In the most sexualized culture to date, outside (and even inside) the church community, it’s almost scandalous to suggest that you’re saving yourself until marriage. People privy to this information open their eyes to your sentiments as if you’ve just popped out of a time capsule wearing Victorian clothing, or have been somehow positioned at gunpoint, forced to shout the fact you’re bringing back your purity.
I lost my virginity at 23, but I chose to come back to purity at age 31. It’s been 4 years since being in a sexual relationship, and 5 years since I thought about leaving pre-marital sex. It was a process, you see.
I’d really like to blame the loss of my virginity and unraveling moral code to the fact that I was an atheist in my twenties. But the reality is that even when I came back to Christianity, I still needed a better reason than “God doesn’t want you to do it”.
Even in my return to Jesus, excuses such as but we love each other, I’m being responsible, and we’ll get married some day soon all felt like valid reasons to keep doing what we were doing. I never regretted anything, I was having a great time.
Until we parted ways. That’s when the regret, the shame, the feeling of urghh swept right in and brought me to not the walk of shame, but a mountainous expedition of shame.
No matter how many times I tried to deceive myself thinking this was intimacy, I was clearly just trying to keep them around. And they did stay. For a little while. But what I believed in a present moment never lasted the lifetime I so desired. All we had left were very visual memories of an extreme experience between two people who now only waved to each other across a busy street.
It took me three long-term breakups to start revisiting why God, the one whom has been a good, good father, for a very, very long time, told us to take care of ourselves, our souls, our bodies. Why we’d hold out for the level of power sex can have in marriage. It was here, amid the breakups, the tearing the curtains apart in heartache, where I fell apart, I got humble, I took a big bite of Lady Wisdom, and discovered the fabrication this entire society was telling itself.
The lie that says: “sex and emotions don’t have to mix.”
That’s not the design. That’s not human nature. We’re not meant to detach our bodies from our feelings. Such sentiments are as insane as saying, “Taking a swim in the ocean won’t necessarily get you wet.” Twenty seconds of any contact with someone begins to release oxytocin, and I’m talking about something as basic as a hug. And here we are, aware of our sexual desires, aware of the realness of all that they are, but unable to manage our desires in the greatest freedom culture to date. It’s not that we shouldn’t feel sexual, but we could manage it a whole lot better by understanding ourselves. Choosing to hold out has taken discipline, even more so knowing what I’m missing out on. But what I might not get to have this side of covenant will always be made up for on the other side; the side where I fought and managed my freedoms for the best of my soul and his. The side that shows maturity when I don’t have to give into every desire I have, because I chose to look after my emotions, my heart, my curtains. The side where I’ve shown him I can sacrifice anything when I put my mind and body to it. The side that says, no one gets this but you. The side that says, I can say no, no matter what pressure of emotional manipulation some chap might want to place me in. Let me tell you something: saying “no” is still the greatest man-tester to date.
It’s an extortionate request to delay those burning loins in a world filled with explicit visuals and Victoria Secret models. But I’ve never regretted any decision I made when it fell on the theory of not harming others, or myself.
Just because current culture tells you that you ‘should’, doesn’t mean we need to fall for the delusions it tells itself. Trends rarely care for the sanctity of marriage, for the heart of God, or for the heart of ourselves. Cultures change constantly, but the body, the design and architecture that God invented many moons ago, will always stay the same. So, don’t come running to me telling me that the Bible is out of date. It’s post-modern. In time, generations will learn how much we’ve hurt each other with sexual bonds, they will find themselves not with the four STD’s we could chose from in the 60’s revolution but over the 50 we have today. They will see that a little patience goes a lot further than a broken condom, and that the heart isn’t as easy to mend as we perhaps originally hoped. Not at least until we’ve grabbed our brokenness and presented back to the father again.
We were not to live in shame, in a black nostalgia of sexual crimes. But to live in freedom, making healthy decisions, wrapped in a mature, and honorable way. In each choice I make, every moral I stick close to, my heart relishes its own revolution to never repeat the same mistakes again.
And in this, I am found, I am undone and I am whole once more.