**This is the second of a two part series about saving sex for marriage… by someone who knows what she’s talking about. If you didn’t read the first part, you can read it here.
So, that would be so nice if it were true.
Sadly, more likely, the build up to sex on your marriage night has turned it into some ethereal, life-changing activity that will make you a unicorn before whisking you off into the seventh heaven.
And when you discover it’s not actually that, it’ll be your libido whisked to the seventh heaven instead.
Not that I’m speaking from personal experience *shifty eyes*
And, my friends, if there’s one thing that’ll kill a sex life, it’s an inexplicable lack of libido…
The other panelist on the Huffinton Post panel ran an abstinence website and seemed to think that if he saved sex for marriage, the rest of his 20-30 years of copulating were going to be a blissful honeymoon of happy, true, lovemaking…
…he’d never find himself in the position of needing to ‘spice up the bedroom’ with clown outfits or some other sort of low-grade activity.
To him I say, firstly:
– in a few years, you’ll be in the same position as a couple who had sex before marriage, except all the mystery and surprise that makes sex exciting will disappear sooner because you’ll be peeing together and balancing finances.
You’ll never have these experiences and I’m sad for you.
– although I’m pretty sure clown outfits are wayyy down the list of sexual fantasies there’s nothing wrong with them. Maybe this imaginary couple you’re so judgemental of is so sexually free they’ve discovered they like clown outfits.
Maybe YOU like clown outfits. Don’t you think it’s a shame you’ll never find out?
This is absolutely true. But we’ve jumped a couple of steps.
To be able to communicate you need to first have a) the confidence to communicate and b) something to communicate. If you’ve never had sex before it’s likely you have neither.
My ex and I could, and did communicate about sex. But agreeing it’s not all that crash-hot is like agreeing global warmings not a myth. It’s a step but it doesn’t change anything.
Communication comes into play when you’re able to actually use it.
Without ruining the mood or hurting someone’s ego.
That takes a special kind of comfort with yourself in the bedroom and, contrary to popular Christian opinion, that kind of comfort it not necessarily found by knowing the guy married you. It’s found from… well, being comfortable with yourself.
Definitely not a guaranteed outcome peoples.
There is such a thing as just simply being sexually incompatible. Anyone who has had a modicum of sexual experience will agree with that.
I really don’t need to say anything more on this subject. There’s a reason there’s such a big deal about good sex and that’s because it’s hard to find.
There’s only one thing that equals good sex and that’s good sex. You have to actually do it to discover it.
The reality is that some of you, not all of you but a good some of you, will get to a time of your life where you wonder what you might have missed out on? You’ll hear stories of people who experimented sexually and – shock horror – still seem to be whole and sane human beings and realise that you’re now in a pretty awful position…
The position of loving your spouse and not wanting to hurt him/her and at the same time desperately wishing for experiences you will now never be able to have without hurting him/her.
It’s hard to explain the heartache of this situation and I would never have believed it possible if I hadn’t had so many people tell me their own stories of experiencing it. Here it is in one commenter’s words on my original ‘I regret saving sex for marriage‘ post:
“I know this is an older post, but I need to comment. I totally agree with this, but I feel extremely guilty admitting it. I feel like this is something nobody wants to talk about. I have a wonderful loving husband who I adore. I wouldn’t trade my life with him for anything in the world. But waiting for all those years was lonely, humiliating, and emotionally damaging in so many ways. Now I feel like I never experienced my previous relationships fully, and now that I’m older I feel like I have missed out on experiences that should have been special memories. “
So there it is. Once you realise that sex outside of marriage is not going to turn you into an evil, horned person you realise you do actually want to experience it, like a normal person.
It’s Not Nothing to give up sexual freedom and exploration.
It’s a big deal.
Especially when you’re committing to do it for the rest of your life.
So… if all of that stuff you’ve been told by parents and teachers and leaders is actually bullshit, you have to ask yourself why all those people would tell a young generation that their lives will be better if they saved sex for marriage when actually it’d just be better if they:
Aside from big Daddies wanting to protect little girls from scary boys (who could possibly use a good chat with this dad who wrote a blog titled ‘Dear Daughter, I hope you have awesome sex.’) the answer of why mature people encourage young people not to have sex before marriage is unfortunately super simple.
It’s because they have to.
They HAVE to make up reasons why saving sex for marriage is better than not because… wait for it… it’s in the bible.
And we all know how I feel about that as a reason to do anything.
So I’ve been holding back on this blog for about, oh 2 years, cos, well, I was a little shy.
But just yesterday I had another comment on this article about saving sex for marriage from a guy who regretted it and it made me decide to share this. Cos maybe if I speak honestly about this stuff, someone out there will actually believe me (and all the other people leaving comments) and save themselves the heartache that comes.
As you all know I saved sex for marriage and Would Not Do That Again, even if that wasn’t a physical impossibility.
A year or so ago, the Huffington Post invited me as the Pro-sex Before Marriage advocate on a discussion generated from an article written by this brave but completely sheltered lady, Evette Holyfield.
Surprise, surprise her father influenced her decision to save sex for The One.
“We grew up in a Christian home. When I was around six years old, my dad said to me, “You don’t need to have sex outside of marriage.” He went through the whole spiel with me. So as I grew up, I thought, okay dad, if you don’t want me to do it, I’m not gonna do it. Then I started to really understand church – the words in the Bible and what the pastor is really saying. At that point, I wasn’t just doing it because my dad said don’t, but rather, I now believe that by waiting, God will bless me and bring me a great husband.”
I don’t suppose anyone has pointed out to her that God nor the bible ever promised that waiting to have sex until marriage would bring her a great husband…
…but I do hope it happens for her either way.
The problem with this sort of stuff is that it makes other young people feel guilty for not being as ‘pure’ by saving sex for marriage.
And I say, that’s enough of that.
The discussions behind the scenes of that Huffington Post panel were, for me, quite shocking.
If you’re going to go on national television with an opinion, you kinda wanna make sure it’s informed.
They had quite literally never come across someone who could confidently say ‘Tried that whole saving sex for marriage thing! Wasn’t so great.’
I was bombarded with questions that reminded me of all the things I had also thought about sex before marriage… before I got married and actually had sex.
So here are all the things I remembered that sheltered people believe about sex and saving it for marriage.
And here’s my response to those, now having been on both sides of the equation.
Just as a clarification:
I’m not saying you should have sex before marriage. There are loads of people out there, religious or not, who only ever have sex with the one person.
I’m AM saying that you should do what is right for you and not what the rest of the people around you say is right for you, even if they’re your parents or parental figures or gods representative or whats-it. Cos at the end of the day They Are Not You and – shock – You Are A Unique Person.
So… work it out for yourselves, lovelies.
Er… this is like saying you should only eat vanilla ice cream because if you try raspberry you might realize you like it more.
Listen, YOU WANT TO KNOW YOU LIKE RASPBERRY ICE CREAM MORE.
Raspberry ice cream is awesome! It’s a little bitey and unpredictable and has these bits that get stuck in your teeth that you’re thinking about for days afterwards…
Secondly, let’s say hypothetically you’ve had raspberry ice-cream before but vanilla ice-cream goes better with everything else on your plate for the rest of your life. You don’t have to live with Vanilla every single night…
Now that you’ve had raspberry you know how to bring it’s bity-ness to the table. Yep! You can make a delicious raspberry and vanilla ice cream dessert one night and maybe chuck some passionfruit puree on the top another. And maybe your partner has discovered he likes nuts so he brings those for a big nutty, vanilla swirl.
On the kitchen bench.
Thirdly, this was clearly said by someone who feels like they are terrible in bed and is hugely insecure about it.
There’s no such thing as a hierarchy of sex.
Everyone does it, and likes it, differently and it’s different with everyone! You can be the Queen of the Sac with one guy and a hugely awkward starfish with another – it doesn’t mean you or he is bad in bed, it just means you’re not compatible. Mint ice cream and raspberry ice cream are awesome separately but don’t match together.
For me, anyway. I’m sure there’s someone walking Oxford Street who swears by it.
Okay so 80% of people have mouth ulcers aka: HERPES OF THE MOUTH and we’re not saving that particular contraction for marriage, so could we all take a breather and relax on the STD witch-hunt please!?
This is what condoms are for peoples.
More importantly, and on a grave subject, I know two Christian girls who had abortions because every time they had sex with their boyfriend was ‘the last time’ so they were never prepared for the next time.
They were already feeling guilty for sleeping with their boyfriend – imagine the guilt over an abortion once the shock started to wear off and they began processing what they’d done…
(Side note: Do you reckon Christian culture could use some re-thinking around an environment so ‘loving’ a girl would override her conscience to the point of abortion rather than suffer the humiliation of being found out to not be The Perfect Christian?)
Anyway, the point is, attempting to NOT have sex, can actually result in a higher amount of unprotected sex.
You won’t get AIDs or pregnant if you’re approaching the whole she-bang with a bit of maturity, otherwise known as a condom.
Don’t think about a pink elephant. No seriously, stop thinking about it. Bad you! STOP! Pink elephants!!!! STOP THINKING ABOUT THEM!!!!
Welcome to being in a relationship where you’re not allowed to have sex.
You think about it… ALL. THE. TIME.
You fantasize about it.
You imagine what it’ll be like when you do get to have sex. Where you’re going to do it. How you’re going to do it. What it’ll feel like.
You’re a veritable porn site of imaginary, fantastical, completely ridiculous sexual fantasies that will haunt you after you actually do it with their movie-like innocence.
There’s no room for anything in there except when your wedding day is going to be. So you can have sex on your wedding night. Juuust like Brad Pitt and Rose Byrne in the movie Troy… Surrrrrre.
Firstly: NOT having sex distracts you from really getting to know a person.
Secondly: if you find someone who you can’t get to know very well because you’re too busy having loads of sex… This. Is. Not. A. Bad. Thing. Cling. Hard. And never let go.
Thirdly: sex is something you want to know about a person before you commit to doing it only with them for the ressssssst of your liiiiiiiiiiiife… Just sayin’.
Break ups are hard, period. But it’s not about sex.
It’s about your heart.
If you’re the type of person who can’t separate the two, then yes, save sex until you trust them with your heart.
I know girls who have been more hurt by a guy they had only sent a few text messages with than by one they had sex with. Actually, come to think of it, that was the same girl.
Having sex with someone as a purely recreational activity is possible and breaking up with them is not difficult at all. You just stop answering their calls at 3am after a night out. Or get the next train to Budapest.
Giving yourself to someone who is unworthy is a valid concern but it’s not protected against by not having sex with them.
Sex and heartache are two different things.
Four more shatterings of innocent beliefs coming next week… (Ahh I know you wanted the rest now but heeeyy, it’s a long one! And I know you’ll be back cos it’s about sex and they’re always the most popular blogs. And I like to stretch out the writing so that Facebook stops reminding me that I haven’t put a bloody post up recently… on that note, if you want to get the next instalment direct to your inbox, the box for your email address is over there ———>)
See you next week!
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 editionRead More