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True Love Waits ... Until 18

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Momlogic's Julie: I don't want to teach my kids to wait to have sex until marriage, because I just don't think that's realistic. But I would like them to wait until they're at least 18!

true love waits until 18 tshirt

The "True Love Waits" movement is all the rage. Teen stars The Jonas Bros., Jordin Sparks, and Selena Gomez all wear their purity rings with pride. I love the concept of waiting -- in theory -- but I can't in good conscience teach my kids to wait until marriage because I really don't believe in that. I actually think it's a good thing to get some experience before walking down the aisle. But I'd love for them to wait until they were 18. That's why I propose a new movement: "True Love Waits ... Until 18."

Both my kids will be in college by 18. Hopefully, they're better equipped to make a decision over having sex with a high school diploma in their hands.

46% of teens have sex in high school ... 34% of them by ninth grade. NINTH grade! There is a huge difference between 14 and 18 mentally. I think my kids would consider birth control and STD protection more at 18 than they would at a younger age.

Most girls don't even have orgasms in high school but 100% of guys who have sex do. I'd love to give my daughter a few more years to get to know her own body before giving it over to a guy who's guaranteed to get off. (Where's the fairness in that?)

And by avoiding sex until she's 18, my daughter won't have to be with an inexperienced high school guy in bed. That's sparing her a lot of frustration and misery right there.

1/3 of girls in the US get pregnant at least once by age 20. Under my plan, many of those teen pregnancies would be wiped out ... and my son would be guaranteed not to knock someone up in high school -- a welcome relief.

Look, I'm not naive. I know that the majority of teens ARE going to have sex in high school, and believe they should be taught about birth control at home and given proper sex education in school so they can protect themselves.

But I'd like to teach my kids to wait ... at least until they're 18. What do you think of my plan?

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21 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous October 23, 2008, 4:50 PM

I lost my virginity at 16. I wasn’t in love. In fact, I set out that night to find someone I didn’t know so that I could get it over with. It was fun, empowering and it eliminated anxiety with future guys I really liked.

Anonymous October 23, 2008, 5:18 PM

Empowering! at 16? what a joke!!

joanne October 23, 2008, 6:11 PM

Fantastic idea! As the mom of three high schoolers, I am signing up for this movement!

JC October 23, 2008, 6:41 PM

I think the only reason it’s not realistic to teach and practice abstinence until marriage is because parents pretty much expect their kids to have sex before the wedding. I don’t believe it’s an inevitability. I believe kids will usually live up to their parents expectations… How about expecting more from them? My kids are older and are saving themselves for that one special person. They’ll get plenty of experience with their one true love!

beckie  October 23, 2008, 10:18 PM

I waited until I got married at the age of 23. My husband also waited— he was 22. We were raised in families where they taught us high values about morality and respecting our bodies as a gift from God. We have been married 10 years. We’ve gone through medical school and 3 children together. We are dear friends and the level of trust I have for him stems back to the fact that if he could uphold what he knew to be right on his own until we were married, then he can be faithful to me. I can give him my heart completely and trust that he will value it— because I did (and do). I know that to many people this sounds ridiculous. That is fine. My point being that what we teach our children, they will internalize and later replicate. I only hope that I can teach them what I believe in and that they too can have the gift that my husband and I shared on our honeymoon and still 10 years later.

Carol October 24, 2008, 6:40 AM

I agree completely with Dr. Beckie. I was in high school and college during the 1960’s. Most of the members of my high school class joined the sexual revolution; over half of them married young due to unplanned pregnancies, became unwed mothers, or went to Mexico for abortions. So many of those marriages have failed, with infidelity being a major factor in most of them. Several of the women became grandmothers before they were 30 because their children followed the same pattern that they did. I am thankful that my parents taught me that sex is amazingly special when the couple has their first experience together when they marry. It was a treasure to me to hear my parents tell me about their both having waited until marriage. The trust factor was always huge.

I have taught college and have had a private practice in counseling and marriage and family therapy for 30 years. I have never heard a couple say they were sorry they waited until marriage to have sex. I have listened to many who wished they had waited; that they wished there were no memories of other sexual experiences that interfere with the completeness of sex with their spouses; that they just do not trust each other.

My mother emphasized to me that dating couples can have a lot of fun without “going all the way.” My parents also role-played with me how to set limits with boys in an easy and positive way. I have lovely memories of boyfriends from my youth without the burden of memories of having had sex outside of marriage. I am glad that I was not deprived of experiencing the joy of holding hands, hugging and snuggling, pleasant kissing, and intimate conversation.

I wish every young person could have parental guidance like I had, and like I have provided to many young people. I should also note that the couples that report having the best sex are those who first had intercourse after they married.

Both girls and boys can be taught the same values. Benefits are wonderful. There is no worry about unwanted pregnancies, diseases, emotional damage, educational plans and other dreams that will never be possible, higher risk for marital problems and divorce, and other consequences that negatively alter lives.

NH October 24, 2008, 9:17 AM

I agree with Beckie and JC. We need to teach our children values and expect more from them. It is not unreasonable to expect children to wait till marriage.

Kate October 24, 2008, 9:24 AM

Thank you, beckie and carol. It’s good to know that there are other people out there who value their bodies and their marriages enough to wait for marriage. I, too, waited, and it was the best decision that I ever made. The thought of sharing myself so intimately and deeply with anyone else, let alone the myriad of men that most women go through, just makes me cringe.

I think that part of the problem in our society is that people are selfish and impatient. They don’t want to wait for anything - especially something as satisfying as sex. That selfish mindset will never bring them to a fulfilling sexual relationship. Abstinence teaches you that sex isn’t just about the gratification for yourself. Sex is about connecting with your mate inimately and learning how to satisfy his/her needs and desires. I just don’t see how a sexual relationship can be sucessful without making a lifetime commitment to one another.

Anonymous October 24, 2008, 10:03 AM

My husband was a virgin when we married 4 years ago. I felt bad because i was used goods. He was 22 when we got married and he was nervous but really learned fast. it’s very possible to believe in your children to do the right thing, He did as a young man and he was very social and had other girlfriends. He never let the peer pressure get to him. He admitted that often times the girls saw him as a challenge which made him very popular but he always kept his cool. So parents believe in your children and remind them that they are doing the right thing by waiting.

Lili October 24, 2008, 11:18 AM

I agree with the author that some experience before marriage is good. I waited on my first marriage, and it turns out I had a horrible sex life because my husband was marrying me to cover up to the world that he was gay! I would have known this if we’d tried having sex before marriage.

With my second marriage, we had sex first, and I found that it was going to work fabulously. I’m still very happy in this marriage and very glad to have had some experience before marriage. I think kids need to be a bit older, such as the 18 the author mentions, but I think they SHOULD experiment in responsible ways and that the age depends on the individual person. Any one set age won’t be right for every person.

Jas October 24, 2008, 11:30 AM

I was 18 when I had sex. 19 when I got pregnant and had my daughter. Despite what my mother taught me, I had no plans to wait for marriage. I find it to be unrealistic.
I will teach my daughter about sex, to respect herself, and about proper birth control. I don’t expect her to wait until marriage. I do expect her to wait until she feels she could handle the consequences of a sexual relationship.

Someone... October 24, 2008, 12:32 PM

I completely agree with your proposition to wait at least until 18, and having high school student learn about birth control and STD protection. i plan to help spread the word.

Becca October 24, 2008, 2:01 PM

It not realistic more because of the fact that since they introduced the abstinence thing in schools the rate of pregnancy and std’s has gone up not down! It more practical for schools and parents to teach about pregnancy and std’s! Not only should they teach about that but about protection and prevention! Parents who say I don’t want my child to have sex so i don’t agree with teaching these things are ridicules! They are also the same parents that are so shocked when their kids comes home pregnant or with an std! The facts are that kids are going to discover sex and they joys and negatives on it whether we teach them or not! At least if we teach them they have the facts and the truth from us and not the kid down the street that thinks they know things! The schools and teach abstinence but at the same time lets teach sexual awareness and education so that they have the complete facts!

Anonymous October 25, 2008, 9:48 PM

whats the point of putting true love waits in your statement if your not really waiting for true love your just waiting till 18. sex is something special created for only one person…your husband. each time you have sex you are giving part of yourself away… you shouldnt want to give your husband only a part of you b/c youve already given most of it away, you should want to give him everything. when you save yourself for marriage it shows that you care about your future husband and kids. so i do not agree with you.

Betty November 20, 2008, 12:57 AM

i am for this …its a great idea…i am a 19 year old Latin woman who is a virgin by choice. But that’s just my personal choice. When parents tell a child no not have sex its basically like telling them to go out and do it,because then they begin to wonder if they hadn’t already. Even if they hadn’t even thought about it the thought is now there. If a parent tells them that until thy are 18 then they will feel so accomplished if they pass 18 without having sex. And if they do have sex they wont feel like a failure in their parents eyes. Yes at 18 is a good age to make better and mature decisions. I have no clue why little 14 and 15 year olds are having sex. They need to grow up and if they are willing to make the decision to have sex then they should accept the consequences, and not be crazy. Wow the way this world is going it scares me to have a little girl of my own someday.

Julie December 4, 2008, 10:07 AM

There is nothing wrong with expecting our children to wait until they are married. Perhaps if more families had this expectation, there would be less rape, less teen pregnancy and maybe even less STDs….

Anonymous December 7, 2008, 12:13 AM

Isn’t there a middle ground, though? If we don’t hold kids to waiting until marriage, couldn’t we at least suggest they wait until they’re in a committed monogamous relationship with a person they love? Things may delay marriage: if they have a serious boyfriend or girlfriend (that they intend to marry) at 18, but want to wait until they’re done with college to marry, why shouldn’t they have sex? They’re not giving it away to strangers. If they are both virgins, they shouldn’t be catching STDs. I’m not sure why so many people think MARRIAGE has to be the threshold. People can be in committed partnerships before marriage.

Amy January 26, 2009, 5:38 PM

I believe children will deliver as you expect them to deliver. If you expect your children to have sex at 18, then they will have sex at 18. If you expect them to wait until marriage, then they will wait until marriage. I don’t think it’s naive, stupid, or wrong to teach and then expect your children to live to a high moral standard.

random man April 29, 2010, 8:40 AM

Here is the thing about not waiting until marriage to have sex. Ok lets take for instance college students. Have any of you that say it is ok to have sex before marriage even stepped foot on a college campus lately? College students are in no way ready for the emotional connection with another person that manner. I mean think about it this way. Dating and having sex with different people (because that’s what will happen) is like practicing for divorce. You date this guy a while have sex and then break up over and over. I mean is that what you want your child doing in college?

Well, I did not wait until marriage to have sex, but I wish I would have. Being able to give that part of yourself to a person you truly love on your wedding night is something that not most people can say they have experienced. Why? Because people think it is ok to teach their children that sex before marriage is ok.

Oh and lets not even get into the statistics about STD’s. Parents, do you know that if you teach your children that sex is ok before marriage that they have a 100% more likely chance of catching a STD from someone who was just a one night fling then those who wait until marriage! Is that what you want for your child that you love and care about? I mean come on people! Think about what you are saying! I mean I know I may seem a bit harsh, but the truth is truth and it has to be said!

When a person has sex with someone they give a part of themselves away and never get it back. That emotional connection during sex is torn away and hearts are broken when the guy or girl moves on to another relationship. I mean, think about it. No I mean REALLY think about it!

I believe even if two young adults are planning their wedding that they should wait until their wedding night. You may say “Why, they are getting married?” Because, it will make the night of their wedding more memorable than ever! They will always look back on that night and remember the goodness and purity that they gave each other. Well, I guess I have spoken my peace so all I ask is to really think about what you are teaching your kids and the consequences of their actions.


Ten Tees January 9, 2011, 9:06 AM

Great article! Enjoyable reading. I have got a observation to give about shirts.

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