Dear Teen Dream, You Can Find Meaning Without Monogamy
Alana Hope Levinson

The advantage of being naïve is that your uniqueness isn’t predicated upon another’s expectations. All the advice (even to yourself) falls on deaf ears because you weren’t ready to hear it back then. Advice is only as good as its execution. So trying to save others when you couldn’t save yourself back then makes you realize just how important experience is.

I have accumulated many more years of experience than any of my sons, but I have had to wait until they were well out of college before any of my war stories hit home. I have had to watch my boys struggle with all kinds of difficulties that I would have handled very differently; but the “school of hard knocks” was the only way for my advice to sink in. One’s younger self suffers the same fate.

The other advantage of being naïve is that you see options/opportunities whereby the older you see consequences. Outcomes are very important, so weighing my options is helpful, but not conclusive. It is a matter of risk and how comfortable I am with it.

Finally there is sex and love. Whatever I love I pursue, and the more I love the stronger my desire grows. Sex is a biological fact. Its goal is procreation. It makes no difference how that is achieved. The body releases hormones to alert the mind that it is time to seek a mate in order to impregnate, and it is up to me to decide what to do about that. Unlike food and water, there is nothing life threatening about abstinence. I have much more control over these urges.

So what do I do about the pairing of sex and love? When someone I care about meets up with my hormone alert system, is that a valid reason to have intercourse? I don’t think so, because procreation has that long-term requirement called parenting. At some point in my life that may be a good thing but the commitment has to be there first. Society doesn’t demand marriage for the sake of the couple; but for the sake of the children. It is the confirmation that this couple will live together as family and raise their kids together. The welfare system is a prime example of what happens when there isn’t that commitment.