In my last post on chastity in May, â€œSex as a Gift,â€ I got some positive feedback, but I was also taken aback by some of the negative responses I received. Is sex really â€œa skill like any other,â€ as a poster named Alexander Helphand claimed? He said, â€œI can only imagine how disappointing it must be when two virgins get married and spend their wedding night jostling one another like blind puppies.â€ Another poster, Rebecca, said comments like:
â€œJohn and RSD, I have lived both sides of this coin. I did it â€˜your wayâ€™ and I did it the way everyone else does. I can tell you that your way is not the better way. Sex is for love, fun, pleasure and procreationâ€¦.it is one of lifeâ€™s rich experiences, made all the better by knowledge and practice,â€
â€œif we are â€˜programmedâ€™ to perform, why all the opposition to pre-marital sex, homosexuality or sex for fun? couldnâ€™t be that itâ€™s a â€˜naturalâ€™ instinct now could it? if you have to remind yourself that youâ€™re no longer a virgin the sex canâ€™t be all that memorable can it. god-free sex doesnâ€™t have guilt, isnâ€™t dirty or wrong, and it does just keep getting better.â€
However, premarital sex has a price-tag, whether emotional, physical, or psychological. It can affect how we live our life and view others. We need to get something straight, people: sex isnâ€™t just something no more special than eating, changing our clothes, or grocery shopping. Itâ€™s a special, life-changing experience. A common argument against chastity is that sex is something needed, like eating and drinking–wrong! While we need to eat and drink to live, no one will die from not having sex or waiting to have sex until they get married. Virginity is something you only have once in your life, so why trivialize something you can only have once? Part of the merit of chastity is that it shows self-control. It’s what separates us from animals–we have free will, that is, a choice. Sex has no real meaning for animals, because they do not have free will–they have to have sex for survival. So do we, but we can choose to wait until the appropriate, God-ordained time. Rebecca inspired me to read the book The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On, by Dawn Eden (W publishing Group A Division of Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright 2006), someone who lived â€œboth sides of the coin,â€ as Rebecca would put it. In the book, she tells how she was a virgin until a sexually-experienced friend seduced her boyfriend, leading him to break up with Dawn, so then she went out and had sex just to gain experience. She lived a Sex in the City-esque lifestyle until this (originally Jewish, then agnostic) woman became a Christian, and committed to living a chaste lifestyle (sheâ€™s now Catholic, as I found out on Wikipedia). So, was she happy with her sex/love life? No, and she states so many times, and states things like:
â€œI spent many years of my life being single. I have nothing to show for it except the ability to toss my hair fetchingly and a mental catalog of a thousand banal things to say to fill the awkward, unbearable lonely moments between having sex and putting my clothes back on. You never see those moments in TV or movies, because they strike to the heart of the black hole that casual sex can never fill.â€ –p.25
She admits that sex has emotional drawbacks, especially for women:
â€œI canâ€™t speak for men, but I know from experience that, for a woman, the disconnected feeling that premarital sex brings can be emotionally disastrous. When youâ€™re not having sex within the essential union of yourself, your husband, and God, youâ€™re really having sex only with yourself. Youâ€™re projecting your own hopes and dreams onto your sex partner–and setting yourself up for heartbreak.â€ –p. 15
Even though she was having sex, she was still lonely and knew she wasnâ€˜t getting anywhere serious:
â€œDuring those days [of casual sex], I still slept alone more often than not. When I did, the nights were lonelier than they are now, because after every pseudo-relationship, I was back to square one. No matter how much of an expert I became at the art of hooking up (and let me tell you, despite what Cosmo may claim, it doesnâ€™t take any high-level skills), I wasnâ€™t getting any better at having a real relationship–and I knew it.â€ p.85
She also explains in-depth throughout the book how premarital sex is, whether you want to admit it or not, allowing yourself to be used or using someone else, rather than waiting for what is best. She was left bitter and cynical. She used men:
â€œThe state of mind that made me open to premarital sex was, consumerist by its nature. I viewed the world in terms of objects and people to be desired and, I hope, acquired and used. I was not an intentionally cruel person, and I would never have consciously thought of myself as using others, but the fact remains that I treated men as things to be had.â€ p. 202-203.
Living chastely, she states how happier she is now than she ever was, and realizes she is closer to finding a husband. Premarital sex wonâ€™t bring happiness and a husband. She states:
â€œToday, living chastely, I live at a different pace. I donâ€™t feel such a need to get something out of people and things. Freed from the cycle of instant gratification, Iâ€™m more capable of experiencing them fully, in due time. As a result, my relationships with friends and family are deeper, and I receive more happiness from them–and I believe itâ€™s largely because I have so much more to give.â€ –p.203
Sex is special, not meant to be something to take out of selfish reasons. Itâ€™s not a skill we learn from having sex with several people because each person is different. One of my favorite articles, â€œForever Virgin,â€ by Maria Spence, states:
“I may not have had sex before marriage, but I didn’t need a manual on my wedding night. My body knew pretty much what to do. Not that I wasn’t nervous, but God designed our bodies with this act in mind. We are ‘programmed’ to perform. Besides, I have come to understand that it isn’t about skill. It’s about communication and learning, together. Multiple experiences with a myriad of different men wouldn’t help me know how to please my husband. Time with him does that.” “…sometimes I have to remind myself that I’m no longer a virgin. To a lot of people, that might sound pitiful. They’d look at me sympathetically and say, ‘Poor thing. She must never have good sex, or she wouldn’t feel that way.’ Those folks would be missing the point. It’s not that sex hasn’t been memorable. Itâ€™s that it’s been right. From the very beginning. I’ve had guilt- free, God-ordained sex. It’s never been dirty. It’s never been wrong. And it just keeps getting better.” July 2008, Brio and Beyond Magazine.
If we really want to change our relationships around and our sex-lives, itâ€™s high time we think more about why we want to have sex and what is really the appropriate time for it. So far, Iâ€™m convinced that itâ€™s best to wait until marriage. If youâ€™re still unsure, I suggest you read The Thrill of the Chaste and then see what you think.