planned, it "just happens." Only 25% of the women found it
pleasurable at all, for 40% it was painful, for 22% it was frightening
and for 40-50% it caused guilt even though 60% felt they were in love
(Huk, 1979). Less than 10% had an orgasm. About a third used no
birth control! For men having sex for the first time, they were
surprised the woman said "yes," relieved they could perform, and
found it pleasurable, both in terms of physical feelings and
psychologically--"Today I became a man." The old double standard is
still psychologically affecting males and females very differently.
When a couple engages in sex regularly, as you would expect, they
generally (90% of teenaged males and 70% of teenaged females) say
they like it (Hass, 1979). However, an estimated 30% of adolescents
are "unhappy non-virgins" and are avoiding sex until they meet the
right person; some were dumped, some felt like sexual failures, some
were disappointed, some felt used (Kolodny, 1981). At a later age,
about 90% of engaged couples, while sexually involved, say sex
strengthens their relationship (Beach, 1973; Macklin, 1974). On the
other hand, couples who do not have sex before marriage are just as
likely to stay together as couples having sex (Knox, 1984). About 75%
of women who have had premarital sex (not necessarily with the man
they married) say they have no regrets and would do it again.
Presumably, 25% had some regrets. Premarital sex may not improve
post-marital sex (Frank & Anderson, 1980). Indeed, one large study
found that people with many premarital relations often have many
extra-marital affairs and unhappy marriages (Athanasiou & Sarkin,
1974). Masters, Johnson and Kolodny (1985) acknowledge the
Athanasiou and Sarkin results but contend that premarital sex also
yields some positive results, such as fewer sexual inhibitions, better
sexual communication, and earlier (before marriage) breakup of
incompatible couples. In short, the consequences of premarital sex are
not predictable, i.e. positive for some and negative for others.
One study showed that women tend to save their virginity until
they are going steady (58%) or at least "dating" (22%) or perhaps
engaged (10%) and only 10% lose it with friends or casual
acquaintances. Men are less likely to save their virginity until going
steady (39%) or engaged (1%) or dating (20%) and 40% have their
first experience with friends or acquaintances (Zelnik & Shah, 1983).
In another study, a Playboy survey (1976) asked college students
(most of whom had lost their virginity long before) how well they
needed to know someone before they would have sex with them.
Remember the source, but Table 10.2 indicates the percentage saying
"this is the least known person I'd have sex with":
Table 10. 2: Least well known acceptable partner for sex.