Caitlyn Harkins is an English sophomore, Mustang Daily copy editor and sex columnist.

The only time I wished I had waited to have sex was at the six-month mark with my current boyfriend.

I realized how much I was really into him, and I had that dawning moment that so many other people have had before me. Waiting for him would have been so extraordinarily nice.

However, I don’t regret the experiences I’ve had, because I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. I definitely wouldn’t be the sex columnist, at least. But I do understand where the other side — the patient side — comes from.

Assuming all young adults are having sex is just as ignorant as thinking all young adults binge drink. Generalizing entire groups produces nothing beyond superficial concepts that don’t apply to a good percentage of the people being stereotyped.

Abstinence comes in a few different shades. There are those waiting until marriage, those waiting until the right person stumbles into their bed and those who have other physical/religious/emotional reasons for refraining.

As long as abstinence is born freely from the individual’s opinions, I completely support abstinence as a valid (non)sexual choice.

A core feature of any relationship is trust. Build that by talking to your partner openly as often as possible. Honor what you and your partner discuss in private and do what you say you will. You and your partner are skipping a large part of physical intimacy so having emotional bonds will keep your relationship strong.

You can show affection in other ways like holding hands, cuddling or kissing. Discuss with your partner what you are comfortable with physically and your reasons for being abstinent so all sides of the relationship understand the boundaries.

The rise in abstinence-only education gives reasoning as to why teens and young adults shouldn’t do the nasty, but often does not include safety precautions for forms of non-penetrative or anal sex.

If you and your partner choose to not have vaginal intercourse, but experiment with other sex play or anal intercourse, make sure to use condoms or dental dams and lubricant to ensure sexual health and safety. If using a barrier method during oral seems unsavory, check out flavored condoms and dams.

Oral and anal activities are still forms of sex, so minimize risky behaviors by being safe. If you or your partner have previous sexual experience, getting an STD screening is advised. Condoms and STD screenings aren’t sexy, but neither is herpes.

One argument against abstinence stems from concerns that the couple may eventually discover that they are sexually incompatible. What this argument fails to consider is that any couple having sex for the first time is awkward. It takes time to develop comfort in the bedroom, which will flourish as long as the previously abstaining couple communicates their desires and discomforts.

Complete abstinence (no sexual activity, including masturbating until marriage) does have the drawback of being unaware of the self. Knowledge about what gets you off can be learned later, but sex will absolutely demand patience and a large investment of time so you will have a satisfying marital sex life.

In the meantime, if your definition of abstinence does not exclude masturbating, then make sure to get your practice in. Men need to come regularly after the onset of puberty or risk “nocturnal emissions” (wet dreams).

If you feel like you do not want to be abstinent anymore, or if your partner doesn’t, don’t pressure each other into having sex or feeling guilty. Abstinence or non-abstinence is a personal choice that shouldn’t be dictated by anyone other than the individual.

A lot of you reading this aren’t abstinent, but some of you might be. You’re not a prude and you’re not naive for wanting to wait. Don’t take any grief from anyone for your choices, and don’t give those who didn’t want to wait a hard time either.

Live your life the way you want to, not the way others deem appropriate.

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2 Comments

  1. Awesome article. Well-written and I really like what you had to say, especially the second to last and third to last paragraphs.

  2. I find this horribly offensive. You’ve done a disservice to humanity by insinuating that it could be considered socially acceptable not to engage in reproductive acts. In fact, Caitlyn, our survival as a species depends entirely upon our ability to get down.

    More seriously, writing this article was thoughtful of you, but we’d all much rather see you push boundaries. Don’t let naysayers get you down. And lets be realistic, it’s a sex column: writing about abstinence is like filling a water bottle with air. No fun. We’ve already been told why not to have sex by parents, religious figures, and high school health classes. It’s time someone started helping people to have a healthy sex-life. Abstinence is not a facet of sex, it is the lack thereof.

    Next week I hope to see something more controversial than your blowjob article, but please, not as offensive or stomach-turning as this week’s.

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