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I was bowled over recently when a group of parents I converse with online took a poll, and it was discovered that nearly half of them have only had sex with one person: their husband/wife.
No sex before marriage. Complete abstinence until the wedding night. Months and even years of dating, followed by an engagement for additional months and years, with no sex. And even more bewildering to me, vowing to spend the rest of your life with someone with whom you haven’t determined sexual compatibility!
But before I get into my own personal views, I want to make a couple of things very clear.
First of all, I actually have a great amount of respect for people who make this choice. I cannot even fathom the kind of restraint and self discipline it takes to pull this off. I’m in complete awe. Not to mention there are obvious benefits. First of all, you are and always will be each other’s first time. That’s romantic in and of itself. And let’s face it, the risk of catching some venereal disease or worrying about past sexual history is pretty much moot. After all, no one like herpes. And to be honest, I think that knowing I was a woman’s one and only for all of eternity would be a pretty big turn-on.
So I get it. I recognize the benefits and I can totally see why someone would make this choice. But what I don’t understand is how they can do it!!
I’m sure we can all remember what it was like when we first met and fell in love with our significant others. For me personally, it was exciting because I had known my wife for many years. We actually met in the 6th grade, but we weren’t friends. She went to a different high school out of state and we didn’t see each other or talk for five years. And then randomly, we went to the same tiny college in western Massachusetts. But even through four years of college we never dated or hooked up (although I was always attracted to her). In fact it wasn’t until May of 2004 that we had our first drunken kiss outside of a house party, and from there love blossomed.
Actually, it exploded more than it blossomed. Because for years, I had smoldering feelings for her that turned into a bonfire when she reciprocated. And let’s just say chastity wasn’t really an issue from the get go. We just had raw, animalistic passion for each other and there was no way that could be contained. I think the beginnings of most relationships are like this: filled with raw emotion and dripping with sexual tension to the point where you eventually end up ripping each other’s clothes off in a frenzy.
So I have no understanding of how people can tame that feeling.
But more than that, here’s the biggest reason no sex before marriage was a complete no go for me.
I had long vowed that when I did finally ask a woman to marry me, I wanted to know it was the right choice. Not just know, but be absolutely certain. Would we get along? Do we share at least some common interests? Will she be able to put up with my sports habit? Is she independent? Does she want kids? After all, if you’re planning to spend eternity with someone don’t you want to make sure you know as much about that person as possible? I think so.
And whether anyone wants to admit it or not, sex is a big part of it. Not the biggest or most important, but it’s up there on the list.
So can you imagine dating for years, being engaged for another year, never having sex and having it all lead up to the wedding night? You’re alone in your hotel room and you realize that you have no idea if the sex is going to be good or bad. And hell, if the two people are both virgins it’s almost guaranteed to be awful. No one’s first time is good. Guys don’t know what we’re doing and we’re apt to prematurely lose it in a matter of seconds initially. And from what I hear, the first time for women is rather painful. And do you really want to be dealing with that on your wedding night??
And then what if it’s bad after that first time? Now you’re newly married and you’re stuck with an awful lover. Again, sex can be improved and it’s not the end all be all. Some arranged marriages worked in the past and they never even met, let alone have sex. But sex is still very important to a relationship and I truly believe everything that’s important should be addressed before making the ultimate commitment.
I know it’s a cliche, but you don’t buy a car without test driving it first right? It might be a great car, but just not for you. But you don’t know that just by looking at it, you have to test things out first right?
And I can’t speak for others, but what about getting out there and experiencing things? I went a little crazy in college and while I won’t disclose the number of sexual partners in my past, I will say it’s more than a couple. And sure, I’d like to take some of them back (or remember them at all) but I’m glad I went through a little man whore phase. I truly believe, for me, if I hadn’t gotten that out of my system I would’ve never been able to settle down. And without experiencing some of the bad parts of sex, I’d never realize how lucky I am to have my wife if I didn’t have some negative experiences to compare it to.
But like I said, I honestly do have the utmost respect for people who make this decision and I’m sure there are some readers who have. And I’m truly looking forward to hearing your stories if you’d like to share.
But for me, well…I’m glad I took the test drive route. There are enough speedbumps in a marriage without having to worry about sex.