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No parent wants to imagine their kid having sex. My oldest son just turned two, and I never want to even think of his boy parts in any other capacity than when he adorably plays with himself in the bath. (And now he is going to officially hate me when he googles me in 15 years. But it’s so cuuuute.)

Now that I’m a parent, it kind of makes sense that parents would want to push an abstinence agenda. It’s just easier to tell your kids never, ever to do the naughty so that you don’t have to worry about talking with them about uncomfortable sex topics in great detail.

I was raised on the far right of the equation. My parents were very religious, and I was given the whole abstinence song and dance with countless purity pledges and chastity rings pushed in my general direction. I was all aboard the abstinence train, until I got close to the station.

I was an old virgin. I planned to wait until marriage (even though I dated quite a bit and was far from “pure”), but I cashed in the ole V Card at 24 once my now-husband and I started living together. Close, but no cigar.

I’m not trying to earn brownie points for holding out on the P-in-the-V. I actually believe early sex education would have been much more helpful to me. I think that my no-sex religious brainwashing was cumbersome and annoying, but in the end, I’m happy with the way everything worked out. In the end, I had to think for myself to decide when to have sex, even outside of the bounds of marriage.

In this day and age, it seems like most nonreligious people aren’t bothered by premarital sex. But on the off chance that someone throws the “cow and the milk” saying your way, you can now rely on research to back up your so-called “sinful” lifestyle.

Contrary to popular belief, living together before marriage is not a guarantee of divorce:

Based on 1995, 2002, and 2006 survey data encompassing 7,000 couples compiled by the US government: “Cohabitation does not cause divorce.” What she did find, the Christian Science Monitor reports, is that the age when a couple starts living together, married or not, is the biggest indicator of whether they’ll make it.

The researcher in the study argues that if you live together before age 23, you’re more likely to break up. If you give away the milk for free after age 23, someone will still buy the cow. Thank you, rational science.

(Image: mast3r/Shutterstock)