"All is fair in love and war."
We have been hearing these words since school, but how true are they? Is everything actually fair in love? I think not. Love is one of those few emotions that makes you feel a million feelings but comes with even more restrictions.
"Do not meet him after dark."
"Don't lose your virginity before marriage."
"Don't talk to that guy."
These and many other sentences are hurled at young people who sense that love is in the air. And because "love" and "lust" are uncontrollable, the society exerts all control on "sex". I wonder what business the public has in matters so private. They have unspoken (and some explicitly writ) laws on matters concerning everything - from sexual orientation to sexuality to sexual intercourse. And more often than not, expressions of love and affection are forbidden... in public and otherwise.
Our Indian people can be quite hypocritical. They wish to uphold the ancient cultures and traditions on the one hand, but condemn the same practices in the daily lives of humans. Case in point: Kamasutra - the holy grail of sex, is considered sacred and regarded as the ultimate guide to sexual exploration. However, possessing sexually explicit books and other media is frowned upon. In fact, there have been cases of wrongful detention of people in possession of adult content. Or consider the temples of Khajuraho where sex is on display in 3-D. This temple complex is on the list of World Heritage Sites. In contrast, sex is a taboo topic in most of India - especially schools. School is where sex education should begin. Unfortunately, these classes are limited to discussions on health and nutrition. It is assumed that students will practice abstinence until they are married.
Premarital sex is a tricky topic and it is very hard to take sides. It is not all black and white but has many shades of grey that one has to take into consideration before pledging one's allegiance to or condemning sex before marriage. If you ask me, I will say at first that sex is a personal decision. If you and your partner are ready for it, by all means, go ahead and "do it"! But then, my answer will change if you tell me you are only thirteen.
I don't think it is wise to become sexually active at an age when you cannot take decisions without your friend circle's approval. Sex is good. But it is even better when you are in control of what is happening. Young couples in junior high school may not have the same level of access to contraception as adults when they have sex. They are also unprepared for the consequences. The biggest risk that sex brings is sexually transmitted diseases and infections. And only barrier-methods of contraception can protect you from those. The next big risk is that of unplanned pregnancy. And even condoms can fail you in 4% of the cases.
Physical risks apart, there are a lot of emotional and psychological changes that sexual intimacy brings with it. Age and maturity play a significant role in how much you will enjoy sex (or be scarred by it). Sex, like all other things in life, is best initiated only if it is by desire and mutual consent. If there is any element of force (societal or domestic) or fear colouring the act, it weakens the soul.
That said, if I have to talk about premarital sex in the context of consenting adults who lead independent lives, I would say it is a necessity. We don't live in times when people marry by 18 or 21. Today, we put our careers and aspirations ahead of marriage. Most of us tie the knot when we are well in our 30s. We cannot ignore the fact that sex is also a primal need and cannot be shelved until our 30s. In such cases, it becomes impractical to stay celibate until we are married. Sexual urge reaches its peak when we are in our 20s. If sex is not enjoyed in the prime of our youth, it is a wasted opportunity. Our career choices demand that we have sex before marriage. The benefits of sex far outweigh the negative consequences of social glares.
The feel-good hormones (serotonin, dopamine and endorphins) often keep negative emotions in check and even cure the meanest of headaches. The calories burnt in a hot session of sex is similar to that expended in an hour-long cycle-ride. And if you try different positions every time you have sex, you end up exercising all your muscle groups. Much better than hitting the gym, don't you think? Sex also increases immunity and keeps that nasty cold away. But most importantly, it helps you bond better with your partner. Sex works best when you are in love with the person you sleep with.
It is not my place to comment on or advise people on their sexual preferences and choices. Each of us has her/his own reason for choosing to wait or give in to lust. But I personally feel premarital sex is the answer to the modern lifestyle choices that we make. Marriages in India require the consent of entire families, the feeding of entire villages and loans that can take a lifetime to repay. But making love only requires two consenting lovers and some privacy.
I love you
But I cannot sleep
With you or with my own belief.
Will think ill of me.
If I lose my virginity.
So, we'll make do
With holding hands
And kissing at empty bus stands.
But how long
Will we keep this up?
Ask our beating hearts to shut up?
Must stop now!
Let's unite 'fore taking our marriage vow.
For another interesting take on love and sex, read Poonaam Uppal's True Love - A Mystical True Love Story.