On Eliot and Pre-martial Sex

“”You gave me hyacinths first a year ago; 
“They called me the hyacinth girl.”
–Yet when we came back, late, from the Hyacinth garden, 
Your arms full, and your hair wet, I could not 
Speak, and my eyes failed, I was neither 
Living nor dead, and I knew nothing”

T.S. Eliot made me think of sex today. Studying his The Waste Land, poem, was thought provoking to say the least (Don’t let the title mislead you. The content is not as depressing).

The above excerpt is from The Burial of the Dead. According to the excerpt, these young lovers have had a passionate experience (i.e. made love) but have not gained anything from it; their sexual experience has not been pleasurable or out-of-this-world, to use the common term.

Before you can start thinking of how it could be because the boy/girl is not so good in bed (on grass?), what made me think was something that our tutor said with regard to this. He said “sex is a way to end, not the end itself”. This set me thinking.

According to our Sinhala culture, one is not supposed to have sexual pleasure with the opposite sex until marriage. I’m pretty sure this worked quite well when people were married by the age of sixteen and had several kids by the time they reached their early twenties. However, in the modern society, people usually delay marriage until at least 26/27, thus sexual frustration is inevitable.

My thought is this: assuming people refrain from bedding someone until they marry, they would have put a lot of store into how having sex is the ultimate joy and all Greek Mythology concepts. I personally know people who think of marriage as a license to have sex. In other words, they consider post-martial sex as an ultimate experience.

So, on the first night after wedding, you lose your virginity, and poof. Your belief, what you set store in as contentment is at an end. It is as if all the years before it leads up to this moment, which in your mind you have constructed to be utterly blissful. Once the deed is done though, it’s over. And you can’t help but feel as if there’s nothing to look forward to.

For example, think of a school play or an event you were organizing. There are days of discussion, hard work, dreaming up how awesome the day is going to be; the day finishes and you are left with this sense of loss. Similar concept can be applied to virgin-until-marriage concept.

I am not saying it is bad. All I’m saying is that biologically, humans are not made to wait that long for intercourse. But if you can be the master of your body and wait, I have no problem with that.

My problem is with the fact how people put so much faith and put so much in store for this physical union. Personally, I believe sexual intercourse to be a natural step on a longer journey. Being intimate with each other’s bodies are necessary; but being intimate with each other’s minds is too. I think that if people think of sex as a taboo until marriage, they would be pining for it (media and internet are less than helpful to maintain this resolution), so much so that once it finally happens, if it doesn’t meet their dreamed up imaginations, they would consider the whole marriage as a let-down. I have seen it happening. Oh, they will bring up 1001 other reasons, but at the heart of the matter lies that discomfort that it didn’t live up to expectations,

What I’m really trying to say, I guess, is that sex is not all that as the culture deems it to be. I am not advising you to de-virginize yourself as soon as you hit puberty; I’m not asking you to “respect the Sinahala culture” and wait until marriage. I am simply saying there is more to a relationship between two people than simple physical intimacy; physique is just a part of it. That idea needs to be grasped, for if we treat sex as the once-only-blissful-experience, we might be in for disappointment for life.

As Shakespeare says [sex is];

“Mad in pursuit and in possession so;
Had, having and in quest to have extreme;
A bliss in proof, and proved a very woe;
Before, a joy proposed; behind a dream.”


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