Get Real! What Are Some of the Benefits of Having Sex?


Editor’s Note: We’re delighted to bring Get Real!, Heather Corinna’s
popular sexuality advice column, to you on RH Reality Check, now every week!

Amy asks:

I hear a lot
about the negative side of sex and bad things that could happen from
having sex. What are some of the benefits of having sex? What are some
of the positive outcomes that would/could result in having sex with my
boyfriend?

Heather replies:

Fantastic question!

It’s so important for people to remember that usually when we’re
looking to engage in activities of any kind where there are some risks
of negative or unwanted outcomes, it’s usually because we also want to
take risks of discovering or getting some positive or wanted outcomes.
If we want to audition for a part in a play, we’re risking rejection or
disappointment, as well as what we might see as a waste of our time in
preparing a lot for something which we may not get, but we take those
risks because we also want to risk getting that plum part, having the
opportunity to perform and having our talent, preparation and risk
visibly appreciated by an audience.

If partnered sex put us only at potentially negative risks, and not also
at potential risks of positive things, it’s not likely most people
would even consider choosing to seek it out or engage in it. What would
be the point?

So, what are some of those wanted outcomes or risks of positive results?

On a physical level, our sexual response cycles and sex with a
partner (or all by ourselves, through masturbation) can be pleasurable:
when we seek out any kind of sex, one of the primary things we want is
to experience and share pleasure. It can wake up our bodies with a lot
of energy, make us feel revitalized, energized. We can experience
arousal, orgasm, and any or all the parts of the sexual response cycle.
It can leave us feeling physically and mentally relaxed and
rejuvenated. We also are celebrating our bodies with sex, so it can
leave us feeling great about them and can deliver a nice body image
boost. While any kind of partnered sex certainly isn’t the equivalent
of an aerobics class or a long jog, sex does also have some actual
physical health benefits, such as giving your heart a mini-workout, and
some studies have also found that on top of reducing risks of heart
disease, for men, orgasm and ejaculation (alone or with a partner) aids
prostate health, and for women (also alone or with a partner) it may
help prevent endometriosis. Too, for many women, orgasm can alleviate
menstrual cramps.

Emotionally or psychologically, sex and orgasm are big
mood-enhancers. The chemical/hormonal changes our bodies go through
during the sexual response cycle will often leave us in a better mood
than when we started, feeling emotionally and psychologically relaxed
and satisfied. Good sex in healthy situations is known to reduce
stress, which is great for both your mental and physical health. As
well, we get to discover things about ourselves we may not have known
before, explore parts of ourselves we might not get to in other parts
of our lives, and find acceptance for our sexual selves with others, as
well as new levels of self-acceptance. Sex and expressing our sexuality
can raise our consciousness: sometimes it can earnestly be a spiritual
or metaphysical experience. It allows us to take our creativity and
imagination out for a spin and give those things a good stretch and
time to play (it can also inspire those things, giving us extra
creativity to take away from sex and use or express in other areas of
our lives). Sex with a partner is, in and of itself, a creative
endeavor: we are creating something which did not exist before, which
is completely unique to the people involved in it: what sex you and
your boyfriend have isn’t the sex you and someone else later may have,
or he and someone else before have had. As well, when our sex life is
such that it’s something we embrace, shedding off shame or
embarrassment about sexuality that a lot of people can have and carry
around is certainly a positive.

Interpersonally, it can bring us closer to our partners, increasing
trust, our understanding of each other and the depth of our
relationship. When we have sex with each other, we allow ourselves to
be more vulnerable than we tend to in other situations, as does our
partner, and when we go there, and also discover in doing so that it’s
safe to be vulnerable together, that increases our trust.

When we have sex together, we disclose things to each other about
what we like and dislike, what we fantasize about, what our unique
sexuality and experience of sexual response is like — things which
most people tend to keep pretty private — so we not only glean new
understanding about our partner and ourselves, we can deepen our
intimacy by sharing these private things. Because good sex tends to
both require and develop good communication — by telling one another
what we like and dislike, want and need; asking the same of them,
voicing and negotiating limits and boundaries, even talking about risk
management like safer sex and birth control — sex can be one way we
can enhance our communication skills with a partner. As well, while our
friends and family can know a lot about how we are as a couple, how a
couple is sexually is usually a special, private secret: a part of your
relationship which, for the most part, is only experienced by you and
your partner.

In a lot of ways, sex between people is also a kind of adult play:
being playful together brings joy into our relationships. Much like sex
is a celebration of your body and your sexuality, it’s also the
celebration of a good relationship: sex is often a mirror of the kind
of relationship you have with someone, that reflects all the best
things you and your partner have going together, what you enjoy and
appreciate most about one another.

With all of these things, I’m talking about any kind of
sexual or sensual activity, from making out to shared massage to oral
sex to intercourse to a serious snuggle session. It’s not so much what
activity a person does sexually which creates opportunities for these
positives, but what people having sex (or even just one person engaging
in masturbation) bring to what they’re doing.

Suffice it to say, you can open the door more widely to the
possibility of these positive outcomes when you both do what you can to
reduce the risks of unwanted or negative outcomes. Making sure you have
what you need to prevent unwanted pregnancy or sexually transmitted
infections not only reduces those unwanted outcomes, but knowing your
risks are reduced allows you both to better enjoy yourselves and to
feel more safe and relaxed before, during and after sex. (Worry, stress
and anxiety tends to limit how aroused you can even become in the first
place.) Talking out any insecurities, anxieties or concerns about sex
together either of you might have in advance not only brings you closer
in and of itself, those are things you then either don’t have to worry
about, or which you’ll worry less about, during sex together. Making
sure you have and nurture a healthy relationship overall makes it way
more likely you’ll have a healthy and happy sexual relationship, too.
Having realistic expectations for sex is also a big help: sex won’t
always be mind-blowing, it sometimes will be more comical than
romantic, it won’t always be satisfying for both partners every time,
and it might push buttons for a partner which were unexpected (pleasant
or not so pleasant) or even give each other or oneself a glimpse of
places which aren’t so emotionally comfortable or familiar. It often is
also something that in a lot of ways, takes practice, which deepens or
improves over time, so hitting a home run the first time you both go to
bat probably won’t happen. When your expectations leave room for things
like that and more, your sexual experiences are more likely to be
positives.

Here are a few more links to help round this out for you:

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Follow Heather Corinna on twitter: @Scarleteen

  • invalid-0

    You are leading our young away from the TRUTH! I pray for you..
    Please reconsider your choice in glamorizing sin.

  • invalid-0

    Because remember, god forbids the enjoyment of the bodies he gave us! @.@

  • invalid-0

    Well, anonymous, you can sit at home and beat yourself up over your own natural sex drive on your own. The rest of us are not sheep, led by the religious right (and all the child-molestin’ priests and adulterin’ politicians who apparently don’t care about “god’s forbidding”) into denying ourselves one of the greatest and most natural gifts we possess….our sexuality.

    So you keep on beatin off and then saying hail mary’s after. The rest of us are having great sex and enjoying life! Maybe you should come to the realization that you are denying yourself one of life’s greatest joys because of something written in a book, interpreted by men, thousands of years ago….which many scholars have determined to be seriously flawed in its credibility…is that really worth it to you??!

    • invalid-0

      Oh, sarcasm.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    This is the way many people experience all kinds of sex. It is, in other words, a truth for a great many people, some of whom are or who have been young people. It is, and has been, a truth for people who have been gay or straight, married or unmarried, of any number of faiths.

    If this has not been your experience with sex, Anonymous, I’m terribly sorry as the alternatives aren’t so great. But I’m also not sure I understand *whose* truth you’d prefer I tell (particularly since it’s odd to ask me not to tell my own and that of a great many people) when asked this kind of question or why, presuming you want me to say sex can offer us no benefits or positives, you think doing so would be of benefit to anyone.

    • invalid-0

      God has provided us with many gifts (the ability to procreate and enjoy it is certainly one of them and maybe the best one), but these gifts should not be abused. If you are not asking God to sanctify your marriage (one man / one woman) then you are in direct opposition of The Natural Law, which (not by coincidence) happens to be written very succinctly in the 10 Commandments given to us by God through Moses. It is only by following the Natural Laws that we can be in accordance with God or in other words — Truly Happy. For only God knows how to truly make us happy because He created us. It is Prideful to think that you or anything you do can make you happy, but you may try… I would recommend a more direct and rewarding path of surrending to His will, which is very clearly written out for you in the Book of Life! God Bless You!

    • invalid-0

      God has provided us with many gifts (the ability to procreate and enjoy it is certainly one of them and maybe the best one), but these gifts should not be abused. If you are not asking God to sanctify your marriage (one man / one woman) then you are in direct opposition of The Natural Law, which (not by coincidence) happens to be written very succinctly in the 10 Commandments given to us by God through Moses. It is only by following the Natural Laws that we can be in accordance with God or in other words — Truly Happy. For only God knows how to truly make us happy because He created us. It is Prideful to think that you or anything you do can make you happy, but you may try… I would recommend a more direct and rewarding path of surrending to His will, which is very clearly written out for you in the Book of Life! God Bless You!

  • http://www.myspace.com/SaynaTheSpiffy invalid-0

    Thank you so much for this informative, beautiful article! It’s so nice to see someone take a calm, respectful positive stance on sexuality for once, especially when they’re talking about teen sexuality. And I loved the “From The Eye Of The Storm” essay!

  • invalid-0

    Sex is a wonderful thing in a commited relationship. The more commited a relationship is the better sex is. Of course, the most committed relationship is that of marriage.

    Sex is being naked with your partner, it is exposing yourself completely and giving yourself completely to someone else.

    Without the commitment of marriage is it really something worthwhile to give?

    Sex outside of marriage can easily create a physical bond that is much, much stronger than the emotional bond between two people. The physical bond becomes so strong in fact that it pushes aside many very important emotional bonds that are critical for any relationship to survive. Bonds such as friendship, communication, security, and trust. With sex outside of marriage it is too easy to quickly be swept away into the excitement of the physical relationship and to delay important decisions about how strong the overall relationship is and whether it is worthy to continue. The physical parts quickly cloud each person’s judgement.

    How much better to make a clear, informed decision about whether you want to continue in a relationship without giving yourself physically first!

    How much better to give yourself to the person who has just committed to spending the rest of their life with you!

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    …that the differences in experience you’re describing between those who are married and those who are not are not true for everyone, married or not, and stand counter to what a lot of people in both groups regularly experience.

    As well, I take particular exception to anyone saying that only one type of relationship — and not even that, but one legal classification of relationship — restricted to a privileged group of people is the most committed, the one where the best sex happens(and based on years of getting sexual advice letters from unsatisfied — physically and emotionally — married couples no less than from unmarried ones, I strongly beg to differ), and de facto, the most committed. And speaking for at least one of the many of us who have relationships of different models for any number of reasons, or who allow ourselves to be very vulnerable with others for the purpose of intimacy in any number of ways, including through sex, yes: that can be very worthwhile.

    But my biggest beef is simply that that wasn’t the question I was asked. This young women didn’t ask me about marriage, sex in marriage or sex outside of marriage. For all I know, she was asking about sex after marriage, but since the answer to her question didn’t hinge on martial status, there would have been no reason for me to even wonder, or, so far as I can see, for you to do so either. Are not those possible benefits things you’d purport can occur with partnered sex?

    I wasn’t asked what the benefits of sex can be in this type of relationship or that one. Only what the positive outcomes of sex can be, period, which, in the many years I’ve worked in this arena with a wide range of people, I (and many other sexuality researchers, as well as many other people who have sex) have found doesn’t discriminate or privilege based on marital status.

    • invalid-0

      Heather, the people that you’re talking to (i.e. your research) are people who are obviously misguided and confused in the first place, right? People don’t reach out to get moral guidance from the internet unless they are looking for a particular answer or Answer Shopping! They are trying to feel comforted and you are there to provide this comfort – maybe because you need it yourself? Not sure, but I do know (as do many who work directly with our youth) that teenagers are especially notorious for doing this. Sure you are giving them the answers they are looking for, but what about the Truth. You are giving them your truth and they need a template for making good sound moral decisions in their lives NOT being told it’s okay to have as much sex as long as they use proper contraception so they don’t have to deal with the Natural Consequence of having sex — Kids! Again, that is why Sex was exhalted in the first place because you had better Think, Think, Think before jumping in the Sac… Instead, you would have them follow their animalistic instinct – you are not Loving these people — you are leading them to their slaughter.

  • invalid-0

    Man, Heather, I sure hope lots and lots of young people are reading everything you have to say. This is fantastic, well-written, and encouraging. Keep on rockin’.

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    Thanks, Lily (and Sayna)!

    Scarleteen alone usually has no less than 25,000 readers a day and has been at that level of traffic for a long time. So, yep: lots of young people have access to this material and more every day. :)

    • invalid-0

      “Scarleteen alone usually has no less than 25,000 readers a day and has been at that level of traffic for a long time. So, yep: lots of young people have access to this material and more every day.”

      So sad – and you have the nerve to put a smiley emoticon at the end.

  • http://www.cpcwatch.org invalid-0

    …because I’m so sure you don’t enjoy sex (or will once you get married or whatever your personal prerequisites are).

  • invalid-0

    Matt, what about the people who legally cannot get married or for whatever reason choose not to? I’ve been with my partner for 10 years, living together for 9, and married for 6. Our “emotional bond” didn’t really grow exponentially once our officiant said we were married (that is, no more than our commitment was already growing every day). We’d made that commitment long before getting hitched. To be honest, we got married because we wanted kids and the legal and tax issues would have been, well, a bit more difficult had we not been married.

  • invalid-0

    Hey Heather–
    I’m “Cool Aunt Deidra” to an amazing 15 year old girl. I’ve introduced her to your column and encouraged her to write questions she doesn’t feel comfortable asking her Cool Aunt Deidra about. (Which isn’t a whole lot… she’s really open with me.) I had to share something she told me recently. She said that as early as 5th grade, kids her age have been victims of the Abstinence-Only program. She told me recently that she was scared to death to masturbate when her sexual instincts were kicking in because she’d been told at school that IT WOULD MAKE HER INFERTILE! But of course, the hormones of an 11 year old girl are pretty intense and generally got the best of her misguided but very real intentions not to harm her fertility. That made masturbation less of a fun, experimental thing and more of a major guilt trip and worrisome problem. I shutter to think how I would have felt if, in 5th grade, I were afraid to explore my sexuality with myself!!

    It gets worse. My niece told me in the same conversation that girls her age are using this misinformation from 5th grade AS BIRTH CONTROL TODAY. I’m serious. Girls her age have been taught that a) condoms don’t work and b) masturbation makes you infertile, so they’re masturbating prior to intercourse and not using condoms.

    I really wish the abstinence-only camp would pay attention to these stories. They would if they TRULY cared about ending unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s what they’re up to.

    • invalid-0

      I don’t believe a word of what you say – this is just ludicrous! Victims, yeah right. . .

      I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t planted here to make the A. O. crowd look ridiculous!

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    As a professional auntie myself, I salute you.

    And I hear you: reading teens, listening to teens I hear these same stories all of the time. As I mentioned to Matt up there, I also get advice letters from grown (and often married) adults all the time with very similar ignorance and misinformation. Just waiting for marriage is not only not workable for many people, but even those who do it rarely seem to fare better if my inbox is any indication, and it’s not as if they can then get sound sex education from the groups who denied it to them before they reached that entry-requirement.

    People tend to forget that the sex information we get as teens is often all anyone gets as well as what sticks. And no: this isn’t about preventing unwanted pregnancy, and that’s particularly obvious since the implication also is that married people don’t need to know how to use birth control either, and I think very few of us know women who want to risk pregnancy every single time they have sex which could bring it about. It’s about a religious agenda.

  • invalid-0

    I am astounded that this column did not give even a passing mention to the issue of procreation and the potential for sex to lead to the creation of new human life. Really, that’s bizarre.

  • invalid-0

    So you think teenagers having babies would be a BENEFIT to sex?? i think most teenagers would like to delay childbearing…

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    The reason I did not mention that, Anonymous, was because not all kinds of sex have that capacity, and as well, becoming pregnant isn’t a benefit/positive for everyone, or for everyone all the time.

    Above and beyond all of that though, even if we presume this reader was asking only about heterosexual vaginal intercourse, one can safely assume that since she has heard about the risks of sex, she’s aware that pregnancy is a possible outcome/product.

  • mellankelly1

    If you are not asking God to sanctify your marriage (one man / one woman) then you are in direct opposition of The Natural Law, which (not by coincidence) happens to be written very succinctly in the 10 Commandments given to us by God through Moses.

    I respectfully disagree with your idea’s about God.  Sure, I believe that God gave us our bodies and our ability to enjoy sex, but your Moses and your 10 commandments (and your bible) are not relevant to my life.  God gave us the ability to be truly happy (props on the whole "free will" thing) and She has also provided us with our ability to seek knowledge and truth for ourselves (and if we’re lucky we may also have a little humility).  Clearly, you have your opinions about God and I have mine.  And certainly you are free to continue pontificating but I think a religious debate board would be more appropriate for that.

     

  • invalid-0

    Your error is that you deny Objective Truth which governs you whether you like it or not. We can’t change that which has been for billions of years and eternity. To think that you can is childish and nonsensical — that is the Pride of humanity. We put way too much credence on our ability as humans to “make up our own truths” – this is called Spiritual or Moral Anarchy. For instance Murder is Murder – pretty simple right? Wrong? Look how many (1.1MM) are killing our most precious in the womb – by making are own truth we have perverted a most basic Objective Truth – the right to live. Truth was created long before you or I entered the Earth. Free Will is the choice to Love God with all your Mind, Body and Soul. What Heather is suggesting that people do is degrade their bodies, not use our intellect (another gift from God that sets us above the animals), which in turn will destroy our soul. God knows us better than we know ourselves, so is it possible that in God’s infinite love for us that He revealed to us guidelines (i.e. a moral compass) to bring us closer to our goal of living eternally with Him? Sex is from God and procreating is a miracle. Creating the bond (i.e. having sex) before Marriage degrades it and makes us numb to it’s Awesomeness when we use it selfishly for our own pleasure. This pulls us away from God naturally because we have taken it from the exalted and place it under our foot and smashed it like an annoying bug. Give the Power to who it belongs to instead of yourself — do this by sacrificing your pleasure(s) for God! Wait, be patient and God will reward you… You will have better sex than you can ever imagine – by loving God more (following His guidelines for your Happiness) you are, in turn, loving yourself more as well – give yourself more credit by giving over your perception of “Control.” This will make all the difference for you…Trust in Man? No thanks. I’ve seen what that can do! Whew…

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    I’m not a teenager: I’m almost 40 years old.

    I do what I do for my living for all the same reasons any educator chooses to educate, not to provide comfort or therapy for myself. I can get those things a lot cheaper and with a much smaller investment of time. As well, for the love of Pete, might you please remember that not everyone is heterosexual or fertile and not all sex leads to reproduction?

    People look to the internet for help for a whole lot of reasons. For instance, even though I now primarily work with teens and young adults, I still often get emails from older, conservative married adults looking for help with their sex lives, because even though they followed all “the rules,” things aren’t as they were promised they would be and their pastors and suchlike aren’t of any practical help or even very interested in providing it. Folks look to the internet because they can’t find answers elsewhere, because they want to have the anonymity it provides, for any number of reasons.

    There is no one “Truth.” It’s very clear you are sure that there is, but when you’re not talking about facts, but about values or faith, there is more than one set. The way I do what I do comes from a place where I try hard to balance my own feelings and personal ethics — you may not even know what they are, despite assuming you do — with room for many varied choices, faiths and values. If you want a platform to talk to teens about any of these issues from your own personal values, you can do exactly what I did and go ahead and make one.

    And you really need to let go of this stuff about animals and what differentiates us from them: as a Buddhist vegan, trying to persuade me to your arguments by appealing to what you presume is my deep desire to be sure we’re above animals is pointless.

    Oh, heck: you need to let go of this period when it comes to me and what I do. When it comes to the attitudes you’re putting forth, this is hardly the first time I’ve heard this spiel and I assure you, I’m a lost cause.

    • invalid-0

      It truly amazes me that anyone would come to you for sexual (or any other) advice . . .

  • mellankelly1

    Your error is that you deny Objective Truth which governs you whether you like it or not.

    Your error is that you believe your Bible God and your faith is Objective Truth (i.e. Universal or Ultimate Truth) when in fact, your religious notions are Subjective Truths.  To insist that you have divine knowledge is ludicrous (and a tad narcissistic, in my opinion).  The distinction between you and I appears to be my ability to understand and acknowledge that one is certainly entitled to his or her own opinions about God and the nature of sex and the evilness of humankind… but that simply sharing your beliefs does not suddenly make them facts (or Universal Truths). 

    Creating the bond (i.e. having sex) before Marriage degrades it and makes us numb to it’s Awesomeness when we use it selfishly for our own pleasure.

    This is just malarkey!  My husband and I had sex for six years prior to being married and there hasn’t been one bit of difference in our sex lives in the eight years since we’ve married.  Oh wait… with the exception of the post-vasectomy sex – that was and continues to be just fabulous!  We always have sex for pleasure and it hasn’t been degraded at all.  Those are merely your opinions about sex and I thank God that my husband and I do not share such negative thoughts and feelings towards such a wonderful and beautiful act. 

    Give the Power to who it belongs to instead of yourself — do this by sacrificing your pleasure(s) for God!

    Sorry, but… YIKES!

    This will make all the difference for you…Trust in Man? No thanks. I’ve seen what that can do! Whew…

    Fortunately I have the ability to have faith in God and still trust people (including myself).

  • scott-swenson

    For only God knows how to truly make us happy because He created us.

     

    Thankfully, God didn’t create us all alike, so some of us won’t fit into your narrow interpretation of what God intended. If it’s not too much to ask, many of us would like to develop our own relationship with life, nature, God, creator, however you phrase it, and trust that we too were created to be happy, even if our expression of it makes others angry, vengeful, and spiteful because they can’t get past literalism to understanding parable, metaphor, and the politicization of faith throughout time, including the editing and revisions of sacred texts. It’s fascinating the lessons life brings us, and how many opportunities we have to learn, and ask for, forgiveness. The commandments also talk about resting on the seventh day, and making sure your male or female slaves do too (Exodus 20: 2-17) — are you advocating we close all businesses on the seventh day, if the religions of The Bible could agree on which day that really is, and condone slave holding? I don’t say that to mock the ten commandments, but to illustrate how human wisdom continues to evolve throughout time, inspired by something greater than what we see before us (thankfully!) and how we must detach the politics of the moment from the importance of spirituality to all of us. Free will is God’s greatest gift, and we all have used it and abused it in different ways. It’s up to each of us to learn those lessons in our own way and time, and we can’t do it by ignoring reality and pretending if everyone believed the exact same thing (good luck with that) all would be well.

     

    Maybe its time to honor and respect life, women, men, the sacred quality of sex, and all the many ways people express the part of creation they are, by looking at the world we’re living in, and having a little less sanctimony and a lot more compassion.

     

    Be the change you seek,

    Scott Swenson, Editor

  • invalid-0

    Heather, thank you for your wonderful article–too many sex educators, even liberal ones talk mostly about the mechanics of sex and the dangers–the only difference being the conservatives talk about sin and liberals are talking about using pills and condoms. It is refreshing to read about how great sex can be. To the right wing extremeists who think marriage is the greatest–I can say that due to my poor role modeling I kept making the same mistakes over and over in choosing abusive men to marry(3 unfortuante times!) The last one sex was not spiritual at all –it was abusive– and we were legally married. Then after the divorce I made a conscious decision to change my patterns–after 4 years of choosing to be celibate(but self-pleasuring was a great help in doing so!) I met my present partner the most wonderful man I have ever met–we have lived together for 9 years now and it gets better all the time. Because he respects me and is committed to me sex is better than I ever thought possible (and I am now 52!) I told him I did not want more children and he has been the father to my girls that they did not have. We are actually thinking of getting married–but our decision has more to do with medical benefits and it will be a great excuse to get our families together for a big party! And I wanted to comment on the crazy idea that soem conservatives have that sex should be for procreation only–I think that puts us at the level of oh say –rabbits maybe? who have sex only for procreation? Only the lowest of animals have sex for procreation only! For us humans it is for many reasons –including pleasure and connection. Creativity comes in many forms not just to create another human which Heather touched upon. I also find it very disturbing that teens are actually being taught that masturbation is wrong or daneerous–that is really scary!! Self pleasuring which is the term I prefer –is the safest sex of all since there is not only NO risk but can help a person remain celibate when they are not ready for sex and can help them in figuring out what pleases them so they can assist their future lover/spouse with making sex even better!
    BTW, the GOd/Goddess that I worship is much much bigger than the jealous petty lower god of the old testament and I am happy to say that he/she loves it when we humans express our love with sex–“all acts of love and pleasure our my rituals” says the words of the GOddess.

  • invalid-0

    Ok so I a completely and utterly disgusted by the rantings of these religious fanatics! Heather gave a true and honest, well thought out answer to the question, then all the loonies come out… Sex was created by God as a means for us to come together, it is an expression of love, what better way to effectively communicate your desires, wants and needs but through sex? Im sure the numerous anonomuses’ hymens have become cemented, due to their failure to get real and face the facts of life…as “ungodly” as they may seem! Kudos Heather continue to give our Youth straight talk, maybe if some of their parents just kept it real with them there’d be no need for them to solicit advice online..Real Talk….

  • invalid-0

    All of this needs to be balanced with considerations of the people involved.

    Like,

    1) the baby that may be conceived; her life and death, her potential
    2) the person with whom you are speaking a very strong language; what hopes/expectations your language engenders in that person
    3) yourself; what is your sexuality worth to you? A lark, a connection with a soulmate, an expression you would rather save for THE special person
    4) society; is your contribution one of a generous, unselfish, reliable person, willing to forego short-term satisfaction for a higher good, or that of a pleasure-seeking, ego-stroking narcissist?

  • invalid-0

    me and the girl i have been dating have been engaging in sexual activity more than 5 times a day. we can’t even go on a car ride down the shore without pulling over and finding a spot to have sex. when we get back from whatever plans we had that day, we go right to bed and do it all over again. although there is more to this relationship than sex, we are able to talk and engage in other physical activities but somehow we resort to sexual intercourse. this is the first time the two of us have experienced feelings like this and were worried that it’s not a healthy habit to have as much sex as were having. is this okay?

  • http://www.scarleteen.com invalid-0

    Hey, Anonymous.

    In the future, if you want actual sex advice questions answered, bring’em over to us at Scarleteen.com, okay? While my advice columns are being reprinted here, I’m not actually doing the sex advice work here at RHRealityCheck itself.

    But overall, this is typical stuff. Just like when someone starts jogging and loves it they’ll tend to do it more often at first than as time goes on, or when we find a new food we enjoy, we’ll eat it until we’re almost sick of it, when people are new to sex or in a new sexual relationship, they’ll often go a little nuts for a while having it a lot more frequently when it’s new than they will down the road. Usually, as time goes on, things slow down and feel less urgent.

    But in the meantime, remember that having sex isn’t something that happens to us, it’s something we choose to do. So, you both DO get to choose if you have sex, when you have sex and how often. You CAN not have sex if that’s not what both of you want or it’s feeling like too much. As well, you also get to choose only to have sex where it’s safe to do so: in a car on the side of the road often isn’t the safest place in the world to be having sex.

    Why don’t y’all just talk about it together, be sure this is all balanced, and make sure the other aspects of your relationships are getting just as much airtime, okay?

  • invalid-0

    Wow is all I have to say. First of all, props to you, Heather. I think that this is a wonderful website and a wonderful service to everyone.

    I didn’t expect such a heated back and forth discussion. I think its important to form our opinions from the facts, and not from information twisted to fit a conservative, overly religious agenda. I don’t think it is fair for anyone to impose their beliefs on others, and I did not appreciate the above lecturing by the 1st Anonymous writer.

    For young people and everyone, I believe that it is vitally important to stress that sex is a good thing, is positive, and can be very enjoyable. Safe sex is important, and you always want to avoid STI’s and unintended pregnancy…but good things can result from sex. It is important for people to know this.

    I am glad that I found your column and look forward to reading the weekly questions and contributing my ideas.

    Fantastic job. I’m really happy that there is such a great resource available online.

    Thank you.

    Allison
    Hopefully, future Sexual Education/ violence prevention instructor

  • invalid-0

    After reading this article, as well as the multitude of comments, I’m left scratching my head as to how so many people has missed the mark!

    Where conservative religious teachings created an undeniably abstinence-until-marriage attitude toward human sexuality prior to the 1950’s, the advent of the “New Psychology” in the 1960’s led to what is commonly referred to today as the “Sexual Revolution”. From this point on a more open view toward all forms of sexual activity/expression advanced throughout the world.

    We can easily view the “fruits” of this “Revolution” in articles such as this one. Talking openly and honestly about sexual behavior has arguably been one of the greatest advantages of this new attitude toward sex. I am a major proponent of providing our young people with the most accurate and truthful information about their sexuality as possible.

    However, the negative consequences of the Sexual Revolution have prevailed, and here we see strong evidence of how this “revolutionary” concept of human sexuality has corrupted our young people:

  • Proponents of masturbation (female, male, mutual) encourage young men and women to look at the human body as an object to be selfishly used to obtain sexual gratification. By engaging in masturbatory acts, young people turn the purpose of their sexual nature from bonding with another human being/bringing a new life into the world to indulging in a temporary high that leaves them focused inward and ill-prepared to provide an appropriate sexual response to their partner/spouse.
  • The same concept of selfish behavior exists in pre-marital/extra-marital sexual activity. By engaging in any sexual activity outside the boundaries of a committed marriage, our young people are being setup to experience a lifetime of negative emotional consequences, if not physical as well. We can’t ignore studies which consistently display higher divorce rates among young people/couples who engage in sexual activity outside of marriage as opposed to divorce rates from those who abstain from sexual activity until (and within) the bounds of a committed, faithful marriage.
  • I would also commit a grave injustice if I failed to mention how today’s young people (14 to 25 years old) are experiencing higher transmission rates of sexually transmitted infections than those of other age groups. This again is a consequence of the Sexual Revolution.
  • Finally, I must also note the strong emotional consequences of failing to abstain from all sexual activity until marriage. While the author of this article focuses on the “feel-good” nature of indulging our sexual desires, she ignores the negative consequences brought about by casual sex (or any sexual activity outside of marriage). What can you say to a 12-year old girl who has just given oral sex to 5 guys at a rainbow party? How do you heal the emotional scares left behind after you gave up your virginity to that cute girl you “loved” in 9th grade, only to have your heart broken when your relationship broke up the next week?
  • In promoting sexual activity outside of marriage by ignoring the negative physical, psychological, and emotional aspects, you are exposing today’s young people, as well as tomorrow’s generations, to entire host of debilitating emotional and physical consequences.

    The author claims a variety of positive physiological responses to engaging in sexual activity, and those are valid reasons to have sex. Sex is designed to be an beneficial, desirable act–it’s designed to increase intimacy within marriage and it’s the natural method of creating a new human being for a reason (none of us would exist if sex was painful)! However, sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies, abortion of viable fetuses, infanticide, climbing divorce rates, and crippling emotional consequences are the “rewards” of engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage.

    If we are ever going to reach the apex of our sexual natures, we must embrace and engage our sexual desires in a properly ordered manner. Please stop promoting such disordered views as presented in this article–now is the time to bring forth properly ordered teachings on sex. i know that by doing so, we can prepare our youth for a true “Sexual Revolution.”

    Sincerely,
    Clint—Abstinence Education Lifestyle Coach

  • heather-corinna

    In the immortal words of Paul McCartney, maybe you’re amazed. Though I’m not sure why.

     

    Yes, they do come to me and to our volunteers, and in droves for a decade.

     

    If that’s so amazing to you, then perhaps it’s worth thinking about why they do, from all over the world, in a variety of ages and from all kinds of backgrounds, and why they have done so at that site for a decade without us ever having done any advertising at all. Why are so many people putting "sex ed" into Google and coming over? What exactly would make them come and read or want to talk to someone like me, anyway? Why would they come for advice or help for a while, get what they need, then return again years later for more or to say thank you? Why on earth would we get recognition and kudos from so many reputable sexual health organizations? What might be so different with that many people’s idea of who they
    want to talk to and get sexuality (or other) information from than
    yours? Perhaps more pertinently, where else do you see as so many young people’s other options when it comes to getting current, accurate, inclusive and nonjudgmental information on sexuality? If not from someone like me, where are they getting that kind of information from with that kind of approach and where aren’t they getting information from that they feel they need me at all?

     

    You, of course, as I also suggested to Truth, always have the option, if you feel you are a better choice than I, to do exactly what I did. You can start an extensive resource on your own steam, open to everyone and see who chooses to come talk to you.

     

    Maybe then I can get to be amazed, too.

  • invalid-0

    thanks for this great post! i was the product of a home that NEVER spoke about sex. it wasn’t mentioned until i was 14, then i was told that it was for marriage only. i’m almost 40, and i STILL have a difficult time with feelings of guilt. i’m grateful that i, at least, KNOW LOGICALLY, that we are sexual beings, and that sex can be such a wonderful thing – gee, even if someone isn’t married.
    i would also like to add this: i only recently came across this website, and love it. but, it can both depress and anger me to see the judgment-filled, close-minded, bigotted comments from religious fanatics. i find myself having to double check the date of the comments. is this really 2008? it astounds me that so many people have yet to evolve in their thinking. and, you know what, that’s fine for them – if they want to live their lives ruled by laws made by men and passed off as god’s laws – fine. my problem, and i’ve expressed this in countless comments – is that they still think it’s okay to try to force their beliefs on the rest of us. this is NOT a theocracy! IT IS NOT! abstinence only? great for you – go to it! or don’t go to it, i guess. and impress upon your own children that they should be ashamed of their feelings until they’re married. god bless them, and god help them with the profound guilt they’ll most likely have to deal with when they do get married.