I wake up in the hotel in the morning, blissfully happy and warm, feeling incredibly safe and loved and special. There is a heavy, still sleeping arm over my side. His slow breathing filters through my hair, and feels warm; everything is perfect.
The phone rings.
Scramble around madly for the damn thing.
It's my mother.
"Hi, just wondering how the show went?"
I roll my eyes, inwardly narked that she phoned me at nine in the morning to ask that. Nine in the morning! We could have been doing anything!
"Pretty good, pretty good."
"Up and awake?" she asks.
"Still in bed, actually."
Next to me, he stirs, not noticing the phone in my hand, and starts kissing my neck. Dammit, that's nice. He whispers something, and I gesture a reply, trying not to let my own mother know that I'm in bed with someone.
The horrible moment.
"...but I thought you said you were still in bed? Didn't you get separate rooms?"
The hysteria is rising in her voice, at the thought of her dearest daughter lying in some sordid hotel bed with a naked man. I try my best to think of an excuse. I can't.
"No, one room. Cheaper that way."
I think I've gotten away with it.
No such luck.
"Well, I'll talk to you when you get home then, young lady. That's totally inappropriate. Enjoy London." The phone slams down.
Now, this is the part that I don't understand.
She knows that I've had a contraceptive injection, mostly for the hormone boost to quash migraines, but still, it means that I can't get pregnant. (Interestingly, upon getting the injection, she warned me not to tell my partner, as it may "encourage him to want sex."
Now where is the problem in this?
Because of the injection, I can't get pregnant. Both my partner and I were virgins, so there's no chance of an STD, and we demonstrably love each other. We've been together for two years. We're both legal adults who can drive, vote, get married, drink alcohol, etc, so not some kind of underage "don't-quite-understand-this" thing. So there are no real risks associated with the actual physical act.
As it is, on that night, although we slept together, we didn't "sleep together," i.e. have sex. We just came back into the room, left our clothes in two neat piles by the side of the bed, and crawled between the covers.
It's been proven that we do more mental developing in the teenage years and early twenties than at any other time other than the first four. In this time, it is important to get lots of human contact, affirmation of our worth and feelings of nurturing and safety, or we end up cold, bitter and often angry at a world which doesn't seem to care very much. I don't advocate sleeping around, and in fact really hate the thought, but I'm talking about a very long term relationship.
What is so wrong about two people, who love each other, and know that it is love, rather than limerence, or infatuation, or just pure lust, sleeping together in the same bed? It's the ultimate declaration of "I love you, I trust you, I respect you." I love you, in that I would share something so intimate with you, I trust you, in that I will fall asleep, naked, alone with you, safe in the knowledge that you won't harm me when I'm at my most vulnerable, and I respect you, in that I won't harm you either, and I will let you sleep.
Surely, that's all a good thing. A mother should be comforted to know that her child can develop such close bonds with someone, which demonstrably last through difficult times, and make both parties in them so happy.
Which is healthier? A relationship in which both parties tell each other only half of the truth, refuse to allow the other partner any kind of demonstration of trust and affection, refuse to give that same trust and affection to their partner, and are obviously not in total control of their half of the relationship (i.e., a parent has all of the control).
Or a relationship in which the pair are allowed to bond this closely, to declare "I love you" not only with words and gestures, but also with this one last milestone, almost, in which they can totally honestly share something which they share with nobody else. Showing that you love someone might be renting them a film, which they love and you hate, or sitting through a Cup Final with them, or driving back into the City centre to find them when you hear that they're in trouble. But you might equally do all of the same things for a best friend, or a relative. Sleeping with them, sharing your bed with them, is something that you can (usually) honestly say that you do with nobody else. And that's why it's unhealthy to try to break that up.
Possibly, the reason for the parents' reluctance to admit that their offspring is having sex is to try to keep their hold over what they still see as "their" child. If the child is so close to someone else, they won't want to be so close to their parents anymore. But to all parents out there - let go. Let go, and just accept that every generation eventually grows up.