the meaning of sex, for others, may not be defined in the heart, but
explained differently as it becomes convenient to do so (i.e. people lie:
"I love you, now let's do it"). Likewise, intercourse doesn't, for some
people, necessarily have the same meaning with different partners.
With one person sex may honestly mean "I love you," with another
person it may mean "I find you attractive and fun." Furthermore, while
you are usually clear about what meaning having intercourse with a
particular person has for you, the sex partner may have a different
notion or be uncertain about your meaning. One of the more
inconsiderate, immoral, despicable human acts is to whisper "I love
you" to someone and really mean "I want sex but I don't care about
you as a person." The immoral aspect is not the sex but the lying, i.e.
the person is not going to carry through the next day, week, or month
with the actions implied by "I love you."
If you can decide what you want sexual intercourse to mean to you
and if you can clearly and honestly convey this meaning and its
implications to your partner, you are well on your way to establishing
a considerate, non-hurtful relationship.
About Premarital Sex
Premarital sex in our time
Women's premarital sexual behavior has changed markedly in the
last 50 years. During the 1940's, Kinsey, et al. (1948, 1953) found
that about 10% of 17-year-old unmarried women and one-third of 25-
year-old unmarried women had had intercourse. In the 1970's one-
third of 13 to 15-year-olds and 50% of 17-year-old unmarried women
and three-fourths of single college women had had intercourse and,
moreover, 85% to 90% approve of premarital sex for themselves or
others (Hunt, 1973, 1975; Hass, 1979, Playboy, 1976). A review of
the 1988-90 General Social Survey also shows that a majority of
American males have intercourse by 16-17, females by 17-18. Over
60% of 18 to 21-year-olds have had sex with more than one person.
Premarital sex is increasingly common. Women who are better
educated have more premarital sex, more sexual partners, masturbate
more, and find oral sex more acceptable (Janus & Janus, 1993).
Without doubt, we are getting sexually freer.
In 1963, 75% of young unmarried women and 40% of young
unmarried males were virgins; in 1984, 43% of such women and 28%
of such males were virgins. During the 1980's, virginity became less
common. Women have changed sexually far more than men in the last
40 years. It used to be important to "save yourself," today 75% of
single women are having sex. Consequently, 22% of white mothers