A reader emails Andrew Sullivan...
I teach at a large university in a conservative part of the country...The conservative youth group "Young Life" is very active where we live (high schools and college), and I cannot tell you how many young people (18-21) I know who have gotten married because they simply cannot hold out sexually any longer. They get married in order to have sex…
I also have known quite a number of people in their late 20s and early 30s (students) who are now divorced (or unhappily married), who tell me that that is exactly why they got married 10 or whatever years ago -- and they are now stuck with two or three kids, trapped in a marriage they recognize was entered based on an immature idea of what "love" is and pressure from their families and conservative churches to, no matter what, NOT have sex before marriage.
This is not to say that many of those young couples can't make their marriages work, but to point out that the pressure -- and the conflation of sex with marriage -- is intense.
**UPDATE, NOV. 10, 2009**
Per Justin's comment, I should probably clarify that I think this is an example of why the stigma of pre-marital sex in religious families and communities should be relaxed significantly.
If young people are getting married just to have sex...well...that just strikes me as incredibly dumb, and it should be no surprise that such marriages have a habit of breaking down.
Hence, the need to start using "common sense" when it comes to sex and marriage.