Should Pre-Marital Sex Be Encouraged?

Jessica Valenti posed an interesting question over at Feministing this week — should we be encouraging women (and men) to have pre-marital sex? She argues that yes, we should, writing:

“Because, let’s face it — if you’re going to commit yourself to someone for (presumably) the rest of your life, it’s probably best if you know that you’re sexually compatible … Do I think that people can have perfectly wonderful satisfying relationships without having had sex before making a commitment? Sure, I’m positive that happens often. But considering what a huge role sexuality plays in our lives and relationships … well, I’d rather be super duper positive.”

Valenti has, of course, written a book called The Purity Myth, in which she argues that women “shouldn’t be held up to some bizarre virginal ideal,” and that’s made her abstinence-only critics say she’s pro-promiscuity. That’s clearly not the case, because there is a large gray area in between being a virgin and a “whore.” And heck yes, we should be encouraging women to explore that gray area before they get married! If one of my female friends came to me and said she was getting married and was going to wait to have sex with her husband until their wedding night, I would sit her booty down and call her crazy. When you think about it, what’s so crazy about encouraging people to sleep together before marriage to test their sexual compatibility? We encourage couples to know they’re compatible in other areas, like how they want to raise their children and how they handle money — in fact, devout Catholics take a test to ensure they’re on the same page about a lot of things; so why not encourage men and women (especially women, as they’re the gender that’s more likely to wait to have sex) to have a few rolls in the hay before puttin’ a ring on it?