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Well. This is awkward. Ok... I've been an atheist for a rather long time and have always liked to consider myself an ethical one, so needless to say when my boyfriend and I (of 9 months) started discussing possibly having sex I was at a bit of a dilemma. There are so many things whirling around in my head and im so confused. Is it wrong to have sex? I know many sects of christianity object to extramarital sex but I've always sort of interpreted that as having promiscuous sex with those you don't love. I'm so confused. Maybe I'll give you a list of facts and you can help me get my thoughts in order or something.. I don't know.

I'm 17 and going to leave for college in a month or two (both are detriments to me... our relationship is hugely strained by the long-distance prospects in our future).

I'm completely in love with my boyfriend.

I'm sure you can guess the reactions of everyone I've like... ever known. I've always been one of those classic 'good kids'. I've never contemplated doing anything like this before... I've never tried any sort of drugs, never even tasted alcohol without my parents being right there, never been to wild parties or snuck out of the house.

I'm so conflicted rght now just because what I want to do seems to defy who I am as a person... almost. Like, the fact that I'd be doing something my parents strictly object to. And yet it would also seem to be a huge part of who I am and what I'm feeling, because I do want to share everything I have with my boyfriend, and have sorta wanted to for some time... and I know we won't have a chance really for a while after I leave for college, because our winter breaks hardly coincide so it'll be difficult to find time alone together and it might be slightly awkward.

But that's not the main problem. My main question is, from a moral and ethical standpoint (though not a strictly christian one) is there a problem/ should I feel guilty about having sex if I decide to?

Really sorry if this seems... inappropriate or anything.. but this question has really been scaring me and I'm around this forum enough (posting as my alter-ego of course ;P) to know that you're all really intelligent people and that you might be able to help me figure out what the heck is going on and maybe be a bit less confused.. haha.
The way i've always viewed it (I, too, am an atheist) is that morally, it is only wrong when the reasons aren't right. If you were, say, doing it to look cool, to fit in, to make your boyfriend happy, then no, I'd say to not do it.

However, you seem to geniunely care for him and just want to express that in every way possible. I think your reasons are perfectly valid, but of course, it is always, always up to you in the end. =)
QUOTE (Rubix @ Jul 31 2008, 08:36 AM) *
My main question is, from a moral and ethical standpoint (though not a strictly christian one) is there a problem/ should I feel guilty about having sex if I decide to?

No. From a nonreligious standpoint there's absolutely nothing morally or ethically wrong with having sex at age 17. Especially when you love the person. It doesn't make you a slut to sleep with your boyfriend of 9 months, nor does it ruin your status as a "good kid." It's not a bad or shameful thing to do. Look at it this way: does it harm anyone? I'm pretty sure in your situation the answer will be no.

But you also shouldn't have sex unless you're ready. Only do what you feel comfortable with, and of course remember protection.
There's really nothing wrong with it at all. If you're toying with the idea and it feels right, then do it. 9 months is fairly long, especially at 17. When I was 16 and the girl I was dating at the time was 15, we had been together for 3 or 4 months. We discussed sex, we had sex, I don't regret it and I feel like I made the right choice. It's a comfort thing, doesn't so much matter about marriage. Her and I aren't together anymore and she doesn't talk to me (as in she 'hates' me) but I like to think that she probably feels the same. It's not like I used her or anything like that, we were completely in love at the time. We just weren't right for each other in the end.

If you care about the person and it feels like the right thing, talk about it and go for it. Just try not to plan it or expect too much the first go. And of course consider your options for protection and be safe wink.gif.
No idea if it's morally wrong (atheist 90% of the time, and never really looked into this stuff) or not, but if you don't feel ready, and need someone to tell you that you're ready, you're most likely not ready.

But yeah, you're old enough, and love him and stuff.
I have to say that what Spoon says is much like my story.

I was 16, she was 15. We had been dating for about 2 months when we first tried. We thought we were both ready at the time. However, she realized that she was not ready at about the last possible instant... Not to be too graphic here, but I was about to penetrate her when she realized she was not ready yet. I knew before she did and stopped instantly but the damage was already done... She started crying and shaking and just generally could not do anything for a good hour or so... I finally got her to calm down and relax but she was obviously still shaken, just not showing it outwardly. We did not even speak of that night again. She wanted to try again about 3 months later. She was ready, but just barely so... She was not happy or sad... She was very neutral about the whole event... I know that I was happy, but she was not completely ready to have sex yet... I know that now... We were in love at the time, but yet she was not comfortable enough to have sex...

So I guess the moral of this story is to truly know how you feel and how he feels... long before you start the whole process of entangled bed linens...
Have you talked about contraception yet? I always go on the theory that if you are ready to talk about contraception openly AND BUY IT then you are becoming ready. The fact that you've talked about it suggests that you are feeling comfortable enough with this guy to think about it but as said before, if you need reassurance from other people you may not be as ready as you think
As most people here have already said, sex at your age, in your relationship, and how you seem to be feeling right now is no bad thing. In all honesty- sex can be awesome, lots of fun, and can bring people so much closer as there is the physical connection there too (NB- I am not suggesting you have sex to make your relationship something it isn't yet). As Cand and Ryn both mentioned- contraception is a massive point here. If you are both mentally ready for sex then you will be fine (if a little excited/ nervous) about buying condoms and the like. I remember the first time I ever bought condoms: the lady in the chemist commented on the kind I had chosen and mentioned that she and her husband enjoyed the minty ones. One of my most embaressing moments EVER: she was about 60.

All I can say, is if it feels right then do it. My 17 year-old self would have been very jealous of your situation. Instead she got drunk and lost her virginity in her friend's garden at a party, with a guy who was 4 years older and sober. It hurt, I was sick afterwards and although it was totally consenting, there were and are emotions and feelings that don't go away for quite some time from a situation like that. When I had sex for the first time with my first "real" boyfriend a few months later, I ended up in tears afterwards. He was utterly horrified and asked what he had done wrong! I had to explain to him that even though I wasn't a virgin, it felt like my first time- or at least how my first time should have been.
You seem to be a very sensible person with your head on your shoulders (always a good place for it to be)- sex isn't dirty or wrong and if you feel you are ready then do it! Just play safe. With regards to how your parents may feel: it really has nothing to do with them. Having sex won't turn you into some adulterous monster who suddenly gets addicted to drugs and alcohol and will hang with the bad crowd.

With regards to a traditional Christian point of view- when religions were being founded, there weren't any contraceptives you could really rely on. The rhythm method has so many flaws, and the Ancient Greeks went down the abortion route with apothercaries selling medicins to women bearing unwanted children. Being a single mother in them days would make you a pariah. It's one of those commonly held beliefs which is laughably outdated in modern society.

Last point, which is more of a question really: Have you and your boyfriend experimented with non-vaginal(or anal) sex? If not, perhaps it would be a good place to start- getting to know one another's bodies and feeling more confident with sexual acts is never a bad thing.

Good luck! And remember- if you aren't cool with it, don't do it.
Thanks so much everyone smile.gif

I'm still not entirely sure what I'm going to do... I think I'll wait a bit longer at least just to be sure this is what i want and to get used to the idea, but all of your advice has been majorly helpful and significantly deconfusing tongue.gif
QUOTE (Rubix @ Jul 31 2008, 12:36 AM) *
But that's not the main problem. My main question is, from a moral and ethical standpoint (though not a strictly christian one) is there a problem/ should I feel guilty about having sex if I decide to?

The situation you describe makes it more than clear that you have put a lot of thought into this subject and will not likely make a rash decision. You obviously love this person and feel a great deal of emotional and physical connection to him. Should you decide to have intercourse with him, it is not too likely that much harm will come of it to anybody, especially if you use safer sex methods. Still, the transmission of disease should never be ruled out even with the use of contraceptives. This excludes abstinence. The risks of sex can be very small and mostly negligible using certain methods, but that does not alter the fact that such risks exist.

Delving into morality here, sex can, and often is, a no harm-no foul act. Both parties engaging in consensual intercourse can be a wonderful thing indeed. But does that make it ethical? From a Catholic standpoint taught to me at school, there isn't anything "wrong" "bad" or "evil" with such an act, but that does not mean that it is virtuous, either. It can still "miss the mark" of morality.

There is a great deal of responsibility when dealing with reproduction, which is what sex is biologically all about. The Church, for good reason, mandates that such responsibility is only fit for those who commit themselves to each other for life in the form of marriage. It's sort of a contract. A contract not only to one another, but to whatever is created through their love for one another.

That brings me to another point. Since the main goal of sex, in a biological sense, is the creation of life, and, in a religious sense, the creation of an everlasting soul, is it complete and pure love if contraceptives are used? The couple may really be passionate for one another, but the use of contraceptives denies the other their power to create life, plain and simple. Pope John Paul II once said, "the opposite of love is use." So, using that train of ethics, it is possible to describe anything except natural intercourse as selfish and "missing the mark." Which, in turn, comes to the general doctrine of the church. A person is not ready for sex until they are physically and emotionally ready to bear children.

I could go into some of the more symbolic Christian beliefs regarding God's love and human love, but those lay farther than the point of my post. This post is also not intended to scare you away or discourage you to engage in intercourse with your boyfriend. It is simply a Catholic answer to your question of morality and ethics, as accurate and thorough as I can provide. I do not necessarily believe in all or most of these things myself, because I am not in your sort of situation. But I will no doubt take them into consideration whenever I am.
Honestly, I have no 'good advice' for you--I'm also a teen with a vajayjay and concerns about it. But!

A couple people have posted that the fact that you've posted about this means you've put in a lot of thought and thought = good. And that got me to thinking that, if I was going to bone somebody, I wouldn't make it public. Which led me to--well, not that you're wearing a sandwich board or anything, but this is somewhat of a public space. And cand (I think?) mentioned the 'buying contraception' trick. I've heard that one before. Also public.

Is the measure of a person's comfortability with sex equal to their comfortability with publicly acknowledging their sexual activity? Kind of a tongue twister. But can a person have healthy, happy, comfortable sex while keeping it a total secret? Does secrecy about sex, by extension, indicate an unhealthy psyche?

Just curious.

Oh wait! Sorry. I do have a mite of advice. If you are breaking up before college, I would advise against NOT having sex with him. From my friends' experience, mutual cherry-popping never seems to lend itself to a clean break, and that gets worse the closer you are to college. If you think you can make it through a long-distance setup, then bone away, m'dear. Though frankly, I'm not a huge proponent of the long-distance high-school-boyfriend setup because college is such a great time to meet new people and get into new people.

BUT some people I know started going out in sophomore year of HS, maintained it on opposite coasts, took a devastating break for five months, got back together and got married two years ago. It is possible. Depends on what you want.
I think that it isn't so much the ability to talk about your sex life in public that shows a sense of "being ready" as it were, but rather the fact that you care enough about this decision to talk to people who may have more information that you do. If you were going to buy your first car you would ask an experienced friend for advice; if you were going to have a child you would look to people you trust for help. I see no reason why having sex for the first time should be any different. Major decisions sometimes need more than just your own concerns taken into consideration- what if there is something that you haven't thought about?

The point about contraception is that people who are unable to buy or talk about contraception with someone- this includes going to the family planning clinic- will often no use contraception. I teach children about contraception as part of my job and being able to have a discussion about contraception with your partner is one of the reasons that they give for being ready to consider sex.

Whatever your choice, you will never be sure you made the right choice until you make it- This is a life changing decision and, in my opinion, if you decide you are 100% right you may end up being disappointed. Choosing to sleep with someone is always a tough decision if you are thinking about it. Good Luck!
I might have a slightly different perspective on this because my first time was when I was pretty much pounced on. It was a fairly disfunctional one-night stand. Fun enough, but nothing especially momentous. Your situation is clearly different due to the relationship you are in, but there might be some useful things from my first experience and the ones I have since had.

Sex can be great, it can also be a bit of a let down, and sometimes it's just not something that works that well with that person. It can be easy, or it can be really hard work. My point is that you shouldn't overthink the first time, because it's fairly likely to not be the sex that you think about in ten years time. When you decide to do it, then just relax, laugh, and enjoy the silliness. Sex is often messy, sticky, and even great sex has awkward bits where someone gets cramp (or something like that). There will always be things that go tits-up (pun intended), so try not to overthink it!

Rather than thinking of this as 'the first time I have sex' think of it as the beginning of your sex life. It sounds like you're intellectually mature enough to handle this new phase of your life, so the question is whether you want to begin that movement yet and with this person. Don't think of this as the big first time that changes everything, instead think of it as an event that starts a shifting of your status in the world.

I'm not saying that the first time isn't important, just that there will likely be more important moments to you later on in life. If it feels right, it's legal (consensual, everyone involved is old enough, and the same species, animate, etc.), and safe (yes, I also am a massive advocate of using protection, condoms in particular), then I don't see the hinderance.

To put it another way, it's an important decision because you are choosing to be as intimate as you can be with another person, which brings with it vast swathes of emotional and physical vulnerabilities. This is the first time you will experience that, but we all make that choice over our lives every time we choose to have sex with a new person.

... All of which may or may not seem relevant at the moment, but might give some perspective on how you will feel about this time in ten years.
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