Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby {the "why" behind the wait}

5 points for you if you made the Pitch Perfect song reference to the title.

5 points for you if you made the Pitch Perfect song reference to the title.

I promised myself I would never write about the topic called “Sex.” 

“It’s too personal. Talking about it out loud makes Christian people feel uncomfortable.”

But then I decided this attitude may be part of the problem: We feel awkward, failing to explain the “why” behind the wait for marriage, failing to vulnerably express our understanding of how tempting sex {and other “stuff”} in a premarital relationship can be.

But: this is our job. Because kids on the playground and Lady Gaga will teach our children about sex long before any educator covers it in the classroom. {Side note prayer: Lord, please bless the teachers who are forced to teach Sex Ed to sweaty middle schoolers with extra Christmas cheer this future holiday season. Amen.}

About a month ago, my sister shared her story in a post called “Dear High Schooler Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.” This post is somewhat of a continuation: beyond the talk of trying to find fulfillment in sex and relationships, and digging deeper into the “why” behind God’s law of refraining before marriage.

Of course, the Lord’s ultimate trump card is “Because I said so.” {Hebrews 13:4} But He isn’t an idiot. Or a fun-sucker. He simply knows that we are fragile-hearted people whose lives are better off without Chlamydia and broken relationships.

Which is why I am so thankful today for the people willing to share their stories that express the mounds of common sense behind this command, the realities of sexual temptation, and so importantly, the grace that overcomes all guilt.

Disclaimer #1: These people share anonymously, as I am under threat of death to maintain their anonymity. And this is not the place to name names anyways. {Their excerpts are separated by either asterisks or a new headline.}

Disclaimer #2: This is a little bit longer post than others. But let’s be honest, it mentions the word “sex” a lot, so something tells me it might be able to keep your attention until “Grace and Peace” at the end.

I Am Waiting:

Just because I'm waiting, doesn't mean I haven't messed up. There are so many times I have crossed the line, but avoiding the line altogether could have saved a lot of heartache, and ultimately would have helped me maintain a closer relationship with Jesus.

When I allow my selfish desires to get in the way, I push Jesus away too. I have decided that in future relationships, I will maintain my relationship with Christ above everything else. When that relationship is maintained, it aids in standing strong in the face of temptation – even sexual temptation.

God wants us to have amazing sex lives within marriage. When both wait for each other, neither has to worry about being compared to past sexual partners; both enter marriage beautifully naive, and can figure things out together.

I Waited:

I waited. But sometimes I had a hard time defining what “going too far” meant for me. There was a whole lot of gray area when it came to the physical aspect of my dating relationships. I am a person of strong convictions, and when I felt guilty for my actions, that was the Holy Spirit telling me I was “going too far.” I needed to listen, even though I wasn't having sex.

“Going too far” or having sex before you are married can deceive you into thinking that your connection is stronger than it really is. It is important to focus on getting to know the person you are dating on a real level without your physical relationship making things complicated or confusing your feelings.

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When asked the question, "Why wait to have sex?" I was at first a little proud. I am one of the few who survived dating and engagement with my "V card" in hand. As if that makes me 60% holier than my “premarital counterparts." Then I gave it some more thought.

I was in high school when True Love Waits rallies were trending: Attend rally. Sign card. Buy purity ring as public statement of inward commitment. It was noble. But it fell short.

They were asking us the wrong question. What if, instead of simply saying “don’t have sex” and drawing our children's boundary line 1/8" from the edge of a cliff with ravenous beasts at the bottom, we kept them as far away from the edge as possible? We set the IDEAL for them: "How PURE can I be for my spouse someday? How can I maintain the holiness of Christ in this temple as I anticipate marriage?”

What if we taught our children that dating relationships are like test-drives for marriage? That we really don't even need to bother with them until we're ready to look for a spouse? That it's never really "just a kiss." What if we set the bar high, and trusted in our holy God to help them clear it? Of course they have to own these convictions for themselves, but if no one even presents the idea that purity is a lifestyle, it may never occur to them. 

I am humbled when I reflect upon my dating years and realize that although both my husband and I waited to have sex, we have regrets that we could have pursued holiness a whole lot better. We pray that God will equip us to equip our children to better navigate romantic relationships!

I Wish I Waited:

During a stage in life, I bought into the cultural lie that my self-worth could be found by batting my eyelashes and indulging in temporary pleasure. The inner monologue I had throughout these days ping-ponged between blaming myself, blaming the man, justifying my actions, and promising it would never happen again. I realize now that a part of me was yearning for acceptance and truth as I drifted from a solid Christian community.

I wish I would have waited because my husband is worth it. He deserves sex to be a sacred thing we share between just the two of us. He waited  for me, and was full of forgiveness when he learned of the mistakes I've made.

I wish I would have waited because I want my daughter to wait, and now have to pray for the day we talk about my past and hope that she will learn from my mistakes rather than make her own. How I wish I could be the mother that could tell her daughter, "Daddy is the only man I've ever been with." I wish I would have waited because I knew better.

My husband loves me and thinks I'm the sexiest person in the world no matter what time of the day it is. The acceptance I was looking for in all the wrong places is found every morning when he tells me he loves me even though I look like the Incredible Hulk before my first cup of coffee.

I am blessed beyond measure that Christ has forgiven me. Life isn't horrible, but living with a regret you can't do anything about is not worth the moments which left me so temporarily fulfilled.

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I not only had sex, but I also “got caught.” And in my day, if you “got caught,” as in "got pregnant," you pretty much decided to get married. I always feel like I didn't make that all-important decision for myself. I was told what I needed to do, and so I did it.

It can still bother me to hear friends talk about all the fun they had while I was at home taking care of babies. I should have had the wisdom to decide to not have sex before I got married. It would have opened a lot of different doors for me – like maybe I could have gone to college, or traveled more, or, or, or. I will never know.

Praise God, everything turned out wonderfully! The Lord blessed our decision to have our baby and to get married. We have a beautiful family for which I am so thankful!

Sex may seem like the fun thing to do because you think you are in love – and why not give all yourself away? But instead of giving yourself away, you are really taking something from yourself that you can never get back. A certain emotional bond forms with a sexual partner, a bond that isn’t healthy to have with anyone other than your spouse. The fun is temporary – not worth compromising your  morals over.

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I was told over and over throughout my life that sex was to be saved for marriage. However, I never truly understood why God would make such a silly rule for His followers until later.

It’s easy to believe in biblical principles until it’s time to act out these principles. It’s easy to remain “sexually pure” when you’re not in a relationship, or when you haven’t met someone you “truly love and want to spend the rest of your life with.”

I began to understand the reasoning for God’s “silly” rule when my boyfriend and I broke up. I felt empty, alone, hurt, depressed, and miserable. I had given somebody such a special gift – a gift that couldn't be given to anybody else - and he didn't care. He Did Not Care. As much our sexual impurity hurt me, he was already off hanging out with other girls while I was in my bedroom, weeping over what I'd just lost.

At that moment, I made a promise to God and myself that I would stay pure until I got married, as I never wanted to experience that pain again. God used the pain I was experiencing to go back and trust in His will and plan for my life, even if it is a “silly” rule that’s not always recognized in the world we live in. 

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I didn't grow up having a lot of boyfriends, so when they did start coming around, my self-esteem was pretty low. {To put it lightly.}

I said I would never do that. I was a Christian; I knew it was wrong. I wanted to be “blessed by God” for waiting until I was married.

Shame. Guilt. Fear of someone finding out. Pregnancy scare(s). And still not feeling loved like I had always imagined I would feel. Oh, to go back and shake my young self and say, “Listen to them! Those people who tell you to wait!”

Why did I have to find out the hard way that it’s true what they say? It has lasting consequences: I still fight flashbacks. {And they’re not of me with my husband.} I still fight guilt and shame. I still fight feeling the need to keep this secret even though I am married now.

When the attacks come and try to drag me down with guilt, and shame, and feelings of unworthiness, I thank God that I'm not the same person I was back then. I thank Him that I won't judge people that have had sex before they were married or some other "big" sin. I thank Him that because I messed up, I can grasp his love, grace, and forgiveness in a deeper way. 

I did not wait, but that isn't who I am. I am a beloved daughter of the King.  He has washed my sins white as snow. Praise Him!

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If you are in a dating or engagement relationship with someone and are having a hard time resisting sexual temptation or have fallen into it, know that you are not alone. And know that God's pure grace and forgiveness is waiting for anyone willing to humble themselves and ask for it. {1 John 1:9}

But also recognize the “Captain Obvious” common sense behind God’s command. For so many awkward and awesome reasons, sex was designed for a committed, “I choose to love you no matter what happens,” marriage relationship. As someone who prayed Jesus wouldn't come back again until after I got married and was able to have sex just once, let me simply declare this understatement: sex is not bad. But breaking God's commands is. And probably close to zero married couples wish they had done more or had physically "gone farther" in their dating relationships.

If you are married and either deserved a purity trophy, or struggled through the gray, or fell into sexual temptation, please don’t hesitate to vulnerably and understandingly guide our children through this area of life so that we can just leave Lady Gaga out of it.

“We’re all in this together,” sang Gabriella and Troy. {And all the teachers forced to teach Sex Ed to sweaty middle schoolers.}

Grace and Peace,
Kendra