Sex And Single Adults

Many adults, especially young adults, begin a sexual relationship with someone without the benefit of a long-term commitment. Although adults are more likely to use birth control consistently, even a perfect user can expect more than one unplanned pregnancies in her lifetime. And sexually active young adults are actually more likely to experience an unplanned pregnancy than a sexually active teen. An unplanned pregnancy can put an enormous strain on a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship as each person is unsure of his or her responsibility to the other in the situation.

Abortion is a common recourse in such a situation, and in fact women who live with a partner outside marriage are 3.5-4.0 times more likely to have an abortion than the general population. Know your partner! The male partner is usually ready to "move on" long before the female partner is, resulting in confusion and tension. The woman may feel resentful that her boyfriend rejected their unborn child. Few relationships are able to survive an abortion. Some women choose to continue the pregnancy, and in too many cases the man leaves her to care for the child alone. It's only at this point that she may realize that he really didn't love her but was only using her for sex.

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Sex tends to act like the "glue" in a relationship. And when you're involved in a stable, long-term relationship like marriage, that "glue" can be really helpful when the inevitable difficulties in the relationship arise. However, when sex is used to cement just any relationship, it can distort your judgement. Especially for women, having sex can intensify the feeling of being in love without actually deepening or solidifying the relationship. It can make either partner less able to look at the relationship objectively, making it more difficult to initiate a break-up even though it might be time, because you've invested something so precious.

And practically speaking, an unmarried sexual relationship typically involves no mutual understanding regarding expectations of commitment and responsibility. Either person might take-off when "the water gets too hot." The results of such a breakup are always painful, and possibly involve an unwanted pregnancy and/or a sexually transmitted disease. The fall-out can last a lifetime. And beware: there are men who will seem very sincere about having an emotional bond with you. The truth is, they only want a physical relationship. Consult our useful guide so you will know how to identify and avoid these types!

How likely are women taking the pill to miss one or more pills per cycle?
Almost half (47%) of more than 900 pill users in one study missed one or more pills per month.

Source: Rosenberg MJ, Waugh MS and Burnhill MS, Compliance, counseling and satisfaction with oral contraceptives: a prospective evaluation, Family Planning Perspectives, 1998, 30(2): 89-92 & 104.


But It Wasn't Really Sex, Was It?

Some couples think they are practicing abstinence, while participating in variety of sexual activities. Oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, and other similar activities do not qualify as abstinence. If you are involved in these practices, you are fooling yourself if you think you are not having sex. And most of these activities can still result in pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted disease.

If I have to spell it out...

Many men, women, and teens want to know if their preferred "not-really-sex" sexual behavior puts them at risk of pregnancy or disease. Here are some answers:

  • Mutual Masturbation: If semen gets anywhere near the vagina, the sperm can swim into the uterus, using the vaginal mucus as a conduit. That means if semen gets on someone's hands, and those hands get anywhere near the vagina, a pregnancy and/or STD can result.
  • Oral Sex: You can't get pregnant this way, but you can still contract a full compliment of nasty STDs.
  • Anal Sex: You can get pregnant this way as semen will drip out of the anus into the vaginal area. Also it's easier to contract an STD via anal sex as the anal tissue is more prone to tiny tears.
  • Sex with Your Clothes On: Sperm will swim right through clothing; this is why you will never find a condom made of cotton.
  • "But he just put it in half-way!" or "But he just put it in for a second!" or "But he pulled out before he came!": You are now having sexual intercourse using an ancient method of birth control called withdrawal. Every year one in five users of this method gets pregnant. STDs can also be spread by way of pre-ejaculate/vaginal fluids.

Many people ask me if they are still virgins, even though they may have participated in one or more of these behaviors. I cannot answer this for you as everyone has their own definition of virginity. However, most people think of virgins as being sexually naive and inexperienced. You can ask yourself if you fall into this category.

safe sex

Confusion in the Classroom

Among undergraduate students surveyed at a Midwestern university, 59% did not believe that oral sex would qualify as sex and only 19% thought the same about anal sex. Females (62%) were more likely than males (56%) to assert that oral sex was not really "sex."

Source: Sanders SA and Reinisch JM, Would you say you "had sex" if...?, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999, 281(3):275-277.

Anytime you enter a relationship where two persons are physically intimate you create strong emotional and spiritual bonds. When the relationship is over are you going to be glad that you were physically intimate with a person who you can no longer stand the sight of? Under normal circumstances, you will probably feel regret and discomfort for some time.

Continue to Sex and Marriage Right Arrow



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