A young lady of my acquaintance has been concerned lately with the behavior of her dorm-mate, who has abandoned the rules of conventionality and propriety in taking up with a most unsuitable young man, and has allowed him to lead her down a path of sexual immorality. In the dorm room. In her presence.
This has long been a concern among parents, teachers, and health care professionals. Let's turn to information and advice from The Art of Dating by Evelyn Millis Duvall, Ph.D., Consultant on Adolescence for the National Congress of Parents and Teachers, and Joy Duvall Johnson, published in 1958, when everything was good and right.
First, let's look at the nature of "petting."
"Petting is usually defined as anything a man does that is directly stimulating to a female. In marriage, petting is the necessary foreplay that readies the woman to receive her husband. This behavior is complex and varied. It includes the deep and lingering kiss, the "French kiss," the fondling of the woman's body--especially those areas that generally are not exposed to view--and pressing all or part of the man's body close to that of his date or mate. The female may or may not participate actively in the fondling and kissing. She generally is relaxed and receptive, while the male is the more urgent and aggressive sexually.
"Among courting pairs most couples stop before the behavior gets too urgent, in conformity to what is expected of them as unmarried persons."
It's important to establish personal boundaries in your preliminary relationships so that when your "true love" comes along, your standards have been upheld, leading to the nurturing of a healthy and nurturing relationship.
According to Dr. Duvall, the friend of my acquaintance may have no religious roots. She may be from the lower socioeconomic group.
Or she may be emotionally hungry, willing to do anything to get attention and reassurance. Possibly she is of a rebellious nature, indulging in sexual behavior just to prove that she can.
But let's assume she, like most girls, simply believes that she must do anything that will bring her man pleasure in order to prove her love for him. At the same time, girls usually feel that their chances for a future marriage are handicapped by having had premarital experience. So she is caught in a very difficult situation, one from which she may not know how to extricate herself.
"The person who maintains high standards of personal conduct is often a popular, socially active individual with many interests, activities, and friendships. He enjoys the companionship of both sexes in a variety of situations. He learns in action the many pleasures to be found in socializing.
"The maturing individual learns to give and to receive affection in a wide repertoire that offers expression to the many sides of love. He learns how to be tender, protective, comradely, romantic, dependent, nurturing, as well as passionate and erotic. Thus, by the time two people are ready to marry, they know how to love and to be loved in the many ways that it takes to make a union happy.
"At the same time, the person who wants to maintain standards of premarital chastity must guard against those individuals and situations that make it difficult."
A challenge is presented to the campus to provide a variety of wholesome functions in which both boys and girls can participate either as dates or as unaffiliated individuals. If such programs are lacking, "young people should call it to the attention of their adult leaders and request that more adequate provisions be made for the social life of the community." Idleness and boredom may be heavy factors that leads to immoral behavior.
Is this young woman truly in love? When two people love each other, each is a better person for the expression of their mutual feeling. But "such significant sentiments are too sweet to spoil with shoddy makeshifts and promiscuous playing around."
If a boy and girl let the erotic part of their relationship crowd out the other elements in their friendship they find themselves cut off from other activities and other friends, and limiting their ability to build a many-faceted and deeply satifying relationship.
At the very least, my young friend needs to strongly caution her dormmate to ensure both she and her dating companion are fully dressed when in the presence of others who may have a higher standard of behavior.