>As I noted in Things Are Not Always As They Seem, I was very conservative in my attitude towards sex back when I was a young lass. I wasn’t conservative about anything else, mind you: I ranted and raved about any restrictions on the right to an abortion; seethed over classicism, racism, and sexism; and fervently opposed school prayer or any other government endorsements of religion. Yet I was 100% against pre-marital sex. Not just for me, either. I truly believed that nobody should indulge in extramarital relations because it was wrong. A very odd sentiment indeed considering that I pretty much hated religion as an oppressor of the people. Despite my mom's salacious t-shirt statement, I’m sure that I absorbed this message from the family matriarchs, although I can only pinpoint specific statements that were made when I was in college or older. For example, when I went to NYU, my mother was shocked – shocked!! – to discover that men and women lived on the same floor and that members of the opposite sex were permitted to stay overnight in one another’s rooms.
More horrifying, I’d stay with my boyfriend in his dorm room over the weekend. My mother kept saying that it was very nice of his roommate, who went home every weekend, to let me use his bed while he was gone. I repeatedly told her that I did not sleep in his roommate’s bed, but she refused to believe me. When my boyfriend had a single room, my mom was convinced that I slept on the floor on a little fold out mat. (I actually did eventually begin sleeping on the floor on a mat, but only because we were too fat to comfortably sleep in a twin bed.)
After graduation when I moved in with my boyfriend, my grandmother told anyone who would listen that her girls were virgins when they got married. Not to be outdone, my bubbe referred to me as a whore when I danced “inappropriately” at an anniversary party. So you can see how an impressionable young mind would think that sex outside of marriage was just plain wrong, even if I can’t remember ever being told so directly. It was a very sad state of affairs.