Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 121 of 167 
Next page End Contents 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126  

In this alternative, which has become the American standard,
having intercourse means "I love you" and want to have an
exclusive relationship with you for a while but I'm not sure for how
long--forever is a long time. This is "going steady" or being engaged or
living together in a "temporary arrangement." It isn't just love that
makes sex socially acceptable; the more emotional involvement and
commitment involved, the more socially acceptable sex is (if you are
18 or older). For instance, having sex with someone you love and are
strongly attracted to is not fully approved socially if one person is
unwilling to commit to the other. 
Pros: There is comfort--security--in a somewhat committed
relationship, and comfort makes the love and the sex better.
Over 90% of engaged couples say sex helped improve their
relationship; 75% of women have no regrets about premarital
sex. If an accidental pregnancy occurs, you are not as likely to
be left all alone. Sex with affection and commitment is accepted
(if you aren't too young, e.g. still in high school) by the
majority; this tolerance reduces our guilt. Couples who have
good premarital sex have better post-marital sex; however,
having premarital sex does not reduce the divorce rate (Knox,
1984, p.204). Good safe sex and love are great self-esteem
Cons: Insisting that you must love and commit to me
before we "make love" may result in premature (pretended?)
commitments--and poor choices of a mate. Certainly many
people have been seduced into a long-term relationship by the
thrill of sex. Perhaps better choices would have been made if
sex were available before a commitment or not available at all
until after marriage. Having sex makes breaking up harder to
do and more painful. Poor sex and unwanted pregnancies are
serious problems and jeopardize love. Besides, as many have
speculated, having ready access to sex may reduce the desire
to get married. 
Most people would consider this alternative psychologically
sound and emotionally healthy. But, sex and love can, of
course, result from many unhealthy motives: to reassure
yourself you are attractive and lovable, to be taken care of and
protected, to avoid working or a bad home life, to "hook a
man/women," to get pregnant, to do what your friends are
doing, etc. These unhealthy possible motives, however, are in
no way valid arguments against wholesome, healthy,
reasonable love and sex. It's just that none of us can be certain
that our motives to love and have sex are entirely healthy. 
Previous page Top Next page

« Back