Let me start off by saying that this post is in no way meant to judge the actions of others, or comment on their personal decisions.
Selfish, perhaps, but this one is all about me.
I’d say I am one of the rare ones. Actually, I don’t have to say it. Culture says it for me. I could not even begin to count the number of times I was labeled as rare or even crazy upon others’ discovery of this one thing:
I abstained from sex before marriage.
Some were astounded and impressed. Some were certain I was lying- “That’s not possible,” they’d say. Some were envious, saying how they wished they had done the same thing.
The majority, however, thought I was crazy. (Especially when they discovered that Daniel and I were engaged and had never kissed).
They all had their reasons, of course. There was the obvious, “I just couldn’t control myself or say no,” and then the common, “We slipped up once, and then we couldn’t go back,” but the most prevalent response (and in my opinion the most upsetting) was this:
“What if you just don’t have any chemistry? You know, don’t you want to test it out before you buy it?”
First of all, I would like to say that my husband is not a car. Neither am I.
The reality is, as we are learning in our marriage, sex is not so simple as it is all too frequently portrayed in media. We were certainly underprepared for this harsh reality. We had no idea the amount of work it takes to learn another person’s body, not to mention your own. You don’t just “try it out” and then move on. It’s way more involved than that. For us, sex has been an extremely emotional, sometimes frustrating, and continual process. We haven’t figured it out in a night.
And what we have figured out in a night usually changes the next night.
It is absolutely one of the most vulnerable and emotional things I have ever experienced. It can be quite temperamental and unpredictable.
Quite frankly, it’s very difficult.
As I was pondering this blog post, Daniel and I decided together that we wanted to be raw and transparent, in hopes that our vulnerability would somehow touch someone.
The truth is, Daniel and I have had a difficult time figuring out sex. We have had many moments where one or the other of us was crying, sometimes not even knowing why. We (mostly me) found ourselves on several occasions feeling deeply saddened at the reality of these difficulties, and often times unable to have hope for it getting better. It was so emotional (for me) at times that I literally just sat and cried while Daniel just sat next to me. The expressions of my heart in these times were perhaps even more vulnerable than the act of sex itself. The real me- all of my emotions, fears and weaknesses- could not hide in the shadows of passion and chemistry, even in all their strength.
Many people have argued this to be all the more reason to have had sex before we were married, to have taken care of business beforehand so that we could just “enjoy each other.”
Yet, I still find myself daily thanking God that I did not have sex before I was married.
There are far more reasons than I can share in a blog post, many that relate to my belief system that I am happy to talk about in the right setting, and many others that would have seemingly no significance. But for the purpose of this post, the short answer is this:
I just wasn’t strong enough.
The level of vulnerability and courage required to have sex- and then do it again even after struggling- is not something I had. Yes, Daniel and I were committed to one another completely, but there is a level of vulnerability and intimacy in our marriage that came only through that covenant, and for us, that means everything.
“I do, me too, forever, always, no matter what.”
That changes everything.
I was not strong enough, and probably never would have been, to venture down the winding road of vulnerability and intimacy that is sex without knowing the other person was still going to be walking with me thousands of miles down the path.
And again, Daniel isn’t a car and neither am I, and sex cannot be compared to buying one.
If having sex was like driving a car, we would get in bed every night, light the ignition, go where we need to go, and arrive where we want to arrive with little to no variation. Everything would function the way it was meant to. We wouldn’t have to think about all the details of how the car is running, it just would. If that were the case, a simple test drive would have much to tell.
But it’s not.
Sex definitely takes passion and chemistry, but it takes a lot more than that. Sex takes practice. It takes vulnerability and humility. It takes a LOT of communication. It takes more patience than I imagined and it is everything but simple. Sex requires trust and takes a whole lot of courage.
Sex is a commitment.
And for me, the amount of love, gentleness, patience, trust, courage, and dedication required to figure it out can only be found within the covenant of my marriage. It is found in my forever yes to my best friend.
No one could have broken down my walls and offered that level of safety in the way my Daniel does.
And even he could not have done that outside of our marriage.
And now, through all its ups and down, sex is an adventure we get to go on together, knowing we will still be hand in hand at the other end of the road.
Also, for what it’s worth, I sure am thankful that sex can absolutely not be related to buying a car. I get in my car every day and everything works the same and there’s not much to be excited about- a sex life that is comparable is not one that I want.