Is it Love or Latex?

by Tony Marco

There is a fantastic way you can experience love at its most fulfilling that comes as near as possible to letting you escape the threats of AIDS and STD's that brings with it real peace of mind and bonuses that last even beyond a lifetime.

But before we talk about that great kind of love, let's talk a little more about issues related to singles and what I call "latex love."

Have you had this kind of experience? Have you ever felt moments when, even while having sex--your senses abruptly clear--you suddenly realize, "This person and I have reached for this moment since we met. Yes, our desires have connected, but we're somehow still apart. It's like there's an invisible barrier between us; we move together, but we never really touch." What's wrong?

It's like you're condomized from really touching one another. Not that your bodies can't touch, but you're souls are condomized. You share pleasure, but not the essence of who you really are. You share ecstasy, but not the intimacy you really crave. Ever been to this place? You've never enjoyed a more exquisite moment in your life. Yet at the same time, you've never felt sadder.

Why does that moment happen? Because into it a "shadow" intrudes. This "shadow" can be any number of things: distrust, unexplainable disgust, fear, grief, loss, loneliness, emptiness--you don't know for sure. But you tell yourself, "Well, it just didn't work out this time."

But then the shadow grows, and clouds even the best moments you know from then on--even though sheer physical pleasure tries sometimes to persuade you it might not happen again.

If you've ever felt that way, you're not alone. Maybe this is where the "great news" really begins--in knowing that you're not alone. You're not the first, and certainly not the last, lover to feel that way. Others have, too.

Let's look at the reasons everyone uses for continuing to engage in "latex love." As we shall see, most of them are based on myths.

Myth #1: "Everybody's Doing It!"
Is everybody doing it? The truth is, statistics show that only between 65 to 80 percent of college-age people are "doing it." That means that somewhere between 20 and 35 percent aren't doing it. That's a high percentage of students who are saying, "Maybe a lot of people are doing it, but it's not for me!"

Myth #2: "It'll Enhance My Self-Esteem & Inner Security."
Maybe this quote best sums up what the studies show:

"I slept with many, many people trying to find love, to find self-worth. And the more people I slept with the less self-worth I had."

It makes sense when you think about it. When you give yourself as "pieces" to a lot of people, you are no longer whole, and as a consequence may actually feel less self-worth and inner security--because part(s) of you is (are) missing.

Myth #3: "Living Together Before Marriage Increases Your Chances of Having a Happy Marriage Later."
You take a car for a test drive before you buy it, right? You'd think taking a body for a test drive would be a good indicator of what a lifetime commitment to a person would be like. But, in a seeming paradox, the research says, "Not so!"

One study compared couples who live together before marriage with others who hadn't. Results showed that couples who had lived together before marriage were more likely to disagree on things like recreation, household chores and finances. They were more likely to seek counseling and broke up more often than couples who hadn't lived together.(1)

More recent research by Alfred DeMaris of Auburn University and Gerald Leslie of the University of Florida found that those who co-habited prior to marriage "scored significantly lower in both perceived quality of marital communication and marital satisfaction."(2)

Why this dissatisfaction? Researchers offers this explanation: To keep "living together" harmoniously, unmarried couples often hide important aspects of their "true selves" from one another. They share good times and "good selves" and hide bad times and "bad selves." They share superficially, but not from the roots of their personalities, for fear of jeopardizing their relationships.

To keep "living together" harmoniously, unmarried couples often hide important aspects of their "true selves" from one another. They share superficially, but not from the roots of their personalities, for fear of jeopardizing their relationships.

What else sinks couples who have lived together before marriage? Distrust. If you or your partner has engaged in singles sex with others, or just each other, before marriage, in the process you sow "seeds of distrust" for your future marriage relationship. If you've slept around before marriage, how can you trust yourself in a "committed" relationship, or trust others?

Myth #4: "Doing It Won't Hurt Anyone."
Lots of people are getting hurt by singles "latex love." Hurt permanently. But others who aren't directly involved in your relationships can get hurt too. Your parents. Your friends. Are any of them worried about what might happen to you?

And what about you? What is latex love doing to you and your emotions? Before you answer, consider the following interesting statistics for your age group:

The Other Choice

There is a choice beyond condom-sex and non-condomed sex: It's the choice to wait, not to have sex at all, with anyone, until you're ready to make the life-long commitment of marriage.

But aren't condoms better than nothing? Maybe not. Maybe no sex at all, for the time being, is your best choice today.

It is a choice that's actually possible to make, though many family planning organizations and sex psychologists apparently don't seem to think so. But they are people who are making lots of money off of sex, even sex among people your age, and may not want to see you stop.

Maximum Sex Later: A Benefit of Waiting
One of the primary benefits is that later on--in a committed, marriage relationship--you can have "an ultimate sexual experience." Waiting can allow someone to experience the type of sex that has total abandonment, with all inhibitions thrown aside--total, unrestrained, body-to-body pleasure-making.

Why is that? Because there is something that can stand between routine sex and the ultimate: distrust. If there's any amount of distrust between you and another person in a relationship, you can never totally abandon your inhibitions with that person. And if you can shed all inhibitions but a few, you still can't have 100% abandonment--the kind of totally free involvement that brings you maximum sexual pleasure.

Think for a moment: What's the most significant measure of trust in a relationship? Faithfulness. Most marriages go down the tubes when a partner has been unfaithful. But inside a truly faithful, totally committed marriage relationship, trust is complete. Inhibitions are cast to the winds. There are no barriers. Your souls aren't "condomized" by fear or distrust. You touch and blend as persons, not just as bodies.

Inside a truly faithful, totally committed marriage relationship, trust is complete. Inhibitions are cast to the winds. There are no barriers. Your souls aren't "condomized" by fear or distrust. You touch and blend as persons, not just as bodies.

Which leads us to still another reason to wait till marriage for sex. There is another relationship quality that contributes to maximally satisfying sex: the personal respect and understanding two people have for one another.

One of the problems with sexual involvement before marriage is that sex tends to "muddy the waters" of clear sight that make us good judges of character. How often when we hear "marriage obituaries" do we hear people say, "I never really knew him [or her]. We got married in a fever. But when the fever wore off, I realized I really didn't even like that person."

Without the fever of sexual involvement, you have a chance to really learn about and value your mate for who he or she really is. You then understand who they are and mutual respect (for each other's character) can develop within the relationship.

And when at last you marry and make love, it's not just a physical experience, it's an expression of gratitude and regard for the one person you esteem above all others. That kind of respect can only enhance the totally uninhibited sex you enjoy as a result of the bond you've established of faithfulness and trust! The best and safest sex is worth the wait.

Old-Fashioned Principles That Still Work
Trustworthiness, faithfulness and character add up to what used to be called old-fashioned virginity, followed by a lifetime marriage commitment--something advocated by a timeless book known as the Bible. Its sexual principles have made sense throughout history, and they still make sense today.

But are we being realistic? Isn't our thinking radically outmoded? How, in an age where all the media and the "experts" encourage us to immediately gratify ourselves sexually, can we ward off all the pressures and act on principles that encourage a lifetime of maximum sexual oneness?

The truth is, we don't know how anyone can stay free of the sexual pressures of today--that is, apart from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (the Person the Bible is about). His presence and strength in our lives can help us to wait. Our strength may not be able to accomplish it, but His strength can.

Jesus Christ didn't come to earth to make life a bummer. He said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."(6) This abundant life He offers gives us a deeper satisfaction than sex can. It's true.

What If I've Gone Too Far Already?
What if you haven't waited? What if you wish you had? Is it possible to start waiting? To start building trustworthiness, faithfulness, character and character-appreciation into yourself and your relationships?

Yes, it is possible. You see, the first part of a relationship with Jesus Christ is forgiveness. Jesus came to forgive--and there's nothing you've done, in or out of bed, that He won't forgive, if you ask Him.

Why do people feel guilty? Because they are guilty. The Bible says that "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."(7) "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all."(8) Jesus forgives and forgets, because He took the wrongs you've done onto Himself. He suffered the painful consequences for those wrongs by being crucified (an ancient form of execution)--for you. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life."(9)

Jesus Christ does more than just forgive. He has the power to clean up our conscience--to re-make our mind for a brand new start. And He gives us the power to be free. He places His life, His very character within us, so that we are free to live in a way which benefits us most. Free to live and behave in a way that reflects God, whom we now know. Free from the pressures that could drive us to destruction. Free to love and serve others as we have never done before.

You can have 100% latex-free safe love. And with this love, you have a great opportunity--the opportunity to give your future husband or wife the greatest gift you can ever give...your trustworthiness, faithfulness and character. And, if both you and your partner know Jesus Christ, you'll be transformed, forgiven, and free to be your real selves in a relationship of sensational, satisfying, shadowless, maximum sexual and spiritual oneness.

(1) Clatworthy, N.M. and Scheid, L., "A Comparison of Married Cohabitants with Non-premarital Cohabitants." Unpublished manuscript, Ohio University, 1977. Noted by Eleanor D. Macklin, Ph.D. in "Nonmarital Heterosexual Cohabitation," Marriage & Family Review 1, March-April 1978:2:8.

(2) DeMaris, Alfred, and Leslie, Gerald R., "Cohabitation With the Future Spouse: Its Influence Upon Marital Satisfaction and Communication," Journal of Marriage and the Family, Feb. 1984, p. 83.

(3) U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control, 1991 Division of STD/HIV Prevention, Annual Report, p. 13.

(4) Centers for Disease Control, HIV/AIDS Surveillance, June 1991.

(5) Results from a sampling of 2,013 undergraduates by Dr. Karen Kotloff, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland school of medicine, The New York Times, Oct. 15, 1992, sec. B, p. 9.

(6) John 10:10.

(7) Romans 3:21.

(8) Isaiah 53:6.

(9) John 3:16.

© 1997 Every Student's Choice