Playing the ‘V’ Card in College

Darren D'Altorio

Students discuss views regarding abstinence and premarital sex

The land of lust

College is a dynamic playing field in the sexual game. Students are searching for identity in a sea of hormones, drinks, short skirts and stilettos. With these variables fueling the sexual energy, it’s no wonder sex is so common and accepted as just another part of life in college.

The majority opinion holds that sexuality is an important part of identity as an adult, said Dan Neal, an assistant professor of psychology.

He said sexual identity is a large part of defining oneself as an adult because societal norms place having sex as a right of passage into the realm of adulthood.

Consequently, parents may send their budding adult sons and daughters to school with a box of condoms hidden beneath their freshly folded clothes, expecting and praying that he or she put them to good use.

The virginity concept

Amid all this drinking and hooking up, there is a minority of virgins in the collegiate mix exploring their sexuality in

different ways.

Nowadays, being a virgin goes beyond the physical meaning of the word. Gaining a greater understanding of self, love and relationships, along with abstaining from sex until marriage, are the goals.

For senior electronic media production major Jon Jivan and his fiancee, senior nutrition major Lindsay Brokaw, remaining virgins until marriage is where the foundations and strength of their relationship exist.

“It would bring more intimacy into a relationship not to have sex than it would to have sex,” Jivan said.

Intimacy is created on a more relational level when sex is not part of a relationship, he said. People are more likely to talk and build a relationship on a mental and spiritual level, rather than a physical level.

Brokaw said by not having sex you can fall in love with people’s character and love them for who they are and how they treat you.

“I feel like I can have a lot more respect for myself,” she said. “I think if I did have sex outside of marriage I would feel insecure. I wouldn’t really enjoy sex fully, the way I will when I’m in a committed marriage relationship.”

Brokaw said that, to her, virginity is purity.

“Purity can be practiced in different ways, from the way you dress to the way you behave and the decisions you make,” Brokaw said. “It encompasses more than just not having sex.”

The debate

Virgins have a variety of reasons for making the personal choice about their sexuality.

“Well, for one, it’s safe,” junior education major Devin Jacob said. “I’m not going to wind up with some weird burning sensation.”

Along with safety, self-respect is a reason.

Valerie Rastetter, sophomore visual communication design major, said being promiscuous can cause your self-confidence to drop.

“It’s like anyone is good enough,” she said.

Religion also builds the moral framework for a person’s choice to remain a virgin until marriage.

“Most importantly, I know it’s honoring to God,” Jacob said.

But, given the physical, mental and spiritual gains that can be achieved from practicing abstinence until marriage, some people cannot grasp the concept of not having sex.

“For a large portion of the adolescent population, abstinence is not something they are interested in,” Neal said. “We see sex all around us.”

Sophomore education major Staci Moeller said sex is everywhere – music, movies, advertising. She attributed the perception young adults have about sex to this prevalence in the mainstream media.

“It’s like you’re not cool unless you go out and have sex,” she said.

Neal said young adults having sex can be a product of “misperceived norms.”

The theory behind it, he said, is like alcohol consumption; you see people drinking around you and feel like you have to keep up — if that kid has had five drinks, and I’m only on three, I’d better drink two more, and fast. The same concept can be paralleled to sexual activity.

But many young adults have sex and don’t take into account the gamut of emotions, feelings and stress the physical intimacy creates.

Sex adds a layer of complexity to a relationship, Neal said. Any addition of complexity leads to instability, especially in adolescents and young adults.

This complexity and subsequent instability can cause relationships to suffer.

“My boyfriend before college wanted to have sex with me before we both left for school,” Moeller said. “He treated it as simply an act, rather than something meaningful and deep.”

Having sex outside of marriage brings conditions into a relationship, Jivan said.

He said people will withhold sex from their partner to get what they want, abusing the gift of sex and falling into the trap of making sex the focus in a relationship.

“People get caught up in the physical,” Jacob said. “If sex feels as good as they say it does, I’m pretty sure I would never want to talk to my partner. I would probably only want to have sex with them.”

Jivan said his and Brokaw’s friendship and love for each other will be the focus of their relationship, not what they do for each other. He said that is the mindset staying true to this promise creates.

Jivan said if the sex isn’t good when he gets married, he and Brokaw will practice and get better at it.

“We have the rest of our lives to figure things out,” he said. “If the relationship is built on things other than sex, bad sex isn’t going to ruin it.”

Contact features reporter Darren D’Altorio at [email protected] .