I didn’t get into writing this post with the idea of actually asking others about their sex lives, it just kind of happened. I wanted some other input, because I am only one person with one story. I felt like the other side(s) needed to be represented! When I asked, I had an outpouring of amazingly honest answers about why some waited, why some didn’t, and even some whose choice was stolen from them. None had condemnation for the other’s choices, and there were so many who identified with another’s story.
Some very sweet ladies emailed me with their stories and offered to allow me the honor of sharing them. This was such an overwhelming task! But what I noticed was that those who waited and those who didn’t all had their own unique reasons. One couple waited until 6 weeks before their wedding! Each story was different, even if the end result was similar.
Some women told me how they hadn’t had the chance to choose because they had been violated. I hadn’t even begun to think of that version of the birds and the bees. Their openness made me rethink how I approached this post. I hope I can give them a platform to tell their stories, maybe in a series; from women who didn’t deem it necessary to wait after being raped, to folks who DID wait but then were the subjects of spousal abuse anyway. They have unique stories that wouldn’t have been highlighted had I not reached out.
See, my own story about sex includes premarital sex, with more than one person, and even an affair. It is messy, and I wanted to share. Because I know how those choices affected me, I was ready to write a big ol’ post on why waiting is important. And I still hold to that – waiting until marriage to have sex is important. Yes, because it is biblically sound advice, but because sex really does change a lot of things in your body, heart, and mind. We are told to wait until marriage because God knows how fragile our hearts can be; He wants to protect us from the heartbreak that premarital sex can bring.
Some brave ladies shared with me that they waited, or are still waiting, until marriage to engage in the horizontal tango. However there can always be those interesting stories, like Caitlin from Collectively Caitlin. Caitlin shared with me that she and her hubby almost waited; see, Caitlin realized that after 4 years of waiting and anticipation and excitement, she was going to be having her ‘lady time’ on their wedding night. NOOOOOOO. They prayerfully discussed this situation and chose to become one before their wedding. Caitlin had also realized that their desire to be intimate had become the goal, rather than the happy by-product of their union.
Caitlin had also realized that their desire to be intimate had become the goal, rather than the happy by-product of their union.
Now see, if I hadn’t asked, I wouldn’t have taken stories like Caitlin’s into consideration. I’m not saying I would have made that choice, but I can’t fault them for the choice they made. It was steeped in love for their God but recognition of those pesky human conditions. I can only express my own situation and circumstances, but I so love when others share theirs with me.
I can relate to Macy‘s story though! She was homeschooled, and was led into the oh-so-common thought process that sex before marriage was “one of the worst sins you could commit”. Heaps of judgement accompanied that thought, and it wasn’t until she started meeting people her age who hadn’t waited that Macy realized that love, not judgement, was the way to go. Although she was successful in waiting until marriage, Macy told me
“I honestly expected a little more. I thought I would feel relieved and know that I didn’t need to be guilty of having pre-marital sex, yet sometimes I still feel the guilt.”
I was such a Judgmental Judy when I was younger. I thought I was so much better than everyone because I was soooooo gonna wait. Then I got my first boyfriend and that all went down the tubes.
The point I’m trying to make here is this: as Christians we are told to wait until we are married to have sex because God knows how we function. God knows. And if we believe God knows, then we need to believe that when He says “wait”, you wait. I didn’t wait. I wish I had. I didn’t wait because I thought he was “The One”. Some lucky people find “the One” at 17 or 18. I did not. And because I created that bond between us, I have struggled for years and years (almost a decade but who is really counting) to figure myself out.
My relationship with sex was never healthy. If a man didn’t want to have sex with me, I was undesirable and fat and disgusting. If we did have sex, I was a scarlet-lettered slut who was only used for sex. I’m not sure I ever really attributed sex to love. Sex was sex, love was what was there afterward. Or before, because after someone saw me naked they sure would not love me anymore.
Can you see how this completely warped my self-worth? It was a vicious cycle for me. My poor self-worth and lack of respect for God’s creation propelled me to have premarital sex with whomever I was dating, however knowing full-well the life I was called to live, the sexual intimacies I engaged in then propelled more self-loathing and feelings of worthlessness. I even had a relationship with a married man that I intended to be just a one-night-stand but evolved into an 18 month relationship that left me more broken than I had ever been.
I know everyone’s story is different. Not everyone who engages in premarital sex is struggling with self-worth (or that root of sin hasn’t been realized yet). But it is so important that we start teaching our Christian teenagers WHY to wait outside of “because God” or “you might get pregnant and die”*. When I was 17, “because God” wasn’t a good reason. If someone had sat me down and said “Look Heidi, sex truly is an emotional connection, it creates a tie that can only be broken by God. If you have that intimacy with someone outside of marriage, it could lead you to years of heartbreak and bad choices”, I might have listened.
We need to prepare our kiddos for the practical, logical side of the Gospel. In all things, we need to do this. Not every person can learn with the theological and philosophical thinking that we sometimes present in churches. Sweet Sarah said this in one of her emails about this post, and I LOVED it.
“…sex isn’t this sinful monster to be feared and hidden from, but something created by God to bring myself and my husband closer to Him. Is that classic church rhetoric? Maybe, but I find that to be a beautiful idea. I’ve learned, too, that my body is not something to be ashamed of, but instead a really special thing–and it’s since become really important to me to wait until I’m married to have sex. I’ve come to view it as more of a matter of respect–for myself, for my husband, and for the Lord–than anything else.”
Classic church rhetoric or not, I think when we start explaining to our church’s young men and women exactly what Sarah said, we might get to place where sex is once again spoken about like King Solomon speaks of it in Song of Solomon. Let’s keep being open and honest with our discussions so that we can be leaders to the generations after us.
There was such an overwhelming response to my inquiry about this topic. I cannot thank everyone enough for their amazing stories. I would absolutely love to continue to discuss this as a series. I hope that will come to fruition soon.
*Mean Girls reference, not actual scientific fact.