Conservative considers coitus

Dear Alice,

I'm a Christian, very conservative in upbringing, and I'm having difficulties in discussing sex in an open and casual manner. I told my male friends that sex should be done within the parameters of marriage. But they told me that I should have a first sexual experience so as to satisfy my wife or maybe a girlfriend (I don't have one yet). Should I follow their opinion regarding this? Should I first know the sexual dynamics of sexual intercourse before doing it with her?

I would appreciate your kind response.

Thank you.


Dear GentleKid,

Conservative or liberal, talking about sex can be awkward and confusing, as well as exciting and fun. Considering, and communicating about, sex can be just as important as "doing it," as you have shown with your thoughtful question.

Ultimately the right answer for you is the one that satisfies your beliefs. The choices that make you feel most comfortable are the ones that are right for you. Of course, sometimes you can't know what's best for you until you sample your options. Sure, what you learn from past sexual experiences can add to the pleasure of future ones; but, for many, the energy and excitement of the "first time" is unrivaled by the sex that follows. And when it comes down to it, your partner at the time is the best teacher of all, as each of your partners will be turned on (and will turn you on) in different ways.

You mention that you don't have a girlfriend now, which gives you some time to think about your feelings. There is no need to put pressure on yourself to make a decision now, or even when you start dating someone. In fact, feeling unsure about having sex may be a great way to start the conversation with your future partner(s). You can explain to your partner, just as you have here, that you have been brought up to wait until marriage to have sex, and you would like to hear their thoughts on the matter.

In the mean time, it probably wouldn't hurt to do some research on your own. You may find it helpful to talk with a religious counselor, or simply a neutral party. If you're at Columbia you can make an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services, where the counselors are trained to help people work through these very issues, by calling x4-2878.

Finally, keep in mind that sex is just one part of the picture — your future partners will want you for so many other reasons, not the least of which is your "gentlekid"ness.

Last updated Oct 30, 2009
Originally published Sep 19, 1997

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