Is premarital sex okay?-1963 (18-19) 

Should I change my belief about having premarital sex?

For the first time in my life I was surrounded by all these male dorm mates (at N.C. State College in Raleigh, North Carolina) who seemed to accept and enjoy the idea that premarital sex was great.

My mother had taught me to wait until marriage before having sex. She actually gave me reasons for this rule: the risks of having unwanted babies and STDs were too great to take outside of marriage. She didn’t trust condoms at all as an effective method to prevent either. (Remember that the pill for women as a contraceptive was not introduced and used much until 1962 and abortion did not become legal until 1970, in New York State, and in 1973, in the rest of the country.)

Maybe my mother's reasons to be a virgin before marriage were not that valid?

When I talked to some of the other guys about these reasons my mother had given me, they claimed that, with some care, those risks could be minimized. This made sense to me.

Maybe I'm being brainwashed the other way?

Nevertheless, I was aware of how everyone around me (all these boys) believed this way (at least it seemed). I wasn’t about to call my mother to see if she could provide me with any additional reasons to support the idea of remaining a virgin until (and if) I got married. I asked myself, “Who could I talk with who would probably still argue for virginity before marriage?” Answer: the minister that the university made available to the students for religious counseling.

My conversation with the minister (while tying his hands behind his back)

I got the contact information for the minister and made an appointment. First off, I told the minister (I’m not sure what his denomination was) that I was considering changing my mind about this “no sex before marriage” rule. Secondly, I told the minister that he could not use any biblical injunctions or arguments to support the idea of remaining a virgin before marriage. He had to use logical reasons or evidence. 

Perhaps he felt hamstrung because he couldn’t use any type “God says” reasons. The only argument he came up with was this, “When a man and a woman have sex together, especially for the first time, both are emotionally vulnerable. The potential for lasting psychological damage is great for both sides if you aren’t doing that within the safety of marriage.” 

Of course, I knew that I could not guarantee that a woman I made love with would not necessarily incur psychological damage. But it didn’t seem like a foregone conclusion. Yes, I knew I could have my heart broken by a woman, but I couldn’t imagine how whether I made love to her would make that significantly worse for me. The minister’s argument had no impact.

Maybe sex before marriage is okay

At this point, I tentatively decided that I could be open to the idea of making love to some girl without being married to her. Since I was eleven or twelve years old, I had masturbatory fantasies at least a thousand times about doing that.

But I've got to have standards

But now I had a new problem. “I can’t just make love to any woman that I have the desire to have sex with (assuming she is willing). I’ve got to have standards.” I didn’t solve this problem until years later.


My mother came around to my way of thinking

Perhaps a decade or so after this, I found out my mother had changed her mind about premarital sex. I even remember her saying (after she had divorced my father), “I’d want to have sex with a man before I married him to make sure it was good.”