Odyssey sees a lot of articles urging young adults, women especially, to wait for marriage before having sex. I figured I'd throw my two cents into the conversation.

I believe everyone needs to define for themselves their attitude towards sex. Is it for relationships only? Is it for marriage? Are one night stands OK? Or is sex not something I'm interested in at all? Every answer to those questions is completely valid and normal. Everyone deserves to have their choices about their sex life respected, so long as everything they do is consensual and safe.

Me? I love sex. I'd have it all day if I could. I love rough sex and I love lovey-dovey sex. I love vanilla sex and I love the wilder stuff too. Mostly I love how fun and silly it can be! I have started giggling about memes mid-sexual-activities more times than I can count. I love the connection I feel with my partner and the vulnerability and intimacy.

I have not given away any piece of myself just by having sex.

I've certainly made some decisions I regret in retrospect, but just like with all things in life, sometimes we have to make mistakes to figure out what really works for us. The way I see it, I've gained something, I've gained a way for me to receive pleasure and give pleasure to someone else. I've gained a way to appreciate my body, to explore my body, enjoy an activity that so many of our animal cousins enjoy too. There is nothing shameful about sex!

Science does not in any way support the notion that having sex outside of a committed relationship is, in itself, unhealthy. Proponents of encouraging others to wait for marriage often cite what they find to be concrete reasons why premarital sex hurts women emotionally. You know what really hurts women emotionally? Men who do not respect their rights to their body and their choices, men who don't stick by the women they commit too, men who prioritize their own pleasure over their partner's. When we assume that this is just how sex is for young women, we are turning a blind eye to the specific behaviors that make many young women's' first sexual experiences less than magical, sometimes causing them to have long-term trust and intimacy issues. These guys need to be held accountable, not let off the hook as if that's just how all young men act.

It was those partners who caused emotional pain by mistreating, cheating, or degrading, not sex itself. Sex is just an act, neither inherently good nor bad, and context is everything.

Sure, sex causes all sorts of neurotransmitters to be released, as does being romantically in love, but those chemicals don't dictate your feelings. We aren't slaves to our dopamine or oxytocin levels. Having sex with someone doesn't form some sort of intense bond. Heck, most of the people I've had sex with I haven't heard from in a year, at least. I don't mind at all! A lot of people could never imagine being ok with that, but that's because their personal views towards sex are different than mine. That's totally chill!

My point is that everyone is different and if we could just refrain from judging each other, or better yet, celebrate our differences, the world would be a much better place. If you are waiting for marriage, I 100% support you in your choice! That's awesome! All I ask is that you respect mine and not insert your beliefs in my personal life.