Monday, March 1, 2010

Premarital Test Drives

This weekend I had coffee with some family and it was a really great time - lemme tell you my uncle can make a mean pot of coffee! Said uncle and I talked a lot about his ex-wife, how he felt in his marriage, how he feels now, premarital sex... It's interesting to hear the previous generation voice more progressive ideas than we're used to from them. When it comes to sex, his beliefs seem to be as liberal as mine.

My uncle's first wife was emotionally abused by her father. As well, she witnessed the physical/sexual abuse he subjected her sisters to. So in his words, sex represented everything that was awful to her. I can completely understand this because I was in the same position for a lot of years after being raped at 13. I've been lucky enough to recover but I know some don't. So her desire to avoid sex (among other things I'm sure) drove a wedge between them and ruined their marriage. I'm sure he wouldn't change things now, after raising two amazing children in the process. And now he's met and married a woman who he's extremely compatible and happy with.

But in the present moment, without thirty years of history holding someone to a choice, don't you think we would be glad to know, before taking vows, that our partner isn't on the same page? While I don't think outright promiscuity is the answer, I do think having sex before getting married is important, to establish compatibility. Unfortunately, even with friendship, shared interests and even physical attraction, the actual act of sex can sometimes fall flat between two people. Or sex-drives won't match up and someone wants it much more often than their partner. The problem is this: as with many circumstances, when the sex is good, it's only 10% of what's good, but when it's bad, it's 90% of what's bad. I hear this comment about a lot of things and I think it's because when something is going well, it is just a single component in a fulfilling life. But when it's going badly, that single component detracts from every other area. Anyone who's been in an unhappy or unsuccessful marriage knows just how much it can effect every other part of life.

In my teens and twenties, partly in reaction to being raped and partly because I think a lot of young insecure women go this route, I gave myself away to more than a few guys. Some I wish I could take back. But do I wish I had been able or chosen to wait till marriage? Absolutely not. I would rather know ahead of time that we have at least one less obstacle to overcome. Marriage isn't easy under the best circumstances.

So what do you think? I know that living in my town, a lot of people disagree with my opinion.


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