I Live in Sin... You?
You might be surprised to learn that "The Chastity Talk," administered biannually as I attended Young Womens and my BYU wards, was really quite effective for me. I knew all of the boundaries.
The way I saw it was like this: French kissing (sometimes referred to by the Brethren as "soul" kissing) was like the caffeinated beverage of the sexual purity realm. Certainly, a prophet advised against it, but was a literal commandment? No.
Therefore, I French kissed boys almost as often as I drank Mountain Dew.
"Petting," however, was off-limits. I made up my mind over and over again, every time I got that talk from my bishop, his counselors, young women's president, the cool couple in the ward, or whoever got the "opportunity" of delivering it.
Another contributing factor to my continuing chastity may have been that my entire "Birds & the Bees" talk with my mother, after sex-education week in the 6th grade, went like this:
Mom: So, they told you about that stuff at school, right?I think I also borrowed some of the pamphlets she had left over from her sex-ed class in the 60's that I looked over. That was a big help. In college, I was once so curious about sex that I tried to look up the Kama Sutra in the BYU library, only to find that it was under lock and key.
Mom: Well, if you have any questions, let me know.
Basically, between being told not to have sex and not being told about sex... I knew very little about the subject until after I graduated from college.
I know that many people who made/have made commitments to stay sexually pure until marriage feel that their lives have been greatly improved by that decision. I certainly won't argue with them.
I think sexual abstinence has a lot of advantages. I also don't think that it's the only way you can be happy.
More particularly, I've wondered frequently in the last few years as I've learned more about men and their sexual drive, about what a burden sexual abstinence can be for them.
As a female, I never experienced a "wet dream," like males do, and I never experienced an overwhelming desire to have sex while I was young. It's my understanding that males are genetically and biologically driven to procreate and it's a very difficult thing to counteract. I've wondered many times in the last few years about how LDS adolescent boys and young men deal with the guilt that must come from this drive and actions that they take as a result.
I have known LDS men who struggle with commandments against masturbation. Their lives are "on hold" while they learn to cope or overcome this problem, but they never seem to make it.
I think that after I had sex, it would have been difficult to have gone back to being chaste and to have stayed that way. Maybe that's what it's like for men. They cross a certain threshold (with a wet dream), over which they have no control. After that experience and the testosterone that comes along with it, maybe it's hard not to go that line again?
I hate to end this post with a question, but that's all I'm left with. It is my hope that my thoughts on this are not offensive. I own up to my ignorance on the subject (see above conversation with my mother for reference) and invite your comments, anonymous or otherwise, on the subject.