Don't sit on the fence. Take a bold stand.

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

Is pre-marital sex okay?

“It is okay provided the couple are in love and in a deeply committed relationship.”
As long as they are planning to get married, I guess.”
“It is today’s world. After seeing all these Western shows and movies, today’s youth would be influenced…”

You know what the scary part is? That the above statements are from those defending pre-marital sex. You are defending it and yet you add so many caveats. Contrast this to the naysayers and defenders of mankind’s pre-nuptial virginity.
“It is against our culture.”
“It is against our religion.”
“It is a sin.”
“It is because of chowmein.”

There is such a surety about their convictions, even if it is as absurd as claiming food and mobile phones as causes of pre-marital sex. You know that they are not going to budge. Sex without matching horoscopes or a wedding ring is obviously a crime that warrants the death penalty in their heads.

If you believe that your sexuality is your choice, stop trying to defend it half-heartedly because you fear society, religious values et al. Take a bold stand. When you add riders like “should be in love”, “should be deeply committed” etc, you are missing the whole point of the conversation. Look around you. Can you honestly say that every married couple around you is in love? That there is a deep sense of commitment between them?

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You and I both know that you answered in the negative. But the social norm is that even if you cannot stand the sight of each other, you must go to bed and engage in sex with him/her because of the marriage certificate. On the other hand, a young couple in love cannot kiss even though they are strongly attracted to each other because ‘that would be wrong.’ 
This is where you lose me. You look to shame an expression of love/desire/attraction between two consenting adults yet say ‘it happens’ when physical abuse/marital rape/subjugation in a marriage occurs and counsel the mentally scarred victim to stay in the relation. 

You can quote all the scriptures and verses you want but you just have not factored in the basic attributes of the human heart and mind: every heart yearns for love, affection and intimacy; every mind yearns for a compatible partner. You cannot pinpoint why two people are attracted to each other just as you cannot gauge the true depth of emotional commitment between any two people. I won’t even accept that this is a ‘problem of the new generation.’ Pre-marital sex has been going on since centuries and has little, if anything, to do with the advent of mobile phones, chowmein or tv shows. You cannot switch off puberty and all that comes with it, just because you think it is wrong.

The problem is that the public have their binoculars focused on just that one aspect called sex. Anyone who has been in a long term relationship will tell you that there are emotional and trust factors as well in addition to the sexual compatibility. Sex is just an expression of intimacy. It is not the end game of a relationship but a part of it. In fact, treating it as the end game by putting a ‘thou should be married before thou engages in carnal acts’ tag is the problem if you ask me because by doing so, the focus is no longer about looking for a compatible partner. It becomes about conforming to society rules – same caste, same financial status, same religion… even same blood relations are fine, apparently! But compatibility? That most significant factor of all? Leave that to the old man reading your horoscope and sealing the deal even before you met your future spouse!

Image source: The Truthful Man
Women today have finally taken their rightful place alongside men – both in the workplace and at home - and that is something that patriarchal mindsets are still struggling to come to terms with. Give the latter a chance and they would still wax eloquent on how marrying your daughter off to a total stranger was totally okay because Sita and Draupadi too did it. Men can have urges – bachche to bachche hai, after all – but accepting a woman as having a sexuality? No way! That is only for morally corrupt women, apparently. Sigh…   

Shaming them is just you enforcing a mindset that really does not even hold up under scrutiny anymore. Lines like ‘if it was your sister or daughter in a relationship, would you be okay’ do not faze me because I reply ‘Definitely. I would prefer she be in a relationship and explore her feelings of her own free will rather than an enforced one with marital ties where she have no chance of getting out if she finds herself incompatible with the person later on.’  

Can I guarantee that every encounter of pre-marital sex will end in a successful relationship? Of course not. That is not for me or you to determine, remember. It is up to the individuals in the relationship. But I can look around me today and say with a calm confidence that every encounter of post-marital sex does not end in a successful marriage either. The numbers aren't even close and that is just the disillusioned people willing to openly admit that they are not happy in their marriages.

Arguments like ‘too uninformed about sex’ are more valid in my eyes. They are also irrelevant to the discussion at hand. Because the true opposition chooses to site moral issues with the act, don’t they? They demand the couple get married if they are ‘caught’ in such a relationship, not sent for sex education classes, right? At a time when couples could use relationship advice pertaining to pregnancy fears, sexually transmitted diseases and emotional doubts, we are still busy stuck at the starting line because we refuse to accept the basic concept of 'sex without a wedding ring'. 

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My stand is straightforward: 
The only two people who should have a say in a pre-marital sexual relationship are the concerned couple themselves. It is something they should discuss and decide upon – whether they are willing to wait or choose to have sex is up to them. The end goal to any relationship should be compatibility, not a wedding band. 
Aim for a relationship that is compatible on an emotional, mental and sexual level and you will find the person you would love to marry and thus get your happy ending (no pun intended!) as well.

Author's note:

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