I’m a Christian. (Shocking, I know.) I waited a long time to have sex, in fact I waited for my husband. I realize that in some circles this makes me seem uptight and prudish and irrelevant. Understand: I didn’t wait to have sex because I was scared, I didn’t save my sexuality as a precious gift, I didn’t sign a promise card when I was a teen and hold myself to it as if breaking my promise would mean immediately burning in the pits of hell. I’m a practical person, and thus I had practical reasons. Today I will share those with you instead of my regularly scheduled programming.
It’s a big issue- it’s important- and it deserves more frank conversing than just saying “save yourself. Because. Or else.”
- Sex may be “earth shattering”, but that’s not always a good thing. Having sex is about more than just physical pleasure- it’s about boundaries and knowledge. It’s about revealing yourself wholly to another person, it’s about allowing them complete and uninhibited access to yourself. The first time you go on this journey is a pulse-racing experience- not because it feels awesome, but because it can be absolutely terrifying. What if he/she laughs at my birth mark, thinks I’m too fat, is repulsed by my private areas… do I have an odor? Should I have an odor? Is everything working the way it ought to? And it’s not just about the things that are potentially embarrassing, it’s about (hopefully) the first time someone sees you as you are, and embraces you. This first journey should be taken with someone worthy of being that first person- because if you’re going to climb Everest you want to have the right guide. Your memories of those moments will never be able to be altered. Your first sexual experience could very well color every subsequent one- whether it is with fear, embarrassment, shame, or pleasure. Set yourself up for success- for a sexual life that is full of grace and hope, pleasure and fulfillment. It probably goes without saying that giving (or getting) a handjob in the car while terrified of someone you know finding and exposing you is not the best way to go.
- Your first sexual experiences will look nothing like what sex will be like in the future. It seems contradictory, doesn’t it? In order to illustrate my point, let’s talk about learning how to knit. When you first start learning how to knit (or any new craft) first you have to take little steps. You have to learn the broad strokes of terminology and craft. You have to make something stunningly stupid, like a flat scarf you’ll likely never wear. And you have to keep making dull and unimpressive things until you get good enough at it to do something really amazing. Sex is the same way- your first time will be clumsy and awkward. Your second and third time will be, too. For some women it takes years of learning their body’s language before sex consistently has a “mind blowing” effect. It also takes a partner who listens to you, communicates openly, and is willing to set aside their own pleasure in an effort to find yours. Good sex requires a level of maturity, compassion, and respect for others that isn’t commonly found.
- Sex is a privilege, not a responsibility. Overheard at a local mall: “I’ve been dating him for like a year, I feel like I kind of owe him sex.” Sorry, sister, but no. You don’t ever *owe* someone else the privilege of seeing you fully, of being given total access to your body and heart, the honor of receiving you completely. Anyone who pressures you into giving yourself before you are ready doesn’t deserve you. Sex isn’t something that is earned by buying you dinners, giving you gifts, or sitting through a certain amount of dates or phone conversations. It’s not a “stage” of a relationship that is reached after climbing steps in the proper order. It doesn’t go, “proper amount of dates, kissing, meeting each other’s family, sex”, or any other order. If relationships are built on a “pyramid” model like dietary suggestions, sex doesn’t even appear on the pyramid. It exists on it’s own plane, separate from every other stage of a relationship. (<sarcasm> It doesn’t even have to come prior to having kids- you could always adopt! </sarcasm>) What I’m saying is that sex is not something your partner earns- it is something you choose to offer based off of nothing other than your desire to have complete intimacy. Any partner worth sleeping with will understand this, and will wait for you.
- Sex isn’t just about physical pleasure, it’s about intimacy. You will likely never hear a preacher say this from the pulpit, but: If what you want is an orgasm, masturbate. Sex is not just about achieving orgasms. Sex is about so many other things. It’s about power and submission, it’s about requests and obedience, it’s about sacrifice and acceptance. It’s about forging a bond with another human being, about creating a world that exists nowhere other than between two people. It’s about learning to love, about being loved, about offering and accepting love. If all you want is to feel good, you can do that on your own. If what you want is someone else adoring you- let them by you flowers and write you a sonnet. If what you want is to have them show their commitment to you (or for you to show your commitment to them) get married. Sex is something far too important, too precious, to waste on a relationship that won’t last. Trust me on this one- the sex you have with someone who you’ve been married to for seven years, someone you’ve suffered with and rejoiced with and loved and hated, makes all sex that came before seem not worth having had.
- Having sex means taking responsibility for your life. The world of sex is a world that has a lot of pitfalls. I’m not going to exaggerate the failure rate of condoms or other birth control, but let’s be honest. If you’re not having sex you don’t have to worry about pregnancy. You don’t have to worry about STDs. You don’t have to wonder when in a relationship you need to disclose your sexual past or tell the person you’re interested in that you have had genital warts. Having sex complicates things- and life is already complicated enough. Waiting to have sex means having one less thing you need to be concerned with. I know precious few people who did have sex as teenagers who don’t confess that the sex they had as teens wasn’t worth the extra worries. Before you have sex, you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with the risk of disease. If you know what you would do should you happen to get pregnant. If the person you are considering having sex with is the kind of person who will be forthright with you about their own health and sexual past. If this relationship ends- are you ready to be honest with your next significant other about the sex you’re thinking about having now? It’s not as if you can have sex, go to your local church, sign a new promise card and pretend you’re still a virgin. Some people do this, but it’s dishonest and petty and shows just how unprepared for sex they really were.
- Having sex means doing your homework. I’m not talking about vocabulary or biology- except inasmuch as learning about birth control and your own biological rhythms is about biology. Sex may be as simple as stripping naked and inserting A into B, but there’s a whole lot of background information that needs to be absorbed. Like, what kind of birth control will work for you? Condoms are an easy first choice, but some men don’t like the way they feel and they can cause discomfort for women (especially those first few times). A girl can always go on the pill, but it won’t protect you against disease. That means there are a lot of choices to be made, choices that absolutely should not be made in the heat of the moment.
- Sex is like glue. It is. It’s one thing to look at another person and think, “I like them.” Or, “they matter to me.” Or, “I want to have them in my life.” It’s another thing entirely when the night before that person was completing you, was giving you pleasure, was seeing you naked and accepting you fully. The intimacy sex brings makes it harder to part from your partner. In a marriage this is a good thing. It means that you’ll be quicker to try to resolve a fight before nightfall because you want to go to bed happy. It means that compassion comes easier, belonging is more desirable, intimacy more refreshing. But outside of marriage? It can make you want to blind yourself to flaws that you ought to be more concerned with. Don’t glue yourself to someone unless you’re sure you want to be stuck to them.
That’s all I have to say.
Note: I realize that everything written here is rhetorical and based off of only my observations. I never pretended this blog was about more than just one girl’s opinions.