Ok, this time it’s for real.
I decided that after the misleading title, I should make a post about sex and discuss why I am, in fact, waiting until marriage to have sex for the first time. This will be a very surface-level survey, because this is a conversation that is definitely deep and ongoing. Brace yourself for a fistful of euphemisms because I got tired of using the word sex.
A few months ago, TMZ broadcasted to the world that “Ethan the Shirtless Runner is the new Tim Tebow…HE’S A VIRGIN!” and people went wild. Some accused me of being a prude. Many assumed I was gay. But for some reason, I remained silent on my reasons for waiting until marriage to park the car in the garage.
I think the best way to go about this is in two sections: One with my ‘Christian’ reasons for abstinence, and another more broad section that anyone can apply, Christian or not.
The Broader Reasons
I’m not even going to waste my time expounding on STDs and unplanned pregnancies, as MTV and public schools have talked about those to no end, and they seem to do little to deter anyone from waiting until marriage (that, and they can usually be prevented with a quality contraceptive).
Instead, I think there are a lot more unseen complications that arise when two people put the bread in the toaster prior to marriage. For one, having sex with someone creates a chemical bond to them in your brain. The more sex, the stronger the connection.
So, for people going out every weekend and holstering their pistols, they are creating these deep chemical brain-bonds with dozens or hundreds of people. You can imagine what this does to a person. It essentially confuses your brain into a dysphoric state of being deeply committed to many people.
Not only will they have a much harder time committing to just one person in the future, but it may even become harder to maintain other relationships in their lives. Because the chemical used to bond together two lovers is the same one used to bond a mother to her child during breastfeeding, people who have had a lot of sexual partners may even have a harder time bonding with their own children.
Let’s not just talk about chemicals; look at how hard it is emotionally to move on from a good (or even bad) relationship! In my life, I can clearly see how much more complicated things were with the girls I kissed versus those I didn’t. The ones I smooched seem like a much deeper connection was formed. I can’t even imagine trying to get over someone with whom I had shared even deeper physical connection!
I’ve seen friends of mine who had been sexual and then broke up, and how they were so much more devastated than other friends who had chosen not to have sex. My friends who couldn’t wait to plug it in suffered so much more unnecessary heartache.
One of the arguments I hear the most is that “we REALLY love each other!” The cold hard truth is simply that there is no foundation in that. It is a foundation built on emotion and impulse rather than legal, financial, spiritual, and contractual bonds. There is just no guarantee, no matter how poetically you slice it. At any given moment, she could cut things off, or he could run away with a prettier girl and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them.
When I give myself entirely to someone else, I want the grounds upon which I do so to be one of firm trust and deep-rooted love, not just because we really really really like each other.
The ‘Christian’ Reasons
Growing up in the church, it was easy for me to simply point to a number of Bible verses and say, ‘See! God says not to do it!” However, after walking through several years of Bible school and countless conversations with people exponentially smarter than me, I have come to realize that such a simplistic argument doesn’t always hold up.
As with anything, I think the best approach to take is to ‘zoom out’ to get as much of the bigger picture as we can. So in this case, this means examining the purpose of marriage, our bodies, and sex. Granted, I have about 200 words left so this will be a very superficial survey.
The first thing to note is that our bodies are good. I think that often we inherit this gnostic idea that our bodies are somehow dirty or gross or bad. This mindset perpetuates cycles of shame, which lead us into deeper spirals of sinful activity. If our bodies were inherently bad, then how could Jesus have entered into a human body and through it, worked out the whole of our salvation?? Bodies are good and useful, and from them, good can come.
However, because we live in a sinful and fallen world, we can also do harm and evil with our bodies. We can beat and kill. We can selfishly take things. We can ‘unite ourselves to a prostitute’ (Paul’s phrase for sexual immorality in 1 Corinthians 6).
So when it comes to boogy-woogy, we have to ask ourselves, are we using our bodies to give to others and glorify God, or are we using them for selfish means of satisfaction and temporary pleasure? Jesus used His body for the ultimate good when He took it to a cross and let it be tortured and killed in order to save the whole of creation. Are you using yours to the best of your ability, or are you using it to take from others and feel some fleeting good feelings?
In 1 Corinthians 6, Paul describes a husband and wife becoming one flesh with each other. This is not to be taken lightly, as the next thing Paul says is that the Church becomes one spirit with Jesus. When a husband and wife do the horizontal tango, they are physically demonstrating something far bigger than the two of them. They are acting out a microcosm of what Jesus does spiritually with His Church.
Another way to think of it is through the sacraments. When you take the bread and wine into your digestive system, you are physically acting out a spiritual reality. We have spiritually taken Christ into ourselves, and eating and drinking the communion elements physically demonstrates that.
Looking at sex in this light, we can see why the Bible is so adamant about maintaining purity outside of marriage. To sleep around reflects a Christianity in which Jesus is not faithful to His bride, the Church. We have taken Jesus into ourselves, so let us live in a way that reflects this spiritual reality.
Lastly, marriage is the context in which sex happens. It is the covenant on which all of these actions rest. Covenant is a biblical term for a contract or promise. When you enter into a covenant with someone, there is no breaking it. The Bible speaks of blood covenants, which were so serious that, if broken, blood would be spilled. Not only that, but they were sealed with blood, usually of animals.
When a marriage is initiated between two people, there is a sort of safety created between them. They are free to be themselves. Free to give themselves wholly to the other without having to fear being left or abandoned or taken advantage of.
I think the Bible has a much higher view of marriage than most people in our culture, and as Christians, we should be working to restore this. We should be examples of marriages that are strong and built on sincere love and steadfast trust (Something Christians have not been good at the past several decades).
So if you’ve got Getin’ Jiggy With It on repeat, it may be time to think about retiring the charade and making the choice to wait. For the sake of a life lived wisely, as well as a life that reflects well the spiritual realities we embody, join me in placing sex within the boundaries of marriage.
And if you’re not a virgin, don’t think it’s too late for this to apply to you! The God who makes all things new has grace sufficient for all of us. He is eagerly chasing after you, virgin or prostitute. It’s never too late to start.
I realize that this overview of my reasons for maintaining my virginity was very brief and terse. Please keep the conversation going.
Keep reading, because I’ll certainly be writing more on this in the future.