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The Waiting Game: Abstinence at CNU

It’s the word that most college students will roll their eyes at. It’s the word that has been crammed into students’ minds by their parents, teachers, priests and even their own friends. Abstinence is the personal choice to withhold from any sexual activity until after marriage. But does anyone actually follow through with it? Surprisingly, there are more virgins on campus than non-virgins. However, the stigma that abstinent individuals share is a rough one.

When the best-selling book in the world is about a sadomasochistic relationship (“50 Shades of Grey”) and hit TV shows about the glorification of teen pregnancy (“Teen Mom”) and pre-marital sex (“How I Met Your Mother”) dominate the entertainment medium, an impressionable, virgin youth can’t help but feel like they’re missing out. Sex is sold everywhere, from cars to cereal boxes. This new age of promiscuity is very attractive to the bored, acceptance-seeking youths of America.

Abstinence is 100 percent effective in the prevention of STD’s and pregnancy, but a sex education teacher can shove all the statistics in the world in front of a sexually-active person and never reach the mark. The failure of logic is just that: it’s logical. The act of sex deals with primal and emotional feelings beyond the realm of numbers and percentages. The push for abstinence is not a complete failure because individuals do listen to the facts. The values and core beliefs of those individuals are really the things fueling the fire for abstaining.

By age 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control, one in four young people are already infected with a sexually transmitted disease like chlamydia, syphilis or gonorrhea. Scaring virgins away from sex is actually effective, but the repressed hormones throughout high school are unleashed when the freedoms with college are introduced.

Nun, prude, celibate and homebody are all negative words associated with abstinent individuals who choose to live a life of waiting for sex after marriage. The ridicule from sexually-active people against the non-sexually-active can get harsh, making virgins feel inadequate and depressed. The existence of the clashing ideologies between virgins and non-virgins can be attributed to many things, such as superiority of experience and the misunderstanding of virgin’s values.

The Captain’s Log surveyed a group of students to learn more about their views on abstinence. “When two people are in love it’s fine to have sex,” was the generic answer shared by many girls. All interviewed students chose to remain anonymous but several virgins came forward with answers. “It’s not like I don’t want to have sex, it’s just that I really want that first time to be important to myself and to her,” said a male freshman virgin proudly. The reasons why a majority of virgins remain sexually inactive is mainly because of their religion, not finding the right person, the fear of contracting STDs, unwanted pregnancy and other confidential choices.

Getting past the cliché answers, the heart of the topic is actually a biased viewpoint. It came down to being either a man or a woman. A majority of virgin girls have a huge fear of abandonment and not feeling special in a very personal, intimate act. “Feeling like just a number” haunts girls with a death grip on their virginity. However, virgin guys feel that the loss of their virginity is essential for male entitlement and were more likely to possess the “getting it out of the way” mentality. Deep insecurity is a common reason why virgins decide to remain sexually inactive.

The more we explored with the concept of abstinence, the more dark truths we uncovered. A controversial topic is the common preference among virgin girls to have intercourse with an “experienced” partner rather than virgins themselves. Though not proven, it certainly does not help with the socially stigmatized virgin that has terrible sexual experiences as portrayed in movies, books and shows. Society’s embrace for the exploitation of sex attributes to the collapsing popularity of abstinence. The link between couples that are abstinent and couples that engaged in premarital-sex when it comes to marriage is shaky, with a harsh conclusion that all marriages are susceptible to infidelity.

Abstinent couples have the satisfaction of not worrying about the burdens associated with having sex and are able to only focus on their intimacy, love and respect for each other. Though appealing at first, the rest of us quickly fall into the enslavement of our all-consuming libidos. For those people that are worried about the dangers of sex but are not abstinent, invest in efficient contraception such as condoms and birth control. The media, peer groups and society are unrelenting when it comes to pressuring virgins to give in to their desires, but those lucky enough to endure the temptations are in for a more mature and healthy relationship compared to others.

Graphics courtesy of Briggs Watkins