Since I’ve stopped waiting until marriage, I’m learning more about (not) having sex.
My previous post on this topic yearned for a renewed perspective on sex, one that could be tested and pass. For me, this has meant unlearning and relearning how to approach celibacy beyond mere abstinence from sex outside marriage.
To do this with greater maturity, honesty, and integrity, I’m focusing on living my life as the person God created me to be. Here’s some of what I’ve been learning.
The first seems obvious: people have sex because people have sexual energy. The vast majority of people possess sexual energy, and it’s a good thing. Sexuality is a gift, so I continue to resist shame or condemnation for being human and having sexual energy.
With this in mind, one major lesson I have learned is that sexual energy will manifest itself in one way or another. It cannot just be ignored and repressed; eventually, it will come up and out. It’s vitally important to recognize this so that we steward our sexual energy adaptively.
This is why “waiting” hasn’t worked for so many people and doesn’t work for me.
In my experience, “waiting” has been a flawed cycle of repression, avoidance, and denial. I was taught explicitly and implicitly that the right thing to do was to flee from sexual immorality, run away from temptations, and steer clear of people, places, and things that would lead me astray. I wanted to do the right thing, so I focused diligently on NOT having sex.
The paradox with this is that NOT having sex (i.e. being a virgin) does not immediately equate with doing right.
I learned to NOT have sex, repressing, avoiding, and denying the sexual energies I had, but I was doing other things to compensate for sexual intercourse, things that compromised my sexual integrity. I wavered back and forth in pornography and masturbation consistently throughout my adolescence and young adulthood.
Now in adulthood, I am currently learning how to redirect sexual energy. I know it’s completely unpopular and seemingly illogical, but I am learning that an orgasm is NOT the only outlet for the release of sexual energy.
What’s more is this: NO ONE ever said that not having sex is enjoyable. We talked about a lot of things, but on the whole, everyone has been communicating a fundamental notion without failure: having sex is enjoyable, and not having sex is not enjoyable.
We can talk about procreation, intimacy, and the like, but let’s not forget to highlight a focal point of sex: we like the pleasure of an orgasm—plain and simple. We enjoy this so profoundly and thus remain unable to declare with any sure conviction that not having sex can also be pleasurable, honorable, and life-bringing. And don’t act like I’m not telling the truth.
I include myself in this because I won’t lie to you—I’ve had sex several times since I’ve stopped waiting. Admittedly, I’ve not been redirecting my sexual energies all the time. As much as I want to suggest that life without sex can be good, I know that life with sex is also good, and not just because I’ve had it. I know it because, by and large, people persistently declare life with sex is better than life without sex.
Well, I persistently declare that I’m going to live my life as the person God has made me to be. This means focusing on being single and celibate instead of “waiting.” This means believing in an alternative, accessible, and appealing model for adult life that frames sex as a positive non-necessity.
So far, that model has been a combination of vulnerable conversations that keep me humble and accountable, regular meditation and fellowship with God through scripture, worship, and prayer, and intentional dedication to the relationships and causes about which I am most passionate.
I am learning to see life without sexual pleasure and indulgence as a gift. Contrary to popular belief and public opinion, it is completely possible, functional, and adaptive to redirect sexual energy through other healthy means and towards other righteous ends.
Of course, these practices are not easy, but when I get them right, it is glorious. Since I’ve stopped waiting, I’ve had several personal breakthroughs, spiritual revelations, and enlightening moments regarding sexuality. I can sense the sharpness of my focus, the solitude in my spirit, and the sincerity of my love connection with God, others, and self. I wholeheartedly believe that these strategies are far better than those employed with “waiting.”
I hope to abstain from sex, but much more than this, I hope to share more with you authentically about the gift of having sexual energy used for something other than sexual intercourse in marriage.
Stay tuned, and keep praying for me.
Love Love Love,