A recent Harris poll found that 51 percent of people think that couples should hold off on sex until marriage, and (somewhat surprisingly) 47 percent of Millennials (ages 18-36) agree. The statistic is unexpected, given the ubiquity of premarital sex depicted in popular culture, but these numbers, which span age, sex, race, education and region, suggest that not everyone gets it on, or thinks you should, before getting hitched.
With these statistics in mind, we polled our Facebook readers to ask if they waited to have sex before they got marriedÃ¢â‚¬”and how they feel about their decisions today.
Over 100 people left comments. Here is a roundup of a few of the anecdotes that our readers shared about their experiences waiting to have sex for the first time until walking down the aisle (note: some are edited for length and clarity):
"My husband and I were each our firsts, and neither of us regret it. I'm thankful we were raised with such high standards and self respect." Ã¢â‚¬”Miranda Meidinger Stevens
"All too often, we as a society jump into a sexual relationship. But when it comes down to what type of relationship you are wanting in the end, I wanted to make sure my husband loved all of me, my quirks, habits, everything, etc. I think that if you date someone long enough to get to know the real you, that just maybe it could possibly lengthen if not preserve the relationship forever. Everyone loves sex; make sure you find the right person before the right penis." Ã¢â‚¬”Kerri Torrez
"Waited before my first marriage, total disaster. Don't recommend it ever." Ã¢â‚¬”Ivory Blossom
"Yes I did wait for marriage before sex. For me it was very important to keep my virginity for the man I loved with all my heart, and to have sex on my wedding night for the first time was a bonus. It was an honor to be a virgin. I got married at age 24. Proud to have kept my virginity for marriage. It was my choice." Ã¢â‚¬”Liz Kubie
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"Sex is a learning experience for everyone, and if you both approach it as virgins, it's even more special because you're learning together! Sex is also NOT the most important thing in a marriage, though it's a wonderful perk." Ã¢â‚¬”Lesa Brackbill
"We waited. So many relationships nowadays are based around sex. When that gets boring, what do you have? My husband and I wanted to make sure we were in love with each other, not our sex. We were together for three years, engaged for one year. The wedding night? Very exciting and amazing, as it should be! Not something you can get if you've already been intimate." Ã¢â‚¬”Leah Michelle McElroy
"I am very glad I waited and don't regret waiting until marriage at 23. Everyone does what is right for them, however, in today's progressive society people who wait are scorned for their choice, whilst those who sleep around want to be free from judgment. Why can't both sides remain free from judgment? I never slept aroundÃ¢â‚¬”why should I be ridiculed for such? I did what was right for myself." Ã¢â‚¬”Michelle Nicole
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"I waited for my husband. I was raised believing that it was how God meant it to be, and I felt if there was a chance my marriage would be blessed because of it, I wanted that. As I grew up, I realized that I was only going to give my virginity to a man who truly valued and loved me. And until I met the man I married, no one before him was worth it to me. When my husband and I started dating, he said, "I won't be the reason you break the commitment you have made." And for four years, he never pressured me into changing my mind. We have been married three years, together seven, and I know I am blessed both by the man I call my husband and the fact that I don't carry the weight of past (sex-related) regrets." Ã¢â‚¬”Lindsey Romo
"It was the best decision we made." Ã¢â‚¬”Odell Valencia Mahabeer
Of course, not all of our commenters waitedÃ¢â‚¬”or agreed that waiting to have sex was a top priority for them. Here are a few comments from some women who had a different take on the situation:
"My true question to all of you saying, 'It is the best decision I (or we) have ever made'... How do you know it is the best decision if you have never experienced it with anyone else? That is like saying, 'Chili's is the best restaurant' without ever trying anywhere different." Ã¢â‚¬”Cara Maree Crotts
"Call me modern, but a women's virginity does not define her." Ã¢â‚¬”Vanessa Surtzy
"I personally didn't wait until marriage, but I'm not a promiscuous person eitherÃ¢â‚¬”have had only one partner for years now. He might be my future husband, he might not. Either way, I don't think not waiting makes you anything less decent of a woman. My fear had always been that maybe if you wait until marriage, it may or may not work out in bed with that person and then you're already married and maybe wonder if it would be better with someone else? I don't know, just my opinion. But I respect everyone who does, and hey, if it worked out, great for you." Ã¢â‚¬”Issa Villacorta Diaz
"Personally, I'm not buying a car before test-driving it. Respect yourself, be safe, and wait for love and a monogamous relationship. But wait for marriage? No thanks." Ã¢â‚¬”Kelly Pacillo Deen
"I didn't wait, and I don't regret it. At 25, I have a beautiful blended family with three beautiful children. Marriage is not in the near future. Its not something that is a priority. Marriage does not define how much some one loves you, and neither does sex." Ã¢â‚¬”Julia Merrin
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS: Did you wait (or are you waiting) to have sex before you got married? What drove that decision? What about those of you who didn't wait? We want to hear your thoughts! Share them in the comments below.