We nearly posted this as V is for Virginity, as part of the AOW A-Z of Getting married, but we decided that this piece was important enough to have its own space, to not be part of a series.
It is one of the most honest and personal posts we’ve ever had the honour of posting here. Katy not only talks about something which could be difficult, in a really refreshing way, but she also asks some tough questions of herself, and reveals her honest answers to us.
Thank you Katy…
I will pre-empt this post by just clarifying I absolutely do not discuss sex in detail, only conceptually, so I hope you don’t get too weirded out… This is also definitely not advice, just my experience and questions!
I’ve been a Christian since I was a teenager, completely personal and nothing to do with my family. It comes with some amazing things, I promise, but the way you’re meant to live your life comes with some rules (for want of a better word…). The main one I will be talking about here is no sex before marriage. It’s not something that every Christian adheres to strictly, it’s not stated with any more or less importance than anything else in the Bible, but it is there. I personally believe you can’t chop and choose what you go with and what you don’t, it’s all or nothing!
Dan and I met when we were fresher’s at university. He was my first boyfriend; I was not his first girlfriend. As you may expect our first meeting involved clubs and alcohol and stupid costumes. There was this boy, the first boy who has ever shown any interest in me and not my thinner, prettier friends, and he kept dancing with me. He tried to kiss me and I wouldn’t, he was confused and we left it there.
But over the next few weeks we kept seeking each other out. I didn’t kiss him for a month (he was my first kiss, I didn’t want it to be in a drunken club), but we became an item. He was an 18 year old agnostic and had been seeing me for a couple of weeks when he found out that the Christian thing meant no sex. Until I’m married.
Now I do not doubt that this was a difficult one to hear, he was an 18 year old student and I’d just told him that there would be no sex unless he put a ring on my finger. No sex for the near future, for the next however many years. Why would he want that?
He decided I was worth a try anyway. Now I think there’s something here, not in any way constricted to only Christians, but knowing he thought I was worth it anyway, even though he knew I wasn’t going to be jumping in to bed with him anytime soon, makes me feel very special and very lucky. It genuinely wasn’t a test. But he passed.
I know a boy should think you’re worth it, should respect your choices and opinions and beliefs. But I think if you spell that out as no sex then not everyone would stick around. Not because boys are single-minded and want you only for sex, but because sex is a big deal. It’s important, it’s a way of expressing your love and togetherness and intimacy. It’s a way of making babies! Plus I’ve heard it’s quite nice…
We took it all slowly. Kissing, cuddling together in the same bed, getting to know each other better all took longer because of this.
If I’m being completely honest it wasn’t entirely the Christian factor… Some of it was just me. I was young, naive, new to it all, scared that I wouldn’t know what to do, scared I’d be unattractive. Did I use Christianity as an excuse? Yes. Definitely at the beginning I did.
But the trust grows and the love grows and we’ve been together over 4 years now. He proposed a year ago. I was 22. Some say we’re young to be getting married. I suppose we are.
Again, is Christianity a factor? Yes, I can honestly say it is. Where is our relationship going without marriage? I feel like because of our religion (he converted about 3 years ago, I swear nothing to do with me – but it eases the guilt a bit) our relationship is now stagnant. We need marriage to move forward (not just with sex, but definitely including that)!
How have we coped this long? Well everyone I know has different rules here… We believe our relationship with each other and God is our own. We share a flat, we share a bed, we know what we do and don’t think it matters that (I’m sure) the rest of the world assumes we’re having sex. Some Christians would argue an important factor is being an example and ‘proving’ you aren’t having sex by not sleeping together. I respect that but I think it would kill me.
Honestly, it’s hard. Sometimes it’s hellish. We are still intimate, in some ways not being able to have sex makes you more creative (I will stop in case this is grossing you out)… And we can see an end point now. We’ve got through it.
Do I think it would be ‘wrong’ of us to have sex now, being in a committed relationship for so long, us both being ready and willing to commit to only each other for the rest of our lives? Maybe not. In a way we’ve come this far so we may as well go all the way.
So now I am approaching marriage a virgin. I am excited. I am nervous. Sometimes I am terrified. I still have no idea what I’m doing, or if the build up will make it horribly disappointing. It’s a lot of pressure, knowing that the first time we’re ‘allowed’ is on our wedding night, after what is probably going to be a long, emotional draining and physically exhausting day. On clean white sheets. With our parents in a room across the hall… Who ever thought this was a good idea??
Sex is important, I don’t deny it. It will hopefully bring us closer together, make us one. I think maybe I’ve given it more importance than it actually has by writing this post though, I am reflecting my own thoughts and fears rather than what’s important when approaching marriage as a Christian.
The vows and commitments centre on giving your all to another person exclusively, and sex is really a small part of that.
I am not scared of giving him my love and laughter, my doubts and insecurities, my money, my kisses, my future. It is just this.
But I can’t wait.