Here’s a little story to warm the heart: Boy meets girl; boy takes girl out on several dates; boy has awesome make out session with girl; girl tells him in the midst of said session that she is a virgin and doesn’t believe in sex before marriage.
True story. Happened to a friend of a friend of mine. Now while I don’t know the girl, I’m just going to assume for the sake of this article that she has chosen to be celibate before marriage because of her religion. Before you roll your eyes and think “Here goes Miss on another anti-religion rant” we should examine the facts. And we should examine them in my favourite way- through dot points!
- Fact 1: Marriage is not originally a religious institution. By this I mean that anthropologists have teased out that historically, in the societies where monogamy exists (most societies, and I will concentrate on these for the purpose of this article) people were not encouraged to marry because of religious convictions but to secure land and resources, and to subjugate women (okay, the last on I just added, but makes sense, no?) People who did not own resources did not tend to marry, as there was no point, until the rise of Chrisitanity, when marriage and religion were interlinked.
- Fact 2: Of course, linked to the above is the fact that no sex is a great contraceptive! It doesn’t do to pop out mouths to feed when you haven’t secured yourself a way to ensure they will be able to be provided for.
- Fact 3: From male’s point of view, marriage is the best way to ensure that the child you are helping to raise is indeed your genetic material, and you’re not just helping a free loader!
But these facts make no difference, in the end. These days marriage is perceived as a religious institution, and as a human rights advocate, I believe in freedom of religious expression. I’m not going to go up to this woman and say to her “You’re an idiot, you have to have sex before marriage”. What I’m concerned about is whether the act of holding off telling someone she was dating was moral or not. I’m going to argue that it’s not.
Allowing someone to begin to form an emotional and sexual attachment before informing them that you will not have sex with them until marriage is not fair on the other party. In my head I came up with a neat little analogy. Say you’re a strict vegan. And the thought of having any animal products in your house is morally reprehensible. If you’re advertising for a new flat mate, you would clearly state on the advertisement “people with a strong commitment to vegan lifestyle only” or something to that effect. You wouldn’t just let anyone in, then inform them once they’ve moved all their junk in “oh by the way, don’t you dare cook meat/eggs/cheese/fish in this household”. You can’t expect someone to conform to your views after they’ve entered into the contact unknowingly. If veganism is that important to you, you would be upfront about it- sure you may have to wait a little longer to get the room filled, and you might not get along with the person so well, but they have the same values as you. If you’re celibate, same goes- you may have to wait a little longer to find someone who’s willing to not have sex before marriage, and you’re certainly narrowing your choices so might not click with them as well personality wise, but you share the same values. You can’t expect someone who doesn’t hold those values to conform to them, no matter how much they “like” you. People were born to eat meat!!!
As for the guy in our story? He has decided to keep seeing her, because she’s “cute”. Call me pessimistic, but this is pretty much code for “until I get a better offer”. The end.