With conservatives touting a wait-until-marriage stance on sex, it's time for "sex-positive liberals" to state things clearly and unequivocally: "Having sex before marriage is the best choice for nearly everyone," writes Jill Filipovic in the Guardian. Sex can bolster happiness and lead to a longer life, and it "releases stress, boosts immunities, helps you sleep, and is heart-healthy." Of course, in the wrong circumstances, it can also be harmful. But "sexual morality isn't about how long you wait. It's about how you treat yourself and the people you're with."
When to have sex is an individual choice; the problem comes with cultural and governmental pressure to wait. "The instruction to wait forever to experience a fundamental human pleasure is pointless and cruel," Filipovic notes, and notions of sex-free "purity" are inherently degrading to women. What's more, sex before marriage allows couples to determine their sexual compatibility. "While the old adage tells women that men won't buy the cow if they can get the milk for free, if I'm buying a cow, you can bet I'm going to make sure the milk is to my liking." Click through for Filipovic's full column. (Read more sex stories.)