Sunday, January 24, 2010

Waiting Until Marriage

Craig made a comment to my last post regarding my deal breaker of waiting until marriage to have sex.

I want to respond to some of what he said:

"it's Unrealistic"
says Craig

"Realistic" could mean one of two things here: 1) not going to happen in any place but my dreams; or 2) not useful/practical.

I'll address the second under a later heading.

However, I don't think it impossible to be able to find one guy who is willing to wait to have sex until we're married.

Difficult? Most definitely.

Impossible? Not totally.

"it's Selfish"
says Craig

Admittedly, saving all this [Amanda from Ugly Betty gesture] all for myself right now is rather selfish.

Admittedly, if the guy I'm dating does not share my desire to wait until marriage but I expect him to anyway, I can definitely see how that could be selfish of me.

However, such is why I'm forthright about my deal breaker. If a guy does not want to wait until marriage, he shouldn't date me... and, yes... I can see how that could be selfish (again--all this [Amanda gesture]) and limiting to myself... but:

"it's Antiquated Religious Tripe"
says Craig

My desire to wait until marriage actually doesn't have much to do with my religious and spiritual beliefs.

I'm not waiting until I'm married because I'm afraid that something horrible will happen to me if I don't. I'm not afraid of God's wrath or judgments.

I'm waiting because, like I said, I find it horribly romantic, being with one person in my life and waiting until we're totally committed before we have sex.

I feel like it makes sex much more special, like when I took state with a perfect score in drama my senior year in high school... or when I made BYU's exclusive ballroom team having had only one semester of ballroom, beating out guys who have taken ballroom for years.

That level of exclusiveness... well... kind of turns me on, to be blunt, and I think it would make me enjoy sex just that much more.

Now, I agree that love != sex and vice-versa. But coupling sex with love and official commitment just ads to the exclusiveness and really heightens my desire to wait.

"it's Not Practical/Healthy"
says Craig

I agree, 100%, that sexual compatibility is vital to a marriage.

However, and I may completely naïf, I think that it's possible to tell sexual compatibility without actually having sex.

I hope I don't embarrass [You], but from cuddling with him during a few movies, I had an idea of what sex would be like with him. And while I've yet to kiss anyone, I would assume kissing would give a very strong understanding of what sex would be like with the other person.

I believe it's completely vital during dating, when things are getting more and more serious, to talk about sex, one's expectations, desires, etc. -- it is possible to talk about it without having it.

Furthermore, from my habitual listening to Love Line and my watching Talk Sex with Sue Johanson when I'm able, it seems that most things can be worked out with open communication during sex.

There are, nonetheless, three things that usually become deal breakers as far as sexual compatibility goes:
  1. Significant differences in desired genital size;
  2. Significant differences in desired... roughness... for lack of a better word right now; and
  3. Significant differences in sex drive;
With the first, a ruler and, as with the others, open communication before marriage can take care of that.

Granted, one could argue, "How would one know what one's preference is without ever having sex?" And one would ask a good question. Nonetheless, referring to what I've heard on the aforereferenced shows, unless there's a significant difference, things can be worked out... and even if there is a significant difference, there are still ways of working around it.

Furthermore, with roughness, I would assume (again, maybe I'm just being ignorant) that kissing would give a good understanding of what each prefers... as probably with the sex drive.

Hell, without having ever kissed anyone, I have a pretty darn good idea of my sex drive, how often I would like to have sex, how often I would be able to settle for, and how often would simply be insufficient.

Again, open communication before marriage is key and, I believe, will give more than a sufficient understanding of sexual compatibility.

on Virginity

I also agree that using virginity as a worthiness test is ridiculous. I am 100% willing to marry someone who isn't a virgin, as long as he's cool marrying someone who is.

While I also agree that the typical value of virginity is rooted in rather sexist beliefs -- women being seen as vessels of male heirs -- I think there was also a health reason for celibacy before marriage in the "Bible years." That is to say, an STD that now can be cured with a simple course of antibiotics was deadly back in the day. It's another example of ignorance of science explained away by God.

Now with our advances in science and safe practices, sex is much, much less dangerous. As far as "it's dangerous not to wait until marriage," I'm not convinced.

However, as far as, "waiting until marriage puts sex on a more elevated and special plane" I am completely convinced, and that's what I'm seeking.

back to Religion & Spirituality

This all isn't to say that there isn't some root of spirituality to my decision.

I do believe that God would have one wait until marriage to have sex.

It's just that my reasoning isn't because "it's evil if you don't and you'll go to hell and be punished and cursed and scorned, etc. ad nauseum" but because there's something godly about making things (not just sex) as special and, dare I say, exalted as they possibly can become.


  1. Thanks for the response.
    Of course the entire time I'm talking about non-procreative sex for pleasure, not the perpetuation of the species (though being gay, it's kind of assumed I guess).

    I think my original comment came off as more belligerent than I intended.
    I certainly didn't mean that I think you *shouldn't* want that in a relationship. I believe strongly in people having the right to live however the want, so long as they don't harm anyone.

    My comment was more directed to the idea that our society *should* encourage the idea that staying celibate until marriage is a positive thing. I don't think it generally is, but specifically (for you) certainly can be.

    "I do believe that God would have one wait until marriage to have sex."

    And being an atheist, this is why I think it's fine for you to do, but a terrible idea to promote for a whole society.
    I don't think it's "dangerous" per se to not wait until marriage/long-term commitment to have sex, but I think the expectation that one "ought" to wait and that waiting is a virtue creates more problems than it solves, fosters or at least perpetuates unhealthy ideas about sex and sexuality, and is, as you seem to admit, more a personal, spiritual/religious thing, than a idea that is scientifically/secularly sound.

    I do think that waiting until marriage/commitment would elevate sex to a different plane, and indeed, that's part of why I don't like that idea. I think sex is already seen as too important/special. I view sex more as akin to eating food - something we have to do to stay healthy and alive (or in this case, sane). Sex is natural, biological, and normal. Having sex, and having it often should be too.

    In short, marriage and life-long commitments are social constructs we can easily do without and still live well. Sex is not. They're in two totally different categories, and I dislike how much they are linked, I think it's ultimately unhealthy as a general rule which may or may not apply to individual situation such as yours.

  2. It seems like I would have a hard time separating the two (sex and love) which is why I think it's best saved for some form of a committed long-term relationship. Two other thoughts:

    Even here in socal you can find guys who are willing to wait, or who will admire your desire to wait. I'm not saying they are everywhere, but they are certainly out there, and probably more often than we realize due to prevalent stereotypes. I imagine there are even more guys like this up there in UT.

    For me, sex is not the be all end all of a relationship. It's nice to know that we are compatible, but that's fairly easy to do without going all the way. I also believe that every relationship will one day reach the point where sex becomes nonexistent, or significantly less desirable. This might be a phase, or it could be something more permanent related to age, physical infirmity, or other problems. Whatever the cause, this is why it's so important to have a real "true love" relationship with your partner.

  3. My reasons line up pretty well with yours. Even in my agnosticism, I do think society would benefit from treating sex with more care and deliberation, not more casualness and abandon, as I think Craig's asserting. And not because it's vile but because it comes with chemical/hormonal bonding, emotional attachment (I don't care if guys do this less than girls; I assert they still do it), some disease risk, reproductive risk (for male-female sex), and some social risk which may or may not change even with sexual revolution (maybe one day sex videos or sex outside of committed relationships [i.e. adultery] will be like getting caught picking your nose: potentially awkward but nothing to lose sleep over, but I doubt it).

    Like other activities that are tempting, such as consumption of intoxicating substances, self mastery in this regard can help you avoid traps and clouded judgement leading to decisions you may likely later regret. Sex can be a powerful tool to get access to someone's home, trust, or pockets quickly and effortlessly if you know who gives it out like candy. Granted, there are other ways to be wise about it than abstaining, but I'm just saying there's wisdom in being cautious around who you tumble with and how carelessly.

    I don't tell a new friend or date my whole life story right off the bat, I don't make myself wholly emotionally vulnerable, I don't give them the keys to my house, and I don't give them free rein of my body and physical vulnerability. To me, physicality should match the emotional bond. Besides, ever make out with someone who doesn't truly care about you and vice versa? It's a hollow imitation. Casual sex, to me, is like junk food.

    Of course, for whatever reason, whether social or physiological (I think evolutionary biologists believe it largely physiological), women get more emotionally wrapped up in sex, and with male-female sex, there's a possibility of making a baby which will require financial and emotional support, preferably involving commitment from the parents. But with a couple of dudes, things are a bit different, so maybe the risks are minimized, but I know I wouldn't want to come within a mile of a romantic or sexual relationship with someone who shares Craig's perspective, and that's OK because I suppose he feels the same about me. Gotta find a "compatible partner", right? :-)

  4. I wholeheartedly agree that a healthy society is not one where all share the exact same values in the exact same way but where one is free, without limitation, to pursue one's own life which does not infringe upon another's ability to do the same.

    I also agree that basing "ought tos" on mystical outcomes which cannot be proven is rather frivolous, creating a fear of looking at things rationally.

    I also agree on the necessity of sexuality, categorizing it as part of a balanced, healthy life.

    I know most "wait until marriage"-ers would say that having sex before marriage is akin to eating unhealthily.

    I don't share such. Unhealthy eating, to me, would be like devil-may-care sex.

    Healthy eating, to me, could definitely include safe, smart sex.

    However, I do not believe purposeful genital stimulation is the only aspect of sexuality. Kissing, cuddling, corny-mushy poetry, and the things of the sort, in my opinion, fall well within the realm of sexuality.

    So then we have, as I see it, eating gourmet where non-[purposeful]-genital-stimulation sexuality is 'eaten' while waiting for one's reservation at Chez Gusteau (if I may refer to a Pixar movie)--of course, in relation to my post, I'm talking about marriage.

    Now, I understand that not everyone shares my thoughts. I mean, my little brother doesn't understand the difference between Jimmy Dean's and Italian sausages (if you'll forgive what I feel is quite a clever pun, seeing especially as my little brother is straight and a sausage... hmm... I felt like I had to explain it... it wasn't so clever, I suppose).

    It could also be related to organic vs. inorganic foods. Some think that organic is far more healthy. I think such is rubbish.

    Anyway, I understand not all share my point of view, and I, in no way, expect everyone to see things as I. I'm also not one to preach, "This is the light and the way."

    I'll live my life and let others judge for themselves.

    Referring to what El Genio said, I also don't view sex as the end-all-be-all but the first step in the next phase of a committed, life-long relationship.

  5. "That is to say, an STD that now can be cured with a simple course of antibiotics was deadly back in the day. "
    Have you read my most recent post? Obviously not.
    A simple course of antibiotics every single month for the rest of my life is more realistic.
    (and by the way, regarding Husband's last post: where would you like me to send your check? :) I think your advice was FANTASTIC!)

  6. Aside from the religious reasons I, like Andrew, find the idea of saving ones self for marriage to be incredibly romantic. To give of ones self is the ultimate gift.

    That said, I believe there are valid reasons for society to treat sex as special and not just as a bodily function - pregnancy and STD's being at the top of the list. And, I think relying on modern medicine creates a false sense of security.

    Now, of course, gay sex and straight sex do not carry the same risks; but, one of the things we, as a group, decry is double standards. To say that straight couples need to be more careful than gay couples is a double standard.

  7. Chedner, I'm glad you blog. I like reading what you write.

  8. Chedner - I think waiting's a good thing - and not even the whole virginity thing/religious thing. Sexual interaction brings with it a whole smear of emotional connections that, if you're casual with it come to mean less and less to you. By limiting your sexuality to the one you've chosen, you're better able to pair-bond, which is critical for any healthy relationship.

  9. mandi - You can make the check out to my dentist... I owe him a small fortune.

    mandi & abe - I think there's a difference between smart sex and the attitude, "I've nothing to worry about," relying on science.

    matt - Thanks.

    kengo - I'm no expert by any means, but from my studies in human sexuality, I think promiscuous people who view sex casually don't deaden/numb their ability to pair-bond but that their ability to pair-bond has already been damaged (often through abuse) and that promiscuity is a symptom of such and not the other way around.