“I know you won’t like this, but I want to have intercourse before I’m married.”
How should the parent react? If she registers shock and criticism, she sets up a climate of hostility that may interrupt further communication with her daughter. If she blinks at the announcement and passes it off lightly, the parent courts the real danger of making her daughter feel that her mother does not care about her welfare, or that she approves.
The sane course, I believe, is to continue the discussion on a person-to-person basis with the daughter. The wastefulness and danger of promiscuous intercourse “as a lark” or “as an experience” should be stressed. So should the fact that the best kind of intercourse is achieved when carried out with one beloved person, your spouse, through life. The meaningfulness of intercourse when it is an expression of love must be defined for the teen-ager, who tends to equate sex with love.
The parent should discuss the unhappy consequences of pre-marital sex, the most serious of which, I think, is disillusionment. I believe the greatest defeat suffered by the teenager who insists on pre-marital sex is an emotional one. For, almost invariably, the young person finds that something was missing—true, abiding love, which he or she is as yet too young to recognize and define. The parent must stress, too, other consequences of pre-marital sex, such as babies born out of wedlock and sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual disease rates, especially among young, unmarried people, are up alarmingly in many areas of Great Britain. There have even been some epidemics of STI among teen-agers in certain communities. New cases arc occurring at a rate of many thousands per year. These are the known cases. However, many are unreported, which leads some public health authorities to estimate the new case load at over a million per year.
I t must be obvious, therefore, that threats about babies out of wedlock or venereal disease have not served as deterrents to teen-age pre-marital sex experience. Something else must he offered if the youngster is really to understand the sex before and after marriage. That something else, I believe, must come from a lifetime of conditioning in a [ionic where parental authority is respected rather than feared, and where religious and ethical ideals have been practiced daily rather than just on the Sabbath. The aim is inbuilt controls in the young person, to make up for the rapid disappearance of outer controls.
Secrets of strong communication
Must Sexual Energy Be Used?
Many people persuade themselves that sexual tensions are an excuse for indulging in premarital sexual intercourse. However, it is not true that a man, or a woman for that matter, would become ill if his sexual energy were not released periodically. It is dishonest to use this “excuse” for promiscuity. For most people, continence can be a perfectly healthy state. The question of whether to “give in” or “be strong” will be resolved by the individual on the basis of his own character and ideals. The decision will depend, too, on whether he willingly uses another person as a tool for his own satisfaction, or is able to hold his desires in check until he has found a true partner in the full sense of the word—and for life.
hands, the eyes, the voice, the entire body. Stop and think about it a moment. The way you use your sexual powers depends a great deal on how you feel about life in general.
We have mentioned those who use sex as a weapon, as a club. Then there is the man who is secretly unsure of himself. He is likely to use sex in an over-aggressive fashion. He has a drive to subjugate sensually as many women as possible, in order to prove how virile and successful he is. He certainly is not expressing love with each of these women. In fact, he may not be capable of expressing love at all.
Correspondingly there are those women who are mature sexually, but immature emotionally. These women carry their sexuality about like a torch, trying to arouse all those whom they meet. But most often it is a torch without fire. These women have nothing with which to back up the provocative facade, and they are actually unable, very often, to carry through their hothouse sexual claims. These are women who are expressing deep insecurity about their own inability to carry out the female role, and their attempt to subjugate every man they meet is really an attempt to prove their femininity.
There are other types: the wife or husband who uses sex as a bargaining weapon; the individual who refuses to recognize the existence of sex; the person whose dress either is intended to provoke or to deny sex; the person who sits, stands, moves in such a way as to emphasize or de-emphasize sex.
I received a letter from the distraught father of a young married man. He wrote that the marriage was moving quickly towards divorce because his son insisted on certain types of sex play which the young wife found “immoral”. I felt extremely sorry for the people in this situation, one so unnecessary. It is not an easy matter to deal with through correspondence, but after suggesting a number of books for the young couple to read, and the names of some marriage counselors in their vicinity, I ended my letter as follows:
“It would be extremely helpful if your son’s wife could achieve the understanding that there are as many ways of loving as there are people in the world; that no way of expressing love is bad in itself, nor can it be harmful.
“Our upbringing, particularly in regard to girls, is such that we are handicapped. We are taught to contain our emotions and to look upon them with almost total restraint until the great moment of the wedding night. Then we are supposed to free ourselves completely from our inhibitions. This simply is not possible.
“I hope that your son can be helped to understand the need for patience here. I hope, too, that he and his wife together can proceed slowly, exploring little by little the various ways there are for expressing mutual love. A year from now, she will probably be amused to remember how she felt a year previously. Even then, she may not be ready to comply fully with your son’s wishes, but I believe she would surely find that she was far more ready for experimentation in physical love than she was a year ago. And your son might begin to understand that it is not necessary to seek all the ways of enjoying sex at once. He might begin to realize that it pays to savor them slowly.
A couple can discover these ways together one at a time over a period of one year, five, ten—even thirty years or longer. “And thus it could proceed, with slow and steady progress, if they can only trust each other and feel that any way of expressing love to each other is a good and a proper way….” Indeed, there is one great truism that I wish everyone, particularly wives, could learn. It is that sex in itself, with a person whom you love and who loves you, is good, and nothing you do in this relationship could possibly be wrong.
It is in a relationship of true permanence and security in marriage that husbands and wives can come to feel this way about marital sex and all that goes with it. Only when you feel secure and safe in your love and the love of your partner can you freely let yourself go to express that which your body was meant to express.
To sum up, there are physical factors in sexual anxiety, but most of them are temporary or exist only because of emotional attitudes. Most sources of sexual tension can be overcome. The complete freedom and security of marriage which fosters sexual fulfillment develops with time, with honesty and with an all-pervasive sincerity, and with the firm belief that sex with the person you love is very, very good. The results are well worth the investment of several decades of our lives.
It should be remembered that our culture is one in which a high premium is placed on sex, suggestion and the muted half-note of sexual desire. The motor advertisement rarely appears without a pretty girl somewhere in the picture. The implication: buy the car and a girl like this one will be part of the deal. Our films, our ads, our clothing, our social conditioning are lathered generously with sex. So if you wish to see how falsely sex can be expressed, just look around you.
Actually, there are few if any physical conditions that would, in themselves, cause sexual tension. There are many fears or worries about real or imagined physical conditions, however, that certainly can cause sexual tension.
There is one form of anxiety, usually occurring early in marriage, which merits attention. At times, a wife who has masturbated prior to marriage feels a sense of devastating disappointment because the sexual act is not as pleasurable to her as masturbation was.
Few women will admit performance anxiety or talk about it. Probably the innate sense of guilt and shame prevents open recognition of the fact that at one time or another they provided themselves with a certain amount of physical pleasure.
However, if such women could once face this honestly, the situation would resolve itself. First of all, such women should realize that in masturbation only one person with one set of feelings is involved, and that person knows exactly how to evoke the feeling that she seeks.
Now, in the new relationship of marriage, she must wait for a comparative stranger, her husband, to learn how to evoke the feeling that she is already so skillful at evoking for herself. Usually, she is torn between a desire to show him or tell him how, and a sense of disappointment at his seeming ineptitude. Mixed with these strong emotions is a sense of guilt and a natural shyness. Together, these make her unable to tell her husband how she feels, and the result is a sense of complete frustration over the whole experience.
What happens ultimately in this situation? Gradually, the wife learns to train her feelings so that her husband’s efforts can succeed in evoking what she formerly provided for herself. If communication were better than it usually is between husband and wife, this process could easily be shortened, for she then could indicate to him what he could do to give her pleasure.
Unfortunately, it may take years for a husband and wife to learn to talk to each other about such intimate things ;is their own sexual feelings, and some never do learn.
Tensions are bound to arise, too, when one of the partners wishes to do something or have something done in sex play or intercourse which the other is shocking, distasteful or abhorrent. This situation can suspicion are among the most destructive feelings we have. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish one from the other, for they usually are closely intertwined.
I am not talking particularly about fear of the marriage partner. Rather, I am talking about the feeling of fear as it applies in many phases of our lives. Nowhere is fear more capable of interfering than in the sexual relationship.
Examples of fears are: fear of being overheard; fear of giving oneself completely in the sex act; fear of pregnancy, and fear of infidelity. Let’s look at a couple of these on another page.