Monday, September 24, 2012

S before M

Premarital sex, or lack thereof, seems to be in the news lately. I'm not sure why. I ran across an article (on Fox News, natch) that got my blood boiling, not because of it's oh-so-pure message (frankly, I don't care if you never touch yourself or each other before you tie the knot), but because of its holier-than-thou tone. Steven Crowder calls anyone who has premarital sex a "harlot"and "floozie". Notably absent, of course, is any equivalent male derogatory term, though he does sound awfully self-satisfied (dare I say prideful?) of his unsullied premarital chastity. Goody-goody for him.

I'm not going to sidestep the scholarly articles, and there are reams of them, showing pretty conclusively that non-virgins at marriage face a higher risk of divorce. I've no doubt that's true. People who have sex before marriage are also statistically more likely to cheat on their spouse, and for much the same reasons, I suspect. Those who wait to have sex make an investment in the relationship and tend--I'd guess--to take their marriage more seriously. The same holds true in cultures that practice arranged marriages, incidentally.

Tell you something, though, and I'm sure you've heard this before: Correlation does not imply causation. That's a logical fallacy, a very common one. The ancient Romans knew it as post hoc, ergo propter hoc. Your marriage's longevity is not dependant on whether you've never touched each other beforehand, nor whether you've engaged in every sex act known to man and beast during your, uh, engagement. It is, rather, dependant almost entirely on your attitude towards the marriage itself.

I'll be the first person to tell you I DIDN'T wake up the night after my wedding and think holy cow, everything's changed. No, actually, I felt exactly the opposite both a day, a week, and a month later: holy cow, everything's the same. Crowder alludes (or thinks he does) to that in his little slice of sanctimony, dismissing his beachmate's wedding as "just another party" whereas his, of course, was a once-in-a-lifetime event.

My wedding was a once-in-a-lifetime event...but my wife and I were married on our third date. The ceremony only served as a public announcement (though what a glorious announcement it was!)

I'll explain that, because whenever I tell people about the story of how Eva and I met and mated, I get incredulous looks and dropped jaws. As longtime readers know, my wife and I first met at a job interview. I knew walking out of that interview that I had a job, and I strongly suspected I had a girlfriend. Sure enough, within a few short months I had to quit that job since dating the boss is a no-no. (Okay, truth be told I sucked at the job and would have been fired if I hadn't quit, but I like telling this story the other way.)
Our first date lasted something like fourteen hours.  We bought a bed after our second date, on the grounds that I didn't want her killing her back on that shitty futon (and my back was a consideration, too.) And on the third date, I moved in with her. At that point, a wedding had already been discussed: it was, we both knew, a foregone conclusion.

We both knew. We just did. An inkling of that knowledge presented itself before our first date. Speaking for myself, it took time for me to figure out that what inkling was, and accept it for what it was when I did. Call it...a week. By that third date, as far as we were concerned, we were married and had an attitude towards our relationship pretty similar--honestly!--to the attitude we share today.

Some atavistic relic deep inside me waited for the prison door to slam shut with the pronouncement of the vows. I'm a man, after all. Part of man-lore, handed down by every comedian ever, is that marriage is a trap. Russell Peters goes so far as to call it a disease
But there was no disease and no trap. Marriage, I decided, was just like single life...only with more security. That was what my wedding got me: a promise of more of the same, a promise I gleefully accepted and just as gleefully gave.

Well before that wedding formalized the arrangement, Eva's grandmother asked her almost within my earshot if she had "tried me out". This woman was married for fifty nine years. Most emphatically happily married.

Indeed Eva had "tried me out". What's more, neither of us lived in a sexual bubble before we met each other. (Psst, little secret: it's not premarital sex if you don't marry the person, now is it?) We've been married coming up on twelve years, or well over thirteen if you count from when I like to. We're more than happy: we're content. That's what familiarity breeds, isn't it? Content?

Once again, like I seem to find myself doing with every blog post, I'm going to say "ours is not a better way, ours is only another way." If you choose to wait to have sex until after you're married, that is your prerogative and your decision. I won't judge you for it and I'd ask you extend me the same courtesy.

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