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August 11, 2003 6:58 AM   Subscribe

"The only lady I've kissed is my mom" -- WA couple plan their first kiss...on the altar at their wedding. Is there something profound (and not just creepy) about postponing everything but hand-holding until after the vows? Or are they doomed to disappointment? (Via Obscure)
posted by serafinapekkala (159 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
"I did have some emotion for her, not a lot," said Burwell, who owns a custom-cabinet business in Maple Valley. "But I knew deep down that this was the person God wanted me to have."

Oooooo-kay....
posted by humuhumu at 7:07 AM on August 11, 2003


All rules are off once they are married and living in the Renton home they've bought, they said.

All rules, huh? I just hope those crazy kids have a safe word.
posted by stonerose at 7:07 AM on August 11, 2003


Right off the bat -- No, this is not a "laugh at the wacky Christians" FPP. In fact, this quote from the bride to be truly gave me pause: "Today, it's like everything's backwards. You start on the physical level and then you get to know each other on a deeper, emotional level." I don't know many single 20-30something gals, myself included, let alone "Sex and the City Fans," who would disagree with this statement. Is this x-treme chastity a mature, viable alternative to fuck-and-run dating? Or is it just a churchified version of The Rules? I'm not sure...maybe both.
posted by serafinapekkala at 7:10 AM on August 11, 2003


serafinapekkala, I tend to giggle at people who take anything to extremes, and who adopt a pre-fab social code rather than acting like grown-ups and making their own code in a way that privileges outcome, rather than process. These folks seem to have glommed on to a holier-than-thou set of practices, rather than sitting down and saying "how much do we trust each other, and how can we have pleasure in a way that attaches importance to physical intimacy while avoiding what we see as distasteful about prevailing social norms?" I don't know them... I could be wrong... but I don't think so. It just seems infantile to me.
posted by stonerose at 7:20 AM on August 11, 2003


I live real close to Renton. To say this couple is in the minority is a gross understatement.
Nonetheless, isn't most human interaction a crapshoot?
If you find yourself doing the ol' fuck and run, isn't it because you choose to?
If you don't wanna hit it and quit it, keep yr choners on.
Simple as that.

One preview, what stonerose said.
posted by black8 at 7:21 AM on August 11, 2003


The interesting thing is how the article spins this - even the photo is captioned:

Before marriage, Adrian Burwell and Jill Merry agreed to limit their physical intimacy to holding hands. Religious couples more often have lasting marriages, says a social researcher.

Question is, what keeps them together - love and a mutual understanding, or the terror of an eternal damnation? After all, a life-long but hellish marriage is still better than carnal sin, right?
posted by FormlessOne at 7:26 AM on August 11, 2003


Just because someone does something that is both in the minority, and not morally reprehensible doesn't make it profound...

A key part of any relationship is the physical aspect - anyone who's had a reasonably long relationship can tell you this. If they're lucky and they're physically "compatible", they'll be preaching to the world (or someone else will, on their behalf) that their way should become the new trend. However, if they're not, they'll be spending the rest of their relationship underwhelmed with each other.

It's also worth mentioning that once they have sex for the first time, things will change drastically. It's then that thoughts like "wow, what if this is the only person I get to experience this with? what if it's different with someone else?" come up.

There is of course the moral argument that you should be willing to sacrifice that knowledge for the partner you love.. and that's fine.. if we all lived in an ideal world where everything was storybook like that, I'd be happy... but the reality of it is, a lot of people these days are hooking up left and right because they're genetically programmed to... I won't get into the whole "are people really supposed to be monogamous?" debate and derail this thread.. but despite my doubts, I don't like having that debate, because I'm still nurtured to be really upset if I were cheated on... yeah.. I guess I could have kept this short by saying "I'm not impressed" :-p sorry.
posted by twiggy at 7:29 AM on August 11, 2003


Since when is kissing sinful?
posted by agregoli at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2003


FormlessOne, religious couples tend to be of the same religion, indicating a commonly shared value system and cultural background, both of which are going to contribute to a higher average of marriage length.

On one hand, my snarky side is thinking, "What's with the no hugging thing?" On the other hand, they've grown up together, and he started corresponding with her in November, so it's not like they've had a multi-year stress-filled relationship. They liked each other, decided to get married, and organized a wedding. It's not too different from the run-up to an arranged marriage, except that they know each other a lot better, now. Even in the USA, arranged marriages are not unknown, and we're not poking fun of them.

That said, I find it a little uncouth to start advertising themselves and their relationship habits in a newspaper. I mean, was it really necessary to tell a reporter that he, "didn't have strong feelings for her at the time" they first started dating? That's just letting an outsider have a view of a private relationship that he just shouldn't have.
posted by deanc at 7:44 AM on August 11, 2003


That dude's clearly fruitier than a sack of oranges.
posted by keef at 7:46 AM on August 11, 2003


Since when is kissing sinful?

If its not, then you're doing something wrong.
posted by Stynxno at 7:50 AM on August 11, 2003


"I did have some emotion for her, not a lot," said Burwell, who owns a custom-cabinet business in Maple Valley. "But I knew deep down that this was the person God wanted me to have."

She knows that she's a "beard," right? That's probably fine with her- her parents and community seem to have given her the gift of shame and she can lie there, grimace, and think of the babies with which He commanded her to litter the Earth.

You can call me arrogant and condescending if you want, but fucked-up is fucked-up. No, they're not hurting anyone but themselves, but if one airs one's superstitions in public, expect others to say what they think.
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:50 AM on August 11, 2003


Frig! Deanc and keefe pretty much beat me!
posted by Mayor Curley at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2003


Tonight on a popular weekly documentary program in Japan the subject was a woman who gave birth last week after two miscarriages. They showed her wedding, at which she kissed her husband for the first time. In Japan, it must be rather rare, though, even among those who use matchmaking agencies.
posted by planetkyoto at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2003


Oh, bah. I just didn't know that kissing was ever considered sinful by the church. If they can't trust themselves not to go further from just kissing...? It just speaks to larger trust and control issues to me.
posted by agregoli at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2003


How can these people kiss? They have no lips!
posted by i_cola at 7:51 AM on August 11, 2003


As an alternative to catch-as-catch-can, I suggest an oriental alternative. If the couple have normal length to long fingers (not short, what are called 'karate' fingers, which for some reason seems to preclude healing massage), then they might learn a little bit about shiatsu (acupressure), together.
Believe me, in a month of therapeutic massage (perhaps under the gaze of a chaperone, for the prudish), that couple will develop serious, heavy-duty empathy and *know* if they want to spend the rest of their lives together.
It would have to be a month, minimum, just for their bodies to get used to each other. Less might give some false impressions. But by the time they eventually have sex they can concentrate on real enjoyment, not just tactics.

You really get to appreciate someone who takes your ouchy places away.

It may sound silly, but it really works. And even if they both *know* that it won't work out, it will be as amiable a parting of the ways as could be hoped for, with no messy sexual complications.
posted by kablam at 7:59 AM on August 11, 2003


Who is anybody to question how they wish to conduct their lives?
Diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks.

People in asian countries still do this sort of thing, and sometimes it works out, sometimes not.

I don't know about anyone else, but as far as human relationships are concerned, who the flip knows what will work out?

Good luck to them, I say.
posted by Blue Stone at 8:01 AM on August 11, 2003


"My only concern is that it's going to be so wonderful, one of us is going to faint," said Burwell.

Um, yeah. That's usually how first kisses go. Well, maybe for the unbesmirched among us, anyway.

Also, what stonerose said. This strikes me as perilously immature.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:02 AM on August 11, 2003


They can do what they want, but I do agree with what was said above that it's kind of weird to allow a newspaper article about it.
posted by agregoli at 8:02 AM on August 11, 2003


The Onion article is priceless.
posted by stbalbach at 8:11 AM on August 11, 2003


keef et al, what's up with the idea that an asexual, religious guy must be a closet case? Granted, some of them are... but it's a bit offensive (to more than one group) to suggest that right off the start.
posted by stonerose at 8:19 AM on August 11, 2003


That guy is extremely androgynous looking, suggesting to me a hormonal capacity for this sort of behavior. Most men aren't so blessed.
posted by dgaicun at 8:20 AM on August 11, 2003


serafinapekkala, what I don't understand, given basic precautions, why is "the physical first, with emotional to follow" way less mature than the other way around. Oh, wait, I remember now: because in general humans foolishly place too much importance on sex. One way or another.
posted by magullo at 8:21 AM on August 11, 2003


aaah, whatever. Let them do what they want to do. It's better than another teenage pregnancy, single-parent scenario.

twiggy wrote : It's also worth mentioning that once they have sex for the first time, things will change drastically. It's then that thoughts like "wow, what if this is the only person I get to experience this with? what if it's different with someone else?" come up.


I do agree with that however..... also what if they find one partner loves the sex, whereas the other doesn't? They may not have counted on that.

Well, they're from the same mindset and religion....good form for a long marriage, be it a bad one or a good one.
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:40 AM on August 11, 2003


What if it turns out the guy has some crazy two-headed cock or something?
posted by spilon at 8:41 AM on August 11, 2003


In fact, this quote from the bride to be truly gave me pause: "Today, it's like everything's backwards. You start on the physical level and then you get to know each other on a deeper, emotional level." I don't know many single 20-30something gals, myself included, let alone "Sex and the City Fans," who would disagree with this statement.

here, I'll be the 20-30 something gal who disagrees. You get to know people on various levels concomitantly. You get to know someone superficially on a physical level the same time you meet them superficially on an emotional level; you get to know them better on a physical level as you start having sex, but to really know someone's body, to recognize someone's touch without opening your eyes, to be able to visualize the small of their back or the curve of their instep - this doesn't happen on the third date either. There's no reason that physical or emotional intimacy should be given priority, or that one should be achieved before the other can be addressed.

Maybe that's too much multi-tasking for some people, so they put off the sex part so they can concentrate on the emotional part. Personally, it seems more natural to me to get to know body and mind at the same time, and I like the excitement of all that novelty at once, but I can imagine the benefits of a slower, steadier influx of new information too. If you don't feel ready to have sex yet, don't have sex yet. Case by case basis.

as for this pair, I have to admit the closet occurred to me as well. I hope for her sake that's not the story. Good luck to them, I say. Considering he proposed after dating her for about 6 months, these kids obviously live on a different planet than I do, but hey - hope they like it there.
posted by mdn at 8:41 AM on August 11, 2003 [1 favorite]


We knew that if we started touching, things were going to start happening

NEVER underestimate the power of PlayStation.
posted by Frasermoo at 8:42 AM on August 11, 2003


This guy will never, ever get to deliver a facial.
posted by vito90 at 8:44 AM on August 11, 2003


What if it turns out the guy has some crazy two-headed cock or something?

Conversely, he could turn out to be a nullo
posted by SpaceCadet at 8:47 AM on August 11, 2003


i've always thought that this 'no sex before marriage' thing worked best as a respite from deep insecurities about infidelity. my thinking was that the couple thinks that if they can stay chaste when they're out on the open field, so to speak, then they will be able to handle the temptations after marriage, thus cooling some peoples' deep worries about their situation with sex and security.

yeah, freudian i guess. but in the back of my mind i've always felt that was a huge, unattributed reason christianity was able to trumpet this cause for so long with some measure of success. after all, one only needs to listen to the old men joke on the bench on a sunday afternoon in pullen park, raleigh, to know sexual innocence and chaste, baptist marriage are not a one to one ratio.
posted by oog at 8:52 AM on August 11, 2003


why is "the physical first, with emotional to follow" way less mature than the other way around

hmm, i don't think that, but i see how what i wrote earlier conveys that idea. i think this couple thinks their tactic is mature, in the sense that forgoing instant gratification in the service of a moral imperative or religious belief can be seen (though not necessarily by me) as mature, or at least non-infantile in the psychological sense. as i said, i'm of two minds about all this, and it frustrates me -- that's what you get when you're a sexually liberated recovering Catholic, all the fun and all the guilt. >;-) on the one hand, i think rules about sexual behavior, whether handed down in church or inculcated by society, are made to be broken...and then on the other hand, maybe there's a kernel of truth in there and it pays to follow them sometimes. just last night there was a heated discussion at my house among three experienced, basically feminist women, two of whom firmly abide by a "no sex before the third date, at least" rule, and the third who's been burned by first date sex and yet still thinks the rule is bullshit. both the uber-chaste courtship and a first-date-sex one can lead to a lasting, or at least fulfilling, relationship where the couple gets to know and value one another, blah blah. i think the key difference is that when the FDS version flops, it's easy to feel like something very valuable to you (i.e. sexual intimacy) was frittered away, when it might have been parceled out more carefully over more time. once bitten, twice shy-er? now, the answer to that problem is not necessarily a chastity pledge, it might just be more selective, thoughtful dating. but it's still hard to reconcile a pro-sex outlook and the consequences of your sexual actions, when you (for better or worse) place "too much" (?!) importance on sex. is this a gender difference thing? do women care/think about this more than men (excepting the groom in this story, of course)?
posted by serafinapekkala at 8:53 AM on August 11, 2003


I admire their resolve. Nice to see a thread about heterosexual relations for a change. If we have to deal in extremes, I say chastity is much better than promiscuity from the psychological point of view.
posted by 111 at 9:02 AM on August 11, 2003


I can't see how this is in any way "mature". Ewww! Kissing! Gross!

And yes, of course it's their business, but why make a big public deal of it? People who flaunt their "moral superiority" make me itch.
posted by JoanArkham at 9:14 AM on August 11, 2003


I think that pastor--who brags that his daughter had never held hands with her husband before marriage-- will have a lot of explaining to do in the afterlife.

I can understand why an engaged couple who want to maintain chastity would refrain from deep, passionate kisses. However, these people aren't even indulging in a peck on the cheek!

I really honor other people's commitment to chastity. However, taking that to mean that any sort of friendly touch--handholding, hugs--is "off-limits" strikes me as odd and even a little creepy.

I can't imagine a Christian community in which a kiss that could be shared by mother and son couldn't be shared by an engaged couple.

And what's this business with "The only lady I've kissed is my mom"--doesn't this guy have grandmothers? Aunts?
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:16 AM on August 11, 2003


Nice to see a thread about heterosexual relations for a change.

um, thanks 111, i think, but coming from you this makes me want to post up yet another gay marriage FPP...sorry, it's just the crazy bi girl in me talkin'. *smiles politely*
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:20 AM on August 11, 2003


Somewhere out there, Maryromantic is going "Damn!"
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2003


TLC runs a show called "A Wedding Story", which is a guilty pleasure of mine occasionally. I guess I get a kick out of the Bridezilla And Goof-Groom antics on some of the shows. Anyhow, there was a couple who at the time of taping were Christian, (she was always, he converted some years before they met) who decided ont he same exact thing mentioned here. The twist was that he had been a drunk frat boy before finding God, and had had sex with several women before meeting his fiancee. I think this has a really interesting twist, as he was the one who came up with the idea (she readily agreed), saying that he had tasted that life and wanted his life with her to be special (moreso than his 'whoring around'). While I see his point from a religious standpoint (not that I am per se, but the logic does make some sense), the cynic in me can't help but suggest that he wanted to do the whole no kissing/hugging/etc. before marriage to either 'preserve' her virginity, while disregarding the absence of his own, or to, on some level, deny her the opportunity to experience physicality before she is locked into marrying him. My inner cynic does not suggest that she go sleep around, by any means. I just thought that it was really interesting that he was the one that came up with this 'romantic' idea.
posted by oflinkey at 9:24 AM on August 11, 2003


Please pardon the spelling/grammatical errors too numerous to name in the above post. I am working on 2 hours of sleep.
posted by oflinkey at 9:28 AM on August 11, 2003


This guy will never, ever get to deliver a facial.

BUWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAAA !!!!

Vito! You made me laugh so hard I cried. Too funny.

I will add, that the no touch or kiss policy, may be the reason they are "rushing" into marriage. They haven't even been together for 1 year. He proposed after a few months,and will be married less then a year after initially dating.
Good luck. That is about all one can say I think.
posted by a3matrix at 9:35 AM on August 11, 2003


Maybe I find this so incredibly freaky because I go to a church (Episcopalian) in which complete strangers often give me a little half-hug or even a kiss on the cheek as part of the service ("the Kiss of Peace").

To me, the kid who won't give a little cheek-peck to his girlfriend or his aunt or his future mother-in-law or his grandmother or the first-grade teacher he's seeing for the first time in twenty years feels un-Christian to me.

I do accept that that's just my own bias, of course.

posted by Sidhedevil at 9:36 AM on August 11, 2003


just last night there was a heated discussion at my house among three experienced, basically feminist women, two of whom firmly abide by a "no sex before the third date, at least" rule, and the third who's been burned by first date sex and yet still thinks the rule is bullshit.

what does it mean to be "burned by first date sex"? If sexual intimacy is something that you don't feel comfortable sharing with people you don't know well, and may never see again, then don't have sex on the first date. That's not a question of "rules" or strategies for relationships; that's just paying attention to your own needs and desires. If you have sex with people you don't know very well, they may never call you again - if this doesn't bother you, then you can have a fun evening and see what does or doesn't happen next. If you know that you'll be getting a fun evening at the cost of a week of anxiety attacks, then don't do it. It isn't about feminism or dating guidelines or christianity or any system of belief. It's just a question of doing what makes you happy.
posted by mdn at 9:38 AM on August 11, 2003


To me, the kid who won't give a little cheek-peck to his girlfriend......

Exactly what kind of fear is instilled in a person that they never even have that "first Kiss" as a young teenager? These two would have the world believe that they never, ever even had any kind of a kiss in jr. high or high school?
posted by a3matrix at 9:41 AM on August 11, 2003


Somewhere out there, Maryromantic is going "Damn!"

Nice, Lore. Two years (and a few months) may be the longest cross-thread joke callback I've ever seen on Mefi.
posted by jonson at 9:42 AM on August 11, 2003


serafinapekkala wrote: the FDS version flops

But it doesn't. Ever. Many of us in our late 20's had our version of the ideal mate shaped by the FDS Woman. She was gorgeous, knew how to control feminine odor AND send a lot of CFC aerosol propellants up to destroy the hated ozone layer.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:44 AM on August 11, 2003


Self-denial (of any sort) is merely masochistic unless it serves some greater purpose or plan. Since this couple's purpose is largely unarticulated, it is impossible to judge, so we all speculate. While their naivete and inflexibility don't bode well for their chances of success, they don't necessarily doom them, either. When ideals come into conflict, compromise is inevitable, but the compromises we choose should at least be coherent.
posted by rushmc at 9:51 AM on August 11, 2003


It isn't about feminism or dating guidelines or christianity or any system of belief. It's just a question of doing what makes you happy.

You are ignoring that issues of sex are often filled with ambivalence and contradiction.
posted by dgaicun at 10:14 AM on August 11, 2003


"My only concern is that it's going to be so wonderful, one of us is going to faint," said Burwell.

They are so totally going to turn their heads the wrong way and end up bumping noses.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:17 AM on August 11, 2003


You are ignoring that issues of sex are often filled with ambivalence and contradiction.

what issues aren't?
posted by mdn at 10:21 AM on August 11, 2003


These two would have the world believe that they never, ever even had any kind of a kiss in jr. high or high school?

There is nothing unbelievable about that. I knew this guy that didn't go out on a date until he was 23 (he is a good looking athletic type too, and girls liked him) and that was the first time he ever kissed anyone as well. And I'm sure there are plenty of people that felt totally out of place in school who didn't kiss anyone until after they were out of high school.
posted by bargle at 10:23 AM on August 11, 2003


If we have to deal in extremes, I say chastity is much better than promiscuity from the psychological point of view.

But we don't have to deal in extremes, do we? And I think each extreme has its own set of psychological issues.

If I had more time to think about this I'd probably have something to say besides "This is f'ed up", but I don't, so I don't. I can't help but be reminded of this Onion article, though (it's a different one than the FPP), and wonder if these people started out this way. (Especially the last paragraph)
posted by nath at 10:33 AM on August 11, 2003


In a situation like this, do you think they go from zero to sex on their wedding night? Good god, I hope not. That would be terrifying-for both sexes, I'd bet.

I think that waiting for sex until marriage is a wonderful idea, if you can do it. Definitely not something I will ever make fun of. I admire people who do that. However, this business of not even touching or kissing is just plain silly. What does that gain them? Part of marriage, of a being a couple, of being in love and expression of love is the physical aspect of it. Without that physical intimacy (I'm not even speaking of sex or even "heavy petting') how are you fully in love with someone? How are you fully in love without kissing and hugging and holding hands? That's all part of the celebration of love, I think. This is just too puritanical for belief. I think it's unhealthy and cannot lead to good things for their marriages.
posted by aacheson at 10:38 AM on August 11, 2003


the FDS Woman

damn you, Mayor Curley, as soon as i wrote that i knew better...i think you meant to say she's "so very confident." >:P

It's just a question of doing what makes you happy.

well, that may be true mdn, but that's 20/20 hindsight talking, isn't it? when you're deciding to sleep with someone you're attracted to and hitting it off with on your first date, you sure are hoping to do what makes you happy, and you may even take a moment to weigh the negative outcomes that might result (i.e. fuck and run). i agree, of course, that if you're not comfortable with the possibility of post-FDS rejection you shouldn't do it...what i meant by "burned" is "filled with regret." you only have to regret having FDS once, whether you regret it immediately afterwards or not until months later after you date and then break up with the person, to have a change of heart about your personal FDS philosophy. did it make you happy to have FDS at the time? hells yeah. but later on when you came to regret it (say, after falling in love with the FDS-ee and then six months later getting dumped), it can make you very unhappy. lesson learned for next time -- either you should be more careful and take it slower, or you should care less. i.e. your "system of belief" will change with experience, no? on top of all of that, you are up against the clucking of more Rules-based friends who opine that "if only you had waited 'til the third date" you wouldn't feel so crappy...which is unhelpful bullshit, or is it? see, "ambivalence and contradiction" all over the place, thanks dgaicun.
posted by serafinapekkala at 10:41 AM on August 11, 2003


I attended a fundamentalist church in Chicago for a while and saw this trend first-hand within the singles group. It's a kind of purity one-up-manship. "I can be more devout and holy than you can." Books by Joshua Harris (I Kissed Dating Goodbye) and Elisabeth Elliot are seen as scripture. In these no-touchy, no-feely rules, born-again's have found their new Victorian (and arbitrary) rule book.
posted by alou73 at 10:43 AM on August 11, 2003


I'd like to see where in the bible it says that kissing and hugging and holding hands is sinful.
posted by aacheson at 10:46 AM on August 11, 2003


This guy will never, ever get to deliver a facial.

God, I wish I had written this!
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 AM on August 11, 2003


Nice to see a thread about heterosexual relations for a change.

Right. We never talk about that. Speaking as possibly the most heterosexual man here, I gotta put on my Frued hat and say:

"Zo, vy doss all zis gay talk make you uncomfortable, sir?"
posted by jonmc at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2003


While I respect their decision to handle their relationship in this manner, I find it very difficult to believe that it's genuine. My husband's cousin and his wife took the same approach. Before the wedding I'd watch them together and think "This is an engaged couple? Where's the evidence of a loving relationship?" Since the wedding, I've seen it a bit, but there's still a reserve there that makes them seem more like friends to me than spouses.

I'm a very tactile person who hugs and kisses friends and family alike. To me, limiting yourself to only holding hands eliminates a whole range of communicative elements which enrich human interactions.
posted by onhazier at 11:13 AM on August 11, 2003


it's easy to feel like something very valuable to you (i.e. sexual intimacy) was frittered away

Right, because your supply of sexual intimacy is forever diminished every time you get naked with somebody, but sitting around and getting older preserves it. Got it.
posted by NortonDC at 11:20 AM on August 11, 2003


In a situation like this, do you think they go from zero to sex on their wedding night? Good god, I hope not. That would be terrifying-for both sexes, I'd bet.

Nah, he'll be spent before his pants are even off.
posted by Ufez Jones at 11:24 AM on August 11, 2003


Hey don't dismiss his inexperience... his mom's a farking good kisser!
posted by bucko at 11:26 AM on August 11, 2003 [1 favorite]


I say chastity is much better than promiscuity from the psychological point of view.

Any evidence to back this up are you just talking out your arse?
posted by dydecker at 11:33 AM on August 11, 2003


To each his own and all that, and more power to these two for doing what's right for them. However, that won't stop me from a little armchair psychoanalysis: what I find strange about this hand-holding only stance is that it seems to indicate that they think of all other touching as sexual. Affection and sex go together quite nicely, but they are not the same thing: as others have mentioned, what about hugging, or friendly kisses on the cheek? How sad that they seem to think of these things as necessarily prurient or dirty outside of the confines of marriage. There's something a touch neurotic and exagerrated about this fear that anything but hand-holding will lead directly to out-of-control sexual depravity.

Also, "My only concern is that it's going to be so wonderful, one of us is going to faint," said Burwell. Goodness gracious, someone's built up a rather unrealistic set of expectations, I think.
posted by hilatron at 11:38 AM on August 11, 2003


"This guy will never, ever get to deliver a facial."

I'm confused. is there anything in the Bible that prohibits men from training as beauty therapists?
posted by Pericles at 11:45 AM on August 11, 2003


As a Seattleite, I read this in the paper on Saturday. My absolute first thought was : What a disappointment. Let's be honest, kissing either of these people (as viewed in the picture, anyway) isn't going to be a delight. Sorry if that sounds superficial, (or super-facial, vito90) but the fact of the matter is that they're setting themselves up for something big (evidenced by his concern about fainting), which most likely will be... terribly disappointing. So, in essence, rushmc, consider the nail hit directly on the head.
posted by hoborg at 11:48 AM on August 11, 2003


There is nothing unbelievable about that. I knew this guy that didn't go out on a date until he was 23 (he is a good looking athletic type too, and girls liked him) and that was the first time he ever kissed anyone as well. And I'm sure there are plenty of people that felt totally out of place in school who didn't kiss anyone until after they were out of high school.

Not even a guy I knew; that was me until I was 21. Well all except the athletic part, I'm much more dilbertesque. And it wasn't from lack of opportunity it is just what I wanted to do. I still find one night stands and 3rd date sex as typified by _Friends_ unsettling and irrational. Having said that if I was engaged we'd be shagging like bunnies before getting married. I mean what if pieces don't fit or something :).
posted by Mitheral at 11:52 AM on August 11, 2003


I'd never do this - not because of any of the reasons that have been discussed, but because I wouldn't be willing to take the risk that it wouldn't be any good with the guy and I wouldn't find out until I was stuck with him for life. Sure, it might work out fine, but I wouldn't want to risk it. And you only have to have had one experience with one bad/"incompatible" partner to know just how horrible a lifelong commitment to him would be. [shudders]

That said, it seems to me to be a perfectly valid kind of courtship. These two sound like drips, but I have known couples who did a no sex or completely hands off courtship and it's worked out fine. I think courtship is all about finding the terms and pace that work for the two of you - and for me, privacy would definitely be one of those terms since I wouldn't want anyone's comments.
posted by orange swan at 11:56 AM on August 11, 2003


because your supply of sexual intimacy is forever diminished every time you get naked with somebody

no, that's not it. you can have all the sexual intimacy you want, it's the emotional capital that (for some of us, at least) goes along with it that gets depleted. that "account" can be replenished too, but just like with money, if you waste it on something that doesn't work/you don't really need/turns out to be a headache/malfunctions and injures you, you learn to spend it more wisely.

sitting around and getting older preserves it

it's not about "preserving" it, it's about it's about not wasting it, which is not the same thing. let's substitute chocolate for sex, and analogize that the chaste couple is committed to not tasting the fobidden cocoa delights until they buy a big bar of it on their wedding day. that's their prerogative, though they are running the risk that chocolate is overrated, or tastes nothing like what they expected, or they get tired of it and feel like trying sour gummy worms or whatever. on the flip side is someone who has sampled a variety of bon-bons and found some delicious and some filled with gaggy fruit jelly or pistachios or whatever. how does one avoid the bad chocolates? not by swearing off candy altogether, but by studying the map inside the Russell Stover box a little more carefully, i think. who wants to eat bad chocolate when you can hold out a little for a Special Dark? god, i think i just hijacked my own thread...
posted by serafinapekkala at 12:03 PM on August 11, 2003


I'd like to see where in the bible it says that kissing and hugging and holding hands is sinful.

I Corinthians chapter 7:

1. Now in regard to the matters about which you wrote: "It is a good thing for a man not to touch a woman,"
2
but because of cases of immorality every man should have his own wife, and every woman her own husband.

...

6
This I say by way of concession, however, not as a command.
7
Indeed, I wish everyone to be as I am [celibate], but each has a particular gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.
8
Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do,
9
but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.

(no comment)
posted by norm at 12:06 PM on August 11, 2003


Somewhere in there, I'd like to think that it's a trap. That on their wedding night, there'll be questions and statements like "Is it supposed to be that color?", "Wow, it almost looks alive!", "What's that funny sound it's making?", "I don't care if it's supposed to do that. Make it don't do it again!", and particularly, "Ewwwww! Gross!"
posted by kablam at 12:31 PM on August 11, 2003


serafinapekkala, your chocolate analogy is about ignorance, meaning walking into a commitment blindly. The cure for ignorance is knowledge, and in this case knowledge comes from action.

And I really hope that I'm not the only one for whom sexual intimacy is a source of emotional capital instead of a drain on it.
posted by NortonDC at 12:35 PM on August 11, 2003


Paul considers singleness to be a gift from God. Now why do I seriously doubt that Jill and Adrian prayed for God to bestow this particular gift upon them?

And I really hope that I'm not the only one for whom sexual intimacy is a source of emotional capital instead of a drain on it.

I don't know about emotional capital, but I certainly tell my fiance that he has limited blow job capital. Please do not pass this info along to him. It helps keep him in line.
posted by alou73 at 12:51 PM on August 11, 2003


serafinapekkala, too much information; I didn't have to know that but anyway, good luck and thanks for the links.

I say chastity is much better than promiscuity from the psychological point of view.

Any evidence to back this up are you just talking out your arse?


dydecker, look around and make up your mind. Look into your own consciousness and personal past experiences and make up your mind. There's also, in case you're interested, a few millennia of observation from several religious and mystical traditions, including catholicism, hinduism/yoga and so on.

Ultimately, there is a moral code which can be superficially disregarded, but which nevertheless exists for a reason; if you break it, self-respect is harmed and both society and nature, below the current "anything goes" veneer, will find ways of telling you promiscuity is a dangerous choice.

OT ps: believe me-- there are more adult virgins and sexually unexperienced people out there than MTV and Sex and City would have you believe.
posted by 111 at 1:41 PM on August 11, 2003


I'd like to run with what Norton DC said make the argument that sex is just sex. It's close to a biological necessity like eating, sleeping and pooping; that's why it's such an effective tool for selling stuff. That part is nature.

The emotional part of it is nuture. We treat sex as something profoundly interesting and emotional, but at its core sex serves about the same function for humans as it does the naughty dogs who do it on your lawn-- it scratches an itch and does it effectively. There's no reason to stay itchy if you don't have to. Being miserable or jumpy doesn't make you noble; it makes you less likeable.

I'm not saying that intimacy with someone you care deeply for isn't an amazing, deeply satisfying experience. I'm just saying that it's a hell of a lot better to be sexually active than celibate, and if you're just scratching an itch it won't diminish it when it's "for real."

As for waiting until you're married, that's even more needless than waiting until you're merely in love. After all "Love is just a moment of giving/and marriage is when we admit our parents were right."
(I know I linked to that song in another marriage related thread, but I wouldn't have if I had known that this thread would appear the next week. It's so appropriate here!)
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:44 PM on August 11, 2003


Eh, part of the fun of being human is learning to control your urges and base instincts.

Mossy would say there is a distinct difference between having sex and making love - promiscuity can often lead to a desensitisation of the level of emotional depth that can be found and result in a simple whambhamthankyouma'am mentality. Eh, see it all the time in my mates, some get quite bored but just do it out of habit.

I haven't kissed any girls (aged 20) out of choice and I may even get all the way to marriage without. Why? Because in my opinion Allah gave a direct instruction that physical intimacy should come within the structure of marital relations. And I think he (she, whatever) knows better than I..

Plus running away from girls is nearly as fun as running after them. Man uni is a laughandahalf ;)
posted by Mossy at 1:57 PM on August 11, 2003


I'd like to run with what Norton DC said make the argument that sex is just sex.

I think that's quite a run from what I said.
posted by NortonDC at 2:02 PM on August 11, 2003


OT ps: believe me-- there are more adult virgins and sexually unexperienced people out there than MTV and Sex and City would have you believe.

selective reality, dude. people are fucking like dogs in the street. you stepped on four of them while you were pontificating.
posted by quonsar at 2:03 PM on August 11, 2003


what does it mean to be "burned by first date sex"?

It means that Mr. Man had powerful thrusting buttocks, and was going at it with greater and greater force and rapidity, with Ms. Lady all the while reciprocating with her own pelvic antics. Eventually, the heat of friction built to the point of ignition, and there they were, shaggin' away as flames shot out her nether regions.

Hence, burned by first date sex. This happens more often on first dates because both people haven't had it for a while and so are reluctant to say "Stop, please, my mucous membranes are aflame," or "Is that smoke normal? Should I stop?"

Duh.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:03 PM on August 11, 2003


What if these people are fairly three-dimensional and have really thought and prayed their way through to this mutual decision -- but the reportage in this story just flat sucks? It wouldn't be the first time that a story failed to convey people's depth adequately and instead managed to turn the subjects into caricatures of themselves.
posted by alumshubby at 2:04 PM on August 11, 2003


quonsar: responding to 111 is like, sooo last week.
posted by signal at 2:05 PM on August 11, 2003


Stop, please, my mucous membranes are aflame.

Not to be confused with this.(N.S.F.W. with a bullet)
posted by vito90 at 2:06 PM on August 11, 2003


I don't know about emotional capital, but I certainly tell my fiance that he has limited blow job capital. Please do not pass this info along to him. It helps keep him in line.

alou73, I certainly hope that you offered this intimate information to many strangers in a lighthearted manner, but in case you're serious I must pose the question: why do you think it's all right to communicate this idea to all of us yet hold it back from your fiance? Many people do this, in my experience, and to be honest, the recieving partner accepts this form of intimate blackmail as par for the course...or else seek that particular satisfaction in other places than the marriage bed...and not always with someone of the opposite gender. To me, true intimacy between two people means full, open, honest and vulnerable communication about everything when bonding--including the needs and frequency of one's favorite sexual acts. The particular tactic employed by many people of making oral sex a method of behavioral control is, to me, distressing.

Again, if the information was offered lightheartedly, I will chuckle and dismiss it, but as many of my observations tend to suggest that many many people take this tactic with their partners--whether in marriage or no--and that the partners who are aware of it really, really resent it, it begs the question as to what sort of foundation upon which many people build partnerships of all types.

When you consider these thoughts, I think you can understand just why many people do consider long-term sexual intimacy a drain rather than a boon to one's emotional fortitude.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:07 PM on August 11, 2003


Eh, part of the fun of being human is learning to control your urges and base instincts.

But "control" is not merely a synonym for "squelch" or "deny;" it also contains the meaning of "direct." Therefore, choosing to follow an urge is as much being in control of it as choosing to ignore it, so long as the choice is conscious.
posted by rushmc at 2:10 PM on August 11, 2003


Mayor Curley, at much as one may argue that humans should view sex as just scratching an itch, that will not make it so. Call it psychology, man's unique spiritual nature, the forces of evolution attempting to form family bonds, whtever. The emotional part is nature. Those who try to pretend otherwise proceed at their peril. We're getting sort of off track from the original thread which was why a couple would forgo even the most basic forms of physical intimacy which we engage in with platonic friends (hugging, kissing on the cheek). However, to deny that there are emotional ties and consequences surrounding sex and whom one chooses to have sex with strikes me as fairly naive and a view that does not line up with human experience.
posted by deanc at 2:11 PM on August 11, 2003


Heh rushmc, "abstinence by definition connotes ... use."

Aeon Flux is wiser than it first appears.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:12 PM on August 11, 2003


gah: abstinence moderation
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:13 PM on August 11, 2003


look around and make up your mind.

Generally, when trying to convince someone of a point, "find the evidence yourself" isn't a very effective debate tool.

Ultimately, there is a moral code which can be superficially disregarded, but which nevertheless exists for a reason

Well, hold on there. You say "There is" as if it always were, and ever shall be. What is this "moral code", and how did it come into existence? I'm assuming when you say it exists "for a reason" you mean it was created for some higher purpose, and you didn't mean it literally, as in "It exists because someone made it. Someone making it is the reason."
posted by nath at 2:15 PM on August 11, 2003


"What doesn`t kill you makes you stranger." Trevor Goodchild
posted by signal at 2:18 PM on August 11, 2003


NortonDC, is it just me or are we saying the same thing? Knowledge comes from action -- exactly, you learn from your past good times and mistakes. My point is that I think there's a middle road between "Don't touch me, darling fiance" and "If it feels good, do it." I'm not advocating total chastity, I'm just considering the possible benefits of consciously putting the brakes on what in the past would be a foregone sexual conclusion...delaying it, not forgoing it. As for a source of emotional capital instead of a drain on it, I never said it was only a drain, in fact I said emotional capital can be replenished this way too. Hey, if it's good it's a plus, if it's bad it's a minus...or (and here comes the ambiguity again) it can be great at the time, and then later seem like a bad idea.
posted by serafinapekkala at 2:19 PM on August 11, 2003


Sure, they aren't denying it completely - why are they getting married do you think? And they aren't ignoring it, they're just practising their own form of control for their own personal reasons, thats all.

I agree, it is not a synonym for squelch or deny.

I did not mean to infer those that chose to fornicate don't have control - sure they do. Most people do, otherwise they'd try and hump the first pretty lil thing of the opposite sex they saw walking down the street. Which would be interesting and possibly amusing, but hey.

Good luck to the bride and groom, they should have fun learning if nothing else.

ps I always got the impression the smoking came after, not during? Will have to research..
posted by Mossy at 2:23 PM on August 11, 2003


As for waiting until you're married, that's even more needless than waiting until you're merely in love.

:-o
wow, are you sure you're not my ex-boyfriend?
posted by serafinapekkala at 2:29 PM on August 11, 2003


111, I live in a society where religion is of close to zero importance in people's emotional lives -- Japan -- and where sexuality in general and promiscuity/chastity in particular are simply not couched in terms of the morality you have embraced. We might as well be on other planets here. For me, sex is just sex. It's about as mystical as taking a dump.

As for the "dangers of promiscuity", here I imagine you are talking about diseases. I'm coming to the odd conclusion that the dangers of disease has been vastly overstated by governments and educational institutions as a means of addressing sexuality in the only way they can -- by medicalizing it/framing it as a health issue.

Finally you talk about self-respect, which sounds vaguely psychological. Doesn't mean anything to me, but hey. Is this another word for pride? I once knew a guy who cured his complex about being a virgin at 28 by a few no-strings trysts. It did wonders for his pride.

So I ask you again. Do you have any evidence that promiscuity is psychologically harmful?
posted by dydecker at 2:34 PM on August 11, 2003


Hey Wolfie, it was a joke. I have told my fiance that he has limited number of the ahem aforementioned act, but I say it to him as, again, a joke. And your comment about sexual intimacy being a drain, that is one of the saddest things I have heard all day. I have had lots of thoughts on sex, but not once have I thought of it as a drain on my emotional fortitude. I guess I can blame that on being a mature adult who has a healthy sex life.
posted by alou73 at 2:45 PM on August 11, 2003


For me, sex is just sex. It's about as mystical as taking a dump.

You had me at "hello."
posted by Skot at 2:49 PM on August 11, 2003


Do you have any evidence that promiscuity is psychologically harmful?

I have some anecdotal evidence that complete abstinence is definately harmfull. Man, I, err, my friend, completely flipped his wig...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 2:50 PM on August 11, 2003


nath, dydecker, check out the average suicide rates among nuns and prostitutes and you'll probably find something there.
posted by 111 at 2:57 PM on August 11, 2003


they'd try and hump the first pretty lil thing of the opposite sex they saw walking down the street

Cops are real dicks about that. And the club comes out as soon as you try to say "sociobiology."
posted by Mayor Curley at 2:57 PM on August 11, 2003


check out the average suicide rates among nuns and prostitutes and you'll probably find something there.

And you can check out the average child-molester rates among priests and pimps. I mean, we can go at this all day, but I just want my questions answered.
posted by nath at 3:06 PM on August 11, 2003


Heh, 111 thinks nuns aren't getting any.
posted by NortonDC at 3:06 PM on August 11, 2003


So, 111, about finished with that Ph.D in statistics, are you?
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 3:08 PM on August 11, 2003


in fact I said emotional capital can be replenished this way too.

No, you didn't. You said "that 'account' can be replenished too," but you never spoke of sex being the source of that replenishment, and in fact previously only spoke of sex as an emotional drain. If you're now saying that those comments don't reflect your full picture of the connection between sex and emotional capital, then I would certainly welcome that, despite still not sharing your assertion that it's a potential drain on emotional capital.
posted by NortonDC at 3:11 PM on August 11, 2003


Are you sure that you're not my ex-boyfriend?

I, uh, well, this is awkward. I'm sorry. You know that I didn't mean it like that. When I said "merely in love," I meant "wonderfully inflamed so much that it hurts at the core of my being!" And the skate-sharpening girl at the Frog Pond, she meant nothing to me. Just following my biological directive. Let me know if you still want your sweater. The dog's been sleeping on it, but, uh, I can wash it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 3:13 PM on August 11, 2003


check out the average suicide rates among nuns and prostitutes and you'll probably find something there.

Yes, you will find all sorts of complex factors such as drug use, violence, hunger, pre-existing psychological disorders, illness, etc. that make any direct correlation between the promiscuity of a prostitute and suicide impossible to establish.
posted by rushmc at 3:33 PM on August 11, 2003


111 is a troll. And you guys keep feeding him. Please stop.

If I didn't know better I'd say that he's actually insomnyuk in a dark mirror.
posted by bshort at 3:38 PM on August 11, 2003


rush, OK then, compare the rates of violent deaths, depression, average lifespan etc among nuns and porn stars (or even common movie stars).
posted by 111 at 3:38 PM on August 11, 2003


Now to the unmarried and to widows, I say: it is a good thing for them to remain as they are, as I do,
9. but if they cannot exercise self-control they should marry, for it is better to marry than to be on fire.


"Better to marry than burn, St. Paul said. But he didn't say anything about what happens if you marry and burn." -- Margaret Laurence

Me, I have no skill set around the formalities of dating because I have never engaged in this interesting pastime. I grew up in the 70s, where the idea of dating made as much sense as wearing a sweater set and pearls. You go out with someone you don't know that well? You have dinner, see a movie, all with the aim of auditioning the person for a bigger role in your life? What's the deal with that? How do people manage this?

On preview, let's stop giving 111 the attention he so desperately craves.
posted by jokeefe at 3:39 PM on August 11, 2003


However, this business of not even touching or kissing is just plain silly. What does that gain them? Part of marriage, of a being a couple, of being in love and expression of love is the physical aspect of it. Without that physical intimacy (I'm not even speaking of sex or even "heavy petting') how are you fully in love with someone? How are you fully in love without kissing and hugging and holding hands? That's all part of the celebration of love, I think. This is just too puritanical for belief. I think it's unhealthy and cannot lead to good things for their marriages.

By this statement, only those with hands can love? For better of for worse mean anything these days. Sounds like this couple is so horny that if they kissed, lights out, and that's their problem. Many marriages that were arranged worked out; not saying that I would want one. It take two, not sex in marriage. But sex is the bond in most relationships, and they plan on having it. They never said kissing is bad, just for them they did.

But take a look at your statement it leaves no room for unconditional love which in my book is true love. Sex is a gift and is for more than procreation. But you don't just have sex when your married; not all enjoy sex or have it during all their years especially as they grow older. Basing your romance as love can be wrong and end in divorce.

check out the average suicide rates among nuns and prostitutes and you'll probably find something there.
That makes no sense, check out suicide among boys & girls, and what will we know, one has more than the other. People of all types have problems, so what generalization are you trying to form?
posted by thomcatspike at 3:45 PM on August 11, 2003


Possibly relevant study on promiscuity.
posted by rushmc at 3:47 PM on August 11, 2003


OK then, compare the rates of violent deaths, depression, average lifespan etc among nuns and porn stars (or even common movie stars).

Movie stars participate more fully in life and the world than nuns, so it is only reasonable to expect that they will experience more of them—and that would include the vicissitudes. You might find similar results by comparing income, net worth, successful marriages, or any number of other positive criteria that you wanted to consider.
posted by rushmc at 3:52 PM on August 11, 2003


I don’t really like the idea of sex on the first date, but I think it is good for the first time with a person to be “over with” as soon as is reasonably possible. Wait too long and there is just too much buildup and anxiety related to it. Don’t wait too long and it just removes this barrier, keeps it from becoming this big uncomfortable issue and allows you to move on with the more meaningful parts of the relationship. Make it out to be a huge issue and it will become one, almost like it is the true center of the relationship, everything builds up to it. That's just wrong.
posted by bargle at 3:56 PM on August 11, 2003


Exactly what kind of fear is instilled in a person that they never even have that "first Kiss" as a young teenager?
All kinds of things, from social phobia to schizoid/avoidant personality disorder, to simply being shy. Around 10% of the population is thought to have some form of personality disorder, and they often form around this time, so...
These two would have the world believe that they never, ever even had any kind of a kiss in jr. high or high school?
Why not? I'm 22, and I've been through school, college and university without so much as holding someone's hand. I'm somewhat off the bell curve for sure, but probably little more so than my IQ is.

What, did you think everyone's confident, outgoing, articulate, fearless and well-adjusted?
posted by Freaky at 4:07 PM on August 11, 2003


What makes me laugh is how people get so uptight about sexual intimacy on Metafilter. If people wait until they're 26, so what? What does it matter? Does it matter more than a 16 year old falling pregnant and bringing up a kid without a father? That happens everyday but you won't see a thread about it on Metafilter. But......of course......this kind of story is bread and butter to the MeFi crowd.....and what do we get in response? Bread and butter responses. How boring and predictable Mefi can be at times. How about some Vietnamese Flash sites or something bizarre?!!!
posted by SpaceCadet at 4:22 PM on August 11, 2003


For me, sex is just sex. It's about as mystical as taking a dump.

Oh boy, you must be real popular with the ladies.... :P
posted by sic at 4:24 PM on August 11, 2003


the ones that are into scat I mean.
posted by sic at 4:29 PM on August 11, 2003


Horses for courses, each to their own.

Some people view sex as more important/integral than others and thats the way it will always be - this isn't something that you can quantify and say that your opinion on it is more valid than anybody elses. Well, probably to the same degree that you can say your religion is more valid than other peoples - possibly for the same reasons ;)

Its as big an issue as you make it. Awkwardness can be fun. As the article states ;)
posted by Mossy at 4:32 PM on August 11, 2003


check out the average suicide rates among nuns and prostitutes and you'll probably find something there.

Want to add; Dope!, by their profession alone you know without a study.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:33 PM on August 11, 2003


What, did you think everyone's confident, outgoing, articulate, fearless and well-adjusted?

no. that's what the grocery bag in your wallet is for.
posted by quonsar at 4:34 PM on August 11, 2003


I guess I can blame that on being a mature adult who has a healthy sex life.

Thank God for small favors! And yes, there's about a quadruple entendre in that last sentence ;-)
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:55 PM on August 11, 2003


Of course they'll eventually get around to kissing, hugging, and (God Forbid!) shagging. And they'll discover it's really no big deal. Thunder won't clap from the skies. Angels will not dance around their bed singing a heavenly chorus. And they'll wonder what the big deal was.

I know a woman who was an Evangelical Christian - when she picked up a "boyfriend" in the church (at 17) they essentially told her to marry him immediately (no touchy feely allowed!) or leave the church. She did marry him, but after realizing that everything she'd been warned about sex was rubbish, she ended up leaving the church as well.
posted by Jimbob at 5:09 PM on August 11, 2003


So I ask you again. Do you have any evidence that promiscuity is psychologically harmful?

It's been psychologically harmful to me. And emotionally draining.

For some people, sexual intimacy starts the emotional ball rolling, involuntarily. And when the emotions are not reciprocated (fuck and run), it's incredibly hurtful.

I don't see why it would be so wrong for such a person to decide it's not worth it to fuck at the drop of a hat, and to wait for some level of emotional intimacy before feeling comfortable with sex.

I find the attitude above that sex is just a way to have fun, to scratch an itch, and can be had devoid of any emotional attachment an alien one.

Some people are different and actually want to attach meaning to their sexual encounters, and don't feel comfortable sharing the most intimate parts of their bodies with relative strangers. They are not better or worse, just different. Their way is a valid one too.

I say more power to this couple - at least they both feel the same way. Perhaps their journey to physical intimacy will be thrilling and wonderful for them. I hope so. And so what if their first encounter(s) are awkward and don't quite live up to expectations?

All non-virgins have lived through the experience and many go on to have wonderfully satisfying sex lives. At least these two are safe in the knowledge that one partner won't abandon the other as soon as the first fuck is done with.

I'd invite those of you who are so keen on promiscuity to take a poll of your former sexual partners and ask them whether they felt used or hurt by the experience, and whether they'd choose to go through it again. You might be surprised by some of the answers.
posted by beth at 5:22 PM on August 11, 2003


...shagging. And they'll discover it's really no big deal. Thunder won't clap from the skies. Angels will not dance around their bed singing a heavenly chorus.
*feels sorry for Jimbob, who is obviously not doing it properly*
posted by dg at 5:28 PM on August 11, 2003


Hey, I'm speaking for them, not me. The Jimbob treats his lady well.
posted by Jimbob at 5:39 PM on August 11, 2003


They met before their wedding day?

Slut.
posted by holloway at 5:55 PM on August 11, 2003


No no no, that's "The Jimbob cooks his lady well..." After she has the bucket kicked, anyhoo.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:56 PM on August 11, 2003


beth

i hear what you're saying here, but you're objecting to being used, not people getting down. I think the root of this problem the statement

Some people are different and actually want to attach meaning to their sexual encounters

Anytime someone attaches personal meaning to something that isn't there, you're bound for trouble. In a nutshell, it's "this event must mean this to you, since I want it to be", which is just setting yourself up for heartache.

Now, on the other hand, some smooth operator slides by and convinces you that he/she's in love with you in order to get some action -- that's despicable. But incurring sadness and emotional troubles due to your own brain attaching spurious meaning to an event -- that's something different.

I've been quite sexually active over the years, and I really have seen no negative impact upon my life due to it. Have some of the sex I've experienced resulted in emotional scenes? Sure, but not in a long time (since teenage years) -- and the reason for that is a policy of honesty with the partner(s).
posted by badzen at 6:00 PM on August 11, 2003


And when the emotions are not reciprocated (fuck and run), it's incredibly hurtful.

Unrequited love exists independently of sex.

At least these two are safe in the knowledge that one partner won't abandon the other as soon as the first fuck is done with.

That's bullshit. Quite literally, there is no way of telling what either of these people's reaction to sex will be. Hmm, that might be something worth finding out about somebody before making an allegedly lifelong exclusive sexual commitment.

I don't see why it would be so wrong for such a person to decide it's not worth it to fuck at the drop of a hat, and to wait for some level of emotional intimacy before feeling comfortable with sex.

There are two different things in here which need to be disentangled. It's not wrong for someone to decide not to fuck at the drop of a hat, but that's distinct from holding the baseline assessment of discomfort with sex, which is what you're describing in the last part of that.
posted by NortonDC at 6:13 PM on August 11, 2003


you who are so keen on promiscuity

Since my itch analogy was appropriated in that comment, I would like to state for the record that I'm not advocating promiscuity. I stated clearly that sex is very different and absolutely preferable with someone for whom you care deeply.

Failing that, it's just like Malcolm X said: "By any means necessary."

DISCLAIMER: Quote not to be taken literally in this context. Consult your doctor before engaging in any exercise plan. Do not use strong coersion tactics in pursuit of sex. You've seen The Crying Game right? Enough said.
posted by Mayor Curley at 6:14 PM on August 11, 2003


Anytime someone attaches personal meaning to something that isn't there, you're bound for trouble
If there is meaning for the person concerned, it is valid no matter what the act is. That is what personal meaning is - it means something to that person.
posted by dg at 6:37 PM on August 11, 2003


How about this:

Anytime someone projects meaning onto someone who does not, in fact, subscribe to that meaning, you're bound for trouble.
posted by 4easypayments at 8:04 PM on August 11, 2003


well, that may be true mdn, but that's 20/20 hindsight talking, isn't it? when you're deciding to sleep with someone you're attracted to and hitting it off with on your first date, you sure are hoping to do what makes you happy, and you may even take a moment to weigh the negative outcomes that might result (i.e. fuck and run).

But the negative outcomes could happen if you don't fuck too - I mean, if you're really into someone and you have what seems like a great first date, and then they never call you back, that's just as sucky, isn't it? Why would whether or not you chose to have sex be a factor in your ensuing unhappiness?

i agree, of course, that if you're not comfortable with the possibility of post-FDS rejection you shouldn't do it...

okay.

what i meant by "burned" is "filled with regret." you only have to regret having FDS once, whether you regret it immediately afterwards or not until months later after you date and then break up with the person, to have a change of heart about your personal FDS philosophy. did it make you happy to have FDS at the time? hells yeah. but later on when you came to regret it (say, after falling in love with the FDS-ee and then six months later getting dumped), it can make you very unhappy.

what does this have to do with FDS? If you have a six month relationship that ends, it's pretty much ridiculous to blame it on whether or not you had sex the first night...

lesson learned for next time -- either you should be more careful and take it slower, or you should care less. i.e. your "system of belief" will change with experience, no? on top of all of that, you are up against the clucking of more Rules-based friends who opine that "if only you had waited 'til the third date" you wouldn't feel so crappy...which is unhelpful bullshit, or is it?

I can't imagine how it could be explained to even make sense, let alone be solid reasoning.

see, "ambivalence and contradiction" all over the place, thanks dgaicun.

yeah, well welcome to the human experience, but I don't see why that means determining that having sex too early is the root cause of break-ups of otherwise healthy relationships.
posted by mdn at 9:05 PM on August 11, 2003


beth -- i am totally with you.

Mayor Curley -- i knew it, nobody needs to get their skates sharpened that much...i was a fool. you can choke on that sweater for all i care! >:D that said, "By any means necessary" is my line of the night, you slay me...

NortonDC -- i think we'll have to agree to disagree at some point...but to clarify:

> You said "that 'account' can be replenished too," but you
> never spoke of sex being the source of that replenishment,
> and in fact previously only spoke of sex as an emotional
> drain.

here's what i wrote, with comments in brackets: you can have all the sexual intimacy you want, it's the emotional capital that (for some of us, at least) goes along with it [that is, along with having sex] that gets depleted. that "account" [the emotional capital] can be replenished too [i.e. by having that same sex]

sorry if that wasn't clear. if you don't share my view that sex *can* drain your emotional capital *sometimes* that's ok...you're lucky that it hasn't happened to you, i guess, because you'd know if it did. both you and badzen seem to have the position that honesty about expectations around sex can keep it from becoming emotionally entangled...but not everyone is so honest, are they? my dad used to tell my sisters and i, "All men want to do is ejaculate." i used to think that was harsh (not to mention guh-ross)...but now i've experienced that moment of betrayal that comes when you realize that everything you heard and believed, before, during and after the fact, was a line, and that your judgment sucks. that drains your emotional capital too. i suppose what i need to do is, in the words of one young Seattle man, "Find a [guy] who looks just like [him], nail [him], and then dump [him]!" :P
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:13 PM on August 11, 2003


> if you're really into someone and you have what seems like a
> great first date, and then they never call you back, that's just
> as sucky, isn't it? Why would whether or not you chose to
> have sex be a factor in your ensuing unhappiness?

not to be too snarky, but come on -- having a coffee date who never calls you and having a one night stand who never calls you are two different kinds of sucky, at least for me. assuming all other factors are equal, that is -- i.e. you're equally attracted to the person in both scenarios.

> what does this have to do with FDS? If you have a six month
> relationship that ends, it's pretty much ridiculous to blame it > on whether or not you had sex the first night...

i'm not blaming it on that, it's just a handy symbol for what turned out to be poor relationship judgment...more below...

> I don't see why that means determining that having sex too
> early is the root cause of break-ups of otherwise healthy
> relationships.

i never said "root cause" -- sex shouldn't be the only reason you get together or not, in my view. the relationships i have in mind are not particularly healthy overall, hence their curtailed lifespan. in fact, that's the whole point -- when a relationship sours, and you look back on how it did so, one thing that can come up is whether there was not enough emotional underpinning to supplement the sexual energy. if the answer is no, perhaps it could have been determined that this was an emotional dead end *before* so much sexual energy had been expended. now this is, i think, where i part ways from the NortonDC school of thought -- i *used* to think that any willing expenditure of sexual energy was by definition a good and enjoyable thing, but now i find myself retroactively labeling it a hasty mistake when the emotional component never materializes. maybe that makes me somehow increasingly naive with age and experience, i don't know...or maybe just increasingly bitter. feh.
posted by serafinapekkala at 9:31 PM on August 11, 2003


mdn: But the negative outcomes could happen if you don't fuck too - I mean, if you're really into someone and you have what seems like a great first date, and then they never call you back, that's just as sucky, isn't it? Why would whether or not you chose to have sex be a factor in your ensuing unhappiness?

For many people, sex involves or implies a higher level of emotional commitment than just coffee or a movie. In addition, there are the scads of potential health issues that can come out of a one night stand. At least for me being blown off after a sexual encounter sucks a lot more than being blown off after a trip to the coffee shop. When a relationship goes sour, nobody ever says, "I bought you an iced Americano, you bastard." And I never have to worry about the four Hs after a trip to the coffee shop, HIV, HSV, Hep, and HPV.

But gee, there are so many ways that I've been burned and seen my friends burned that sex early in the relationship just seems to have much too high of a risk. First dates are barely long enough to establish that there are some common interests there. People tend to be on their best behavior on the first few dates and hide their touchy sides and dirty laundry. A wonderful metaphor is the comment in High Fidelity that living with a woman means seeing all of the not-so-sexy underwear on a day to day basis. In my experience, afteglow is the time in which many people start feeling comfortable revealing those parts of themselves that would cause serious friction in a relationship.

yeah, well welcome to the human experience, but I don't see why that means determining that having sex too early is the root cause of break-ups of otherwise healthy relationships.

I actually don't think that having sex too early (or at all) is the root cause of break-ups. In fact, I find many of the assumptions on this thread regarding the risk of sexual incompatibility to be a bit funny. I honestly can't think of a single relationship where the sex was a major factor in the break-up. In fact, I think that sex can keep otherwise unhealthy relationships limping along.

At this point in my life, I think that it's a good investment to get to know a person before having sex. Many of the big ugly messes I've found myself involved in could have been prevented with a little bit more patience.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:07 AM on August 12, 2003


compare the rates of violent deaths, depression, average lifespan etc among nuns and porn stars

Well I bet nuns don't suffer from the gush. (search for gush on the page - NSFW)
posted by biffa at 2:47 AM on August 12, 2003


Kids, I agree that many people find sexual promiscuity depressing/saddening/stressful.

But we're not talking about people choosing not to be promiscuous--we're talking about people choosing NOT TO HUG OR KISS EACH OTHER ON THE CHEEK! And then bragging about it.

I don't know about you, but I think the sexualizing and demonizing of ordinary physical affection (like a little kiss on the cheek, or holding hands) is much more depressing and saddening than even, say...Ron Jeremy.

And Ron Jeremy makes me reach for an extra Effexor every time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:37 AM on August 12, 2003


And let me put this another way:

Me: Before I was married, I sometimes had sex with people I had known for a few weeks/months/years. Sometimes we had a romantic relationship; sometimes we had a friendly relationship; sometimes we realized we didn't really like each other and avoided each other afterwards.

Guy in FPP article: Does not kiss his fiance/sister/female friends/cousins/aunts/grandmothers on the cheek in order to preserve his chastity.

Who has more of a problem with sex? Me, or a guy who's afraid that if he kisses his sister on the cheek he'll turn into a Ravening Lust Beast?
posted by Sidhedevil at 3:43 AM on August 12, 2003


Agreed. I know some Grade A perverts, and they don't think about sex half as much as this guy does, if he thinks a hug is always sexual.

I think it's sad. I grew up in a very huggy-kissy family, and we're still all very close.
posted by JoanArkham at 4:10 AM on August 12, 2003


Sidhedevil: yeah, I think that everybody has stopped talking about the extreme (and in my opinion absurd) case linked to on the FPP and has just started talking about their own feelings about sex and relationships. Which has lead to a far more interesting thread than simply laughing at the evangelicals.

Anyway, I've met three basic kinds of people in my life:

1. Those that can literally have sex with anybody (because it's no more important to them than "taking a dump" or "scratching an itch") and attach zero emotional capital to the act and never will. (This is not to say that these people feel no emotion, they just don't need it have sex).

2. Those that generally need some emotional bond to have sex but definitely do not need to be in love to have sex with somebody (at one end of this spectrum, this can include i-mere infatuation leading to FDS) and who often acknowledge the difference between sex and "making love".

3. Those that are incapable of the sex act without a fairly strong emotional component, the utter extreme being the Seattle couple, but more normally being people that only have sex when they feel sure that at the very least their partner cares enough about them to call them the next day.

Of course, within those groups are endless gradiations and I suppose the trick is to find someone who is compatible with your own sexual and emotional needs. Probably the hardest part of a successful relationship.
posted by sic at 4:19 AM on August 12, 2003


guys, guys, guys! It's only sex. It's not like it's Bush, Iraq or people hurting puppy dogs in the park..
posted by Pericles at 6:07 AM on August 12, 2003


sic: You could just rename your numbers 1-3 as "fucking," "having sex," and "making love," and I believe most people are capable of all three (even though they might have a preference for one of the three).
posted by kirkaracha at 7:00 AM on August 12, 2003


not to be too snarky, but come on -- having a coffee date who never calls you and having a one night stand who never calls you are two different kinds of sucky, at least for me. assuming all other factors are equal, that is -- i.e. you're equally attracted to the person in both scenarios.

the part that matters to me when someone ends up not being interested is how into them I was. Who said anything about coffee? I'm thinking of the conversation, the connection, the way the person makes you feel. If you go out for dinner and then drinks and you spend hours getting to know someone and you think, wow, this could be something else, and then they never call, that would suck. If you had sex in addition to all that, it would still suck. But I wouldn't regret the sex - I would be upset at the not-calling.

I mean, unless the sex was really bad and awkward and seemed like a reason for the person not calling - then I would regret it and wonder if maybe I had waited to get to know the person better, so that we felt more comfortable around each other, it would have been better... but if the sex was good and it was simply that the person was not interested, that's the part I'd be upset by. If the sex was phenomenal, I'd be more upset because I'd know how good our sex life could have been - but that doesn't seem to be your argument.

First dates are barely long enough to establish that there are some common interests there. People tend to be on their best behavior on the first few dates and hide their touchy sides and dirty laundry.

yeah. In the past I've often dated people I'd known in some capacity for a while before we decided to go out, so FDS there is different from sleeping with a stranger the first night you meet them. But really what strikes me as a risk is that you'll be so nervous and unfamiliar with one another that the sex will be unnecessarily awkward... which would suck. (see above).

Also wanted to add that I agree with bargle above, that too much build-up to first time sex makes it much bigger a deal than it should be - it's an important part of the relationship but shouldn't be symbolic of the whole interaction.

Also what holloway said, re: these people. They're attaching dirtiness to familiarity, essentially.
posted by mdn at 7:11 AM on August 12, 2003


In my experience, afteglow is the time in which many people start feeling comfortable revealing those parts of themselves that would cause serious friction in a relationship.

That sounds like a strong argument for having sex early in a relationship. Why does that not seem so to you?

And, by the way, Ron Jeremy is considered a good guy among most of the DC MeFi/blog/web-geek crowd who've met him. One thinks he's an egomaniac, but that makes it something like 6 to 1.
posted by NortonDC at 7:12 AM on August 12, 2003


"For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly." --Psalm 84:11
posted by aaronshaf at 7:22 AM on August 12, 2003


For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

So if we're standing up then we can get all the "plo chops" we want?
posted by bshort at 7:34 AM on August 12, 2003


Wow... it's unsurprising but still disappointing how lightly sex is taken around here. Chastity and fidelity are hardly even considered virtuous. I definitely commend the couple for taking seriously the Christian belief that sex is reserved for a husband and wife only. One common objection to this belief is "what if we aren't compatible?" Honestly I think that's bunk, though. If two people love each other and are committed to working together to make a life, with some practice and patience they can have a fulfilling sex life even if it isn't hot the first time -- or the first twenty.

I personally find the "no kissing" boundary they set for themselves to be a little extreme, but they aren't saying it's absolute truth, just a personal preference. Besides, the general logic is solid -- setting boundaries a little farther out than what you definitely don't want to do. If they set their boundary at "heavy petting" how likely is it that they'd be able to refrain from going just a little farther in the heat of the moment and having sex? But if they cross the line and kiss, they may be disappointed in themselves for a time, but they have still kept true to the major commitment of abstinence.

The article commented briefly that religious marriages are often successful. This has been discussed somewhat here, but I don't think anyone has hit the nail on the head. It's easy enough to say that two people of the share religious beliefs are alike enough to have a good chance of making it work. This, of course, denies any power in the religion itself. Here's what I believe: if two people who come together in marriage are committed to a faith in Christ, to loving each other as they love themselves, to sacrificing for each other and submitting to one another, to patience, kindness, and faithfulness, then their marriage will work out. It's not easy but it is that simple.
posted by john1800 at 7:35 AM on August 12, 2003


Yeah, the zero people promoting infidelity in here make me sick.
posted by NortonDC at 7:51 AM on August 12, 2003


To reduce Jesus' message of universal love and redemption to a bunch of sex rules is a monstrous, perverse, life-distorting, soul-smothering blasphemy.
posted by Frank Grimes at 9:32 AM on August 12, 2003


Here's what I believe: if two people who come together in marriage are committed to a faith in Christ, to loving each other as they love themselves, to sacrificing for each other and submitting to one another, to patience, kindness, and faithfulness, then their marriage will work out. It's not easy but it is that simple.

Eliminate "a faith in Christ" from that list of requirements and their marriage would work just as well.
posted by DaShiv at 9:35 AM on August 12, 2003


So if we're standing up then we can get all the "plo chops" we want?

Only if you are standing uprightly. If you slouch when you stand, he will withhold good things from you.
posted by bargle at 9:54 AM on August 12, 2003


I said: In my experience, afteglow is the time in which many people start feeling comfortable revealing those parts of themselves that would cause serious friction in a relationship.

NortonDC: That sounds like a strong argument for having sex early in a relationship. Why does that not seem so to you?
I'd rather find these things out before having sex. For many people, sex means that the relationship has "gotten serious" and requires a higher commitment of time and emotional energy. I don't think this is a bad thing, but I'd rather know a bit more about what I'm getting into.

This is just the way I feel about things based on my experiences. But what the hell do I know, I've only been promiscuous, polyamorous, and monogamous at various stages in my life so obviously I'm unqualified to suggest good risk management strategies for dating!

NortonDC: And, by the way, Ron Jeremy is considered a good guy among most of the DC MeFi/blog/web-geek crowd who've met him. One thinks he's an egomaniac, but that makes it something like 6 to 1.

I'm not exactly certain how this relates because no one has made the claim that having a large number of sexual partners makes one an egomaniac.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:17 AM on August 12, 2003


Frank: Who is reducing Jesus' message? Neither the couple in the article, nor anyone posting here, has said that that sex rules were central to the message of Christ. His message is love and redemption for those who have faith in Him. However, He asks those that love him to follow his commandments, so speaking of specific commandments should not be seen as placing them at the center of the message.

DaShiv: A Christian with fairly orthodox beliefs will tell you that we are all, by nature, sinners, and incapable of righteousness on our own. It's so easy to be selfish or impatient, especially in the little ways that add up to buckets of frustration over time. It is faith in Christ that gives many people the strength to keep the other requirements I mentioned for a healthy, lasting marriage.
posted by john1800 at 10:25 AM on August 12, 2003


KirkJobSluder, my discussion of Ron Jeremy was prompted by Sidhedevil's assertion that he is "depressing and saddening."

Also, the one state you don't mention is celibacy, which arguably goes more directly to what we're talking about than, say, polyamory, or even promiscuity. It seems the core of the discussion is sex early versus sex late, not how many separate partners that sex is with.
posted by NortonDC at 10:41 AM on August 12, 2003


If they set their boundary at "heavy petting" how likely is it that they'd be able to refrain from going just a little farther in the heat of the moment and having sex?

Whyever not? Oh yeah, I forgot, cuz they are inherently, inevitably bad, weak and sinful.

::: shudders :::
posted by rushmc at 10:47 AM on August 12, 2003


John1800, if you had clicked on the link, you would have seen that this was taken from an editorial column I read in the paper this morning. That's all.
posted by Frank Grimes at 11:21 AM on August 12, 2003


I noticed it was a link to The Vent (which I'm familiar with as a former Atlantan -- I guess I was wrong in assuming what you were trying to say by posting it. Sorry.
posted by john1800 at 11:49 AM on August 12, 2003


NortonDC: Also, the one state you don't mention is celibacy, which arguably goes more directly to what we're talking about than, say, polyamory, or even promiscuity. It seems the core of the discussion is sex early versus sex late, not how many separate partners that sex is with.

Actually, I have been celibate by choice (or to be more precise, I went through periods of time when I did not have sex with other people and did not persue sexual relationships) and found it to be a good choice at the time. Heck, even sex-positive icon Susie Bright has been known to plug celibacy as a positive personal choice. It seems these days that a large chunk of media is selling its self on the premise that you will get hairy palms and go blind if you DON'T have freaky, orgasmic, hot buttery lovin' with someone at least three times a week.

But this discussion is one of the reasons why I've pretty much soured on sex-positivism. It seems to have stopped being about self-reflection, understanding your own personal needs, and negotiating those needs with other partners, and instead has become such a strong backlash against "puritanism" ¹ that it has replaced the law that you are a slut if you do it before betrothal, to the standard that you are a prude if you don't do it after the first few dates. I find both views to be profoundly unhealthy as a universal mandate.

¹ The puritans were actually more sexually astute than we give them credit for. They promoted awareness of female orgasm and about half of the firstborn children were born within 6 months of marriage.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:50 AM on August 12, 2003


john1800: I would submit that one does not require faith in Christ to be selfless, patient, kind, and faithful. If faith in Christ helps them to do so, more power to them, but that hardly makes it a prerequisite for a successful marriage.

Strict adherence to religious doctrine might shield some from being burned by bad sexual encounters, but they also miss out on some wonderful opportunites as well. When it comes to the "fucking" vs "having sex" vs "making love" hierarchy, I think all three are possible both before and after marriage, although the commitment involved in marriage certainly changes the ratio among the three.
posted by DaShiv at 12:39 PM on August 12, 2003


To reduce Jesus' message of universal love and redemption to a bunch of sex rules is a monstrous, perverse, life-distorting, soul-smothering blasphemy.

Damn, that's the most intelligent thing I've read all day.
posted by deanc at 2:11 PM on August 12, 2003


Plugging celibacy sure sounds like a contridiction to me.
posted by NortonDC at 7:43 PM on August 12, 2003


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