I attended a lovely Jewish wedding last weekend. The bride was resplendent and the groom handsome as they stood under the chupah in front of the rabbi (the bride’s father) and the cantor (her god-father). Outside at sunset, the family and friends stood encircling the couple on the grass. The cantor’s sweet singing, including a song he wrote for the bride, soared in the crisp evening air. Candle luminaria lit the lawn on which we all stood, and a lone guitarist strummed entrance and exit music.
I’d arrived early, and my friend (the bride’s mother), showed me and another couple the quaint sleeping rooms in the inn where the ceremony and celebration were held. In showing me the bridal suite, she mentioned that in traditional or Biblical Jewish tradition, when a couple has sex they are then considered married.
I spewed out, “Crap! How many men would I be married to then? And can I get alimony?”
But my smart-aleckness aside, it made think how we would approach dating sex differently if doing the act meant we were then married.
Sex – even in midlife – has a broad spectrum of acceptability. One study in the UK showed half the over-40 dating women said they’d be willing to have sex on the first date. Others, like Steve Harvey, say no sex for 3 months. Some people won’t have sex until engagement or marriage. I’m not here to tell you what you should do.
But imagine how you might shift your feelings about when to have sex if doing it meant you were married to the man. That would certainly put the kibosh on booty calls and casual sex.
Thinking of sex with this gravity makes me realize there are very few men with whom I would have been intimate. It puts a whole new spin on the significance of sex.
How would you have led your life differently if having sex meant you were then married? How would it affect how you date now?
If you’d like to explore issues relevant to midlife dating sex, order your copy of From Fear to Frolic: Get Naked Without Getting Embarrassed.