, it was absolutely the best thing for us to do. We had both amassed a great deal of respect and knowledge about each other (we had become very close friends and had extensive email and telephone conversations for 9 months before we even started dating). Once  we started dating, every month one of us would fly to the other's respective city for an extended weekend visit, and then I finally moved to Boston 5 months after we started dating. Personally, this was a bigger step for me to take than marriage will be this summer. For all spiritual purposes, we were engaged the day I agreed to move to Boston, and we were married (in spirit) the day I moved in with him. Our ceremony this summer will simply make this commitment legal.

....

There seems to be this idea that if you are married you'll be more willing to work out some differences or problems that erupt when living together. Why would you be more willing to work out these problems if you are married rather than if you are just living together?

Hi Sarah--

I agree with you that with something as complex as love relationships, these decisions depend a great deal on the actual people involved. It sounds to me like you and Alex were much more serious when you chose to live together than couples often are. "Married in spirit" sounds almost more romantic than regular marriage, since its something purely between the two of you. :D

But I have heard other people (including on this thread) talk about living together with a "lets see how it goes" attitude, thinking that they can get out of it fairly easily if they aren't happy. I don't think it would be easy at all--more like getting divorced without ever having gotten to be married. ;)

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I'd like to go back to Elizabeth's post on the very first page:

Excuse me, we must now interrupt the regular programming on this thread for a test of the emergency broadcasting system.  This is only a test.  Can you hear me?  Hannes TLI and Michael Piz, I’m sure I’m just as old, just as busy, just as single as you are, but I have a radiant certainty that passionate romance is just around the corner.

That's really wonderful, Elizabeth, I really admire that! Plus, your other comments in this thread, e.g.
I feel so satisfied with my love life. It’s not of course everything I want, since I’m single. But it’s contextually perfect. There are always more dreams to achieve in life, more fabulous values to acquire. If I die today, let it be known I had a happy lovelife. Thank you thank you to all the stellar gentlemen whom I’ve dated and loved! Sure, it hasn’t been anything like what I expected, but in any area I have so many happy memories.

Comments like these are super benevolent. You seem to be far less hurt or scarred by all of your past experiences than some of the men here, and I wanted to ask you how you managed that, because it's really impressive to see you maintain so much continued benevolence toward romance ;) (by the way, haven't seen The Rose before, but I liked it!)

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"Married in spirit" sounds almost more romantic than regular marriage, since its something purely between the two of you.  :D 

This is not accidental. The letter of the law (especially with all its inconsistencies today) cannot be used as a substitute for moral judgment.

But I have heard other people (including on this thread) talk about living together with a "lets see how it goes" attitude, thinking that they can get out of it fairly easily if they aren't happy.  I don't think it would be easy at all--more like getting divorced without ever having gotten to be married. ;)

I have also heard people going into marriage talking about how it makes things "much stronger," only to be divorced in a few years, leaving life-destroying alimony and child-support payments in their wake.

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Most of those same things can be learned by just spending sufficient time with someone.  You can spend weekends or vacations with a lover and learn a lot about their habits while maintaining separarte residences.  That is what Dagny and Dominique did.

Unfortunately, because of the growth in the size of government, there is more risk involved in every undertaking.

Because there is more risk, there is a need to know more about individuals (at least as much as is necessary to make both parties comfortable) before one enters into serious partnerships. And there is no partnership more serious than marriage.

In any case, I don't think that this sort of optional issue is addressed in principle in Miss Rand's work.

So, what to do about the partner who won't commit in spite of the other's meeting all rational standards? The 'other' should recognize this as a serious character flaw and leave.

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Wait till marriage, out of the question! Well first off, I'm not married, and I'm not a virgin, but I uphold my decision not to wait.

First off, things such as romance novels and films have created a false view of what sex is really like, so if you wait till marriage, you're likely waiting around for a sexual experience that may never happen. Plus, if you have the ability to wait, then you're likely not with someone you feel a great sexual attraction to, which will definitely not lead to a fulfilling sex life in the future. Also, if you set up with the decision to "wait until marriage", you're not just making this decision for yourself, you're making it for your partner as well. If you set up a "wait until marriage" standard, you're putting your significant other in an awkward position, because if they love you and want to make love with you, it's no longer a mutual choice but instead they must abide by your "rules".

Another point, someone mentioned that it's easier for women to wait, how dare you make such an assumption! It certainly isn't easier for me. I think the women who find it "easier" to wait have excepted some sort of ideas from society which lead them to believe that remaining a virgin is "the right thing to do" and that if they have sex with someone they are not married to they must be a "slut", or because they are a virgin they have attached some sort of "special significance" to only having sex with one person, or that it will somehow be less special when they do fall in love if they've had sex with others. As a person who has had sex with someone I loved and someone I didn't, I can tell you that it was more special with the person I loved, and the fact I had had sex before certainly didn't take anything away from it.

In order for sex to be mutually enjoyed, both partners need to make a commitment to learning about the others body, and the others needs. Otherwise, one party may be left unsatisfied. If you're waiting till marriage you're ignoring the fact that we are all different sexually, and you are potentially putting yourself on the course of having an unfulfilling sex life. By insisting on waiting, you're potentially closing the essential lines of communication regarding sex that are ESSENTIAL to having a healthy sex life. You're partner can not tell what feels good to you unless you're willing to tell them. If you're not even willing to consider having sex before marriage, then you're definitely cutting off some of their willingness to discuss these topics.

My recommendation is to wait until you find someone you're interested in, and then decide together when you want to have sex. Clearly if you love them, it shouldn't be a problem.

I also recommend actually spending a significant amount of time talking about sex before you have it, because honestly, you shouldn't be doing something you don't feel comfortable talking about in great detail.

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I nominate this for the Most Brutal Honesty of the Month Award!  ;)

Thank you! I am proud to accept the award :D

Whoa. Hold your horses. You were nominated. It was only the 2nd day of the month, and, as great as yours was, who knows what is yet to come. Besides, the Academy Awards are first. :D

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Jay and Dave and everyone; do we all agree that women are the limiting factor in great sex?  In other words, if the woman is happy then the man will be happy he can make her happy, plus he’s happy in general with sex.  I think this is 80% of the cases.

No - the question is whether it makes her happy to make him happy. If she's just happy, it's not sufficient.

Robert Heinlein once defined love as being "the state in which the happiness of another person is indispensable to one's own happiness". This translates directly in the physical aspects of love.

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I think I agree, but just to make sure I understand:

It's the woman's enjoyment of the sex that makes or breaks the experience, but it's the man's job to make sure that happens. Men are pleased by default during sex (except in rare horror-stories), so what makes good or great sex is whether or not the woman is pleased, so while the woman's enjoyment is the limiting factor, it's the man's action that makes it all happen.

I couldn't disagree more. Most of the time it is true that the man is putting much more thinking and (arguably, very pleasurable) work into it, but a woman's skills and willingness makes a huge difference. It is true that "men are pleased by default", but sex should be much better than that - after all, self-stimulation is otherwise the easiest way to achieve pleasure.

In my experience, a woman's skills and active participation (of the body and the mind) have a huge impact on how pleasurable the experience is.

How we perform in the bedroom has a huge effect on our own feelings of masculinity and self-esteem qua men.

I think you're correct on this but it doesn't invalidate my opinion above.

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I couldn't disagree more.  Most of the time it is true that the man is putting much more thinking and (arguably, very pleasurable) work into it, but a woman's skills and willingness makes a huge difference.  It is true that "men are pleased by default", but sex should be much better than that - after all, self-stimulation is otherwise the easiest way to achieve pleasure.

I was talking about things on a fundamental level. Yes, to get the best sex possible there is active participation on both parts, but let me ask you this: if the woman you are sleeping with isn't enjoying it, is there really any point? Not for me.

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So, what to do about the partner who won't commit in spite of the other's meeting all rational standards? The 'other' should recognize this as a serious character flaw and leave.

I've known quite a few couples like that. They really liked and respected each other, but didn't love each other enough to get married.

One couple I know, after an engagement that lasted about five years, decided they wanted to be married, but not to each other. They split up, she got married to someone else within a year, he married his true love a few years later, and they are still very good friends.

The moral of the story is that really liking someone -- even if they meet all rational standards -- may not be enough. You need passion for a marriage to work.

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Dave, can you fill us in on your demographics here? I am getting mightily confused. I thought you were just starting SFSU, so a freshman undergrad? But you have a lot of dating experience, including living together? And with multiple women? If you could give ballparks, or PM, whatever you're comfy with that would help a lot.

It matters a lot how old the women are that you've been dating and how large your sample size is. thanks!!

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I'd like to go back to Elizabeth's post on the very first page:

That's really wonderful, Elizabeth, I really admire that! Plus, your other comments in this thread, e.g.

Comments like these are super benevolent. You seem to be far less hurt or scarred by all of your past experiences than some of the men here, and I wanted to ask you how you managed that, because it's really impressive to see you maintain so much continued benevolence toward romance ;) (by the way, haven't seen The Rose before, but I liked it!)

Thank you Freecap! I respect your opinions on things, so I really appreciate your compliments. [i can’t figure out how to get the nested quotes in my replies??? Anyone who knows, please post or PM!]

I gave several paragraphs of answer in that emergency test message you quoted: create your own life story, immerse yourself in seeing it, and act.

For a single sentence; I take very seriously the idea that man is a being of self-made soul.

For cryptic and/or unhelpful but brief background on me:

• I come from a family of superheroes, including parents, grandparents, and siblings.

• I have studied Objectivism for 20 years now [whoa!] and psychotherapy/psychology for 15.

• I have done counseling for 15 years, engineering for 20, and research for 5. I will soon receive a certificate in my favorite counseling [Glasser].

• I have experienced most every variant of romance: older/younger, posslq/married/dating, socially un/acceptable, helpful/harmful/frightening, un/requited, predominantly physical/spiritual/both, short/long, etc etc etc.

• Along with my father and my grandmother, I have a strong sense of aesthetics, and I continually immerse myself in new art forms and concretes.

• I love my sense of life, which I shared most with my father.

• I take a very special interest in recognizing, appreciating, and inspiring heroes. You, Freecap, for example.

For a book, that might be forthcoming in many years! For now I have been trying to explain some pieces at least of my ideas. I am broke so this is not my top priority, but it’s so fun for me that it’s great R&R if I delimit myself carefully.

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Dave, can you fill us in on your demographics here?

....

It matters a lot how old the women are that you've been dating and how large your sample size is. thanks!!

Personally, I don't see why background info matters in regard to Dave's extremely candid and introspective comments. He hit an essential issue right on.

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Dave, can you fill us in on your demographics here? I am getting mightily confused. I thought you were just starting SFSU, so a freshman undergrad? But you have a lot of dating experience, including living together? And with multiple women? If you could give ballparks, or PM, whatever you're comfy with that would help a lot.

It matters a lot how old the women are that you've been dating and how large your sample size is. thanks!!

lol, Elizabeth. I am just starting @ SFSU, but this is a second career for me. I'm about 10 years older than the average freshman, and had four or five years of moderate to heavy promiscuity when I was younger before settling down into a more healthy relationship pattern. (I've only lived with one woman, though! I didn't mean to give the impression that there were more!)

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I'm about 10 years older than the average freshman

thank you!! that is very clarifying! I got that you were smart, but a 20 year old is -very- -very- rarely as smart as you!!!

I feel that you know the man's part of romance perfectly :), and so you will definitely be successful, as you probably are now from your comments. The thing I think you're missing is the woman's part, knowing where she's coming from in all cases, which is perfectly understandable of course, and not strictly necessary either. If the woman you couldn't make happy was young, it is sadly probably within your odds that she had been harmed somehow earlier. She probably could have had great sex with you, presuming she loved you and you loved her, if she had a really safe environment and possibly counseling. That kind of woman I do think is best served by waiting, since she's really waiting in effect anyway, and it's the safety that matters to her.

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thank you!!  that is very clarifying!  I got that you were smart, but a 20 year old is -very- -very- rarely as smart as you!!!

You know what we say: If you think you've arrived at a contradiction, check your premises. :)

The thing I think you're missing is the woman's part, knowing where she's coming from in all cases

lol, my experience has shown me that not even the woman knows where she's coming from in all cases. :)

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lol, my experience has shown me that not even the woman knows where she's coming from in all cases.  :)

absolutivily!! :) for men ditto... that's another reason I like waiting, let it settle

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Do you agree that modern relationships have some inconsistencies and pitfalls?  I do, and I think holding off on sex can solve a great number of them in a great number of cases.

...

As a delimiter, I’m specifically discussing romances where marriage is potentially an option.  And the question is whether sex and living together improves or hinders good marriage outcomes.

Sex before marriage or formal engagement is not a deterrent, in itself, to a good marriage outcome. As others have indicated, it's the reason you've moved to that level of intimacy that is important. I find it instructive to consider the converse. Abstaining certainly doesn't guarantee a successful outcome. I was married, in my late 20's, to a woman I admired, whose values I shared, who I considered beautiful and talented and with whom I could laugh and share experiences. We met, dated, slept together, lived together, and married. But we'd never settled the issue of children. "The seeds of the divorce are in the marriage," if I can quote myself at the time of our divorce 4 1/2 years later. As you say, "what about kids?" The issue of children defines one context in which marriage, although not required, creates a far better situation for both children and parents, provided that the relationship itself is solid and able to weather the usual storms. Marriage guaranteed nothing because the relationship contained two people with incompatible goals. Now that wasn't truly immediately evident, because some life-changing events intervened that cause my ex- to move up her timetable and forced a clash of interests. But such things happen and it helps when both parties are looking to go down the same road. As it is, sex wasn't what broke us apart; it may have held us together longer than we should have been.

Years later, I did meet my soulmate and of course sex was part of that. "Having sex" is too clinical a description for that part of a love relationship. It's called "making love" for a reason. When you love your partner, that coming together feels inevitable and only brings you closer together. There was no interest in having kids, so there was no immediate talk of marriage, but we were together and we planned on remaining together for the rest of our lives. I proposed when I realized it was the only way that I could express the depth of my love for her. I wanted to declare on a mountaintop that she was My Woman. We were engaged, but we felt no need to set a date or send out flyers. It was between us.

If you love someone deeply, sex is the medium in which you can express that love. It can certainly be much less than that, but that's not the point: You are asking about relationships, not one-night stands. As intelligent, rational adults, we generally know the difference before we decide to have sex. Occasionally, one can be misled and there are certainly guys out there that make that a sport, but that requires a level of complicity or of deception that should usually make it avoidable. There's certainly a good argument to be made for taking your time to get to know someone in some depth before deciding to take it to the bedroom. I've had several relationships, but never a one-night stand. But I see sex as a natural expression of love and abstaining until a formal committment as, possibly, an expression of a fear of disappointment that is more likely than not to cause disappointment, whether through the inhibition of expression or through the setting up of unrealistic expectations. Taking chances is unavoidable in experiencing life fully.

The best you can do for yourself is to be 100% in focus in the initial stages of a relationship; getting to know the person, sharing experiences, determining what kind of person they are and if you share fundamental values, sense of life, and compatible goals. Only then, when you know it's more than just physical attraction, does sex seem to me to be as natural as a hug or a kiss and the lack of it a form of repression.

Alan N

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Also;

I lived through Kipling’s “If,” with the exception that when I reached my worst losses I breathed many words! LOL Now I feel like a new person. I’ve met others who had that one similar experience and they too were extremely benevolent.

Thank you Freecap!  I respect your opinions on things, so I really appreciate your compliments.  [i can’t figure out how to get the nested quotes in my replies???  Anyone who knows, please post or PM!]

I gave several paragraphs of answer in that emergency test message you quoted:  create your own life story, immerse yourself in seeing it, and act.

For a single sentence; I take very seriously the idea that man is a being of self-made soul.

For cryptic and/or unhelpful but brief background on me:

• I come from a family of superheroes, including parents, grandparents, and siblings.

• I have studied Objectivism for 20 years now [whoa!] and psychotherapy/psychology for 15.

• I have done counseling for 15 years, engineering for 20, and research for 5.  I will soon receive a certificate in my favorite counseling [Glasser].

• I have experienced most every variant of romance:  older/younger, posslq/married/dating, socially un/acceptable, helpful/harmful/frightening, un/requited, predominantly physical/spiritual/both, short/long, etc etc etc.

• Along with my father and my grandmother, I have a strong sense of aesthetics, and I continually immerse myself in new art forms and concretes.

• I love my sense of life, which I shared most with my father.

• I take a very special interest in recognizing, appreciating, and inspiring heroes.  You, Freecap, for example.

For a book, that might be forthcoming in many years!  For now I have been trying to explain some pieces at least of my ideas.  I am broke so this is not my top priority, but it’s so fun for me that it’s great R&R if I delimit myself carefully.

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Hi Alan N & Sarah!

You know, I guess I asked for it by posting the topic, but I find myself unwilling to ask you [and Dave too] the questions I have about your relationships that would clarify my complete and total views on them. It’s really a terribly private issue, very personal with many important contexts to be included. If we chat in person and you are willing I’d love to hear more about your stories. You both wrote lovely letters and I am so happy you are happy!

For now, I agree with most of what you wrote and especially... hmmm, I thought Sarah said how important it is to be able to talk about sex, but I don’t see that. It is really important!

"Having sex" is too clinical a description for that part of a love relationship.  It's called "making love" for a reason.  When you love your partner, that coming together feels inevitable and only brings you closer together. 

As far as the name, I wish there were a better name. You are right, “sex” is not intrinsically romantic. But “making love,” such a sixties phrase, not even a word, it makes me think of how people then seemed to take sex like a commodity as [Carlos I think] described. Honestly, I think it’s almost unutterable, so sacred, what it really is. So being clinical for me works better on online discussion where it can’t be given full reverence than possibly giving the impression of a sixties mentality. But I understand!

On inevitability, I think it’s easier for women to get into that zone than men. Maybe not for Objectivist women, that’s one of my big questions on this subject, but I think for me, certainly in the past. And since it’s the man’s interest that needs to lead, for my taste, I think it’s important for me to hold off a bit. I’m sort of naturally very touchaholic, huggy and expressive with someone I love. It’s part of my background; I was with SuperEx so long and we had so much warmth and tenderness that I definitely think I’ve treated some dates too much like husbands. Certainly we’d agree that’s an error, but it’s hard for me to go halfway, or it has been in the past.

Why would you be more willing to work out these problems if you are married rather than if you are just living together?

I believe it’s the man’s attitude that can change. If the man has perfect integrity [like Alex and Alan? J], then the difference will be small. I think men may err on many things, but far fewer of them err on whether or not they want to marry, ie “absolutely cannot live without this person for the rest of their lives.” Once you reach that level of certainty about your partner, things definitely change.

I’m curious if, after you’ve each actually been married for a couple of years, if you think life is different. I observe it always is after marriage. My goal is to get –that- exciting part of life to start right away! To me that’s the really fun part, when you agree you’re heading the same direction.

Occasionally, one can be misled and there are certainly guys out there that make that a sport, but that requires a level of complicity or of deception that should usually make it avoidable.

It can be pretty tricky. Offline, one Objectivist stated he was happy to hear that I think Objectivist men have higher integrity on average, because he’d heard the opposite!! I told him I think that when Objectivist men are average, the women see them as complete and total losers, because we expect so much from Objectivist men, and on the whole we get it. So it's expectations vs reality not reality. Objectivist men are definitely much better on average, and the high outliers are amazingly stellar, incredible.

However, there is also a second issue. “Confusingly similar” is almost always the most egregiously difficult error. I think Objectivists are more likely to make those types of errors. Such errors can be buried very deep, beneath a lot of excellent prose and behavior that accords with the healthy and genuine. As Dave mentioned, it can be hard to know oneself, and so much harder to know someone else! That said, I don’t think one should try to plan differently so as to prepare for meeting such borderline cases; the authors can’t either, LOL.

abstaining until a formal committment as, possibly, an expression of a fear of disappointment that is more likely than not to cause disappointment, whether through the inhibition of expression or through the setting up of unrealistic expectations.  Taking chances is unavoidable in experiencing life fully.  ....  Only [after being in focus & time], does sex seem to me to be as natural as a hug or a kiss and the lack of it a form of repression.

Yes, there are no guarantees anywhere! Also, expressions of fear do engender disappointments. Finally, as I said, I have had lots of great natural expressions. What I want is a 50 year marriage!

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I can’t figure out how to get the nested quotes in my replies???  Anyone who knows, please post or PM!

In our "QUESTIONS" forum there are several threads that address this topic.

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