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Thursday, March 08, 2012

How long do you wait to sleep with someone?

We've talked about everything from break-ups to breasts, so today let's talk about sex...

When it comes to dating, I've always been super slow. I've waited ages before sleeping with new boyfriends. In college, I waited five months to sleep with one boyfriend; and three months to sleep with a later boyfriend. After graduating, I waited more than a year to sleep with a boyfriend I met here in New York.

By the time I met Alex, I was 28 and more confident and bold. Plus, I was head-over-heels for him after our very first date. So, for our third date, I suggested that we "watch a movie" at his apartment. We rented Chinatown, and halfway through, he paused the movie because I wanted to ask a question about the plot....yada, yada, yada, we made waffles the next morning.

I'm curious: How long do you wait to sleep with a new boyfriend or girlfriend? First date? Three dates? Weeks, months, years? Until marriage? Have you ever regretted waiting too long or too little? Spill the beans--and feel free to comment anonymously!
(Photos from Elisa/Flickr and W&D)

499 comments:

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MaviDeniz said...

W/ my now husband we slept together the first night. I've never done anything like that before, but I had already met him a few times (friend of a friend) and I really liked him from the moment I saw him. We've been together for 5 years and married for 2. After I did sleep with him for the first time I regretted it at first b/c I didn't want him to think I was that kind of girl, but it all worked out.

Xo

Allison said...

My husband and I waited until marriage...we dated for a few years. We have both only been with each other, and I am so glad!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I actually think the vast majority of these comments are really open minded and respectful. I'm impressed by how many different life experiences are represented and how individuals of different faiths and beliefs are willing to share their own experiences without disparaging others. This is a tough topic and I commend each of you for taking part in the conversation, and hats off to Joanna for her honesty and authenticity.

My stats: waited a few years with my first love in high school. Waited three dates with my husband. I can't imagine a more perfect history for myself and wish that same feeling for every woman (and man). xoxo

Anonymous said...

I find it really interesting all the commenters that say they were virgins and waited until marriage and it was "fantastic" and "amazing" and "they've never regretted it." My husband and I, too, were virgins when we got married. We'd been together for four years before we got married, and have now been married for eight. I grew up believing that sex with one person within marriage was the best possible situation, and if I waited it would be mind-blowing, and God-given, and totally out of this world. But the truth is, in spite of how much we love each other, the sex is not great, and it certainly wasn't what I thought it would be. Sometimes I wonder if that's because of our inexperience, the pressure that was put upon us to "wait." Sometimes I'd wish we'd both experimented more, with each other and with other people, to become comfortable with sex and our bodies and to get out all the "issues" before we came together. As evidenced by this comment thread, it's rare to hear 'virgins until marriage' folks claim that it WASN'T worth it. My opinions on sex have changed so much so that now I really don't think I'll raise my children to view it as a "marriage only" thing. I don't want them to sleep around, necessarily, but I think sex can and perhaps should be enjoyed with people you love... and for many of us, we love a number of people at different times in our life.

-Anonymous in Brooklyn

Anonymous said...

I've always been fairly quick about things. And, for the most part, I don't regret that. Sure, there were times when the guy on the receiving end of my quickness disappointed me or treated me poorly, but I've almost always been able to separate sex from emotion. It's not that sex isn't a big deal to me - it is a big deal to me - but not in the way that much of society thinks it is. To me, it's something to be celebrated. For some people, celebrating sex may mean saving it for marriage and, for others (myself included), it means enjoying those moments of intense chemistry with someone. As long as you're doing it because YOU want to and not because you feel pressured, then there's nothing wrong with it, and for me, there's no "timeline" to follow. When I met my husband while on vacation, we lived in different parts of the world and had less than 2 weeks to spend together, it felt important to get to that step to help determine what our future would/could be together. But it never felt like we were rushing. Now that we're married and I've only been with him for 8 years, I'm glad that I had the experiences I had before him. I enjoyed them. And sex with my husband is completely different - while it's still exciting and fun, I still relish the memories I have of first times with someone - the making out, the mystery and excitement of learning someone new.

Kristina King said...

I had it for the first time 2 months after my 18th birthday after dating my then boyfriend for about 4 months. I have slept with 3 others since then, and have no regrets. I never saw sex as a "special bond". Yes, it brings people closer, and this may or may not work in the couple's favor. It definitely depends on the person/couple. And, also, to a degree, the way each person in the couple handles things after having sex is important. Sometimes men distance themselves and women act too clingy or vice versa which can ruin a relationship. Albeit the risks, I've always been a staunch "try before you buy" person. ESPECIALLY before marriage. Bedroom chemistry is important to me.

Anonymous said...

I slept with my now fiance on our 2nd date. Wouldn't change a thing.
I had waited with past boyfriends and that doesn't always make it more special. Sleeping with my fiance is special each and everytime, because I'm in love.

Anonymous said...

What does virginity really mean? I always felt like I was in an awkward position - by society standards I was a virgin, but by "church" standards I was not, because my husband and I had engaged in oral and outer-course, but waited for intercourse until marriage. Regardless, I thought it was the perfect arrangement. It allowed us to learn a lot about each others' bodies, while still keeping something special for marriage. Also, by not refraining from all sexual activity, sex was not placed on a pedestal or become the main focus of our marriage. We didn't even do anything sexual the first night! Plus it forced us to become a lot more creative, so that now as we practice natural family planning we know many other ways to be sexual without having intercourse.

KirstyLou said...

I almost always sleep with men on the first date. I'm 23 and I've slept with 6 people- the of whom were one night stands or first dates. That said, I don't think it matters though. I fully respect people's choice to wait, as it is completely a personal thing. But, for me, I've not found it's made any difference to the relationship. I waited about 7 months with my first boyfriend and the relationship didn't last and was a mess throughout. I slept with my current boyfriend within about 3 hours of meeting him and we've been together three years and counting. When you know, you know! :)

sarah said...

I think I've always waited a couple of weeks, I do regret not waiting longer least then it shows your committed instead of just after one thing.

Anonymous said...

I'm completely shocked with the amount of people here that waited until marriage, and old virgins as well.. My god, girls, sex is great, and you're losing the best age to do it, when you're still bold, young, fresh and act on deep emotions.. Maybe you haven't found the right guy to love yet, but any nice guy give you so much joy in bed, and the only thing you would lose is some crazy sense that you're much special for being unexperienced... Today is the international day of fighting these stupid concepts that make woman think they're objects that must be kept with the plastic until someone purchases.. Time to think if sex is that special, or if its only so convenient to men to put in our heads we must have only one partner in life... For where I stand, almost all men have not the same rules, and accept sex as soon as they can take, but as much conservative they are, the less they consider the girl they slept with (and enjoyed)... Wake up!

Anonymous said...

I've slept with just one man-my husband of 12 years!-and we both decided to wait till marriage. I'm glad we did. Love the security and close bond we have! I'm going to encourage my children to wait "for the right one", too. ;)

Betsy said...

I'd just like to add- unless test driving a car can leave you pregnant, with an STD, or emotionally attached to it for the rest of your life, it cannot be paralleled to sex. Sex is deeply emotional. You cannot physically get any closer to another human being, which is also why sex can cause more pain than any other element in a relationship. Fewer sexual partners means less pain caused by sex. Waiting for marriage (in my case and most others) is not about some unrealistic, "magical" view of the wedding night. It is so much more than that. We know the wedding night (and probably many nights to follow) is going to be far from magical. It will be awkward and funny yet so beautiful- a sacred journey of shared discovery. And there is something so wonderful about knowing neither of us have ever shared such intimacy with anyone else. I'm not saying this decision is for everyone, but it is a decision that offers less room for pain and much more room for great reward!

Danielle E. Alvarez said...

It totally depends! I usually wait, at least, until the third date. Especially if I'm dying to watch a movie at the apt with him. Which I suppose is the only reason I follow through with such things anyway ;).

Anonymous said...

I am responding to a couple of comments that I find judgemental and is not how we as women should be treating each other, or pitting ourselves against each other. This is for anonymous at 10:57, 11:04 and Julie who says that there is a right answer to this question and it is to wait.
First of all, 10:57 and 11:04, it is not that your friend or you is unsuccessful in relationships because she sleeps with people too fast. She hasnt found the right person, but im sure she is learning and youu are just very lucky you found your right person first try. you should be thankful, but don't put down others like they are doing something wrong. it is hard out there. furthermore, some people value these experiences! It is great if you only want to sleep with one person, and that is a gift you feel you want to give, and I truly hope that makes you happy. But i don't have that wish. I am an educated, smart young woman who values and respects herself. And I can still want a variety of sexual experiences. I am only 22 and have only slept with 2 people. The first was with someone I loved, the second was a one night stand. We were safe, it was fun, and because I value myself enough, it doesn't matter what this guy thought of me after (for the record, he does not think negatively of me now). He made the same choice I did, and I don't judge him, he shouldn't judge me. The fact is, he was perfectly respectable. It is other women (like some of these commenters) who judge women. This is not okay.
If you are not looking for a relationship desperately, and just want to have fun, then there is no reason you are disrespecting yourself or get hurt for simply wanting casual sexual experiences. I totally understand if this isn't for you, but it is not necessarily a mistake. So congratulations on only being with one person, I understand that it so special and rare. But it is not what I want for myself, and other women who have lots of sexual experiences get a different kind of life experience (not better or worse) than you have chosen for yourself.

Samantha said...

I waited 3 weeks to sleep with my first boyfriend when I was 19, it seemed super fast for me because I had never dated anyone before, but I was ready. 6 years later, the exact same day (July 18th) I married him!Is it weird I remembered the date of the first time we had sex? :) We'll be celebrating our third anniversary this summer!

Cas said...

My husband and I waited until we were married and have never slept with anyone else, and that's just the way we wanted it.

Thanks for tabling such a stereotypically taboo subject for candid conversation, and I love that you "yada yada yada'd" over sex. Love Seinfeld ;)

Ling Ling said...

I'm 20 and am waiting for marriage! I go on dates and have had a few boyfriends but to me the most important thing is being faithful to my future spouse. I'm encouraged by all the women who have commented here and have done the same thing. I'm proud of my virginity!

Anonymous said...

I have only slept with one person, my current beau of 3 years and we sealed the deal after 11 days! I came pretty close to sleeping with another guy just 3 weeks before I started dating my man! At 19 I just wanted to get the "losing it" over with so that I could feel liberated and confident enough to sleep with the other guys I had been seeing casually.

All in all, I'm glad I didn't, not because it was "magical" or ultra special, but because I don't regret it in the slightest. He is my best friend and a great person and I can always know that only someone that I respect as a person has had the pleasure of sleeping with me ;)

Anonymous said...

With my current man (and hopefully my future husband), I waited until the second time we hung out. And I was drunk. Not an ideal situation but if we hadn't started out like we did, we may not be where we are now: completely in love and happy as hell.

Anonymous said...

We waited till marriage and are so happy we did! : ) It was hard to wait at times, of course! But so worth it.

Anonymous said...

To Betsy:
"Fewer sexual partners means less pain caused by sex. "

Sex does NOT hurt healthy people, and can be practiced safely. If any of you are having pain out of sex, emotional or physical and are not finding it weird, you are probably the people who treat sex as an divine unatural thing, and could use some professional help.

Katie said...

We both waited until we were married, and we've only slept with each other. I wouldn't have it any other way, and neither would he. We dated three years before we got married.It wasn't easy, but it was worth it.

I think the physical relationship of a relationship is very important, however I think a lot of people place too much value on it. If you're both physically attracted to each other, I think you can work physical stuff out. I think what's more important are your shared values, dreams, and how you treat one another. I think if you marry someone you can see as your best friend and you're physically attracted to one another, the rest will work itself out.

Anonymous said...

I waited about a month with the first guy I slept with (I was a senior in college and SO ready to have sex already!), then I waited a couple of weeks to have sex with my fiance. It would've been less time, but I went on a week-long vacation and we had sex the night I got back. I think he missed me. ;) I don't regret waiting until I was 21 to have sex in the first place and I definitely don't regret the periods of time I waited to have sex with my ex and my fiance. I'm a generally cautious person but am pretty sexual so I think around a month was the perfect time for me.

Anonymous said...

i'm not sure i understand the "giving my virginity is the greatest gift i can give my future husband." maybe so? but i feel like most women in our day and age shouldnt be focused on marriage as the ultimate end goal. like to be a wife is what will make your life complete. i want to get married one day, but in the mean time, i want to make myself happy and enjoy my life and meet amazing people and have a variety of experiences that are available to me. experiences and happiness are the greatest gifts you can give yourself, so enjoy them before thinking about what gifts you can give your "future husband."

Polly said...

I was 20 when I lost my virginity and I was really ready. I met my Australian boyfriend while he was on holiday in England and after three dates, he went back to Australia. We kept in touch for 5 months until he came back and on the second night he was here, we slept together. I'm glad I waited 5 months because it made it so special and I felt like I knew him so well. Now we've been together 9 months and he's moved over here so we can be together. So I have no regrets!

Anonymous said...

my now husband and i waited about 6 years...and our first time was our wedding night. best night ever!

Anonymous said...

I waited until I was married and I'm so thankful I did. I've never wanted to have sex with more than one person and am so glad that I have only had that intimacy with my husband. Also, contrary to popular opinion about the kind of women who wait, I have found myself to be startlingly bold in the bedroom and thoroughly enthusiastic about (FREQUENT!!! :) sex.

There is something about approaching sex with ultimate commitment that creates an environment of devoted 'learning' each other. I enjoyed it on my wedding night and honeymoon. But after 7 years, I can say that the chemistry we've built on is tremendous, and there's a lot to be said for doing that learning of one another in the context of forever commitment. I have been able to give myself over in a way I never would have without the commitment of marriage.

Finally, I don't think you need to have sex with someone to know whether you have chemistry with someone before you marry them. A few solid sessions of lip-locking will tell you that! The biggest thing is: is he kind, considerate, gentle, willing to honor you? Because if he is and you find each other attractive, you can let go and make magic when the time comes!

Anonymous said...

I waited over nine months with my first serious relationship and just under a month with my second. I've been out of college for a good while now, and I imagine that things will probably move quicker since men my age are starting to think about settling down. As awful as it may be for some, I'm a 'test drive' kind of girl. If you don't 'drive' your car before you 'buy it,' than how are you going to know that it fits? How do you know vanilla ice cream is your favorite if you've never tried anything else?

Basically what I'm trying to say is that sex complicates things, yes, but it also creates an emotional bond that can amplify a relationship.

It's a personal decision, and one I don't regret either time.

Anonymous said...

As soon as possible. :) I will never understand people who wait until marriage. :eek: What if you are incompatible? How nice...married and sex incompatible.:)

Sandra

Anonymous said...

This is a very pressing topic for my age group(teenager, almost adult). When you find someone that you love very much, with all those hormones raging and what not, it's tempting. I have contemplated it with my past boyfriend, and my present boyfriend.
As a Christian, and as a rational being, I would like to wait until I am married. No, it's not because my parents pressure me to wait, no it's not because I am grossed out by it. But it's my decision as an almost adult to keep complicated things like sex out of my relationship. Many of friends have decided to just do it, and sadly it seems to have really complicated their relationships, emotions, and self esteem.
I never want to do something I regret, and I want my future husband to know I saved this act of love just for him. If my present boyfriend is my future husband, thats fantastic! But I just want to keep things simple, yet beautiful.
I respect other's opinions, because I don't want to be another one of those Christians who just throws their beliefs in other's faces. People are suppose to make their own decisions, but as for me I am deciding to wait until I am married.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in a religious environment where sex was never talked about. I didn't have anyone to talk to in high school who could give me solid advice as a result of my family's conservative viewpoints. So it's no surprise that I lost my virginity at 16 to a guy who didn't even like me all that much. That's what all my friends were doing, so it seemed normal.

I never had sex with the next guy I dated because the first guy kind of ruined it for me. We just messed around and eventually we broke up. I think I didn't want to have sex with him, because I had this nagging feeling that it wouldn't be any good. I'm probably right and I'm so glad I never had sex with him.

I met my last boyfriend (now husband) when he was a senior and I was a freshman in college. Something clicked between us right away and we had sex within a month on our second date (we went to different schools). I don't regret any of my sexual experiences. The first guy was hard because I was young and stupid, but I learned not to be stupid with the second guy. Each relationship is different and if it hadn't felt right with my husband I would have waited longer. I'm really glad I didn't though :)

Kelsi said...

I've only slept with one guy (even though I've had a few serious boyfriends). We waited three months, and it felt like FOREVER. But I was 18 and just so nervous! I kept telling him that I wanted to try it, and then at the last second, I'd say something stupid like, "I'm terrified of getting pregnant!" And uhh... that's definitely a mood killer. The poor guy.

I've been with my current boyfriend for three years, and we've never slept together. We live together and sleep in the same bed every night, but we have never had sex. And yeah, I realize how weird that is, but it works for us. He's very traditional and wants to wait until we're married to have sex, and I've grown to be totally okay with that.

akazen said...

My husband and I waited for marriage, and it was totally worth it! I don't think there is such a thing as people who are sexually compatible or not, you just have to work on it together. If you are marrying the right person who you are friends with first, it is fun to work on the sex aspect of the relationship together. I can't imagine trying to figure out sex with a man who I knew I wasn't going to spend the rest of my life with...eww :)

Anonymous said...

I’m finding it so interesting to read these comments! And glad so many people of different opinions can share their views and experiences. So neat to see so many of us with a place to talk about a potentially taboo and very personal subject. That being said, I wish we didn’t feel the need to justify our choices… like ‘it was our first date BUT we had know each other for years’ or ‘we waited until marriage BUT it’s because we’re religious’. We are all free to make our own choices and shouldn’t have to justify them to anybody else. Sure, we may not all agree with each other but we don’t have to – if we make a decision about our sex life, either to wait or not, it’s up to us and I just wish we could not feel so bad or like we’re being judged. I feel like my comments are coming out harshly…not at all what I meant to do…I really am so happy to see so many people so openly discussing this, it’s great! I feel like this is such a safe place for it but society has placed so many rules on us that when we say something that we think others might disagree with, we have to have a reason for it, or back it up…but I don’t think we do. Do whatever feels right for you and your partner and don't worry about the reasoning behind it. : )

Anonymous said...

I don´t think there´s a morality issue here, but a issue of knowing your true value to the other person. I mean, I know for a fact that women over 30 have certain expectations after having sex. I mean, when you have sex, you somehow expect the relationship to be something. I don´t mean THE BIG THINg, but to be something, for you and for the other. Men can be tricky to "read" when they want sex. So you can believe he´s really into you, and then, never hear from him again.

Of course there are no guarantees, but if you wait a little and have a few dates, you can be at least be somehow comfortable with that sex not falling into the " WHY DID I DO THAT?" category.

I want to feel important even in casual relationships. I don´t want to feel bad because I´m checking my phone all the time because I need to think I wasn´t forgotten just like that.

Waiting a bit is like a protection from those ugly moments. Nothing more.

I always remember something a friend told me: Not many guys can make you happy, but any idiot can make you feel bad. So, I strongly advice my friends to wait a bit, even if they really want sex, just to avoid bad moments. If he´s a good guy, he´ll get it. If he is a creep, it´s always better to know it before removing your panties...

Anonymous said...

ahaha! with my new boyfriend I waited three dates and our third date was... "watching a movie" at his home... I never saw the end of the movie. :-)

Anonymous said...

I slept with my now husband on the first "date. We had met at work, but hung out for the first time a work party in the daytime where there happened to be a open bar, he came to my birthday party that night with me when we were already half in the bag. All my friends were wondering where he came from, haha. At the end of the night he "tripped and fell" into bed with me... All's well that end's well :)

Anonymous said...

First some words of explanation:

I'm male (that's not much to shout about).
I never had a serious, longtime relationship.

The first time I had sex was age 17 with my then 25 years old cousin (female). It's was weird (we actually first saw each other in our life just half a year before), the second time a year after was totally good and we actually had a fling for some time (besides her being married).

I have since my first time slept with 17 women (age 18-50) and 3 men and almost always on the first date.

There have been some bad examples, but generally I do not regret it.

jleestone said...

There is too much pressure on women to wait, I think! Even a lot of comments here have used the buzz words that are meant to shame women who have had multiple partners. It makes me sick to think that anyone would think I don't "value myself" because I have had sex on a first date! Honestly, I expected a lot more of your readers to think beyond the "slut shaming."

I do think though that if you are young that you should wait longer. Most of my friends who lost their virginity in high school regretted it, but I waited until college and have none!

Eleanor said...

I feel compelled to answer this blog entry, though I usually don't respond
I, like many of the commenters, am surprised at how many women are waiting/waited until marriage.
I was raised in a Christian household but never ever felt like was supposed to wait until marriage. My parents encouraged me to be responsible, which I always have been.

I personally think that a part of life is fulfilling your desires and learning from your experiences. In highschool I waited a few months sleeping with my childhood sweetheart, and even though we broke up during university I have really fond memories of discovering myself with him.
I'm just finishing university now and I have dated a few guys; usually sleeping together after a few weeks. I have had a one night stand which I think was an important experience; to sleep with some one not see them again was emotionally difficult for me and taught me a lot about myself.

If a man doesn't want to be with you if you have sex with him 'too soon' then he's not a very good person; having sex feels good, and teaches you about eachother. I have really liked a guy before and then crushingly realized that we were not sexually compatible, and I'm glad I found that out.

I respect the choices people make and I don't think anyone should feel self-righteous and that their way is the best way. Likewise I don't think people should ever feel guilt about their decisions, whether that is to sleep with someone on the first date, or wait until marriage.
As long as your beliefs are your own and you are doing what you want then I think love and trust can grow.

Anonymous said...

After reading some of these comments I feel the need to comment again. Saying that I waited until my wedding night and that it was special is not the same as saying it's not special for those who don't wait. It really bothers me that some of these commenters feel the need to bash those who waited until marriage. That is fine for you to have your own opinions but to say it is "archaic" to wait until marriage or that those of us who did were just waiting for our church/mom/friends to finally give us permission is not cool or respectful. I waited because it was MY choice and my husband's choice. It was what we believed was right for us. If I have faith in what the Bible says in this and I believe it is God's will for me than who are you to say otherwise? You may have different beliefs and opinions about how to live your life and that's fine, but please don't bash those who think differently.

ashley said...

I'm 31. Have had plenty of sex in my life. But this time I'm waiting for the wedding night . . . only 100 days to go! :)

Anonymous said...

I waited until my wedding night as well, and I definitely don't regret the decision. I'm glad that the closeness I share with my husband belongs to him and no one else. And I'm not archaic, waiting for the approval of society, etc. It was just the right choice for me. I don't understand the need for women to be so judgy against one another. You waited? Great! You slept together on the first date? Great! There's no need to de-value someone else's experience.

Sarah said...

I waited til marriage and I couldn't be happier that I did. I believe intimacy should be just between husband and wife. It felt so good to know we were both on the same page figuring it out together. Plus neither of us were comparing pervious boyfriends/girlfriends to each other. We didn't know what was good or bad. We just decided what worked for us :)

Anonymous said...

This falls under the category of TMI!

Anonymous said...

My husband & I both waited until our wedding night. I was 22. He was 25. We've been married 13 1/2 years. I've never regetted our decision.

Erika Rocio said...

haha so i had been friends with a guy for some time and ended up getting super tipsy at a happy hour one day. several blue/fruity drinks later... we ended up at his place and he made me pancakes the next day. anywho... 3 years later we're still together and very much in love! who would have thought :)

Anonymous said...

Going to post anonymously for this one... I think it really all depends on the situation and the people involved. I waited a long time to have sex for the first time. Not really sure why in hindsight but I think I was worried that once I slept with a guy he'd no longer be interested in me. Or something like that?

But with my current boyfriend we actually slept together before we even started dating. We were at a party and we'd both had a little too much to drink and one thing led to another... That being said we'd been close friends for years at that point and I had always felt very comfortable with him. We've just always connected on many levels.

Fast forward three+ years later we've been living together for nearly two years now and will get engaged sometime this year. So I think it really depends on the couple and the situation!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad my husband and I didn't wait until our wedding night. (He was in such a tired wedding blur that he barely remembers it!) Although I did regret it immediately after, I guess it's a good thing that we slept together on our first date after all - super passionate, unexpected and thus highly memorable!

Anonymous said...

The amount of time doesn't so much matter for me. What feels best is to wait until I am in a completely committed relationship, and that I feel comfortable and appreciated for who I am. Its just so much more fun that way!

Michemily said...

I think it's funny sometimes that we love study results unless we don't like what they imply. Many studies have shown that married people are more satisfied with their marriage and their sex lives if they saved themselves for marriage, and yet it's so out of style despite the promise of higher levels of satisfaction. Hmmmm. Anyway, I'm waiting.

Mel said...

I waited until six or seven months to sleep with my boyfriend. On some level, I wish we had waited longer either until a year or until marriage, but I don't regret it.

Diana @ frontyardfoodie said...

This is such an interesting subject because so many people have totally different philosophies about it and yet we don't talk about it all THAT much to eachother.

I decided at a young age (before dating) that I wanted to wait until marriage because of how many of my friends regretted the decision and saw their relationships fall apart.

I was pressured sometimes but it never seemed right and when I met my husband to be I knew that he was the one immediately. He had the same values as I did (based on biblical principles) and had been waiting for the right girl himself. We dated for a year and then were engaged for seven months. I'm so grateful we were able to share that first time with eachother and that we knew eachother so well. It was a really great experience and now five years later we've got a toddler and a baby on the way! We like to keep 'busy' if you know what I mean. hehe

Anonymous said...

As it turned out, I have only slept with two people. One after dating about 4 months and the other after we had known each other for 2 years, but dated for only a month. We are now happily married! I think everyone should go at her own pace, and of course, you have the right to decide what works for you. I personally would never marry a guy I had not slept with. By the time I am ready to be in a serious relationship, I feel that the physical side is part of it. But each to her own!

Anonymous said...

I waited about 5 or 6 months for my first (I was 18), then didn't wait at all for my second (we were friends for a long time, starting to get closer, but then one night we had a "sleep over"). But then I became a Christian when I met my husband (who was a virgin)... and we waited till we got married. So I've been on both sides of the track ;)

I do feel like I learned a lot from my experiences before I got married, but I also learned that, for me, there is never "just sex." Sex is an emotional and spiritual experience and it always leaves an impression on you. Sometimes it's a good impression, but sometimes it can be bad. I wish I hadn't had some of the experiences that I did, but I feel no shame now. There's no condemnation from my husband or my God :)

Eliza Jane said...

I won't sleep with anyone on the first date. But if things go really well, and I really like them, anything's fair game after the second date. Most of the time. The last guy I dated, I spent the night (sexless), and then we had sex in the morning. That was too soon. I never heard from him again; he'd gotten what he'd wanted, and had just pretended everything else. I felt disappointed in both of us.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I learned in college was the sooner you slept with a guy, the longer he'd wait to call you back.

Cranberry said...

I've always thought of myself as super slow, but after a bad breakup I had a brief fling, which helped a lot. And I'm a little embarrassed to say this, but my bf was supposed to be a one night stand, so, hum, we didn't wait. He woke up the next morning to make me breakfast though, and its been more than three years. There are no rules.

Anonymous said...

I don't think of sex as a big deal and have never "waited" until... something. But that doesn't mean I've been with a lot of guys. If it feels right, it feels right (right away). Don't regret anything.

Anonymous said...

everyone's comments have been so interesting. first of all, i think it's most important to not judge others based on their personal choices. and that's what deciding when/whether to have sex is. it's a very personal choice.

my husband and i were both virgins when we got married, and we were both 27 when we got married. that seems like a long time to wait--and a lot of the time it FELT like a VERY long time to wait! (especially with him--we dated for a year and a half before we were married.) we both had dated a lot of people and we both had had many opportunities to have sex, but had decided against it for personal reasons. i have many friends who have decided to wait until marriage, and i have many friends who have had many sexual partners while dating/before marriage. i, luckily, have not felt too judged by my decision to wait, but unfortunately (on both sides of the spectrum) many of my friends have felt judged by theirs.

i don't regret waiting at all. nor did i feel "uncomfortable" or "less experienced" (that's probably because he was a virgin too! lol, but anyway) or "less confident in my sexuality." just because i never had sex before did not mean that i did not feel sexual or wasn't capable of feeling sexually mature. in answer to a previous reader's question, our wedding night was still amazing and magical, even if it wasn't the best actual sex ever. i was confident that, because of our deep love for each other, we would be able to enjoy one another. and for the first time i was able to fully experience his body, and he mine, and it was wonderful.

again this is all a personal choice for everyone. more than anything, i feel it's important that each person is able to feel a strong self-worth outside of being sexually intimate with others. i felt good about myself before i was married, but it wasn't only because i was a virgin. had i not chosen to wait until marriage, i can only hope that i would have developed the same strong self-worth regardless of my sexual activity.

sécia said...

Do one-night-stands count? ;)

♥ sécia
www.petiteinsanities.com

riley said...

my boyfriend and i have been dating 5 years and we plan on waiting until we're married-next year.
we were eachothers first real boyfriend/girlfriends & highschool sweethearts.


the thing i love most about our relationship is that it's always just been me and him.
and always will be...


;) thanks for this post. i really enjoyed it!

Rachel said...

My husband and i both waited until were married. It makes it special knowing that sex is something we only do with each other.

Jam Oblina said...

When I first met my partner, I was really just 19..so I suppose as young as I was..I didn't think about all the necessary preparation or time. So, I think it was the third date that it happened.! :-) three years later..we have a baby boy.. :-)

http://jamwordscrolls.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting to me! And I can relate to both sides of this discussion.... The women who choose to wait until marriage and the women who choose to wait until it feels right to them (even if that means waiting until the end of the first date!).

I grew up the "religious one" in my family, taking a huge interest in religion after going to youth group with a friend in middle school. I decided in those younger years that I was "saving myself" for marriage. I never really dated anyone seriously In high school, or even throughout college, so I suppose it was pretty easy to wait. I'd fool around with guys, but never came anywhere near having sex.

My senior year of college I went through a bit of a religious transformation, began to question what I'd always just believed through the church and the Bible, and my religious "black and white" became gray. But at this point, I was 22 and the idea of having my first sexual experience with just anybody, with no feelings attached, was not comfortable to me. It was almost as if I'd waited so long that now there was a measure of pressure associated with "the first". Then I met the man that would later (5 years later) become my husband. We slept together after only a week of knowing one another and following our 2nd date. I can't say that it was love at first sight, but I felt like he was a friend I'd known for years. We'll be married 16 years this December, have two girls, and couldn't be happier, in all areas.

There's a part of me that, if I were brutally honest, thinks of myself as a bit of a "good girl" because I've only slept with one person. There's another part of me that wishes I'd had more sexual experiences and wonders what it would be like to be with another man. And the reality is, I truly feel that it all really depends on what is right for each woman. And what is right for each woman will depend on how they define sex. Some women will feel defined by their religion or views of their family. Others may be defined by their emotions and how they view sex in relation to commitment and love. Others will define sex in terms of physical affection and experience. And I guess they're all correct in their definitions.

Now, as a Mom, I think of how I will guide my girls in their journey. I love the advice that Jet's Mom gave her. I remember my own Mom telling me that I didn't have to marry a man just because he was my first, a regret she had from her own experience with my Dad. I want my girls to experience sex on their terms, defined by them, not by what others will think of them. I want them to have the maturity and confidence to know what is right
for them.

Chelsea said...

I like to wait at least until we've made out a few times not because I'm worried about "giving it up too easily" but because I find the delicious anticipation are such a turn-on!

Anonymous said...

three dates. Living in NYC, you snooze, you lose.

Anonymous said...

It absolutely killed me, but I forced myself to wait a month with my husband. I think it's good to make sure you are really into the person for more than sex... Sometimes :)

Essence Brown said...

marriage.
not like those people on tv, i think they kind of gave virgins a bad name. I'm 21, and waiting for the right man, then we will wait together. the way i see it, people go into relationships with SOOO much baggage (bad relationships, jealousy, having loved many others) and it DESTROYS people. I carry enough baggage, so for my future husband I choose to wait; so that i don't get hurt by another man and take it out on him later.
He deserves being the only man I ever love.

Anonymous said...

Also I just have to comment I'm shocked by all the virgin people writing on here. I personally was raised with all this "true love waits" etc but the. I grew and developed my own faith and I know god is happy when adults find love, even outside of marriage. My opinion is that "waiting" sets people up for failure, they marry too young, get divorced, etc. God has way bigger problems than if you and your fiancé had sex!

Lizzi said...

I was raised and taught to practice abstinence before marriage. So a lot of my teenage years and early twenties went something like that quote (I can't remember exactly how it goes) "I felt sexy from the time I was six and it was pure hell until I could do something about it". Well.. it wasn't pure hell. But there were days (and dates) when I thought I would never make it. Somehow I did. And honestly, I'm glad. I'm not saying it's for everyone, but sex is so much more complicated than I anticipated it was going to be. I'm sure I could have figured it out over time, with different partners, but I don't think it was horrible to figure it out with the person I love the most in the world. The main thing I can't figure out, and NEVER thought about when I wanted to just DO IT ALREADY, is how do you talk to someone about whether or not they have an STD? How do you know they are telling the truth? That's the main thing about sex that seems complicated to me if you have it with multiple partners. I'm really curious!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I waited until we were married. I'm happy we did....almost eight years later, that passion is still there!!

Anonymous said...

There's always a lot of pressure for women to wait a "respectable" amount of time, which everyone defines differently. Personally, I never waited very long. Despite what scolding grandmothers will tell you, that never prevented me from finding satisfying, committed long term relationships. I still ended up finding and marrying a great man who I've been with for nearly nine years. I slept with him before we ever went on a single date.

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree it's different for everyone. I had sex for the first time at 24, with my current boyfriend. From where it's headed, he's the only guy I will ever sleep with! I didn't wait on purpose, and I think if I had had a boyfriend in college or earlier that I cared about, I would have slept with them, but this is just how it ended up for me! Not necessarily how I imagined things (but what ever ends up that way) but I'm with the right guy so that's what matters.

Anonymous said...

I am a HUGE advocate for sex and love; I really believe they should go hand in hand. It keeps it sacred...and beautiful. There is nothing to taint it. My husband and I waited until marriage, because of our own personal convictions and faith also. It was SO HARD as we literally just wanted to jump each other, but was 100% completely worth waiting. No worrying about STD's, or if I was "performing right"...or him comparing me to others in bed, or visa versa. No sex remorse, or fear of getting pregnant and being a single Mom.

Anonymous said...

I've only had two partners (my ex, with whom I waited about 5 months before having sex) and my husband. We jumped into a physical relationship right away and, given the unusual circumstances of our lives at that time, I thought it was just going to be a fun fling with a little sexual adventure. Lo and behold, 5 years later we decided to tie the knot.

I, too, was raised conservatively, but did not agree that suppressing my natural physical desires was necessarily the right way to go, as long as I was being safe. I don't respect those people who choose to wait any more than I respect those who don't. It is a purely personal choice based on your own value system and there is absolutely no one right way for everyone. As long as you have no regrets with the way you've lived your life (in all aspects, but also sex), I think that is the best way to pave the road to happiness.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I waited til our wedding night and it was so, so good. Hard to wait, but it was worth it.

Anonymous said...

I've been with my current boyfriend for almost three years now. We were friends that ended up sleeping together after one drunken party and we've been together ever since. So... I guess we did it backwards in a way! :)

Anonymous said...

How interesting to read these comments and see how many people actually waited until marriage! Our society leads us to believe that it's so unheard of and reserved only for the super- religious. If more young people knew this, there wouldn't be so much pressure I don't think. As for me, my current boyfriend and soon to be fiancé (I hope!) was my first boyfriend. Honestly, the opportunity just never presented itself before him and I didn't think anyone else was worth the effort. After a few weeks of dating, I had to tell him I was a virgin. It made me so nervous, but he later confessed that he already knew! A loud mouthed friend had told him. After 2 months of dating I decided I was ready and he's the only one I've ever been with!

Anonymous said...

wow so many hokey people. i can't believe it. and who knew your readers were so religious. wow. what happened to having fun?? come on girls let your hair down!!

Anonymous said...

My husband was my first, at 21 years old, and we actually slept together before we were actually dating - so I guess I didn't wait long at all! We had been best friends for years and secretly but obviously in love with each other and it just kind of happened and happened pretty perfectly. A month later we were 'officially' a couple and now we've been married for two years after being together for four years before that. I was pretty nervous about having sex for the first time and I have never felt more comfortable with anyone than I do with my husband so it felt right at the time and feels right now. While my husband is my first and only, he was much more promiscuous than I was and has slept with quite a few women. He's often concerned that I don't know if it could be better because I haven't been with anyone else but it's never bothered me because I really can't find anything to complain about! ;)

I always wanted to wait until I was in love but based on the way things went for me, I can't really decide how long I would have waited if I didn't end up marrying my first! I think it is such a personal thing that no matter how long you wait should be based on what you feel comfortable with and what you're happy with. If it's not so sacred and you don't see a problem with one-night stands, that's your business and your decision to make...and if you wait til your married and think it was the best decision ever, that's great for you!

So appreciate everyone's honesty on here, such an interesting topic to read about with so many different opinions. Thanks, Joanna, for always being so open with your readers (and your mom!).

Anonymous said...

i waited until my first semester of college to have sex, and making it through high school a virgin is still something i'm so proud of! (funny, huh?!) i'm 30 now and have slept with my fair share of guys, most of whom have turned into boyfriends. i've never waited more than a few weeks, and i have no regrets. now that i'm with the man i'm going to marry, i'm so glad we've both had the varied sexual experience we have. we know our stuff!

great post joanna, and i've LOVED reading all 300 comments! xo

Rachel said...

I'll be 25 in May, and am proudly a virgin. My boyfriend and I have been dating for 2 and a half years and I greatly appreciate that he is willing to wait for me (he's not a virgin). I know that my first time on my wedding night won't be perfect, and I'll likely be horrible - but that's okay. I'll learn quickly and enjoy the (likely hilarious) journey with my future husband, and I'll have thoughts and memories only of him when it comes to my sex life.

I must admit that I have quite the passionate sex drive and it is hard to wait (and now that we're coming to the edge of my premarital "boundaries" it's going to get even more difficult!), but my wait isn't a fight of my desires against my religion (I'm Christian). God made sex to be wonderful, and it's not a shameful thing. I'm not downplaying sex outside of marriage - I know from other people's stories that it's great! - but I believe that sex is at its best in God's context. My desires and my beliefs are working hand in hand.

I embrace the fact that God has made me to be so passionate, and am so glad that by waiting for God's timing I will be able to be a very enthusiastic wife who can share herself with her husband, and him alone.

I'm comfortable with my own sexuality and know what things I'll likely feel comfortable with - and have had many detailed discussions with my boyfriend to make sure we'd be on the same page were we to get married. Sexual compatibility can be gauged by discussion and kissing (and let's not forget caressing, cuddling, and the like), as long as you talk freely and openly; that's my opinion.

Here's to all the women (and men!) commenting and reading here having beautiful relationships with the ones they love.

Anonymous said...

When I was a senior in high school my grandmother took me out for "ice cream"... really she bought me condoms and told me to have fun & be safe! LOL.

My grandparents had sex on THEIR first date, a year before they got married. They were married 64 years and adored each other. Too cute!

Boyfriend 1 (high school) - 6 months (after graduation). Boyfriend 2: started as a one night stand in college, though we'd gone to high school together.
Boyfriend 3: been friends for 10+ years, first date. Boyfriend 4: Didn't, broke up, got back together a few years later - Then on the second date. Wish we'd slept together sooner, because he was GREAT. We didn't live in the same town, I think the first time we dated we were both too shy to "go watch a movie" haha. Boyfriend 5: friends for a few months, first "date", married him! Also an excellent lover. ;)

I had fun and was safe and no damage done =). I'm definitely a try before you buy sort of girl... I'm glad I slept with a couple different men before I got married - everyone's so different!! Sex with my husband is special because it's with HIM, not because it's sex. If I regret anything it's not the sex, it's staying in a bad/mediocre relationship longer than I should have. Plus, thank goodness I slept with the guy who had a teeny weeny... it's important to know these things BEFORE you commit - and to know that for me, it DOES matter.

My sister-in-law waited until she and my brother were married, and it was so built up in her mind she kinda started freaking out. Just sayin'...

Anonymous said...

Who is to say we're not having fun? :) I don't feel repressed by my religion. I know a lot of people don't feel the way that I do, and that's fine, but to think that we're not free and carefree with our sex lives just because we waited till we were married is sad. My husband and I were best friends before we got married and had sex for the first time... and it was really cool to get to know this person I loved on a whole new level. It was like meeting each other all over again! I don't think that's hokey at all.

Anonymous said...

Lizzi 6:38pm... you just ask! It's part of it, you have to be gutsy enough to just ask if you're going to sleep with someone you don't know well. ALWAYS wear a condom! If you're not brave enough to ask, and if you don't have protection, you just don't do it. There's also a wide spectrum of sex before marriage... picking up a different one night stand at a bar every Sat. night is different than sleeping with the guy you grew up next door to. All of my partners were asked/asked me not just about STD's, but about birth control as well, but I also picked my partners pretty carefully.

It seems to me that sex, like most things in life, is only as complicated as you make it.

Anonymous said...

I'm really encouraged by these comments. I'm 25 and still a virgin; I didn't sleep with any of my previous boyfriends. For me, it was more important to honor God with my sex life. Reading a lot of the comments on here, I'm glad to know I'm not alone.

Anonymous said...

With my first serious relationship, I waited a couple months.

But if I'm not too interested in the date, if I know it won't be anything serious, I'll sleep with someone on the first or second date.

If I thought it might be something more meaningful, I would wait a little longer.

Hannah Meacham said...

In all cases, I've had sex too soon. My first boyfriend, we had drunk sex before we were together, we were both virgins, and ended up dating for two years-- sadly sex was the most important element of the relationship. My current boyfriend, and the man I intend to marry, we had sex a couple weeks into dating, got serious, had more sex, and now have chosen to refrain until marriage. I always thought my sex life was going to prepare me for marriage and make me a more well-rounded person, I now regret my decisions.. and wish that my husband could be the only person I've been sexual with.

Annabelle said...

After sleeping with my first serious boyfriend all I could think was: I wonder what sex is like with other people.

I actually consider virgins to have more baggage because of this.

For all the women out there who have only slept with one person - I'm honestly curious if you ever have these thoughts.

christa morris said...

I don't think there is any right or wrong answer depending on the person. I think it varies depending on beliefs, values, etc. Everyone is different.

I am 20 and I have only ever had two boyfriends in my life. I am still with the second one. We have been together for 4 and a half years and have never slept with each other. We also know that we will more than likely marry each other.

To us waiting until we are married is special. We made the decisions to stay "pure" until marriage because we both truly believe that what we have to give each other, we only want to give to one another. We don't want to give that up for anyone but the person we spend our lives with.

Not to say that it isn't just as special to anyone who decides otherwise. It is just our personal preference.

At 4 and a half years, it is much easier to resist our human instincts and natural attractions to each other than it was during year one. We have come this far, why mess it up now?

We both talk about it frequently and are both very excited for our "first-time" especially if we can be each other's firsts.

To us, being each other's one and only is the most special gift we could give one another.

Anonymous said...

Wow, after reading someone of the comments, I can honestly say I am surprised by the amount of people who waited for marriage. And while it is not my cup of tea (marriage OR waiting), I have loved reading all of the stories.

(Although my favorites are the ones who started out as one-night stands and actually dated for a while. Just goes to show you never know what to expect!)

Anonymous said...

I'm 20, and waiting to have sex. For me, it is a personal choice that developed after I started dating in high school. Pragmatically speaking, it has a lot to do with not wanting to take responsibility at this stage of my life for some of the possible consequences of having sex, such as the risk of pregnancy, paying for birth control, emotional complications, etc. I think there's also a romantic part of me that just likes the idea of sharing that experience with only one person. On the other hand, I have had sexual experiences apart from "sex", and they have taught me a lot about myself and about relationships. The rate at which I let things progress has varied. Things with my ex moved fairly quickly, but with my current boyfriend they were quite slow (he waited three weeks to kiss me! I was dying, but it was worth it, he's a great kisser).

I fully appreciate that it is an individual choice. My decision has only to do with who I am, and what I've discovered about myself so far. I also don't connect my self-esteem with my perceived virginity or purity, but rather with my ability to weigh decisions as a mature adult and make the choices that are most true to my identity and what I want.

I think that women and men should do what feels best for them, and listen to their own hearts.

I've been fortunate that my friends (both waiting or not) have always respected my own choices. Thank you to all the posters who have been as open-minded as you've shared your stories.

Anonymous said...

its not easy:
-as women we have sexual desire too
-however we don't want to give it up too early
-bc supposedly, men respect the woman more when they have to wait
-in a new relationship, its so easy to get swept up in the electricity of sex, which creates a bond regardless of whether you are compatible on a soul/values level or not.
-bonding and love are not the same. breaking bonds is very hard. that's why even separating with someone who is wrong for you is so difficult bc it's the bond, not the love that is so hard to break.
-conclusion: sex creates bonding, especially for the woman. make sure it's someone worthy of that bond. i takes a while to really get to know somebody and their deepest feelings, values, perspectives.

Anonymous said...

this is me again - another thought re Bonding:
genetically, men are wired to spread their seed and can sleep with many women without really feeling a bond.
as women we are genetically different, we are selective but once we "choose" and sleep with a man, i think our genetic makeup starts the bonding process whether we like it or not. the danger here for women is that we can be left heart broken (which we see so often its a cliche) bc we "chose" a man who was not deserving (a guy who wasn't really in love with the woman's spirit/soul)

Trilby said...

I agree that there is no right or wrong answer. Some people want to wait until marriage and others don't, it just depends on the couple. I dated throughout high school and waited until I was 18 to have sex for the first time, but it was with my now husband and I waited three weeks after first date to sleep with him.I think it just depends on the couple and the chemistry. We got married and have our first baby due in three months, so it worked for us.

Carly Michelle said...

I made the decision long ago to wait until I got married - there was never any question about it. Love making is an act so special and intimate that I knew it needed to be after I had completely committed myself to my husband.
I've never regretted that choice for a second and I'm so glad I found a man who felt the same way.
Now that I'm married we have the wonderful chance to learn and grow together as a couple. It's a special bond we will always have with only each other and it pulls us closer together as husband and wife every day.

Thanks for the post Joanna! This really is an important topic.

xo
Carly

Janelle said...

What a hot topic(no pun intended) :)
It is interesting how many people feel the need to defend their sexual choices by attacking other's choices as old fashioned, ridiculous, etc. I was reading to see if any of the religious-wait-until-marriage types would start blasting away with condemnation. So far I haven't seen that, I have only seen the sexually free types doing the condemnation. Rather opposite of what you would expect I think. I would have thought that the 'free thinkers' would be open to everyone's choices, even if those choices were waiting till marriage.

emily said...

I waited til my wedding night!!

no joke, very old fashioned I know, but it was important to both of us, so we did :D

Anonymous said...

Interesting... it seems like a lot of the people here who waited also married fairly young. I wonder if this is a broader statistical trend.

Someone else said she thinks she said "I love you" to get into a guy's pants once... I wonder if this isn't causing earlier marriages among some crowds. Not that there's anything wrong with that! Just not for me.

I know the one boyfriend I had that I didn't sleep with (at least not the first time around!) I was totally infatuated with in a weird way. I was 20, and he was 24 - and I totally would have said "yes" if he'd asked, at any point past the second date. Scary!! I learned so much in the years after that; about both of us, and our marriage would likely have been very difficult. I'm so glad I got married a little later (26 - still quite young!)... and though we're happy, I would have preferred to get married even later if we hadn't needed the visa!

Anonymous said...

I am 23 and intend to wait until marriage for my first time.

Ironically, I am an adolescent therapist that has the privilege of educating teens on safe sex/communicable diseases. My hope is that they will value sex as a beautiful, mysterious and special thing.

Thank you Joanna for posting this topic and to all the women for sharing their thoughts :)

---from Michigan

Sarah said...

With my first sexual partner, I waited two heavy-petting-and-flirting weeks. It was actually fantastic, no strings attached, and the fling was fun from start to finish. (I should point out that I was...hmm...very self-indulgent...before this, and losing my virginity wasn't some horrible experience).

I then waited 8 months, and met my dream man. I knew from Day One that he was perfect for me, and I wanted to make sure I could really love him before I added the physical component. 4 months later, we had sweet, special, awkward sex...15 minutes later, we had sweet, special, ROCKING sex!!! :) This July it will be 5 years going strong, with a beautiful future planned.

Sarah said...

...I should add that it never had anything to do with the actual words "I love you"- just that I knew the love was really there. Don't we all know before we say it, anyway? For WEEKS?! ;D

Anonymous said...

My fiance and I were both virgins when we started dating, and we had sex after 4 months. We were both in our mid-20s. I was a late bloomer, I hadn't really been waiting for anything in particular, and had been considering having casual sex with guys I was dating. But after I met my fiance, suddenly I wanted to wait. We fell in love really quickly and knew after our second date that we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together, and that made me want to wait until we knew each other really well, so the sex would be more meaningful. We both thought it would be really romantic to wait until we were married, but our bodies could only hold out for 4 months. By then, we were absolutely sure we wanted to spend our lives together, and we had worked out a solid plan for birth control and what we would do if we got pregnant.

That was a year ago, and our wedding is next month. I don't regret anything about it, and I'm also really glad that I never had sex with anyone besides my fiance. Sex with him is so much more amazing than I ever thought it could be.

Anonymous said...

"genetically, men are wired to spread their seed and can sleep with many women without really feeling a bond.
as women we are genetically different, we are selective but once we "choose" and sleep with a man, i think our genetic makeup starts the bonding process whether we like it or not. the danger here for women is that we can be left heart broken (which we see so often its a cliche) bc we "chose" a man who was not deserving (a guy who wasn't really in love with the woman's spirit/soul)"

And then people say it's not archaic to wait until marriage... It's not only archaic but also reduces us women to animals, unable to differentiate instincts from thoughts and being rational. So sorry, but I find this machist biologicalization of womens feelings outrageous. I'm a rational woman, totally capable of having sex for fun, I had around 10 partners, I regret only one, just like I regret spending too much money on some clothes or failing to study for a test. Sex is wonderful, but it's not any eternal bondage as christian girls seems to want it to be. Sex is not about giving anything to others, sex is about ourselves, our bodies, our pleasure, we keep being ours after it!

Anonymous said...

I'm a young woman in my early twenties and have had my fair share of partners. The longest wait was with my high school sweetheart at almost 5 months, the shortest was about 60 minutes while in college. I regret none of them because the experiences made me who I am today - even pickier about men! Each of the men were special to me for various reasons; sex is a beautiful expression of those emotions.

Birth control is always important. I highly recommend an IUD - don't have to think about it, minimal side effects, and cheaper than pills each month.

No, birth control was not the reason I decided not to wait until marriage. Sex would have happened regardless.

Debbie said...

The sooner the better... so you know if the investment is going to work...-)

Anonymous said...

I am shocked and pleasantly surprised at these responses. Sometimes I feel so cynical, like the whole population is just all about having sex as young, often, and freely as possible, no matter the repercussions ... but to see that so many people are waiting until their wedding day is AMAZING. it is so rewarding. i waited until my wedding day, but my husband had a much different past than I, and it is one of the biggest challenges of our relationship. we are incredibly happy and close to one another, but if we could go back in time or give any advice, we would want our only sexual experience to be shared with each other and strongly suggest waiting until marriage. thanks everyone for sharing... and giving me hope!

Anonymous said...

I have absolutely loved reading through all these comments. I find each woman's story so fascinating!

I guess I experienced both sides of the spectrum. I grew up in a spiritual home and had every intention of waiting until marriage, but that didn't happen. My first time was after 3 years of an on-again-off-again relationship in high school. I was 17 and he was going off to college...I definitely felt like I had to prove something before he left.

I waiting three months in my second relationship (at 18) which in my mind is rather quick, but maybe not to others. I figured if I had already lost my virginity, what's the point? It's sad but I think that might be a common feeling for some girls.

Upon entering college I wanted to take my faith and spirituality much more seriously. I started dating a great guy my sophomore year of college and we both decided to wait until marriage (he was a virgin). I agree with those that have already shared that it is HARD to be patient when there's so much attraction/anticipation/etc. Of course I carried regret from my previous relationships, but they don't define who I am and I like to think I have a greater appreciation for sex within marriage because of my past.

My husband and I dated for 2 and a half years before our wedding night and it was really special. I don't think either of us had expectations of it being "magical", we were just looking forward to feeling close and being vulnerable.

I would caution those who define a sexual past as "baggage"- yes it can cause guilt, but we all bring our sinful baggage into a relationship (selfishness, pride, etc).

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have only slept with each other, and we waited until we were married to do so. I believe this is the "right" thing to do but I'd be lying if I didn't say that I kinda wished we did it before we were married when we were DYING to! I'm sure it would've been lots of fun. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't expect so many 'waits' until marriage. I am a mom of an almost teenage girl. I grew up in India where the culture is different, so not sure how to handle this topic for my daughter when the time comes. I cut and pasted some material from this post for future reference. Jet, thank you for articulating your experience. Thank you Joanna, for posting this.

Anonymous said...

As someone identifying as asexual, I actually have no interest in ever having sex with a boyfriend, spouse, or anyone for that matter. Not that some asexuals don't have sex (or even enjoy sex for that matter), but for me I don't experience sexual attraction to anyone, and so the interest just isn't there. (This is different than being celibate, which is a choice not to act on sexual urges). I'm 27 and don't foresee my virgin status changing, but I will say, it's really difficult to find others who want the same :)

Anonymous said...

Wow! A lot of people are waiting until marriage!!! Are all the other women out there acting shy?

I always had a hard time waiting. I think the longest I ever waited was 5 months, but I usually had sex within the first 2 weeks of dating (and had a lot of one night stands). I can't say I don't regret anything, but I can also say I'm glad I didn't wait until marriage. Sex with my husband is the best yet, and I would've hated to miss out on all the giddiness and passion that happened when we were first falling in love.
My sexual adventures have taught me that sex is definitely a personal and emotional act, but its also fun! Just go for it when you feel it's right!

Rachel said...

I am actually really encouraged by this! I already commented, but reading more, I am VERY surprised by how many people did wait/are waiting until marriage. Pretty much all my friends are having sex (unmarried), and I am definitely the anomaly. They often make me feel dumb about it (unintentionally I'm sure), but I'm confident in my decision to wait...and it makes me no less sexual or less knowledgeable. Sex is gooooood. Thanks for everyone's comments! From both sides!! Hopefully everyone feels some encouragement as well.

Anonymous said...

I dated my now-husband for almost two years before having sex on our wedding night. We fooled around a lot before that though, and we both wish we hadn't. Once you start doing stuff, it's hard to go back! But I'm still glad that I've only kissed one man - my husband. No regrets there.

Anonymous said...

my husband and i both waited until we were married. i was only 19 though, so it wasn't a long wait. we have been married 8 yrs, and i have no regrets.

Anonymous said...

After reading all of these comments I am really surprised by how many of us have actually waited until marriage to have sex. I didn't think it was all that common anymore, but these comments show otherwise. I also want to say how dissapointed I am by all of the commenters who said waiting is archaic, prude, weird and that we are uptight, shy or some naive Christian who is just doing what they've been told to do. I think that is very unfair and so close-minded, coming from people who claim to be "open-minded" and accepting. I waited until marriage but I am not going to condemn people who didn't.

Anonymous said...

I waited until marriage and don't feel like that in any way hindered my ability to see if my husband was the "right one" for me. I do think sex is a huge part of a marriage relationship, but I don't think it is necessary to "test-drive" that part.

Gayle GWishlist said...

I'm honestly pretty quick... I'm no slut, I haven't slept with many guys. My first we waited 2 months, and the others were mostly the second date...(we are pretty sexual people in Belgium:).
My, now, husband was on the first day we met in person! But we knew each other from talking over the phone, skype, and chat...

But I have slept with a guy once, on a first date. I met him at my cousin's birthday party -we didn't really talk to each others, but he was so hot! So I called him, asked him out, and we had sex that same night, and we said good bye the next day and told him the " I'll call you" typical phrase. We knew that this was a one time thing. And I wanted to do it as an experience to see how it feels ... and didn't like it so much and never did it again. I'm just the kinda girl that like to experience things in life, we live only once!

Megan said...

I must say I´m surprised. Not only for so many people waiting until marriage, but even more for another large number expecting years until having sex with a boyfriend.
I completely understand the idea of waiting until marriage, I think it´s absolutely related to religion, I completely respect it and I think it´s great to have such convictions.
What really surprises me -for good- are those ones who had expected years to do it...I guess right know I´m experiencing kind of a disenchantment on men and I´m having the idea that they won´t wait that long...

Robin Alford said...

I slept with my husband on the first date 12 years ago. I thought it was a one time thing so I just went for it. Little did I know he'd be the one I marry! I have absolutely no regrets.

Helen said...

My husband and I waited until our wedding night. It wasn't easy, but I think it's strengthened our marriage and made us a stronger couple by waiting for each other- and it has kept it fun throughout our marriage.

Anonymous said...

I've only slept with one man in my entire 30 years...and the first time was on our wedding night :) What's to be treasured most about our story is that we share this incredibly intimate thing with just each other. I love it that way for so many reasons! Were we beginners on our wedding night? Yes. Did it take 7 years of marriage and two babies to finally find our groove, yes. But we did it together and share it with no one. I love that!!

Anonymous said...

JUST because it's Women's Day I will spill. I'm getting married in 79 days to my high school sweetheart after 7 years of waiting. It's going to be epic.

Haley J. said...

My daughter is nine months old. If I were trying to advise her in a way that blends realism an idealism, I'd say this: Wait until you've finished high school, and always wait at least three dates, three weeks, or when you are comfortable with it - whichever comes last.

Anonymous said...

we waited until marriage, and thank goodness as it made it all the more special and sweet. i never regretted it, not once.

Anonymous said...

I am blown away by all of the waiting until marriage! Maybe it's because I live in the Bay Area and folks are notoriously progressive here (don't get me wrong I know it's not all liberal floozy town out here) but WOW. So fascinating. I literally do not know a single woman who has waited, and all of them are in happy & stable relationships or marriages.

As for the "when" of things, the timing of sex was really up to me. I've slept with way over 25 men, and fully believe in safe, casual, sexually based relationships (f*ck buddies or even one night stands if I felt like it.) To me, just like dating, trying out sex with different men has taught me SO many things about men, myself, and ultimately what I wanted sexually from a partner. From experience, I can say that sometimes sex simply does not "work" between two people no matter how much you care for them, or how much you try. And by "work" I mean mutually gratifying, awesome orgasmic sex.

Just as I learned to distinguish between a lackluster boyfriend and a true gentleman via dating, I learned to love blow jobs from one man, and I learned to enjoy super slow, loving tantra from another. This would not be the case if I had not explored sex before marriage. Each experience was a true gift, definitely shaped me as a woman, and enabled me to absolutely know that my husband is not only the best fit for my heart but also for my vagina.

Anonymous said...

lol LOVE the yada, yada, yada Seinfeld reference!

My husband and I waited years into our relationship, when we finally got engaged, to do the deed. But in all honesty, I'm not sure why I made such a big deal out of it. If we were to rewind time I would probably sleep with him within a couple of months of dating. I use to make such a big deal out of sex when we were younger that he can't believe his ears when I say that to him now.

Tracy said...

My husband and I both waited until our wedding night and while the sex wasn't great that night and it was most certainly awkward we are so thankful we waited for each other. Now 10 years later we are so thankful our sexual history is only with each other and yes, the sex has gotten MUCH. BETTER!!!

Anonymous said...

I didn't lose my virginity until I was 21 (not for any particular reason) and then I lost it to a friend. I didn't feel like it was a big deal and I didn't even tell him.

The next guy I slept with on the first date. We've been together four years and we're getting married next summer.

Anonymous said...

I completely respect the ladies who have waited until marriage. Although I did not wait, I understand how it must be incredible to discover sex together, just the two of you, no one else from the past. Sometimes I wish I had waited but there's no point in dwelling because there's nothing I can do to change it.

However, (and I really do say this as respectfully as possible! I promise!) do some get married a lot sooner because of it? People in their early twenties are naturally very ummm... sexually enthusiastic and naturally look forward to the experience a lot. I had close friends in college who were waiting and confided in me that a big part of why they wanted to get married was to experience sex. And it seems like all of my "waiting" friends got married rather quickly after college and after a short period of dating.

I personally am glad that I experienced sex with several different partners and know that the sex I have with my husband is honestly the best sex I've ever had, hands down.

And as far as abstaining because of fears of pregnancy and/or STDs, just be careful and safe. We are lucky enough to live in a time where we have access to STD tests, protection, and birth control. And I do agree with "Anonymous @ 8:43" that the IUD is the way to go. I've had one for years and it's fabulous!

Ana said...

When I am in a relationship, depending on how well I know my partner, and how much obvious physical attraction is between us (and that we both are experienced and basically on the same level sexually), I would say one month MAXIMUM.
I don't know why other girls hold back more than that amount of time, but I love the sex (<--- say in Russian accent) and I only have sex when I am in a relationship, so I don't hold back when the opportunity arises with my boyfriend, no matter how 'new' he is.
But, I also do not date guys whom I do not know - to be in a relationship with a guy I would have had to at least be friends with him for a few months, gone on a few dates, and felt comfortable in his presence.

Katie said...

What an incredibly fascinating collection of comments to read! I'm another person that is truly shocked at how many people have waited/are waiting for marriage. I'm 26 and a virgin who believes God views sex as something that should be confined to marriage. I wasn't raised in a religious household, however I did come to the Christian faith on my own, and am decently devout. I do have many friends that waited or are waiting for marriage, which is of course much more common within the Christian community.

Ultimately, everyone just needs to do what they feel is right. No one, women or men, should feel pressured to do something, or not do something, based on anyone's morals or viewpoints that aren't their own. No one should ever feel any shame for their choices, no matter where they end up on the spectrum of waiting :)

Katie said...

Anonymous 12:16

On people getting married early b/c they want to have sex...

I went to a small Christian college, and you definitely saw that happening a lot. Many a 18/19 year old couple rushing into marriage b/c they really wanted to have sex, lol. That said, there's equal amounts of people I know who were in their late 20's and even early 30's who waited/are waiting, and some of them in rather long-term relationships (2-3 years with no sex). I think it all varies as much as the comments on this post vary!

Erica @ Acire Adventures said...

So funny! I appreciate that the comments I've been reading are open about everyone choosing what fits them best. It is so amazing to me that some people wait 6 years to sleep with their partner! It makes me curious how different relationships are when sex isn't part of it for 6 whole years. I've never been one to wait, unless I was forced to by the other person involved!

Anonymous said...

This is the perfect thing to read after having a strange thing on this subject.. I was 14 when I lost mine... he was 25, looks wrong? I thought so.. and now I'm 19.. I've slept with 7 people, trying to pick up from the start, it's very very hard for me.. I really value this.. ever since I lost mine at 14 I was never confident, it was awful and I regret ever talking to him.. but I had intuition after that.. and I guess... it's become some sort of craze for me.. like I have to find someone to beat the first time ever.. to make it all go away... and I'm still looking!

Anonymous said...

These comments are awesome. (I think this is actually my first comment on your blog!)

My fiancé and I have been together for two years. We haven't had sex yet.

He's had been with seven sexual partners in the past, and while I was very intimate with a good number of guys/men growing up, I never "went all the way" and had sex because I thought of it as "wrong" or "shameful."

Hear me out: I am not glad that I lived under a lot of stigma and shame growing up, but I am so, so glad that I am waiting to truly experience the full parameters of sex with my soon-to-be husband. It's nice that in the end I was able to confront the negative beliefs, and find a new sort of sexual freedom in dating this wonderful man, without actually having sex just yet.

And, it's so beautiful to see the way he's respected and loved and cherished me throughout our time dating. He loves that I chose to wait. Waiting until marriage to be together has been a transformative couple of years for us both, in very unique ways. I really love how redemptive the relationship is and how absolutely sure I am of wanting to be with him forever.

And yeah, waiting is really, really hard.

Anonymous said...

I was 21 and waited 3 months. I felt a little pressured because he was my first boyfriend ever and was 8 years older than me. He had so much more experience and had slept with 50+ girls before me (I'm low balling the number- no joke) We're actually still together after 5 years, but honestly our 2 extremely different sexual histories has been a real issue in our relationship. I often feel insecure and like he must be comparing me to the dozens of others before me. I also wonder if I missed out waiting so long, because I have nothing to compare to... sigh.

Anna said...

Yeah, there is no right answer, but it's always better later than earlier. :) I've always regretted it when it was too early. When I resisted the temptation, and waited long enough it always turned out very good. Even if that means, that he gave me up. That means only that he was not meant to be. I truly believe that's the answer for girls who are in search of a relationship. And this, not necessarily due to some moral principle (although that's also important) but by sleeping early with each other, the energies exchange happens so fast and so abruptly that it gets lost, it leaves no energetic print on the partner so that he can miss you. Of course there are some girls out there who expect nothing less and nothing more from the "sleeping with someone" but sleeping with someone. In this case my rule above does not really apply.:)

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is any right time. I waited a year with my husband (we were already living together by then). I was a virgin but he had had 2 relationships before we met. We were very intimate with each other VERY quickly but waited to have sex. Probably because I was 20 when we met and we didn't want to rush.

I could not have waited for marriage - we lived together 7 years before marriage. Sex has always been really great and I'm glad he was my first.

Anonymous said...

WOW! I am floored that the majority of your readers waited so long. (Or maybe they're the only one's commenting?) At 22, I waited years to have sex with one boyfriend, 4 months to sleep with another, and only hours before going to bed with some one night stands! I agree with a previous poster: while some readers might judge me for my behavior, I honestly feel like some of them missed out!

Marianne said...

I met a guy occasionally at parties, so I really didn't know him that well. But I thought he was hilarious (to me a sense of humor is the biggest turn-on) and after a year where I met him four or five times we got drunk and had sex.

The next morning we woke up and went out for breakfast and without ever having to discuss it we just knew that we were together from then on. We were together for seven years and I never regreted that we hadn't dated "properly".

I have no idea how my next relationship will begin and I don't speculate or set up any rules. I think when I feel I can really trust the other person that's when I go for it.

Laura said...

I waited a year with my first ever boyfriend, then with others, normally a couple of weeks at least.

My most recent boyfriend, who I have now been dating for 14 months, I slept with on the second date. I just really liked him and it seemed like a great way to get to know each other. It obviously worked out. I'm steel head over heels.

Sarah said...

My husband and I waited for 4 years. This wasn't really deliberate, but it suited us. To give context I'm 36 and I hadn't slept with anyone before, initially this was a decision inspired by teenage religious fervour, and then in my more liberal twenties, I only met idiots. So I guess you could say I waited over 30 years to sleep with someone. (I would add I am definitely not some poster girl for abstinence.It was pretty frustrating. It just kind of happened and I wore out several of battery operated devices during that time.)

My husband has a similar faith story with some horrible experiences with unplanned pregnancy and then a miscarriage thrown in to really mess with your mind. So despite being together for 4 years, we took stuff slowly. Some might say ridiculously slowly, at times it did feel slow, but it suited us.

Was it worth the wait? Well Yes! I am pleased to report 31 years of virginity, a further 4 years waiting with someone you love DOES result in mind blowing sex, intense connection, love, security, confidence, etc. Woop!

However whilst waiting was what was right for us and our bent up minds, I would say the most important thing is that you find your own pace and timing - together. At least that is what worked for us.

Haydee Rodriguez said...

I think it depends on what moment of your life you're living, your partner...

with my now husband I waited for a month or so

Anonymous said...

Depends upon the situation. With my latest boyfriend I knew after the first date that I wanted to sleep with him, really knew after the 2nd date after some major making out and went for it on the third date. It was great - I'd thought about going with the 3 month rule this time around but after a day spent at the beach where we literally couldn't keep our hands off each other it just felt right :)

Anonymous said...

I slept with my fiancé on our first date and have never regretted it! I'm an atheist (despite my Catholic upbringing) and never felt the need to 'save myself' for marriage, because I believe that whilst sex is GREAT, it does not define a person... I don't believe women 'lose a part of themselves' when they lose their virginity. To me that view is outdated and places more importance on the sex itself than the people! I truly believe passion is central to a relationship and think it's sort of odd that many of the Christian women above were fine with doing 'everything but' but not intercourse itself... well played Church, no illegitimate children came from a blowjob!

Anonymous said...

I dont think the amount of people here who waited/are waiting a lot reflects actually the true stats about this. I mean, if I was hungry and staring a cupcake in front of me for many years, without eating it (just fooling around sometimes as they say) because it's Gods or because it means something absolutely abstract to me, I would be proud of it somehow, and a little desperate to tell about it to everyone I see.. When you just eat it when you're up to, it kinda have no amazing moments of despair to make us want to talk about.. :P

Sydney L. said...

i havent never slept with anyone. this is a really strange and interesting topic for me. i enjoy reading the comments!

Anonymous said...

Wow, this IS a really fascinating string. I too am surprised by all the "waited til marriage" posts..no judgment here, just really amazing and in a way...refreshing to hear. I'm 42. My (now) husband and I had sex BEFORE we started dating! It was so uncharacteristic of me, but I never regretted it. We were 21 after being friends for 5 years, we suddenly found ourselves SO drawn to one another but we skirted the issue of dating for several weeks because we were afraid our mutual best friend would be really weirded out by it. We "snuck away" from a party at his house and "yada yada yada." We made PANCAKES for breakfast. We've been inseparable since then (and funny, that was 21 years ago YESTERDAY). I lost my virginity with my high school boyfriend a month after my 16th birthday. I have no regrets about any of the sexual choices I made, only...having chosen my life partner so young, in a wierd way I wish I had had MORE partners before him (there were five)...not in a promiscuous way. I just wish I had been a little more adventurous.

Anonymous said...

I waited to have sex until I was married. I have never regretted the decision or felt like I "missed out" on things.

I was lucky to find my husband who shared the same value as I did and he had waited till marriage also.

It was a decision we both had made at young ages based on our Spiritual beliefs, but it was also a personal decision we both had made.

Yes, we did have some funny moments on our honeymoon, and we had to figure out a few things, but I love knowing that we figured them out together, we came into this together not having another partner and I feel safe, and secure knowing that we share is ours and only ours. Neither of us have any questions in the back of our minds about exes or anything. It's really a beautiful thing we share.

Mary said...

I've known my best friend for three years, we've been dating a year, engaged for three months, and getting married in four. When we get married, he'll be 25 and I'll be 24. We're waiting for marriage, and I couldn't be happier. We aren't holy rollers or prudes; we just believe that sex is sacred and personally hold it as such, only wanting to share that with our spouse (each other). We believe our sex drive was given to us before we even knew each other or were ready to get married, because it was worth fighting for. We refrained from all of those times we could have slept with someone else or each other before we enter that covenant so we could show the other how important it was to us, and because so, we abstained and were able to give that experience and privilege to the other. And not to mention, we didn't have to make those emotional ties with others, worry about pregnancy, or STDs. To each his own.

Anonymous said...

I never comment but, in case the NYT gets wind of this and takes a head count, I am an almost 41-year-old with zero experience and I am gobsmacked by the numbers of others here with a similar story (if not quite as old). I truly thought I was the only one, outside a conservative evangelical enclave. For those who do not restrict their dating experience to fellow Christians, I would love to know how early one feels obligated to detail this status to a new partner. I have never quite figured the answer.

Emily said...

I grew up and currenyly live in the south where there is a huge societal pressure to wait until you are married to have sex. I completely respect that and I wanted to live up to that pressure. However, I am SO GLAD I did not wait. My first boyfriend and I started dating when I was 14. We both knew that we were going to get married. When he graduated and moved off to college I felt that he was slipping away. So I figured that if we slept together I could keep his interest. What a cute and naive girl I was. We did the deed and it was awful. Worst experience of my life. I lost all physical attraction to him. Pressure from my family and friends made me stay with him an additional two years until I could no longer stand him. A month after the break up I rebeliously slept with a guy I barely knew. It was meh, but I don't regret it. A month after that I met my future husband. We spent the first night we met walking around our downtown area. The next night we did the deed. We've been together for three years and are getting married this October. I don't regret sleeping with the other two guys because it allowed for me to grow and understand myself as a woman. All in all, it really just depends on the woman and the relationship!

Anonymous said...

I had sex with my husband for the first time about a year and a half after we started dating. We got married three years after that and we've been married for three years. This may sound a bit crazy but part of me wishes we had just had sex earlier. We spent so much time thinking we were respecting each other by not having sex but really we both wanted to go for it after we had been dating for a few months. We still laugh about that.

Anonymous said...

I didn't have sex until I got married. And I didn't get married until I was 43! I had lots of boyfriends along the way. The stats about diseases always freaked me out--if your partner has had 3 partners, then you're exposed to X people and on and on. I figured the best protection was a wedding ring! Esp. for my heart. I've always been a slow healer after breakups and I figured intimacy only made it more emotionally painful if it didn't work out. No regrets at all.

Rebecca said...

I am so impressed with our sex and our generation right now! I've skimmed through most of the comments, really listened to a few and have been touched by some. (The one right above this- Kelsi, you're awesome! Way to not be jaded after a crummy experience with your ex husband cheating)

I love that most of these girls seem so confident and independent in their decisions and the choices they've made-whether it be to wait until marriage or sleep with the guy on the first date.


Here's a funny personal anecdote: I remember in high school having this conversation with my girlfriends. Only me and one other girl said we were going to wait until marriage. Wouldn't you know it- we were the first two girls in the group to lose our virginity!

Anonymous said...

I'm also amazed at how many of the commenters waited until marriage. I'm 29 and only know one woman who has waited, an Orthodox ex-coworker who was absolutely desperate to find her future husband so she could get it on (I happily directed her to Babeland and the best vibrators). Which is so telling: sex is deliriously fun! I lost my virginity when I was 14, have had over 20 partners, and have zero regrets. It's only been a source of joy in my life--likely because I've made thoughtful choices. I slept with my boyfriend--going on four years together--on the second date. He could care less how many people I've been with and vice versa. While I appreciate the many reasons for waiting, I feel very strongly that the stigma around women having sex for pleasure should be dismantled. If you're confident in your sexuality, you are more likely to be on top of birth control and condoms, and more likely to choose partners because of your considered desires, not because of pressure from others. This is the sort of message we should be conveying to teens and young women.

Anonymous said...

oh man... One of the comments talked about teens having sex is irresponsible. I would completely agree with that. I always grew up thinking, "Am I comfortable having a kid right now?" and that's what drove whether or not I had sex.
I guess I was more wise beyound my years in high school and now have a 14yr. old sister doing the deed with her boyfriends of only 2 months at a time. (eek - pretty sure those #'s will add up quickly..)
I didn't think women's lib = stupidity.
The fact is we carry a child and have to live with the descision to abort, give it up for adoption or change our entire lives to keep the baby.
I'm just sick of hearing about so many "ooops" babies. There are controls that one can take and if you choose not to use those controls than there isn't such a thing as an "oops".
Off my soapbox. This subject is something I feel strongly about and has nothing to do with any religious affiliation...just common sense.

MrsTucker said...

We all have our opinions on what is right. And we are all just human. But for me in this case, what is right is waiting till you get married. It doesn't always happen but its also never too late to start getting it right. Your boyfriend should never lose respect or judge you because you want to wait or because you gave it up too easily. He should respect you, period. I just married the man of my dreams, I have a kid from a previous marriage.. so you see... we didn't always do it right. But in the middle of our relationship we decided to wait.. we got engaged..got married.. and its the best decision we've ever made. And it's true... it's really worth it. So yeah, it's never too late. You can always decide to do it right. :D

Anonymous said...

I agree that there's not some prescriptive answer for everyone regarding how long to wait. I slept with my current boyfriend before I even started dating him, and I'm glad I did. It's all about one's individual situation. However, I think that it is important to be up-front about your beliefs about sex if you plan on waiting until marriage. I once dated someone who didn't believe in having intercourse until marriage, but who would do everything but. He didn't tell me that he wanted to wait, and I assumed that he did not since he was always the one to initiate the the other sexual activities. Way into our relationship, he dropped that bomb on me, and it really affected our relationship. I respect him for that choice, but I wish he had told me earlier so I didn't have these expectations that he would/could not fulfill.

MrsTucker said...

ps.. Also, I'm sorry to hear that other people regret waiting. But sex with your husband should be something special. It's not just physical. It's bonding with the love of your life and appreciating every part of him. I understand that sex is important in marriage, if it gets too "boring" for you, you can always find ways to spice it up. :) you can learn from each other or explore together. After all, that's how experienced people get it right? from experimenting with other people? you can do it too! with the love of your life. :) I will always encourage waiting. Have a great weekend everyone! :)

Katie said...

I believe the best time to wait is until marriage. Sex is made for marriage, and if we have already had sex with a person before marriage, then there is nothing to offer that person when we do marry them or to the person we do marry. Virginity is such a beautiful gift to give, and God has intended it to be given for marriage.

I've been dating my boyfriend (I'm 18, he's 20) for 4 years, and we are waiting until marriage to have sex. Although it has been extremely difficult, and we have made plenty of mistakes along the way, I have no question at all whether we are doing the right thing. I know that I will never regret not sleeping with him when we are married, and that will be such a blessing.

I've also enjoyed getting to know him on a deep personal level. I've never known someone as deeply as I know him. He is my best friend. I am more comfortable with him than anyone else, and I know that when we do have sex, I won't have to be nervous at all because I know him completely and feel totally safe with him.

Kim said...

Nice to see so many commenters who have waited or are planning to wait until they are married. (I thought I was in a smaller minority!) My husband and I have only slept with each other and we waited until we were married. It seems old fashioned, but it's totally worth the wait!

Erica E said...

I piggy back what the majority of people have said. It depends on the relationship and on the person. I slept with my husband the first time after 2 weeks of dating (it was also my first time that had I slept with anyone). I always felt i should've waited a bit longer. I was only 17 at the time and he was 23. I would've liked to wait till i was more mature. But I felt presured to sleep with him not by him but by my friends and the last guy i dated before my husband, had dump me because i wouldn't have sex with him. Needless to say I was heartbroken. so I figure if i sleep with my boyfriend he wouldn't leave me (hence why i needed to be more mature). But after a few times i kind of felt regret about having sex with him and wanted to make sure that he and I was doing this for the right reasons. So I left him. But after 7 months of separtation destiny brought us back to together and it was totally different this time around. We spoke about it and we waited for about 5 months (or like he said "until you are ready") I'm glad to say I've been with my husband for about 18 yrs now. all i say is make sure you follow your heart. Make sure it's right. Whether it's on your first date, 100th date or your honeymoon. Sex can be a beautiful thing if it's done with a person you connect with.

Anonymous said...

Til our wedding night (which was his first time too). It's hard to say if it was the best decision or not, because I don't know what would have happened otherwise, but it's worked out great for us. I never have to worry about being incompetent or think about him comparing me to other girls/partners. So I always feel very confident in bed.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am 24 and still virgine. I had some doubts last time about that because you know it is very hard do keep it. But this coversation and your comments make me a little more sure it is right. I am not sure i am able to wait fo wedding night but i am trying to do that! Jo, thank you fot this!

Lindsay said...

I'm 23 and waiting till marriage even though I'm head over heels for my studly boyfriend. I'm gonna be for real pissed if I die before having sex. :P

I don't regret not having sex, and I don't think I will (I'm real excited to get to share it with only one person for my whole life), but it can be easy to get into a pity party sometimes. That's when I have to suck it up and remind myself that the No's I may be saying now are going to turn into a very huge, passionate, and liberated YES!!!

Anonymous said...

Well I feel like I need to provide an alternate experience as many of the comments on this page are skewing to the waiting-till-marriage side of things...
I had sex with my current boyfriend the night we met, and I've never regretted it. Sex is an important part of my relationships, and I enjoy it. As long as it's safe, healthy and consensual it should happen whenever you feel comfortable.
I take issue with the idea that waiting to have sex is the only way to demonstrate self-respect and gain respect from others. If your partner really thinks that way, do you want to be with them at all?

Anonymous said...

To Anon @ 4:15:

"I waited because it was MY choice and my husband's choice. It was what we believed was right for us. If I have faith in what the Bible says in this and I believe it is God's will for me than who are you to say otherwise?"

If you're following the guidance of a "magic" book then it's not really your choice, is it?

marta said...

we both waited until we were married. i love knowing he is mine and i am his in such a remarkably sacred special way.

Anonymous said...

It's been interesting to read these comments. I would say that since the age of 5 or so, I have been aware of the wonder of sexuality. No, I didn't quite understand it fully when I was that young, but I already looked forward to the day I got to enjoy it myself, even at such a young age. Because of my early curiousity, I have always felt comfortable with sex. When I started dating my first boyfriend in high school, I waited 6 months (while doing other things to bide the time) and then I told him if he didn't have sex with me, we could no longer date. I was 17. I made sure I was on the pill and that he used a condom, to be extra careful. It was wonderful! In college, I dated one guy, and we waited for 6 months, but again, I told him if he didn't sleep with me we'd need to break up. I love my sexuality and at a certain point I need sex in a close, intimate relationship! I'm not super-lusty, I go through many long, dry periods, and then periods when I feel it's fitting to have lots of sex. I had a small string of meaningless relationships at the end of college that I regret because I was partying too much and thus didn't make conscious, rational choices about the guys I was with, but those were definitely valuable learning experiences. Right after college, I met the most amazing guy, we connected deeply in an instant, and we slept together after the first date. That, too, was wonderful and I wouldn't have had it any other way. We dated for 4 years after that. In my current relationship, we also slept together after the first date, it was so so right and so wonderful, and the sex just gets better and better. I don't always date someone I have slept with, because I go through periods in which I'm totally monogamous and dating long-term, then I go through a "single" period in which I usually have a monogamous sexual relationship with someone, although I don't seriously date that person (keeping the options open while in "single" mode.) I don't plan to ever get married, and I probably won't have kids, so this may factor into my decisions to sleep with the men that I do. Even though I'm in a long-term relationship right now, I'm not interested in life-commitment or marriage. I look forward to learning from and with many future intimate partners!

Melissa said...

I've actually been thinking a lot about this topic, since the Modern Family episode aired about Virgin territory.

Personally I'm so glad that I waited until marriage to have sex. It's such an intimate thing.

When in high school I worked at Wet Seal with a bunch of very sexually active girls. I candidly asked one of my coworkers (who I had become friends with), what her thoughts were on sex. I'll never forget. She said, "if you haven't had sex, yet. WAIT. It's such a special thing, you'll be glad you did."

That was so surprising coming from a girl who had a different guy every week or month. looking back, I'm grateful for her advice.

I've got a four year old girl who's growing up SO fast! Chris and I are raising her in a very conservative Christian home, so naturally I hope that she makes the same decision that I did to save sex for marriage. I just hope that whatever she decides that she'll feel respected and loved enough to come to me to talk about it.

Anonymous said...

I wish I had waited a bit longer to sleep with my now fiance. There was so much chemistry and tension between he and I, that we just gave into it. Now I think it would have been better to prolong the mystery.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that if waiting until marriage feels right to you, more power to you. However, I do find it condescending to assume that having more than one partner would equal regrets. One commenter mentioned "baggage" as if connecting with another human being automatically resulted in something negative if you didn't spend the rest of your lives together. I feel honored to have gotten to know people and shared a time that wasn't any less special for not having lasted "forever".

I have had more than one partner and I don't have regrets. I don't feel bad about myself and I don't "compare". To me, each relationship is different and special in it's own way.

If you can find fulfillment in having an exclusive relationship, then you should. But I think that women put too high a premium on "purity" being tied to their "value" and I find that sad. I am a complex interesting human being and the fact or absence of my virginity has nothing to do with who I am as a person. I think it is fine if it's just that you aren't comfortable doing it before marriage for trust reasons or other personal reasons. But I chafe at the idea that virginity is a gift I am expected to give someone else. I don't think that virginity is anything but a concept that originated with trying to make sure property stayed where it was supposed to. In addition, it ignores the experiences of whole groups of people for whom heterosexual experiences have nothing to do with intimacy.

Women feeling shamed into following some arbitrary rule so that other women or men don't look down on them (I can't count how many times on this board someone has said "this is my experience, but don't worry I'm not a floozy"-what does that even mean? Is there a number after which you magically become a slut?- it's shameful for us to judge each other like that, everyone is different) has more to do with others than ourselves and I am a proponent of doing what is right for you.

For the record, the amount of time I have waited is not something I really keep track of. I am in my 30's now and I would guess it's varied from more than 6 months to as short as the first date and I have to say the lengths of my relationships have had no correlation to this number. My current relationship has been going on 5+ years and we slept together very early in the relationship, conversely I have waited longer and had the relationship not work out. Sex is one component of a person and one component of a relationship and I encourage women not to put so high a value on any one thing. Sex and respect are not inexorably linked.

One more thing I have to point out is that I was raised in a Christian home and at some point began to question why anyone else cared so much about my virginity. I think it's great if you have a personal covenant with your higher power or yourself but for my parents or youth pastor or friends to care so much about my sexuality began to seem strange and more a means of control than concern. Something to think about.

Kristennn said...

I met my boyfriend (now fiance) on Myspace- I live in California and he lived in England. We spoke online and on the phone for 9 months before we met in person... so I don't know if that counts as dating or not! Anyway, by the time we met in person we basically knew everything about each other, and had no hesitations. Long story short- first date (in person, haha).

Steph said...

I really believe there is no right answer to this one. What matters is how the woman feels about herself and whether or not she is doing something that she and only she feels is right for her. I waited to have sex until I was in university, but after that, I did what I wanted. I sometimes slept with guys after a short period, but I was very selective in who I went out with and spent my time with in the first place. The same goes for my wonderful partner. It was actually after quite a number of dates that we had sex after meeting, but in part it was reflective of other circumstances that we waited. I feel lucky that I've always felt confident about what I was doing and have never had any regrets in this regard.

Anonymous said...

I consider myself a progressive, feminist woman and I waited to have sex until I married. I don't see how people can call that sad or unhealthy. My husband and I were virgins and our first few times were not "magical" in the sense that we had a steep learning curve together, but truthfully it was magical to just climb into bed together since we hadn't done that yet. We've been married 14 years with two kids and I can honestly say that the sex has gotten better every year together and is crazy good to us. I feel so completely safe and we know each other so well that we know how to have incredible sex now. We laugh often about how clueless we were together in the beginning in regards to sex but we both had a healthy sex drive when we were dating and had physically healthy bodies and enjoyed kissing and making out so we knew we would learn just fine together. I don't regret this choice. We married young- 19 and 24 years, and supported each other through college, graduate school and careers together. We were so young when we got married but it lead us to learn a lot quickly and we have a rock solid foundation together. I know others do it differently, but I'm so happy with our situation. I'm also so happy to learn that sex does indeed just get better and better- we're definitely not sick of it after our years together!

j-mapelle-nee said...

...til there's a ring on ya finger!! No buts about it.. and NOoO this aint "old fashioned"... its Biblical.

Have a nice day folks x

j-mapelle-nee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Lost the v-card when I was 15 to my boyfriend at the time. We only did it two times in three years (what can I say we were curious and really into each other.)

I slept with two others. One was my first love and best friend, the other was pure lust.

Then I met my now husband when I was 18 as a second year college student. We hit it off like whoa. I think we waited two or three weeks before rounding the bases. Either way it's been a glorious 8 years both in and out of the bedroom ;)

Jenny Childers said...

I'm a Christian, am 27 & waiting until marriage.

I've dated casually & had a two-year, serious relationship in college. I have plenty of other regrets from previous relationships, but have never regretted waiting (even though it's not always awesome & definitely not easy :)!

I think dating without the super physical aspect of a relationship (I'm all for holding hands & kissing! :) can be really fun & is still a great way to get to know each other.

I'm looking forward to getting married & figuring it all out with just one guy.

So interesting to read all your comments! Just love your blog, Joanna! :)

Suzanne said...

I was 15 when I got together with my boyfriend. He was 18 years old. He was so sweet. didn't want me to do it when I wasn't ready. But I wanted it after tree months. He asked me 10000 times. Are you sure? You don't have too. I'm happy too wait. Now four years later he is the only one I have slept with.

Laura said...

When I met guys I wasn't sure about I waited a little longer but when I met my boyfriend now who I am still head over heals for I could barely wait a couple of weeks. I guess when you know, you just know.

Anonymous said...

I'm 25 and never felt like I knew anyone I was in a relationship with well enough to consider sex as a natural step.

Somedays, I think that waiting till marriage is what is going to eventuate for me. In my last relationship ( I call it that for want of a better word), I had days where I felt like I was going to drag him home and jump his bones and other days where all I wanted was a bit of certainty from him... that he wasn't just going to stop seeing me because I'd scratched his itch. I did have a lot to lose if things went badly though and neither of us were in good places emotionally, and these elements in addition to my fear is what ended up eroding our relationship ultimately.

I think honestly though that it depends so much on who you are as an individual and how emotionally stable you are.

The responses on this post are incredible. Its the kind of thing my girlfriends and I talk about a lot but never really get into the nitty-gritty of, so it's refreshing to see so many honest responses.

The only response that I disagreed strongly with was the one which stated that waiting till marriage is archaic. Certainly valid points- sexual mismatches could be a terrible situation to have to live with, but I think its fair to assume that people who wait to have sex till married will at least engage sensually, intellectually and emotionally prior to making the decision to marry. I come from a conservative, educated background and one of the beliefs that I was raised with is that once the initial lust dies down, there needs to be a sense of compatibility that the relationship relies on. Certainly it helps if the sex is good, but its not the be-all and end-all.

Joanna, thank you for a thought-provoking post that draws out candid opinions!

Anonymous said...

Virgins are awesome - I think waiting is great. Don't at all feel weird - it's actually very sexy when considered by the right person!

I think virgins are far sexier and actually are better in bed than people who have been *active*!

As a virgin, you don't have all sorts of hangups, bad behaviours or other baggage.

I was with someone for 3 years for my first first - we waited over a year.

There have been very few since but those partners who had "less experience" were far better experiences for both.

I know someone who had dated a very active person and going out to dinner was awkward - half the restaurant had slept with their partner! (what a serious turnoff!)

Emmy said...

Like I'm seeing a lot of other ladies say, I would go with it just depends. Every person and every interaction is different. I've waited months, I've had trouble making it past date 1 or 2 because the guy seemed great.
But the common trend I try to keep with me is that I wait till I'm ready and know what I want - but sometimes you have to be okay with not getting what you want.
I've had date 2 sex that I thought was a great start to what would be a great relationship to explore, but it ended there. I've had one night stands that turned into the longest relationship I've had to date.
It's all one big adventure, a journey, and as long as you're true to yourself and staying safe I think it doesn't matter if you wait 30 minutes, 3 months, or 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Such a great topic, Joanna! I'm enjoying reading all the responses. So many commentors say they waited until they were married and they are so happy they did. My husband and I waited until we were married, and I wish we hadn't! I feel like maybe we don't have that much chemistry after all, but we don't really have anything to compare it to. I was wondering if anyone else felt similarly but it seems like the others who waited had a better experience. If my friends ever ask me, I tell them, DONT WAIT!

Anonymous said...

This is so interesting and fun to read! With my current boyfriend (of almost 5yrs) we waited a whopping week! It was funny bc at the time I had gone through a promiscuous phase and told myself that I was done with sleeping with someone quickly. I was in college at the time, starting my senior year and then I met my boyfriend in class, well, saw him in class. School had just started and one night, in a bar (yes, as cliche as it sounds) we saw each other across the dance floor and it was love at first sight...ok, maybe lust! hehe, we danced the rest of the night, talked and he walked me home and kissed me goodnight on my stoop. It was like a movie. The next morning he asked me on a date, a few days after that first date, we met up at the bars again and well....the rest is history. We had an intense physical attraction from the beginning we couldn't deny! We've been together ever since, we'll be moving in together in a few months and hopefully he'll put a ring on it soon!

Anonymous said...

My husband and I waited until we got married because our beliefs and am so happy that we did. For me, I always knew it would be way better being with someone you are committing your life too- it just makes it all that much better!

Anonymous said...

I used to regret sleeping with my first boyfriend very early on in our relationship (2 weeks in I think) when I was only just 18. I always felt like I should have waited or made him wait or 'something'.

It's taken me another five years to realise that I did what I wanted to at the time, it really had no negative impact on me, and it's ok to let that one go! There's no point regretting it, it feels like a different lifetime.

Now, I would probably wait a little longer, just to really extend that fun 'getting to know you' intimacy you build before you have sex. Because that part's fun. But who knows...if I run into Justin Timberlake at the supermarket next week, I can't guarantee anything!

Anonymous said...

Counting dates is kind of an American thing in my opinion. Where I'm from we tend to hang out in groups. By the time you progress to hanging out as a pair it's already known that both parties are definitely interested and you're basically a couple. I had my own spin on things though. I'd make a guy my best friend, torture him with friendship, and then really the only hurdle is to actually touch each other and officially be together. So in a sense I waited many months, in another sense I barely waited a week.

Anonymous said...

We also waited until marriage, over 6 years. And had a damn good time in the meantime. Whoever said virgins were repressed had it wrong...those days were our most...creative. ;)

Anonymous said...

Made my current live-in boyfriend of 2 years get STD tested before we slept together, not something many people are too excited to do, which in the end forced us to wait a few weeks longer than we would have. Him doing so without complaint or hesitation really reinforced how much he respected me and foresaw this to be a longer relationship. He is a great boyfriend and person.

Anonymous said...

i don't think it's that there are so many people that waited for marriage on here, they just can't wait to tell *everyone* about it. i can't help but hear bragging to validate their decision to wait until marriage. i also think it's preachy and naive to think that if someone has had multiple partners, they have baggage. who are you to judge? isn't that against the same christian ideals that decided FOR you that you should wait?

my husband and i have only slept with each other. however, we did not wait until marriage. i will not preach abstinence to my children. i will teach them about the beauty of sexual freedom and choice, and how protection and birth control empower you to have the sex you deserve.

Anonymous said...

Hubby and I waited for each other until we got married. So, so glad we did. I love that we're each other's only.

Rachel Jetpack said...

I don't think it'll make a difference, whatever you choose. With my current boyfriend if happened IMMEDIATELY even though my friends warned me not to. And we're still together 3 years later : ) When it's right, its right!

Anonymous said...

I was 16 when I lost my virginity to my boyfriend who was 17 and I think that is too young. We had been dating for a couple of weeks and our relationship lasted for only a couple of months. We were both full of teenage angst and he was depressed. I'm 19 now and I've slept with one other guy when I was 18. I think a lot of teenagers are pressured into having sex and make their decisions based on that. But I don't think there is a right answer for everyone.

Courtney said...

In relation to this topic, check out the new documentary:

"Jesus, Don't Let Me Die Before I've Had Sex"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YUNh5xDOb3U

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