So it’s been awhile since we’ve had a frank discussion about sex, and today I find myself “in the mood” (pun intended). To be more specific, rather a discussion about the fine art of not having sex, if you’re a single disciple of Jesus, or just a woman of higher than average intelligence.
What brought this to mind was a recent article titled, “Buying the Cow in the Age of Free Milk.” You remember. Your aunt or mother used to tell you, “Men won’t buy the cow when they can get the milk for free.” This wisdom of the ages meant that men wouldn’t ever commit to marry you if you let them have regular sex without a commitment. In today’s world, the analogy isn’t so strong, mostly because young women proclaim they also love to have frequent, uncommitted sex. Which is really not a great argument; I’d love to eat french fries every day, but a generational history of heart disease causes me to choose otherwise. Everything we want isn’t necessarily good for us.
Try looking at the cow metaphor in a different way. For men, getting the milk for free is really more like drinking out of an already opened half-gallon carton that 14 other people have drank from and passed along. And to be clear, ladies, in this analogy you’re the carton.
Or, perhaps you’ve heard the analogy that living together before marriage is like taking a car for a test drive. You’d never buy a car without taking it for a drive, right? As Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse wrote in “Why Not Take Her for a Test Drive?”:
“Here’s the problem with the car analogy: the car doesn’t have hurt feelings if the driver dumps it back at the used car lot and decides not to buy it. The analogy works great if you picture yourself as the driver. It stinks if you picture yourself as the car.”
I used to work with a group of 20-something men, with whom I had frequent conversations on this topic. Much like the car analogy, they tried to tell me I’d never buy a pair of shoes without trying them on. I reminded them they were really talking about trying on a pair of shoes purchased at a thrift store, already worn by who knows how many previous owners. You get the idea.
For extra credit, here’s an updated version of the same article. It provides some “fast facts” about why – aside from all the contrived analogies to the contrary – cohabiting is really a very bad idea.