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Parallax - Advice

April 9, 2001

Going down and out?

Dear Conversely,

Ask us a Question!I'm twenty-three and I'm having a tough time in the dating world. I don't consider myself a prude, but I have religious issues with premarital sex. I've never had intercourse, but in the past I've compromised with oral sex because I know most men won't tolerate a sex-free relationship. I do want a man to be sexually attracted to me and I'm not looking for an immediate commitment. Are there any men who will put up with a 'no intercourse' relationship, or am I destined to lose all of them to those women who 'put out?' Email to a Friend

Her view:

Dear Put Off,

Well, if you have issues then you have issues - it's plain and simple. Nobody should convince you to do something if you're not ready, so you'll just have to deal with the fallout (whatever that may be). My suggestion would be to find another 'religious sort' who understands your dilemma and respects you for your viewpoint. Have you thought about trying to meet guys at church? They have all sorts of singles' events. Perhaps you'll meet someone more aligned with your point of view.

Whatever you decide to do, it must be your decision - not a decision based on the worry that you won't get a date. If your stance creates an impasse, that impasse was probably meant to be. The worst scenario would be for you to do something you later regret.

Who knows? You might give it a whirl and have no regrets at all.

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His view:

Dear Put Off,

In my opinion, you have the wrong attitude toward sex, especially since you think about it as 'putting out.' But let's set that aside. If that's the way you feel, I respect your feelings.

Are there guys who will be satisfied with a strict oral regimen? Yes. Are you going to find one? Maybe. I have a friend who is thirty-two and is in a non-intercourse relationship with a woman who's twenty-four. They've been dating for the past two years, so she's obviously doing a good job of maintaining things the way she wants them. However, she has two things going for her: they're getting married this summer, and they live in 'much more conservative' Mexico.

It comes down to where you live, the crowd you hang out with, your age and the man's age. Most of all, it depends on whether he buys into your reasoning. I'm not sure many men consider 'religious issues' to be a valid reason for abstaining.

I don't think you should change, just to be more successful in the dating world. I do think you should consider each man on a case-by-case basis. Keep an open mind, and don't base your decision about pre-marital sex on a set of pre-ordained principles. Do you really want a guy proposing marriage simply because he wants you to 'put out?'

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