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Source: (consider it) Thread: sex before marriage
the_raptor
Shipmate
# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by TheoM:
For me the public commitment is important because it makes it harder to escape from the marriage, and thus the marriage is more secure.

This doesn't bear any resemblance to reality as I've witnessed it. The public commitment still allows people to divorce at will, and they do.
Which is why I think the whole thing is a joke. If I commit to something then doing so in front of a whole bunch of people wont make any difference.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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Gill H

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# 68

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TheoM said 'makes it harder' not 'impossible'.

The fact that so many people find groups like Weight Watchers or 'Stop Smoking' groups helpful seems to indicate that a public declaration of a commitment to do/stop something is an important part of that commitment for many people. The fact that so many of us go back on that commitment (yes, I've stopped going to WW, guilty as charged ...) doesn't mean the initial declaration shouldn't have been there.

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- Lyda Rose

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the_raptor
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# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill H:
TheoM said 'makes it harder' not 'impossible'.

The fact that so many people find groups like Weight Watchers or 'Stop Smoking' groups helpful seems to indicate that a public declaration of a commitment to do/stop something is an important part of that commitment for many people. The fact that so many of us go back on that commitment (yes, I've stopped going to WW, guilty as charged ...) doesn't mean the initial declaration shouldn't have been there.

Except that society holds that divorce is totally okay as long as children aren't involved. Which in this day and age means the public commitment is basically worth nothing (Except as a big party).

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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mousethief

Ship's Thieving Rodent
# 953

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quote:
Originally posted by Gill H:
TheoM said 'makes it harder' not 'impossible'.

The fact that so many people find groups like Weight Watchers or 'Stop Smoking' groups helpful seems to indicate that a public declaration of a commitment to do/stop something is an important part of that commitment for many people. The fact that so many of us go back on that commitment (yes, I've stopped going to WW, guilty as charged ...) doesn't mean the initial declaration shouldn't have been there.

The public declaration may be important, but it doesn't make going back on it any harder, as witnessed by divorce statistics. But really your comparison is quite facile. Stopping smoking and staying married are quite different things, if for no other reason than that the first requires just one person's commitment, and the second that of two. As I discovered in my own first marriage, if your spouse isn't interested in remaining married to you, it doesn't much matter whether or not you are interested in staying married to them.

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This is the last sig I'll ever write for you...

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Carys

Ship's Celticist
# 78

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quote:
Originally posted by Mousethief:
quote:
Originally posted by Gill H:
TheoM said 'makes it harder' not 'impossible'.

The fact that so many people find groups like Weight Watchers or 'Stop Smoking' groups helpful seems to indicate that a public declaration of a commitment to do/stop something is an important part of that commitment for many people. The fact that so many of us go back on that commitment (yes, I've stopped going to WW, guilty as charged ...) doesn't mean the initial declaration shouldn't have been there.

The public declaration may be important, but it doesn't make going back on it any harder, as witnessed by divorce statistics.
Yes, the divorce rate is high but what about the breakdown rate of people who don't see the ceremony as important/see the need for `a piece of paper' and live together (with the intention of it being for life) without going through the ceremony? I suspect that would be higher, although it is probably impossible to get statistics for as how do you discern the intention?

Interestingly, I do recall hearing of statistics which showed that the divorce rate was higher amongst those who'd lived together beforehand than those who had not. I can think of a variety of reasons for this: I suspect some people got married in an attempt to glue together a relationship which was rocky and perhaps unsurprisingly found it didn't work; but also I supsect that it shows a different understanding of marriage amongst those who chose not to live together beforehand.

quote:
But really your comparison is quite facile. Stopping smoking and staying married are quite different things, if for no other reason than that the first requires just one person's commitment, and the second that of two. As I discovered in my own first marriage, if your spouse isn't interested in remaining married to you, it doesn't much matter whether or not you are interested in staying married to them.
Of course both parties need to stay true to the commitment they made and it's hard on one if the other just gives up (as happened to a friend of mine), but that doesn't mean that making the commitment in the first place is pointless.

I do think that the understanding people have of marriage before the enter it can influence how they approach it and whether they have sex before it. If you just see it as a piece of paper which doesn't really change anything then it's harder to argue against sex before the ceremony has happened than if you view marriage as a sacrament.

Carys

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O Lord, you have searched me and know me
You know when I sit and when I rise

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CharlotteRuth
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# 11263

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As a 22-year-old virgin who would very much like to wait until marriage, it’s not at all unusual for me to feel alone or freakish. In a society in which it is common for people to live together long before marriage and virginity is often portrayed as laughable, if not downright unhealthy, it can be hard to feel any conviction about waiting. It is difficult enough to explain my position to friends; telling a new boyfriend that I find him awfully attractive but that he should not expect to “get any” from me outside of marriage is dreadful.

I wanted, therefore, to thank all of you for this discussion. Reading posts by rational, thoughtful people who consider chastity outside of marriage a possible or even laudable decision in this day in age is both eye opening and encouraging. If nothing else, I suddenly feel much less alone in the world.

This is my first post on the ship but I can’t imagine it being the last.

Charlotte Ruth

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FreeJack
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# 10612

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Welcome to the Ship!

I'm sure a host will be along to welcome you aboard officially soon.

There are single men and others in the world who would respect your beliefs and decisions, and some of them can be found here.

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Gill H

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# 68

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Welcome, CharlotteRuth. All I can say is, from my own experience, it was worth waiting. Not because the wedding night was some mindblowing Hollywood fantasy; but because the basis of a strong, deep 2 year friendship was formed before sex came on the scene - and that proved invaluable when there were problems early on.

(I'm not having a go at anyone else's life or decisions here - I can only speak for me.)

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*sigh* We can’t all be Alan Cresswell.

- Lyda Rose

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Craigmaddie
c/o The Pickwick Club
# 8367

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Over the last few years I have changed my mind almost completely on the subject of sex before marriage, and chastity in general. Looking back over the sexual experiences I have had since my early 20's (I'm 33 now) I have begun to feel that commitment is an essential partner of intimacy and that intimacy without commitment can be one of the most subtly and deeply harmful experiences a person can have.

By intimacy I mean both physical and emotional intimacy, whereby we allow ourselves to be vulnerable with another. I think the longing for this kind of intimacy is one of the deepest drives in a human being - the deep wish to be truly ourselves with another and to be accepted for who we are, which is the most healing and delightful experience we can have in a relationship.

To be able to lay ourselves open in this way, however, requires trust - trust that we won't be rejected or discarded as if we were a commodity that didn't "come up to scratch".

When we have sex we open ourselves up in a way that we don't have much control over - we touch the deep wish for emotional and physical intimacy. There is the example quoted by M Scott Peck about the man who cries "I love you!" when he climaxes with a prostitute.

One of the problems with human nature, and which is being currently reinforced by Western society, is that there is a tendency on one level of our lives to see ourselves and others as commodities - as goods on the market to be taken and then discarded according to our satisfaction with them.

So the deep wish for intimacy and communion with another meets in us with this disposable, almost free market, attitude to relationships. If we allow ourselves to be seduced by the myth that we can have sex with a person and then "move on" without some lasting emotional attachment then this can cause deep harm. Before long the pain caused by the juxtaposition of this wish to be completely ourselves and open with an other and the lack of commitment causes us to shut down inside. I can see that in myself after a number of sexual relationships that have come to nothing there is a growing reluctance to open up, to risk being vulnerable with another, because of the short-term, uncommitted nature of the relationships I have had. At one level I have become distrustful and on guard for fear of being hurt again.

If I am really honest then I would say that I have never really felt happy with a sexual relationship. For me the desire to "perform" or to affirm that I am - contrary to my fears - not an unattractive oddity banished any chance of communion with the other person.

So, in response to my own personal experience I have come to feel that only a marriage can provide the depth and strength of commitment where we can truly be ourselves and intimate with someone else. Chastity (which is all too often confused with celibacy) is the refusal to allow ourselves or another person to be used as a means to end - as a panacea for our own personal insecurities, for instance. And abstinence outside of marriage is a positive recognition that sexual intimacy can only be safely and fully found in chastity.

It seems really strange to me that I would ever be advocating something close to the traditional Christian teaching on sex and marriage. My 20-year old self would be appalled!

[ 12. April 2006, 13:42: Message edited by: Craigmaddie ]

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Via Veritas Vita

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TonyK

Host Emeritus
# 35

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Welcome aboard, CharlotteRuth - and I hope you find the other threads/Boards as helpful!

Yours aye ... TonyK
Host, Dead Horses

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by CharlotteRuth:
As a 22-year-old virgin who would very much like to wait until marriage, it’s not at all unusual for me to feel alone or freakish. In a society in which it is common for people to live together long before marriage and virginity is often portrayed as laughable, if not downright unhealthy, it can be hard to feel any conviction about waiting. It is difficult enough to explain my position to friends; telling a new boyfriend that I find him awfully attractive but that he should not expect to “get any” from me outside of marriage is dreadful.

I wanted, therefore, to thank all of you for this discussion. Reading posts by rational, thoughtful people who consider chastity outside of marriage a possible or even laudable decision in this day in age is both eye opening and encouraging. If nothing else, I suddenly feel much less alone in the world.

This is my first post on the ship but I can’t imagine it being the last.

Charlotte Ruth

Keep posting, CharlotteRuth. Your stance is not laughable, but honourable. My own position is slightly different; I whispered my "amen" to everything but everything Craigmaddie has just said, but I guess my position on when a marriage begins is (perhaps shamefully) fluid. But never allow anyone to deide your position, CharlotteRuth: it is, yes, honourable - and less unusual than the popular media like to admit.

[ 14. April 2006, 22:54: Message edited by: Zappa ]

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the_raptor
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# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by CharlotteRuth:
As a 22-year-old virgin who would very much like to wait until marriage, it’s not at all unusual for me to feel alone or freakish. In a society in which it is common for people to live together long before marriage and virginity is often portrayed as laughable, if not downright unhealthy, it can be hard to feel any conviction about waiting.

It depends if you hang around with the sort of people who are obsessed with sex or not. For one reason or another all my friends and I are virgins (we are all around 22-23), and had no real desire to lose our virginities, even before we became Christians.

Right now I mostly hang around with people from a fairly biblically fundamentalist church, so it is expected that people remain virgins before marriage. Even though I don't really agree with many of the fundamentalist view points, I much prefer being around people who aren't obsessed with sex.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

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karlbarth
Apprentice
# 11272

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The problem seems to be that the church became confused about sex in the 20th century. With reliable contraception the old rules went out of the window as people were no longer compelled to evade them. Feminism also meant women were less inhibited about expressing themselves sexually. The idea of dating is very modern and would not have existed in 1st century Palestine.

Is it possible to have a Christian sexual ethic for the 21st century? What seems to be the case at the moment is that the church kind of recognises many professing Christians are living together or engaging in premarital sex, but does not want to talk about it. Surely the choices are not restricted to: (1) a return to 18th century culture or (2) accepting the view of modern secular anything-goes in respect of sexuality.

Rowan Williams has written some interesting things about sexuality and talks about the need for vulnerabilty and commitment. Has anyone got any other authors they can recommend or thoughs on a 21st century Christian sexual ethic?

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da_musicman
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# 1018

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Memories of Bliss: God,Sex and Us by Jo Ind. Its a very interesting book
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Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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I was going to recommend the Jo Ind book too, but da_musicman got there first. I sometimes found the writing style a bit irritating, and didn't always agree with her, but I liked it a lot and found it very refreshing and challenging.

I wanted also to totally agree with Zappa's post there. I think what Craigmaddie said was very very wise, even though my views are probably closer to Zappa's. CharlotteRuth, you are not a freak for making a well-thought-out choice which may not necessarily be the same as anyone else's. There are plenty of other people who've made the same choice.

I did want to add a bit of a caveat though to Craigmaddie's post. My 20s were very different - not even a hint of sex (I nearly said whiff of sex, but that made me blush [Big Grin] ). I genuinely thought that that was what God wanted, what pleased him, and it was certainly the "party line" promoted by the church I was part of, to the point where, looking back, I think I saw "being Christian" and "not having sex before marriage" as totally synonymous. Now in my 30s (creak) I am not of that view any more, and I have to say that holding the view that sex before marriage was definitely wrong in all cases, especially mine, without thinking things through, wasn't all that healthy for me. In fact, it has left me with not dissimilar issues to those Craigmaddie outlined (reluctance to open up, fear of being vulnerable, etc etc).

A conclusion I subsequently came to, and which Jo Ind talks about a lot in her book too (and for that matter RuthW has talked about on this here very thread), is that there are certain principles which are much more important than the precise details of when/when not to have sex. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength, and love your neighbour as yourself. For some people, applying those principles to their lives will lead them to still decide to abstain from sex before marriage. For others, it may lead them to a different conclusion. For all, I think trying to live our lives in every area, not just our sexuality, according to those principles is a lot more helpful than trying to live by a list of dos and don'ts.

[Missing apostrophe - horrors! [Hot and Hormonal] ]

[ 15. April 2006, 17:40: Message edited by: Jack the Lass ]

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
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barrea
Shipmate
# 3211

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quote:
Originally posted by CharlotteRuth:
As a 22-year-old virgin who would very much like to wait until marriage, it’s not at all unusual for me to feel alone or freakish. In a society in which it is common for people to live together long before marriage and virginity is often portrayed as laughable, if not downright unhealthy, it can be hard to feel any conviction about waiting. It is difficult enough to explain my position to friends; telling a new boyfriend that I find him awfully attractive but that he should not expect to “get any” from me outside of marriage is dreadful.

I wanted, therefore, to thank all of you for this discussion. Reading posts by rational, thoughtful people who consider chastity outside of marriage a possible or even laudable decision in this day in age is both eye opening and encouraging. If nothing else, I suddenly feel much less alone in the world.

This is my first post on the ship but I can’t imagine it being the last.

Charlotte Ruth

I admire you for what you are doing it is not easy for you in this day and age.
Good for you! I wish more people thought the way you do. It is the only way if we love God and obey his word. Althought you may feel alone I am sure there are many more both men and women who are living sincere Christian lives and I hope and pray that you will meet the right man soon who will see things the way you do. You will not regret it in the long run. [Smile]

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Therefore having been justified by faith,we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Barrea, "the only way" is a bit rich. It is an honourable way, and I admire CharlotteRuth's stand. It is not "the only way."

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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aj

firewire technophobe
# 1383

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
Now in my 30s (creak) I am not of that view any more, and I have to say that holding the view that sex before marriage was definitely wrong in all cases, especially mine, without thinking things through, wasn't all that healthy for me.

In my thinking of this there was some sort of threshold around the 25 y.o. mark where I shifted from a no-sex-before-marriage to a no-sex-outside- a-committed relationship model.
You could say "well if you're committed then why not marry?" but then that may create a case of tying the knot just so you can enjoy sex without feeling under some dark cloud.
Now, I think I'd encourage under-25s to wait until marriage, but once past that mid-twenties point I was aware of a change in thinking personally and would be sympathetic to others working this one through, perhaps with a few relationships behind them (gosh that sounds a bit pragmatic and academic...hmmm [Ultra confused] ).

But...I'll add another voice of support for CharlotteRuth's stand.

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if there's no god, then who turns on the light when you open the fridge?

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Craigmaddie
c/o The Pickwick Club
# 8367

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I think I would also agree with Jack's caveat to what I said in my last post. Certainly, I believe now that for me the only option that I would wish for is sex within a committed marriage. But that point of view has really only come about because I feel I have had my "fingers burnt" with previous sexual relationships. I can imagine it must be a lot harder when you are younger and your peers and the media are portraying casual sex as a perfectly valid pasttime and chastity as almost perverse.

At the same time, there are days when I feel the desire for sex as an almost unbearable burden and, quite franky, almost everything in me longs for sex. It's a very difficult situation to be in - to be painfully aware of one's sexual nature with all it's needs and, at the same time, to commit oneself to abstinence until marriage. In a way though, it's choosing the lesser of two types of unhappiness - the unhappiness of the (hopefully) temporal and deliberate frustration of my sex drive against the deeper and more pernicious unhappiness of gradually losing trust in the possibility of ever finding intimacy with another person.

I guess nobody said that life was meant to be easy! [Frown]

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Via Veritas Vita

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CharlotteRuth
Apprentice
# 11263

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Thanks for all the support and wisdom!

I’ve noticed that throughout this thread people have mentioned the danger of sexual intimacy because it can lead to improper, dangerous, untimely, or misplaced emotional intimacy. I’d like to, therefore, raise another question (thankfully, more out of academic interest than a need for advice). Should an unmarried person be worried about whom he or she becomes romantically entangled with on an emotional level? In other words, if it could be right to avoid physical intimacy before marriage because of what it leads to emotionally, is it also right to try to limit how emotionally involved a person becomes with someone before marriage? Should people even bother to date others if there is little or no possibility of marriage? Is there a point of intimacy, say for instance, living together non-sexually, that a couple shouldn’t reach until after marriage?

In the past I’ve taken the view that love is good so one generally shouldn’t limit oneself emotionally. On the other hand, I could certainly see advising a younger sibling not to become emotionally invested in a situation that I could see leading to heartbreak.

I hope that was clear. Any thoughts on it? (If this is too far off topic, I sincerely apologize and you should just ignore what I’ve written).

Posts: 19 | From: the desert | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
Emma Louise

Storm in a teapot
# 3571

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I currently dont think its wise to pursue a relaitonship that doesnt have the possibility of marriage. Thats not to say it *has* to end in marriage, or that you should worry about whether it will or not in the early stages - but once youve reached a point where you know marriage is not an option its a waste of emotional energy and time and just ultimately destructive to pursue.

I seem to have come full circle in thinking that though!!!! I initially didnt believe in sex or living together before marriage, then went thru a far more liberal couple of years, and now not *too* sure where Im at. Im now reverting back to the idea of sex within a committed relationship, and thinking you should end a relationship that has no hope of a future.

I think I want to believe that emotional and physical intimace should develop in relation to commitment. Whats appropiate a few months into a relationship isnt appropiate on a first date. Sex isnt (for me) appropiate on a casual basis, but a mark of a deeper commitment to at least working at the relationship. Ideally I think living together is somewhere fairly committed on the line.

The older Ive got though, the more unsure Ive got about it all - and far more pragmatic as to what works in an individual situation!!!

I would still hold that for a young virgin - saving full intimacy and living together for marriage is truly worth it. The lines blur as you get older though.... ho hum!

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HenryT

Canadian Anglican
# 3722

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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
...It depends if you hang around with the sort of people who are obsessed with sex or not. For one reason or another all my friends and I are virgins ...

The fact that you know this does indicate that it's at least a topic of discussion. There's no reason to relate "obsessed with sex" to "having sex". Many people are more obsessed when they're not getting any, for example.

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"Perhaps an invincible attachment to the dearest rights of man may, in these refined, enlightened days, be deemed old-fashioned" P. Henry, 1788

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Craigmaddie
c/o The Pickwick Club
# 8367

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quote:
Originally posted by CharlotteRuth:
Should people even bother to date others if there is little or no possibility of marriage?

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, Charlotte - do you mean whether you should date someone whom you are certain you would never marry? If so, then, my question would be: why would you want to date someone you definitely couldn't imagine marrying? And, of course, vice versa. I hope I haven't misunderstood you?

However, I would say dating is pretty essential if you do want to meet someone you will eventually marry! You don't have to immediately hear wedding bells in your head at the beginning - you just have to like and respect that person and then see how it goes from there. Or am I just stating the obvious?

On the topic of good books on the subject of chastity in and outside marriage, I would recommend Money, Sex, and Power by the Quaker author Richard Foster which looks in depth at the relationship between intimacy and commitment.

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Via Veritas Vita

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the_raptor
Shipmate
# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Troup:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
...It depends if you hang around with the sort of people who are obsessed with sex or not. For one reason or another all my friends and I are virgins ...

The fact that you know this does indicate that it's at least a topic of discussion. There's no reason to relate "obsessed with sex" to "having sex". Many people are more obsessed when they're not getting any, for example.
It has come up on occasion. But from my interactions with "normal" people my age, I can see they are obsessed with it. Their main topics of discussion are about how drunk they got while out on the pull.

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Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

Posts: 3921 | From: Australia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Divine Outlaw
Gin-soaked boy
# 2252

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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
But from my interactions with "normal" people my age, I can see they are obsessed with it.

And yet they are not the ones posting on this forum.

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Andromache
Apprentice
# 11287

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Hi there everyone!

I'm a total newbie but I've ben lurking for a while, and have just finished reading this thread - *phew*! I've recently had this conversation with my boyfriend and going through everything that everyone's had to say has really firmed me up on my decision to wait.. luckily he wants to too! Kudos to all for your insightful comments.

quote:
Originally posted by CharlotteRuth:
Reading posts by rational, thoughtful people who consider chastity outside of marriage a possible or even laudable decision in this day in age is both eye opening and encouraging. If nothing else, I suddenly feel much less alone in the world.

I'm with CharlotteRuth: thank you for such an open discussion, which I can't have with my friends without being treated as some kind of pariah.

I hope to continue posting as I get more of a feel for how the Ship works...

peace

Posts: 27 | From: Londinium | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged
quantpole
Shipmate
# 8401

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Hi Andromache and welcome to the Ship!

You've touched on one of the critical issues in the whole debate: honest communication between the partners. If you don't have that then the details of what you stick where dwindle into insignificance....

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Andromache
Apprentice
# 11287

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Thanks quantpole!

You're absolutely right. I don't think it's very productive to pronounce that sex before marriage is wrong full stop, but rather, you have to work it through for your own case - 'what is a sin for me?' as someone said further up the thread (I really don't want to have to read through it again!).

I would say that the consideration, for me, at least, has to be 'what decision is right for me/us?' which is where you both need to be open with each other about what you're expecting out of the relationship, and why honest communication is imperative. OK, I'm probably approaching this from a very young and naive POV, but it's working for me at the moment!

hey, I'm getting the hang of this posting lark [Yipee]

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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You are and you're doing well! I'll welcome you elsewhere when I get a chance - but here let me just ditto quantpole's previous.

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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the_raptor
Shipmate
# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by Divine Outlaw Dwarf:
quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
But from my interactions with "normal" people my age, I can see they are obsessed with it.

And yet they are not the ones posting on this forum.
Mainly because they are to busy trying to get laid to waste time on Christian-centric internet forums.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

Posts: 3921 | From: Australia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Divine Outlaw
Gin-soaked boy
# 2252

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Sorry but the only evidence of pathological 'obsession with sex' I see on a regular basis amongst young/ youngish people is on the part of a certain type of Christian who spends inordinate amounts of time telling people that either (a.) everyone else is obsessed with sex or (b.) they are not going to have sex until they are married.

I think a lot of people are deeply obsessed with gaining the approval of others. This can involve sexual behaviour, but goes a long way beyond it - religion can be a way of going about it, for example.

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Ricardus
Shipmate
# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by karlbarth:
Is it possible to have a Christian sexual ethic for the 21st century? What seems to be the case at the moment is that the church kind of recognises many professing Christians are living together or engaging in premarital sex, but does not want to talk about it. Surely the choices are not restricted to: (1) a return to 18th century culture or (2) accepting the view of modern secular anything-goes in respect of sexuality.

I wonder how many people do think that "anything goes"? My impression of the secular consensus is more a pragmatic "Don't do anything one partner is uncomfortable with / not ready for" - a fluid rule but not amoral.

The World™ is less hedonistic than Christians would like to believe. Telegraph report: "One night stands immoral, say 9 in 10 women."

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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the_raptor
Shipmate
# 10533

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quote:
Originally posted by Divine Outlaw Dwarf:
Sorry but the only evidence of pathological 'obsession with sex' I see on a regular basis amongst young/ youngish people is on the part of a certain type of Christian who spends inordinate amounts of time telling people that either (a.) everyone else is obsessed with sex or (b.) they are not going to have sex until they are married.

I think a lot of people are deeply obsessed with gaining the approval of others. This can involve sexual behaviour, but goes a long way beyond it - religion can be a way of going about it, for example.

Are you a young person? Have you actually hung around with young people who speak naturally in front of you? I am only six years out of high school, I recall my peers constant yammerings about girls and sex quite vividly. Most of them spent every weekend getting drunk and picking up chicks. Most of my university class mates are still doing the same thing.

And you don't have to tell people that society is obsessed with sex. It is self-evident. Most news papers have regular articles about modern societies sexuality. Most popular TV shows are mainly about sex and relationships. There is a quite popular comedy called "40 year old virgin" which was lauded in the mainstream press for not treating virginity as something shameful.

Oh and this is the only time I have ever mentioned my virginity, apart from with my friends.

So I would suggest Outlaw Dwarf that you need to get out more.

--------------------
Mal: look at this! Appears we got here just in the nick of time. What does that make us?
Zoe: Big damn heroes, sir!
Mal: Ain't we just?
— Firefly

Posts: 3921 | From: Australia | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged
Ricardus
Shipmate
# 8757

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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
Are you a young person? Have you actually hung around with young people who speak naturally in front of you? I am only six years out of high school, I recall my peers constant yammerings about girls and sex quite vividly. Most of them spent every weekend getting drunk and picking up chicks. Most of my university class mates are still doing the same thing.

I am a young person (19). This is not my experience - or at least not my experience of most of my peers. It is undoubtedly true for some of them, but as far as my experience goes I doubt they're in anything like a majority.

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Then the dog ran before, and coming as if he had brought the news, shewed his joy by his fawning and wagging his tail. -- Tobit 11:9 (Douai-Rheims)

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aj

firewire technophobe
# 1383

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Well, I suspect there's a lot more talk than action.

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if there's no god, then who turns on the light when you open the fridge?

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Rat
Ship's Rat
# 3373

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So do I. And a lot more assumption than action too.

I'm not so old that I don't remember University very clearly. There were two groups who, by their conversation at least, were noticably obsessed with sex. One was young men so socially inept, lacking in personal hygiene and (on most occasions) hopelessly pissed that their chances of getting any were infinitesimal. The other was the self-righteously celibate, who saw sex around every corner and who laboured under the apparently unshakable, but deliciously shocking, delusion that any people of the opposite sex alone together behind a closed door would be at it (instead of talking about music, watching telly or arguing about politics which were at least as likely in most cases).

The rest, who may or may not have been having sex, depending on their inclinations, were not obsessed with it. Unless you count being interested in finding a relationship as being obsessed with sex.

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It's a matter of food and available blood. If motherhood is sacred, put your money where your mouth is. Only then can you expect the coming down to the wrecked & shimmering earth of that miracle you sing about. [Margaret Atwood]

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da_musicman
Shipmate
# 1018

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quote:
Originally posted by Rat:

The rest, who may or may not have been having sex, depending on their inclinations, were not obsessed with it. Unless you count being interested in finding a relationship as being obsessed with sex.

I'm currently at University and it doesn't seem as if the whole place is obsessed with sex. Obsessed with relationships prehaps but not just the old in and out. Those who are currently sexually active don't talk about it because it is a private thing and those who aren't at the moment don't just because what is there to talk about? It does come up in conversation but not half as often as other people seem to assume. But then maybe its different at other places.
Posts: 3202 | From: The Dreaming | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Lady of the Lake
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# 4347

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quote:
Originally posted by Craigmaddie:
I can imagine it must be a lot harder when you are younger and your peers and the media are portraying casual sex as a perfectly valid pasttime and chastity as almost perverse.

It can help to recall that most societies have not been as libertarian as ours in their official sexual ethics, and that members of other faiths are often more conservative than Christians as well. Personally I think that Christians in western countries stand uncomfortably between the more conservative ethics of other faiths, esp. if many of their adherents have arranged marriages, and the secular majority, where there isn't an agreed set of rules and norms.
I think a lot of the anxiety and disagreement among Christians about what (if any) sexual behaviours are allowed before marriage, and if dating is permissible, etc. is because Christians are in this middle position. In practice the behaviour of Christians, at least in the UK, seems to be closer overall to that of the secular majority.

Re: Jack the Lass' change of attitude, that's a very common change of attitude for Christians to make, but how does it affect the community at large ? Who is benefitting from such a liberalisation of views ?
You're likely to get quite a bit of tension where some Christians hold seriously to the teaching of virginity until marriage and others not doing so, because in practice how it translates is that people come to relationships with very different backgrounds. One value of insisting that the Christian community (or any other religion for that matter) sticks to the traditional line throughout the life-cycle is that provided the majority obey it, people are less worried about being compared to their spouse's previous sexual partners if both are virgins. I don't think we can underestimate the importance of this, in the context of discussing difficulties re: intimacy with others.

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If I had a coat, I would get it.

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Zorro
Shipmate
# 9156

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aj
quote:
Well, I suspect there's a lot more talk than action.
That seems pretty accurate. I'm 16, and I seriously doubt that there are enough girls in the West of Scotland as some guys I know claim to have had sex with. It's a boasting thing.

Personally, I'm a virgin, and I know that most of my mates are. Recently one of my mates had sex, but wasn't in a relationship, and he's been talked down a lot behind his back at the minute.

Another lost his virginity to a girl he thought he loved, but who turned round and dumped him a fortnight later. He's finding it pretty rough, and I think that both are great examples of why sleeping with people you're not absolutely sure about is not a smooth move.

I think there are still a lot of people out there who do disagree with the idea that one night stands are fine.

For me, at least, I think that casual sex is damaging to both people, but I don't have much of a problem with people in a committed relationship outside of marriage, having sex.

But then again, from reading some of the posts here, I get the feeling that this is definetly something on which opinions change with age, and I doubt I'll be set in my ways for ever.

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It is so hard to believe, because it is so hard to obey. Soren Kierkegaard
Well, churches really should be like sluts; take everyone no matter who they are or whether they can pay. Spiffy da wondersheep

Posts: 2568 | From: Baja California (actually the UK but that's where my fans know me from) | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quote:
Originally posted by The Lady of the Lake:
One value of insisting that the Christian community (or any other religion for that matter) sticks to the traditional line throughout the life-cycle is that provided the majority obey it, people are less worried about being compared to their spouse's previous sexual partners if both are virgins. I don't think we can underestimate the importance of this, in the context of discussing difficulties re: intimacy with others.

This is not universally the case. Having had previous sexual partners does not automatically make people compare them. I have had more than one sexual partner, and each of those men had had sex with others before me. None of them ever made me feel like he was comparing me to others, and I have never done this to someone myself. Each relationship is its own separate thing, and mature people who respect themselves and their partners do not in general have this problem.
Posts: 24453 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Jack the Lass

Ship's airhead
# 3415

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quote:
Originally posted by The Lady of the Lake:
Re: Jack the Lass' change of attitude, that's a very common change of attitude for Christians to make, but how does it affect the community at large ? Who is benefitting from such a liberalisation of views ?

A few things, as my 2p here:

1. I'm not actually sure it is "very common". Perhaps on this particular forum, where there seem to be more people who are further towards the liberal end of the spectrum, but amongst most Christians I know my "change of attitude" is still very much a minority opinion, and even here I know many people (who have become dear friends) who still hold very firmly to the no sex before marriage view. Also, having been part of a Christian dating site a few years back, I can say that mine was most definitely a minority opinion - nearly everyone posting on the bulletin boards of that site at that time seemed really quite trenchant about wanting their partner to be a virgin on their wedding night, and viewing those who weren't as "faulty" or "damaged goods". It strikes me as kind of ironic, that even though my attitudes towards sex before marriage may now be less conservative (or more liberal) than they were, the prevailing view amongst many of the Christians that I come across means that I'm actually reducing my chances of anybody wanting a relationship with me by holding this unacceptable viewpoint.

2. I'm not sure what/who you mean by "the community at large". The church? The nation? The people on the bus? Who? I'm not at all convinced that my own change of view on this one particular matter (which in the scheme of things I don't actually think is even all that liberal) will have a huge impact on any of those groups. It was just a natural, and very personal, process, and throughout it all (if you'll forgive the cheesy cliche) God knows my heart.

3. As I said, I don't think my views are all that liberal. My actions aren't either - Divine Outlaw-Dwarf and aj are right, in my case there's certainly much more talk than action! (my .sig is so apt! *sigh*). But as far as the process of change has gone, it's benefitted me enormously. That's less to do with a change of view on sex though, and everything to do with a much wider process of examining every area of my faith - personally I can't separate them neatly because it's part of the bigger process. I don't think my views, about this or any other subject, will change the world particularly. But if the process I continue to go through in thinking through this and many other issues means that I become a more thoughtful, loving and committed Christian, then hopefully the benefits and impact will go beyond me. I guess the answers to your question ultimately depend on why people hold to a more liberal view, and as there are surely as many reasons as there are people it's not that easily answerable.

[ 19. April 2006, 21:57: Message edited by: Jack the Lass ]

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"My body is a temple - it's big and doesn't move." (Jo Brand)
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Posts: 5767 | From: the land of the deep-fried Mars Bar | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
Divine Outlaw
Gin-soaked boy
# 2252

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quote:
Originally posted by the_raptor:
Most news papers have regular articles about modern societies sexuality.

Most newspapers also have articles about David Cameron. We would, I suggest, be foolish to conclude on that basis that modern society is obsessed with the leader of the opposition.

If you start from the assumption that people are obsessed with sex then you will look at conversations and publications and take them as confirming your already existing view. But that view is one propogated by a certain type of Christian as an alibi for their own obsession with all things sexual.

As for 'young people' (as though there were any homogenous group answering to that description); as I've already said I think there is an issue in contemporary society with seeking recognition, and that can be manifested through being gobby about sex.

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The Lady of the Lake
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# 4347

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Jack,

in reply to your 2ps worth:

1. I guess by 'very common' I was, as you rightly guessed, swayed by the spectrum of views on here. However I do also notice it among Christians I come across in general (many of whom have taken a peep at this site, so perhaps my perspective is still biassed). Things get more complicated by the fact that some people (not you, I'm thinking of others I know) don't seem to make their minds up as to their views, and yet curiously are often desperate for the church to stick to its traditional line.

2. I was too vague re: 'community at large'. I was thinking of first the Christian community, but also in the back of my mind was society in general, which of course is different.

When I asked who is benefitting from the change of views, I guess I was thinking more about my aforementioned hunch that this change of views is found among a number of Christians. Let's assume for the sake of argument that people who have undergone such a change form their own church (or community); it would probably be a slightly different sort of community than the ones to which they had previously belonged.
Also it can be quite difficult for more than one set of ethics on, e.g. sex before marriage, to be publicly accepted by one community. (that might also be true of other issues, e.g. how does that church community handle money. It's a point about unity, communal cohesion, consistency and communicating both to insiders and outsiders.)

Incidentally I had a not dissimilar discussion with a friend of mine recently, who was big on introducing feminist ideas into Christian sexual ethics. This was partly in order to address issues that aren't always addressed in churches. Towards the end, she said that having made this 'detour', she came back to being a conservative. When I asked her what that meant, her reply was that the community's ability to work as a community and to reproduce itself and nurture future generations is as important as concern for the individual. That's a rationalist rather than revelation-based conservatism.

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If I had a coat, I would get it.

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ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
I can say that mine was most definitely a minority opinion - nearly everyone posting on the bulletin boards of that site at that time seemed really quite trenchant about wanting their partner to be a virgin on their wedding night, and viewing those who weren't as "faulty" or "damaged goods".

I can't know of course, but I have a very strong suspicion that at least some of them were likely to be saying what they thought to be acceptable in that forum, or what they were used to hearing, or even what they thought was generally the best thing, but if actually faced with the situation of having sex or not having sex they might find that in their specific situation that general rule was overridden by circumstances. For the men at least, if not the women. In fact I'm almost sure of it.

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

Posts: 39579 | From: London | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
ken
Ship's Roundhead
# 2460

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quote:
Originally posted by The Lady of the Lake:
her reply was that the community's ability to work as a community and to reproduce itself and nurture future generations is as important as concern for the individual.

Why on earth should she think that that is incompatible with feminism?

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Ken

L’amor che move il sole e l’altre stelle.

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FreeJack
Shipmate
# 10612

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quote:
Originally posted by ken:
quote:
Originally posted by Jack the Lass:
I can say that mine was most definitely a minority opinion - nearly everyone posting on the bulletin boards of that site at that time seemed really quite trenchant about wanting their partner to be a virgin on their wedding night, and viewing those who weren't as "faulty" or "damaged goods".

I can't know of course, but I have a very strong suspicion that at least some of them were likely to be saying what they thought to be acceptable in that forum, or what they were used to hearing, or even what they thought was generally the best thing, but if actually faced with the situation of having sex or not having sex they might find that in their specific situation that general rule was overridden by circumstances. For the men at least, if not the women. In fact I'm almost sure of it.
Indeed. What exactly are they supposed to say in that setting?

There are three basic options.

1. You want to marry a virgin (or possibly a widow).
2. You want to marry someone with previous sexual partners outside marriage.
3. You don't care.

If one is trying to give the impression of being a GLE, then if you have to say something then 1 is a better strategy than 2 or 3.

It doesn't necessarily mean that you will stick to 1 if it comes to the crunch, either because you realise it doesn't really matter, or because you choose to be gracious in the circumstances without compromising the general principle, or you are just desperate for a partner you don't care any more.

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The Lady of the Lake
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# 4347

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Ken,

in fact my friend didn't seem to think her coming 'back' to being a 'conservative' in the more rationalist sense I tried to describe was incompatible with feminism.

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If I had a coat, I would get it.

Posts: 1272 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
quantpole
Shipmate
# 8401

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quote:
Originally posted by FreeJack:
What exactly are they supposed to say in that setting?

That whether your future partner has had sex or not is a stupid thing to worry about.
That we are all damaged goods.
That I'd be far more 'threatened' by a long term deep relationship without sex a partner had had, than a meaningless relationship that involved sex.
That placing an emphasis in this way would encourage people not to be honest about previous relationships - not exactly a good way to start.

Those will do for starters.

Posts: 885 | From: Leeds | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged
RuthW

liberal "peace first" hankie squeezer
# 13

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quantpole: Hear, hear! While I grant that for many people it is a Good Thing to wait for marriage to have sex, it seems to me that the absolute rule against sex before marriage that so many Christians think they need to have does at least as much harm as good.
Posts: 24453 | From: La La Land | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
The Lady of the Lake
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# 4347

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RuthW,

I can see what you are saying is true, that there are people who do not compare their partners and thereby avert the problems that could arise from that. However,1)I guess I was talking about some people's worry of being badly treated in this way, which isn't quite the same thing. Quite a few people seem to be weighed down by that worry. (I'd be interested to know if there are any gender differences here).

Then, 2) there is the problem of how do different people handle their 'past' with partners or prospective partners. It seems to me that people adopt different attitudes:
1) this was their 'past' before they became Christians, due to having held different attitudes then
2) this was a time when they lapsed from the faith and are now coming back in
These people may or may not feel guilt, remorse, etc. and are striving to turn a new leaf
4) they don't feel guilty. No. 4 is the scenario that intrigues me here, because some people are open about their attitude, whereas others aren't, but will either a)hide their 'past' from a partner or prospective partner or b)feign a sense of guilt and repentance.

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If I had a coat, I would get it.

Posts: 1272 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged



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