Just read that in Week 11 of the Alpha Course, Nicky Gumbel says he has never met a person who said “I regretted waiting until my wedding day to have sex.” Unfortunately I didn’t get to meet you Nicky when I attended Week 2 of the Alpha Course recently in London at HTB Church but, perhaps in these modern times of social media and Web 2.0, a blog in response to something you’ve said will suffice?
Nicky, I absolutely 100% regret waiting until my wedding day to have sex.
So… now you’ve met someone who has regretted it, I’ll give you the reasons that if I had my time over I would sleep with my boyfriend when I felt ready.
1. Your wedding night does not necessarily translate to “You are ready for sex” night.
If you’ve done it like the church says to (as we did), you’ll both be virgins who have never watched porn. I, personally, had never even seen a “happy-thing-thing” before. I was exhausted, nervous and believed sex was some magical unification of two spirits into one. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed.
Being married and being ready for sex are two completely different things and it’s completely unhelpful to tied the two of them together.
2. It makes you get married very young without living together beforehand.
It doesn’t have to be but typically the culture of no sex before marriage = get married. Most people in our church were married by age 23. If you were over 25 and not married, you were a little weird.
From a broader perspective, it seems to be that people have an early-20’s relationships that most often doesn’t work out. You feel like you’re in love and it’s forever but then you discover that you (or he) are not who you thought you were, you move on and find someone else. The problem with the Christian setting is that this relationships ends up being a marriage…
There’s a number of studies suggesting getting married lower creates higher divorce rates, with all the emotional trauma and social stigma that goes along with that. I deal with this every time I meet someone new and we get to the whole ‘previous relationships’ part of our discussion. “Well, I’m divorced…”
3. A decade or so of sexual restraint is mentally difficult to get over.
This isn’t the church’s intent but it’s just how psychologically we work. You tell your brain for your adult life “Don’t think that, it’s bad”, “Touching that is wrong”, “Feeling that sensation is a sin” then, all of a sudden, in one day it’s allowed and the neural brain connections have to be changed. Aside from the mental associations made between naughty = sexy (and therefore, not naughty = not sexy) what I learnt later is that good sex is about confidence. It’s difficult to be confident when you’re battling self-restraint and from a very unscientific survey of Christian and non-Christian friends alike, it breeds boringness in the bedroom.
There’s only so far you can take ‘you’ll work it out together because you love each other’. Anyone who has ever said this, has only ever had sex with one person (or less). You don’t know any better. You don’t realise that there are sexual connections out there that have absolutely nothing to do with how much you know or love a person. You don’t know that it’s possible to have a connection like that AND know and love the person. You’ll never know, which is sad.
I’m not for a minute advocating that if someone has sex before marriage it will be good sex. I’m just saying that sex, in reality, is not this mystical joining of two spirits even when used in the context and manner the fundamentalist church says it should be. And I’m speaking from experience.
If I was to live my time over, knowing what I know now, I would choose to have my first time around 18-20 years old with a guy I’d been dating for about 6 months. And preferably he would not be a virgin, so he would be able to guide it a little bit. I doubt we would stay together or get married but that’s fine, because then I’d meet other people who’d do it differently and hopefully a couple of particularly special ones on the way. I’d also get to, occasionally, frankly just enjoy a good shag without all the mumbo jumbo.
I don’t feel my soul is torn apart because I’ve had multiple sexual partners and I don’t have an empty soul I’m trying to fill with sex – I just genuinely like it.
At least… I do now that I’ve had it with more than one person.
*This blog has been updated with edits since it’s first edition