DEAR ABBY: I am 16 and a sophomore in high school. As someone who is exposed to social media, I see that many people emphasize sex as a sign of love. They seem to be saying a happy marriage cannot survive without sex.
My parents do not have sex and are distant with each other. They have issues between them. I'd like to know if a happy relationship can survive abstinence from sex.
I don't want to have sex until I'm married. Long-term relationships are not an exception. But guys expect the girls they date to have sex with them. Can you help me with this? -- ABSTAINING IN ALABAMA
DEAR ABSTAINING: Because someone "expects" you to have sex does not mean that you are obligated to. The decision is a personal one, and if you prefer to abstain until after you are married, that is your privilege.
A girl who has sex with a boy as a way to hang onto him will be in for a disappointment. If the sex is all that's keeping them together, he will soon wander when he becomes bored and look for another conquest.
You ask if a sexless marriage can be successful and use your parents as an example. (Are you absolutely sure this is true? Or have you assumed it because they are not demonstrative around you?) The direct answer to that question is, sometimes. No two couples are alike. Some stop having sex because they have lowered hormone levels, which makes them less interested. Sometimes one partner is unable to perform because of a medical condition. This doesn't necessarily spell the end of the marriage. It all depends upon the individuals and the situation.
On the other hand, other couples enjoy sex until they are in their 90s. As long as a husband and wife are in agreement about it, the union can be a happy and lasting one.