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To do or not to do?

Have you ever wondered whether it is wrong to have sexual intercourse before marriage? Or if you have done it, did you feel extremely guilty and ashamed about it?

It is often said that the girl has more to lose personally than the boy if she partakes in pre-marital sex. Girls are often taught that being a non-virgin equates to social shame. However, things are different today, and this negative view of pre-marital sex is less common. Because of changing values in society, the question “To do or not to do?” remains very much on which perspective you are looking at things.

This article tries to give you some food for thought especially for those who are now pondering about this topic, and whether you should proceed or not. At the end of the day, the decision is all yours and a responsible person will carefully weight all the pros and cons before indulging in something as major as pre-marital sex.

Let’s look at some of the possibilities of what may happen if a couple indulges in pre-marital sex.

The girl becomes pregnant.
This is of course a highly probable scenario because as you may already know, young people may not use any form of protection against pregnancy, and contraceptives, if not used correctly, is not 100% safe. So, a couple who’s still in Form 2 and decides to have sex may end up with the girl pregnant. What would her parents have to say about it? Our Asian culture frowns on unmarried couples having babies, and what more young couples who are still schooling!

One of the most important things to think about here is the baby. Don’t you agree that every baby (including yourself when you were born) deserves loving parents who are able to supply basic needs such as food, protection, companionship, and of course endless love? Definitely! So, the worst thing you need in your life now if you are still schooling, and not able to self support yourself financially is to “make” an unwanted child.

Of course, the other consideration would be that the girl’s life would change so drastically. She may have to stop school to start looking after the baby and that would keep her from achieving her ambitions of going to the University, and after that looking for a nice job and maybe settle down with someone she loves.

Some may say that there are other options such as abortion. Yes and No. Yes, abortion may solve your problem and be the fastest way to enable that your life does not change overnight. However, abortion brings about additional financial burden, is an extremely dangerous operation, and most of the time, it may not be done by a legitimate doctor. There are also other medical, social and religious consequences related to abortion which needs consideration.

You may have to get married
The pregnant girl must decide with the father of the child whether they intend to get married. But this depends on many other factors. Are they in love? Does the girl know who the father is? Would this bring up other issues such as both thinking that they are forced into marriage just because of the baby? Will my parents resent me? Will people gossip about us?

Questions like these should not arise in a happy marriage. Even if the couple is in love, but are still young, it would be difficult to raise the child by themselves without additional financial support from their parents or other parties.

Whatever the situation is, this is not a desired way for a young couple to start their married life together.

The risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Pre-marital sex also brings the risk of STDs. A boy or girl can get STDs the first time he or she has sexual contact with another person. If left untreated, certain STDs can lead to more serious health problems. You can learn more about STDs by going to FFPAM’s e-RHAM web site.

The girl gets a bad reputation
This statement may seem unfair given the fact that the boy is equally involved in the sexual act itself. However, as unfair as it seems, the girl seems to have more to lose as she is the one who risks having the baby.

Although old fashioned, some boys still have dreams of marrying a virgin girl, and society tends to view girls who have slept around with many men as not so respectable. However, once again, this view is dependent on values, and values change over time.

It is against my religion
All religions forbid sex outside marriage. Using our religious values as a guide can help us to decide where our stand is regarding sex before marriage.

It spoils the marriage
Traditionally, you date, get married, have a baby. But in extreme cases, you have a baby, get married, then start dating. The latter highlights the case of a couple deciding to get married because of the baby, then after all the formalities have been done only start to spend time to get to know each other, the way couples should before marriage.

Depending on you, some people may find the romanticism of marriage spoilt if this were to happen to them. The fact that you were “forced” to proceed with marriage and with such rush considering that you only have 9 months before the baby is born, is sufficient to deem the whole experience spoilt.

Our society still looks at pre-marital sex as a taboo. They should not be blamed for such views considering that there are many “dangers” associated with sex before marriage. Our society is also becoming more aware that many young people are having pre-marital sex. Hence there are many programmes for young people to help them make more responsible decisions. People are also becoming more tolerant of pre-marital sex. Instead of shaming those involved, they are offering help.

In the meantime, a wise teenager will always read and learn about the health, social, and psychological consequences of actions such as sex before indulging in it because once it is done, you cannot reverse your actions. You will then have to face the consequence, which are impossible to handle alone. You will need help, from parents, teachers, friends, to “pull” you through. Think about it – talk to yourself on what you can really handle…before you act.

Federation of Family Planning Associations, Malaysia

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