I knew a girl in high school whose mom told her to “just get it [her virginity] over with and get rid of it because then next time it won’t be as painful and awkward.” That girl is now a single mom. She loves her kid and often says she wouldn’t change a thing about her life, but I think that was really bad advice.
Sex is a topic that people, especially Christians, don’t talk about write about and never EVER joke about. But I made a promise to you to write about those things that no one else will, and share my experiences, even the ones I regret deeply. So here we go.
Yep, this is gonna be interesting.
My cheeks are flushed even as I type this.
Here’s the truth, short and simple: I don’t have sex with my boyfriend anymore.
Now I expect you’ll react one of two ways…
Reaction 1: What do you mean anymore?
Reaction 2: And he’s actually okay with that?
My boyfriend and I are outcasts on both sides now.
People who “did it right” and waited until marriage to have sex hate us, and people who are physically “full-speed ahead” hate me because I changed everything. I changed the dynamic of my relationship with Joel, and I changed who I was. I changed my wardrobe to try to make it easier for Joel to be around me, and I stopped spending the night at his place. I knew this would be tough on our relationship, but I didn’t realize how much it would effect my friendships.
The walls separating me and the rest of the world were never more obvious than when we went with a group of friends to the state fair. It was a normal day for Colorado: dry and hot enough to melt pavement.
We had pet the animals in the petting zoo, and somehow Joel managed to drag me away from the adorable cows. On our way to another display, he made a funny comment (which I’ve completely forgotten) and everyone laughed. Then one of the guys said, “You better watch out or she’ll cut you off,” (meaning we would no longer have sex).
He laughed. Joel laughed. I laughed. But as the rest of the group moved on, Joel and I exchanged a knowing glance. We held hands and slowly dropped to the back. As soon as we were out of hearing range, Joel leaned over and whispered, “Joke’s on him.”
I understand why they think I’m weird. The change was sudden, and unexpected, and certainly not what Joel signed up for. It’s my fault. I’m the one who dropped the anchor.
For years I felt like the blade of a knife pressed against my heart, but I never said anything. He had no idea I hurt so badly until I dropped 2 bombs on him at once. I said I wanted a 3-month break and I wasn’t going to have sex again until I was married.
Joel’s eyes stung with tears and shock. All this time he thought he was showing me the ultimate form love, but I was being ripped apart. After the 3-month break we decided to be together again, and Joel was the first to announce the no-sex rule.
It’s been a year since we stopped, and after word of our return to abstinence got out, our friends shifted their teasing from sex to how I dress. “Better be careful! I think your ankle is showing.”
It’s not like I wear 17th century outfits! I still wear yoga pants. But because I’m mindful to not let the V in my V-neck drop to far, and wear something underneath a see-through shirt, I’m suddenly a Quaker…
Of course, no-sex has also made Joel and I like sparring partners. We fight a lot. Way more than we used to. When our fights get really ugly I remember several lectures that explained why most couples can’t switch back to abstinence and the only way to succeed is to break up. “Nah,” I thought. “They don’t know us.”
But as someone who is trying the whole “make a change and stay together” thing, I think they were right.
It’s SO SO SO difficult to stay a couple while also stepping away. The person you used to know at their most vulnerable is still there, but now feels unknowable. We went from being close and connected to going on hikes and grocery trips as friends, and not even best friends.
It would have been easier to break up.
I cried for 4 hours last night as we shared our fears and confessed the strain this change has brought. “It’s like we’re doing everything backwards,” Joel explained. “We started out married and five years later we barely know each other.”
But changes don’t happen without a cause.
After we started dating, I began to heal from deep, psychological woulds I got from my childhood and teenage years. I saw Joel as a man I could trust. I began to spread my fragile wings and felt love wrap around them like a warm, gentle breeze lifting me higher. As I grew, I could finally see things I didn’t want to before. And I couldn’t go back.
We knew what it was like to feel close, but now we were willingly (although begrudgingly) keeping ourselves apart. It’s like attaching a piece of bubble gum on two cars, the cars were close enough to touch but now they are slowly rolling down opposite sides of a hill.
I tried to love like what our TV shows and music tell us is loving. And I got hurt, badly. I have to let go of bitterness every day. I tried to go back to God’s plan. And I had to heal from wounds that were still gushing. The plain truth is I wish I never had sex before marriage.
God’s plan really is the best plan.
Sure, you don’t have to worry about STDs, but when you wait until marriage to have sex there are many other benefits. But perhaps the most meaningful is you never have to worry about comparisons—you don’t wonder who the other person is thinking of in that moment. And even if you break up, if sex stayed out of the relationship, it doesn’t hurt as badly as when you share the most-intimate experience and never see or hear from them again.
In a world that says sex = love, it goes against everything familiar to us to save sex for the honeymoon when you feel like you’re in love. But the ultimate act of love is laying down one’s life, and lusts. The confidence, trust, joy, and power that comes from the experience is worth becoming an outcast.
I know that was a long story for a simple, embarrassing, and slightly painful message, but please don’t make a rushed decision on having sex.
If you’re in group A—thinking about having sex for the first time—I encourage you to spare yourself from the extra pain and worries, and continue to wait to share that deep connection with the person who is willing to commit to you in every way, including a legally binding contract at the courthouse.
If you’re in group B—like me—and didn’t wait but think it sounds like a good idea, you can change your route anytime. You are the captain of your ship, and there’s plenty of room in my boat if you’d like to join the abstinence-respawn club. I might even make cookies, and since the rest of the world shuns us, we don’t have to share.
Of course, there’s also group C—those who have had sex and will keep having sex before marriage because there’s nothing wrong with it. I’ve been told “sex is just a bigger kiss,” or “it’s not a big deal,” and “[getting left after having sex] doesn’t hurt anymore.” If you’re in this group, I’m not here to judge you. But please honestly consider, what do you gain?
For me, I gained emotional wounds, irrational fears, insecurities and stress in exchange for feeling elated for a bit.
By not having sex I gained more confidence, don’t have to worry about getting pregnant, and I am so excited to get married. 😉