A great quote I read a few months ago stated that “Women are the gatekeepers of sex, while men are the gatekeepers of commitment.” What this means is that men have the power to give or withhold commitment based on their own preferences in finding a woman to settle down with, while women have the power to give or withhold sex in finding a man to settle down with. Girls today are bombarded from all directions with messages telling them that empowerment comes from “owning their sexuality,” but in most uses, this means giving sex away freely to every Tom, Dick, or Harry with no commitment in return. I remember one week when I was in college only a few months ago counting 7 different seminars on women and sex–even a seminar on sex toys. Seeing that having sex was pushed so heavily disturbed me, but at the time I wasn’t sure why. I know that I went to a particularly liberal college, but the media most girls are exposed to today is not much better. Girls and women everywhere see articles like this:
“Sexual empowerment” to the types of women who wrote this article means sleeping around, usually under the guise of “figuring out what you like.” What they don’t tell girls is that there are consequences to sleeping with a lot of different people (besides the increased risk of STDs and side effects of hormonal birth control). These women are thinking only about the short term when they write about how all the sex they’re having makes them happy.
The women who write articles like the one above don’t take this into account that they’re damaging their ability to pair bond later in life. When we (both men and women) have sex, our brains release oxytocin, which causes us to become somewhat attached to the person we’re having sex with. The more people we have sex with, the weaker this ability to pair bond becomes, which is damaging to relationships later in life.
As you can see from this chart, having a higher partner count increases your risk of not only STD’s, but also of divorcing and being less happy later in life. While women who sleep around a lot may be enjoying themselves now, their future looks grim. Higher partner count is inversely correlated with stability in relationships. Plus, it’s not only the partner count that affects your risk of STD’s and stable relationships, but also when you become sexually active. Holding off on having sex for the first time, as well as keeping a low partner count/remaining a virgin are two things you can control that predict happiness and better relationships later in life.
As you can see, there is a marked difference in the happiness, relationship stability, and risk for disease between those with no and many sexual partners. So, if you are young and haven’t had sex yet, I know the shows you watch, music you listen to, and social media you look at tell you otherwise, but wait to have sex–it’s not worth sacrificing your future happiness for. And if you’re my age or older, either stay a virgin or don’t increase your count any further. You can’t go back and undo damage done (looking at you, “born-again virgins”), but you can keep from doing further damage to your future.