I’m not waiting until marriage anymore.
To be clear, I specifically mean that I am not abstaining from sex on the rationale that I should wait until I am married. I don’t disagree with this nor do I intend to start having sex with the next person that shows me some interest, and I’m not thinking less of sex—I actually think about sex a lot and regard it very highly.
I can promise though that my reasons for not having sex from here on out are going to have less to do with this whole waiting thing. That logic just isn’t working anymore.
What I need is a renewed perspective about sex, one that can be tested and pass.
For better and for worse, much of my perspective about sex has been informed and influenced by Christian teaching and culture. Plenty of people set noble standards for me regarding sexual purity and integrity, proclaiming the importance of keeping sex within the protective confines of marriage. However, these folks often failed to uphold them in one way or another or another.
This was especially true for men. Granted, some guys were actively abstaining until they became husbands, but they still had given into temptations here or there– if not through a sexual encounter of some kind, then at least through pornography and/or masturbation. Admittedly, there is always an exception to this, but this has been true for me and pretty much all the guys I know.
On these conservative terms, I was already messing up, wrestling with the complexities of pleasure and shame, and I hadn’t even had sex. My hope was placed in the notion that I would get married one day and then I would be able to have sex and not feel bad. I know that sounds a bit naïve and immature, but it’s what I thought and what helped me to wait.
Over time though, I’ve become increasingly less certain about marriage, which led me to the simple contemplation that I may never have sex. And that math just didn’t add up.
I think I could accept never getting married but never having sex seems impossible. I plan to continue pursuing sexual purity and integrity via celibacy, but I cannot truthfully promise to never indulge. I feel like I am eventually going to give in because that’s all I’ve ever seen. Whether it’s through marriage or some other process, sex just feels inevitable.
That’s why I need some new perspective about sex because this whole “waiting until marriage” thing has been for the birds since I took marriage off the table. I want to uphold the Christian standard of sexual purity with congruence but that feels increasingly challenging without marriage in the picture. I look around and see very few examples of single men that do this well. I look inside and see a heart that is so prone to wander and leave the God I love.
I don’t plan to manipulate Christ’s gifts of love and forgiveness, but I’m neither proud nor bold enough to think that I will make it through this life without falling short in the sex department. I committed to abstinence as a teenager thinking that it was a temporary contract that would end in my twenties. Now that I’m as close to 30 as I am to 20, I know that I need to start seriously rethinking things and come up with a new arrangement.
In posting this, I’m not worried about getting sex perfectly right—that ship has already sailed and sunk. I guess I just hope that I will make the kinds of decisions that glorify a loving, redeeming God, one who I believe is with us even when we suffer and for us even when we stumble. I am trusting that God will faithfully supply all I need for life and godliness, that I won’t do something incredibly stupid, and that I’ll keep leaning into the discomfort of this topic and walking in the light until this gets clearer.
As usual, your prayers are appreciated and your comments are welcomed.
Love Love Love,