If It Feels Good, Do It? Making a Choice in a Hedonist Culture


Romance is a big part of many a young life. But does romance today necessarily need to include sex? (Marti Eisenbrandt/The Observer)

Published: February 26, 2009

I don’t know too many people my age who aren’t having sex. Not only is it a very gratifying activity, but the word “prude” has such a negative connotation that I could hardly blame adolescents and young adults for participating, even if just to avoid this label. For men, high social status is nearly unattainable without a giving the impression of having a respectable sex life. While there may be a few young people who want to wait for “the right person,” those people probably aren’t considering waiting for marriage. But other than the Jonas brothers, who chooses to wait for marriage, really? This is the 21st century, after all.

In the 21st century, sex is a basic bodily need. Our sexual appetites are just as important to satisfy as our appetites for food or drink. The common mantra of the sexually frustrated is “I have needs!” We are taught by shows like “Sex and the City” that if you have “to think about [how long it has been since you’ve had sex], it’s been too long.” In movies like “40 Days and 40 Nights,” characters take on the daunting task of giving up sex for a long period of time. Usually, when I can’t go for a long time without something that is not absolutely necessary for my survival, I realize that I am addicted. Movies like that make such a sacrifice look too hard to be worth it. They make sex look like an acceptable addiction, one that we shouldn’t try to kick.

When we find out that someone is a virgin, we may feel the need to console her by saying, “Oh don’t worry, it will happen for you eventually.” We may then conspicuously avoid the topic of sex just so she doesn’t feel uncomfortable and, in doing so, make her even more uncomfortable. At our less sensitive moments, we may make comments that imply she is lacking in life experience or even that she is afraid of sex. This, of course, is from the perspective of a girl. I imagine it is much harder to remain a virgin as a man than it is as a woman.

Your virgin friend may allay your concerns by assuring you that she is “just waiting for someone special,” although I have actually heard my friends advise others to “just get it over with,” because your first time “really isn’t that special.” In my case, my friends sometimes don’t know what to say. Some of them just attribute my strange choice to religion, which they know I take very seriously and find ridiculous. In reality, my choice to wait until marriage to have sex is complemented and supported by my religion but goes much deeper than just “what the Bible says.” Many know that I am a very devout Catholic but still don’t understand, because so many young Catholics disregard the Church’s teachings on sexual morality.

Not only are there some things that I want to share with my future husband alone, but I also want to appreciate my youth without the worries I see many of my peers plagued with. Too many of them complain about how long it has been since they have had sex; too many of them feel pressures to live up to certain standards of sex appeal. I feel bad for the young people who have been told they must have sex in order to be normal. I feel bad for those young people who, when I tell them that I have been with my boyfriend for six months, blurt out, “and you haven’t had sex?” Those people think sex is just a given. Those people don’t really have a choice, and that is a shame.

I realize that not every young person is having sex with anything that moves. I realize that many young people are involved in serious relationships where the sex is romantic and meaningful. But after a nasty break-up, doesn’t that poor just-dumped soul just need to “get laid?” In fact, anyone who is at all uptight or high-strung just needs to “get laid,” right? In these situations, sex isn’t special, as it should be; it’s just a remedy for a bad mood or a tense attitude.

I challenge you to think about how much of a choice you have in your life. Do you have sex because you want to? That’s fine. But if you have sex only because you have been convinced that you need it or you can’t live with out it, you should wonder how much of your life is really yours to determine. And if it seems like a good idea, don’t be afraid to make the choice to wait. Sex doesn’t rule my life, and I’m doing just fine.