I'm going to write about a topic I arguably should not be discussing in a public forum. Mom, Dad, Uncle Scott, Judge Alex, Dr. Jeff, and others who occasionally read the blog, this is your invitation to leave if you are squeamish. Read further at your own risk.
If you hadn't already guessed, the topic I will be discussing is s-e-x. Specifically, I'll delve into the topic as it relates, or more precisely doesn't relate, to me.
I've read a very few studies online. Wikipedia, that bastion of what everyone knows is accurate information, says that the average female has sex for the first time at 17.3. (It doesn't specify whether this means seventeen years and three months of age, or seventeen and three-tenths of one year, although I don't suppose it matters all that much.) Kinsey reports, which offer a wealth of longitudinal and anecdotal research relating to sex, say that 82 % of women between the age of 20 and 21, which is precisely where I fall, have had sex. Wikipedia's information indicate that over sixty per cent of the females at who 17.3 have sex for the first time do so with a person with whom they are in an ongoing relationship. The remaining thirty-something per cent do so in a casual hook-up. Wikipedia doesn't list in its numbers what I would hope is a mere fraction of a per cent -- a statistic of which I was very nearly a member -- who have sex for very the first time against their consent.
First, and foremost, I am not in any sort of panic mode. I do not look at Kinsey's statistics and think, "Oh gee! I'm in the elite eighteen per cent, most of whom are either Mormon lady missionaries or nuns."
Nor do I view the Wikipedia numbers and think, "I'm over three years behind the national average. I'd better do something about it, and fast!"
On the other hand, it does cause me to wonder. I like boys. Boys have finally begun to like me just a bit. Sex would, I suppose, be a possibility if I really wanted it in a major way. No one has pressured me in any way yet. In fact, and I hope no one is offended by my posting this (I'm still relatively anonymous to my real-life peers in this blog, but I'd hate to post something that someone I'd dated actually read and was hurt by it), no one has hit anything further than a solid single off me, nor even made much an attempt to advance to the next base. My dates have been gentlemen. I'm most comfortable with it this way at this point.
But at some point this status should probably change. I suppose I could wait for marriage. I know that is almost an out-dated way of thinking now, but I also know of someone still in her twenties who waited until marriage before giving it all up. For the record, she got married when she was only a month or so older than I am right now, so it's not as though she waited until spinsterhood.
The fundies have these things called "Purity Balls" at which the girls, attending with their fathers, promise that they will remain pure and spotless until marriage. They even put on rings at these events. Then often at the girls' weddings, part of the wedding ceremony is announcing that they have remained true to their purity covenants, and removing the ring and handing it back to their fathers just before receiving an actual wedding ring. (I've always wondered what would have happened if one of the girls was perfectly honest at her wedding and said to her father, the minister, the groom, and the congregations, "Hell, no , I didn't wait around for this!" and popped the purity ring off and threw it into the midst of the congregation.)
This sort of thing is too extreme for me. It sort of falls in line with the year at Thanksgiving when everyone at the table had to name something for which he or she was thankful, and I said I was thankful I was not born a Duggar. Though I haven't done anything yet that would have been in violation of this purity covenant, I find the entire father involvement in a girl's virginity more than just a bit creepy.
We were relatively open about sex talk in the home where I grew up. My brother used to listen to a Dr. Drew radio sex program at night when he was going to sleep, and he occasionally brought up things that were mentioned on the show.
My mother insured that I knew what I needed to know at appropriate times, though my physical development was so delayed that she could probably have waited for the high school biology teacher to tell me all about it and it still would have been too early for it to really matter. She thought it was her responsibility, though. She made it clear that she was opposed to underage sex, especially with my level of physical development, but that if I was going to do it, it needed to be well thought-out in advance, and procedures needed to be in place so that neither disease transmission nor conception was anything but the remotest of possibilities. She said that even though she didn't agree with the premise, she would take me to get whatever I needed in order to have safe sex, and that if I was not comfortable approaching her, I should ask any one of my aunts*, who would also help me to get what I needed. For all the sexual activity I had before I turned 18, my mom might just as well have delivered the lecture to my Molly doll, but she did the right thing, in my opinion.
Now I'm no longer underage, yet sex doesn't seem to be looming on the immediate horizon. Is there something wrong with me because, while I like boys, I don't want to grab the first cute one I see and hop into bed with him? What if, in a year or two, I enter into a steady relationship, and the guy is ready for sex before I am? Do I put out to maintain the relationship, hoping that it really is time for me and I just don't know it yet? ? Do I compromise? Do I stand firm to my principles? For the record, I don't even know what my principles are in regard to sex.
I suppose I do know that I personally think it's probably not good to engage in sex without a committed relationship, though I'm not sure that necessarily means marriage. I do believe that utmost precautions in terms of birth control need to be practiced, as with everything that is known in today's world about how to prevent conception, conceiving an unwanted child is inexcusable. I also think only a fool would expose himself or herself to the sexual history of whomever he or she might hook up with if it's not an extremely committed relationship.
With all that being said, what if I'm something like 30 and the right guy hasn't come around? How long does one realistically wait until having sex, not that one should ever have sex merely for the sake of having sex? If you reach 30 and you haven't had sex and no one appears to be a likely candidate for a partner, is that the point at which one declares herself to have found a vocation and enters a nunnery?
Is my near-miss with rape impacting my feelings about this. It was covered relatively deeply incounseling sessions during the year I was in an in-patient facility because of post-traumatic stress, and I though I had put it behind me as much as one ever can. A real jerk had ideas about either raping me or forcing oral sex on me -- which one wasn't entirely clear from his actions -- but I threw up and he was unable to perform his act of violence, so he kicked me instead. I went over it ad nauseum in therapy sessions. Sometimes things like that happen. Though the kick hurt, I was lucky enough not to have been raped. But will this creep up to rear its ugly head?
What are the answers? I'm nervous about googling too much of this because I'm worried about porn inadvertently ending up on my computer. Beyond that, if the Internet is a person's best source of information about sex, the person is probably in a very sorry state in life. I do value the opinions of the people I've met online, though. Hearing for my readers isn't the same as going to some random message board and asking questions that could be answered by a person with the qualifications on par with someone like Dr. Drew or Dr. Sanjay Gupta, or could just as easily be answered by a complete pervert (or "sex pervert," as my grandmother would call the person).
Can anyone give any salient advice? Even any recommended books?
*By "aunts," my mom meant, and it was perfectly clear to me, that she didn't include my dad;s sisters in those I should ask for help in procuring prophylactics. If i were to ask any one of them, they'd hand me a copy of some LDS churhc publication like For the Strength of the Youth or The Miracle of Forgiveness. For that matter, even if she were to offer what she considered bona fide birth control. my Aunt Marthalene still believes, despite her daughter's unplanned pregnancy, that douching with Coca-Cola shortly after intercourse prevents pregnancy.