arts, movies, music, pop culture · dating and singlehood · sex series and stuff · womens issues

why I didn’t wait

[Editor’s Note: Don’t read the post if you are easily offended or blush when someone says “sex.” because it says sex like 100 times. I also want you to make sure you read the feedback post to this post which was posted right after it. There are more thoughts and comments from readers that may be helpful to you. Thanks for reading!]

Some time ago, a post on Huffington Post’s blog gave a list of how to know you are sexually compatible. It was from the standpoint of a single male who decided that you HAD TO have sex before you committed to the person because that was the only way to know for sure this was the “right one” for you. A few days later, The Gospel Coalition posted a reply of sorts by another single male who explained the party line on why you wait until marriage to have sex and he did a fine job of defining sex in terms of God’s design for a married couple.

But as a single woman up until the age of 39, and far far far from a virgin, I felt that the answer needed to be less simplistic. We need to start here: Sex is NEVER about sex. Let me ‘splain. and no I will not sum up.

Sex in its full capacity and purpose is not “just sex.” We are so desperate to make it so. As a collective society and culture, for decades now, we have bought into the notion that it’s “just sex,” that it’s “progressive” to truly deeply believe that it’s just for our pleasure and is as casual as what you like to put on your burger. We’ve watched our culture consistently belittle and degrade it into something that is “no big whoop” and because we have fell into the lie, we have found perfectly rational ways of excusing this total corruption of what is meant to be one of the highest most transcendent gifts we have ever been given. Sex is magic. I wrote another blog saying just that here.

When people start talking about sex as if it’s a retail item, you’ve already lost your argument. You are trying on shoes because you want something that is comfortable, that looks good on you, that fits your budget, and whatever other criteria you have. When you start to view sex as something that has criteria, you’ve missed the point. The criteria is not in the act but in the person.

And here’s where our troubles begin. According to many modern day single people, you won’t know what kind of criteria that person will meet until you “try it out.” There are many problems with this thinking. I had these problems for many years as a single woman in the city throughout my 20s and 30s.

Here are a few. And by a few I mean ten because we like lists of 10 things.

1. I didn’t wait because I bought into the lie that sex wasn’t THAT meaningful.
2. I didn’t wait because I decided that sex was just about my pleasure.
3. I didn’t wait because I thought that sex was just about his pleasure which I apparently needed to earn.
4. I didn’t wait because I bought into the lie that I was damaged goods. Once I had sex, there was no reason to stop having sex any more.
5. I didn’t wait because I forgot who I belonged to, both my Savior and my future husband.
6. I didn’t wait because I was looking for sex to be something it could not possibly be outside the healthy committed relationship it was intended for.
7. I didn’t wait because I made sex into a commodity and a bargaining tool.
8. I didn’t wait because I didn’t really believe that God had a plan for or even thought about my sexuality.
9. I didn’t wait because I thought that meant to give up my rights to do whatever the heck I wanted to with my own body because it’s mine all mine.
10. I didn’t wait because I forgot someone was waiting for me.

The bottom line is that I cannot think of a more selfish arrogant way of looking at sex and relationships than this. How incredibly short sighted is a person who has sex with someone and decides then and there what kind of lover – and I mean not just in bed – that person is? How much of your life will you continue to be myopic in, holding some trumped up personal standard which will only lead you to constant discouragement and unmet expectations?

I can tell you as someone who did not wait for marriage that this way of thinking is flawed at best. I did the test drive thing. I wanted to make sex into something manageable and conditional. I wanted to house it inside this concept of getting what I want and need out of life. I made it about the act itself and rated people based on that. It became a measurement of how good our relationship was going to be, instead of an outward expression of how good our relationship already was.

If you are having bad sex it is not time to move on or to reevaluate if this person is good enough for you. It’s not about your performance or your compatible levels of kink. The act of sex is a reflection of what your relationship already is and where it stands – and if you even have one to begin with. What will happen when sex inevitably starts to change in your marriage years from now? I think too many people are looking for that epic fireworks display, the rush of newness mixed with anticipation and mystery, every time. We are looking for excitement somewhere between cliff diving and bungee jumping from the royal gorge. We are looking at scenes from porn as some kind of indication of how good sex is supposed to be, forgetting entirely that they are ACTING and they may not even know each others’ names. We look at movies and TV shows that put some kind of expectation of sex life as exciting and NEW and all animal-like chemistry as we watch people “fall in love” mostly meaning jumping into bed at the first opportunity.

But what we know about relationships is that the excitement fades, the trumpets stop sounding, the fireworks fizzle out. It isn’t in the attempt to recreate the most amazing, aka orgasmic, experience you’ve ever had. The goal shifts in time to creating – and keeping – the beauty and intimacy, true lasting intimacy, with the love of your life, your sun moon and stars, the one and only person who knows you through and through and will cling to you through all of life’s ebbs and flows. It takes much more character and nobility for a person to commit to that ONE LOVE for the rest of time than to constantly search for the “upgraded” version that better meets your needs.

For those who have bought into the throwaway sex culture, you are in for disappointment and heartache, or bitterness and jadedness. You will always be left wanting something, desperate to fill in the emptiness that nearly meaningless sex leaves behind. You will hold people to a standard that is only meant for two committed people who won’t give up on the first signs of trouble, and you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of losing battles. Calculating it as a measurement of some kind creates an inherent fault in the equation because it isn’t made to be a means to evaluate each other, but rather a means to express and adore what you already have come to know about them. I don’t love my husband because we have a great sex life. We have a great sex life because we adore each other. Yeah I just wrote that out loud.

[Author’s Note: My disclaimer is that I have been married for 18 months as of this writing. I’ll let you know how it goes 18 years from now and 38 years from now. My suspicion, well really an educated guess, is that I’ll say all the same things, maybe a little slower.]

All this said, for those of us who walked that road of casual sex and now struggle to feel forgiven and pure, I write these things not to condemn you, but to remind you that you can choose differently now. You can remind yourself of the precious gift of sex, in the right way with the right person at the right time, that it truly is worth waiting for. Remind yourself that God sees you, the repentant one clinging to His grace, as 100% PURE, beautiful and a pearl well worth the price. Purity is not lost when you believe in grace. If you are struggling to believe in your purity today, please read another post I wrote on this – “My husband wishes I had tattoos.” While on one hand we know that we reap what we sow, we know that there are consequences to sin and sometimes it feels too much to bear, we also know – oh joy of hope – that God pours out His grace on our lives and uses all of our back stories to His glory. Everything about my back story is being used and often to help others, to prove to others He is working, He is victorious and He loves so very much. May you know His intense, intimate, magical love today and all your days.

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28 thoughts on “why I didn’t wait

    1. Stay tuned for more thoughts on exactly this kind of thinking. While a trial and error method of living seems to make sense, it’s risky. Your comfort level with risk will certainly dictate how far you are willing to go, and your soul will eventually take a beating sooner or later. I’ve been there where nothing had meaning any more because I was always looking for the next big thing, the next excitement, the next risk, the next high. And when the dust settles and you crawl back to something more sustainable, you can’t help but have to deal with the regrets. If you’re already there, there’s nothing that can change your past so there’s no use in carrying the shame and guilt around like a ton of bricks. But if you are thinking that there are things you still need to try, consider this a warning. And calculate the risk your soul can take.

  1. It seems you have had quite some time to consider where you stand on this now. I certainly agree that if someone chooses to use sex as a commodity, Father can use that story to bring himself glory. I do see a double standard subtly communicated by the Church, which sounds as follows: “If you wait until marriage, God is very pleased with you. If you do not, grace abounds, you are forgiven, and yet in some sense, you are still damaged goods.” We as the Church value those who have remained pure over those who have not. But Jesus doesn’t. Really. Whether our bed has seen none, one or more than many, our value from God’s perspective is invaluable.

    I am not suggesting have all the sex you want, but if you have, our Father will not see you as a second class son or daughter.

    1. Thank you for your comment. I agree and have written before about how the Church needs to do a better job of communicating grace to sinners, those who quickly admit to being sinful and those who don’t. We have to keep reminding people of God’s grace and love incomprehensible.

    2. I like to think of the double standard you write of in this way, The view of your peers in a church should be that of an AA meeting those who maintain sobriety shall be praised and encourage to keep going and those who slip and falter shall picked up and encourage to try again. Gods sees all sins equal in stature, which means we have all sinned and should never be able to judge others who have sinned. I think the Church should acknowledge the success of a person striving for celibacy tell marriage. but the idea of game over you didn’t wait tell marriage your lesser of a person now needs to end.

    3. Luke, I would advocate a different response. Western Church culture emphasizes sin, brokenness, guilt and performance. Acknowledging those who “remain pure” physically seems to support an idea of performing to be a good Christian. This creates a caste of “morally pure” Christians who set a standard most cannot live up to. (This is not purposeful, but happens all the same.) I don’t think God looks at all sin as equal, I don’t think he looks at it at all, for he has already conquered sin. I think God looks at every person as made in His image and places infinite value in each of us. He is not looking for good behavior, he is looking for hearts who are passionately in love with him. A church body imagined as AA meetings is depressing, everyone trying to toe the line. (No disrespect to AA, and how it has helped many.) Invaluable gemstones, flawed though they may be, forgiven 70×7 times will display his glory, his infinite love in colors that will stun mortal minds. If church community is a place where we manage our addictions, it is a sad place indeed. Real church must be a place where we recognize the value Father places on porn stars. They are his princes and princesses.

  2. When you say, “We’ve watched our culture consistently belittle and degrade [sex] into something that is ‘no big whoop,'” you gloss over the last several centuries, where the church culture has been single-handedly responsible for belittling sex into something that is dirty, embarrassing, and shameful. In its misguided attempts to preserve that “transcendent gift,” the church has been either indirectly complicit or in many cases directly responsible for twisting society’s conception of sex, to such an extent, that people have had to resort to “sexual compatibility” as a relationship criteria. And I’m not talking about who’s more kinkier, I’m just talking about simply wanting sex in the first place! For a person who has grown in an environment where sex was constantly characterized as dirty, embarrassing, and shameful… for decades, how could you possibly expect that person to turn around the day after the wedding and have a perfectly healthy sex life in marriage? I don’t disagree with you, but if the church had fostered a proper respect and reverence for sex in marriage in the first place, society might not feel compelled to have sexual compatibility in premarital relationships. At this point, society is just trying to deal with the aftermath created by old elitist racist chauvinist white religious men. It has taken society going to the far other extreme, just so that the average person can now talk freely about sex without feeling ashamed – something that never would have happened under the “old” church ways. Convincing me with words is useless. You have to show me (and society) with your own marriage, a new generation of children needs to grow up in the church knowing what a healthy sexual marriage looks like, more alive and vibrant than in the movies. And when they do, they will want it for themselves. As for me, I see the marriages in the church these days… well, let’s just say that’s not something I would ever want for myself.

    1. Thanks for writing your thoughts. I hope you don’t stop here though and continue to read both the blogs I mentioned in this post as well as the follow up blog from yesterday – “the feedback.” This is one of many times I’ve addressed sex and the church and your thoughts are very much part of how I’ve come to where I am today on the subject. I grew up in the culture of the conservative church and lived through the years of shame and fear. I can now say I have the closest thing to a perfect marriage anyone will ever get and I have full confidence in saying so. I pray that you find that place of assurance as well. Don’t look at others. Look at Jesus. Thanks again for writing.

  3. I didn’t wait because I love sex! I WANTED to have sex and have not once regretted not waiting. Sure, there is a person or two that I wish I would have skipped, but I don’t regret the actual act of having sex. Not all of us feel as badly about ourselves as you do because we had sex before marriage. And I am betting that God will not condemn me to hell because I had premarital sex.

    1. I love sex and say so in many posts. I have often said that sex is the most incredible thing you can do with your body ever and I have certainly written many posts about the beauty and mystery and craziness of our sexuality. I hope that this is not the only post of mine you read because I think you’d find your experience not so far from what I am saying. This particular post is geared very much to a specific audience with a specific set of values. Hopefully it’s helpful to some and piques the interests of others. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  4. While your thoughts were really good, I was distracted by many grammatical errors. Your message is important. I hope you will find someone who will proofread for you! When you read Gospel Coalition or Desiring God blogs, there are never errors.

  5. Great read, Robin! I’ve witnessed the casual attitude toward sex, even among Christians. I’ve personally fallen victim to the damaged goods attitude boldly deposited by many more Christians.
    Our entire culture is unhealthily obsessed with sexuality, and it isn’t a problem that will just go away if we ignore it. Thank you for your bravery and for stirring up some thinking with your blog!

    1. Thanks for writing. Yes, I agree the obsession isn’t going away. In fact, I don’t want it to but rather want to point it to something better and higher than what culture makes sex out to be. We need more Christians willing to talk. Thanks for your encouragement.

  6. Here’s a view from the other side of the fence. I DID wait until marriage. On our honeymoon I discovered how truly clueless and sexually incompatible we were. I can’t describe the pain, disappointment or the feeling of being forever trapped in a marriage where the physical element would always be lacking. This is so taboo, I have spoken of this to only a handful of people. Our relationship eventually disintegrated in the most devastating manner possible and I carried such a load of guilt, I became suicidal. I believe purity outside of marriage is what God wants for us, but I still struggle to reconcile His will with my traumatic experiences. And I often wonder if I’m the only one who’s had this experience.

    1. Thank you so much for commenting. Please please know you are not alone and I had several people make similar comments offline. I hope you continue reading and especially the follow up post to this I posted the next day. It’s called “the feedback” which specifically talks about that as well. As I said I truly want this to be a dialogue and not just someone who is blogging as some kind of authority. Thanks again!

  7. Reblogged this on Esinam's Blog and commented:
    SEX is an almost abominable word in certain settings. Yet, it is practiced, for want of a good word, almost every second of day. In today’s world, adolescents and young people especially in indulge in sex for pleasure.

    I love how Robin addressed this issued and how she preached grace. Grace that should be valued! Never to turn back to sin.
    Enjoy reading her post!

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