This post first appeared on wunms.co.uk
Welcome to March! Today I thought I’d finally drop a long awaited blog post on a controversial topic. Please continue reading with an open mind and I hope it blesses you in some way ?
Following the video I made last year about celibacy* where I shared some advice on how to build intimacy in a premarital relationship without having sex, I want to now talk about the more unspoken parts of waiting until marriage to have sex.
Two extremely important mini disclaimers before we begin! Firstly, *I’m aware that usually, the words “celibacy” and “abstinence” are used interchangeably by most people. They do have slightly different proper meanings. Celibacy usually refers to a conscious decision to not have sex for religious reasons, whereas abstinence is not always attached to religion and is the conscious decision to not have sex for a period of time. For the purpose of this blog post, if I say “celibate”, I essentially just mean waiting until marriage to have sex to honour God with your body.
Secondly, it goes without saying but for the avoidance of doubt, I am not here to bash or demonise sex. I say this because I have personally had to unlearn so many misconstrued ideologies and negative connotations about sex. I do believe that a lot of churches have generally failed to portray sex accurately in an attempt to discourage premarital sex. As a Christian, I view sex as a gift from God, designed purposefully to be enjoyed and explored within the boundaries of marriage. It is one of the greatest expressions of the oneness between husband and wife that is described all throughout the Bible in Genesis, Mark and Ephesians for example.
So I personally need no additional convincing that when you’re married, you can and should enjoy sex to it’s full capacity. Do not hold back or be ashamed. However I have grown tired and concerned with the fetishisation of virginity and being celibate. Even if it has become a trend, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I am a proponent for understanding why we do what we do and not just blindly copying the cool kids. I just want to give an honest perspective today.
Here are the things I wish more Christians would tell you about waiting until marriage to have sex…
— It can make or break your relationship
To a certain degree I have been “abstaining” all of my life, but I wasn’t consciously trying to be celibate until around 16 or 17 years old. (That generally was a challenging period in my teenage years, you can read more about that time in this post). It was this point that I was not prepared for… being celibate can literally make or break your relationship.
The Bible is loud and clear about what love is. Love is patient! (1 Cor 13:4-7). So when you’re in a relationship, dating or courting etc. and your partner is pressuring you to have sex using lines like:
“I just love you so much, I can’t wait, I want you now” or “Well we’re going to get married eventually, so it doesn’t matter if we do it now.”
Then guess what? That person probably doesn’t love you. They lust for you.
The reality is that celibacy is usually extremely hard for the average person let alone a Spirit-filled Christian. We just read above in Genesis that God designed woman for man and man for woman, so by being celibate you are effectively attempting to fight off very natural and God-given urges. So if a relationship is founded in lust and physical attraction is the overwhelmingly dominant or only reason for being together, celibacy will quickly reveal and put pressure on these cracks.
For celibacy to “make” rather than break a relationship, there must be a willingness between both individuals to be patient and learn to express love in other ways.
— It’s not trendy; it’s actually really difficult
Social media can make you believe that every non-married Christian is celibate but that’s a lie. That is such a big lie, wow. In the real world, most people are having premarital sex and will continue to do so. I say this because although it may seem like a popular trend, I can’t state enough how difficult it can be. Of course everyone is different therefore their experience of celibacy will vary too. But a common trait I have observed is the difficulty.
Why is waiting until marriage to have sex so difficult? Aside from the physical temptation we’ve already discussed, premarital sex is so prevalent in everyday life through the media that you almost can’t escape it. You’re almost guaranteed to encounter it from the minute you wake up to the moment you go to sleep. It’s in the music we hear (not even just that which we voluntarily choose to listen to), it’s on the TV we watch, it’s even in the perfume adverts we innocently pass on the way to school or work. The media knows that sex sells. Hence, it is mentally tough to not have sex in your mind with so many active triggers around.
Again, you don’t have to be ashamed for being tempted or even having sexual desires in the first place because God gave them to you. But rather, you should take this opportunity to be honest with yourself about the impact it has on you. Don’t try and ignore it. With this knowledge, you will therefore be alert and aware of how much your heart needs to be guarded in order to avoid stumbling and fleeing from sexual sin.
“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” – Proverbs 4:23
My final point to abolish the myth of the “trendiness” of celibacy is that honestly, it isn’t very socially acceptable. You need to be ready for this. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve personally been on the receiving end of funny looks or probed and questioned like an alien about my celibacy. Society cannot fathom why anyone would voluntarily choose not to have sex, for whatever reason, religious or not.
What could this look like in everyday life? Well, you may naturally be excluded from many conversations e.g. at work or school because you either can’t relate or can’t contribute. You may be teased for your inexperience or inactivity. You may be made to feel embarrassment or shame for your life choices. You may feel isolated. Your sexuality might even be questioned. The list goes on. I’ve found that in the same way alcohol releases tension and increases sociability for some people, the topic of premarital and casual sex is also a mechanism for release. Navigating this isolation isn’t fun or easy but I have learned that in this context, boldness trumps conformity. That’s not to say you need to go around screaming you’re waiting until marriage to have sex. But it does mean that if you’re asked about it or made fun of, don’t waiver in your conviction. Be so sure of yourself that you confuse them with your boldness. Answer their questions to the level that you feel comfortable, humble yourself and try to educate rather than patronise.
— Getting married and living happily ever after is not your “reward” for waiting
Finally, I wish more Christians would tell us that a spouse is not a prize. There is a dangerous narrative that suggests, particularly to women, that this whole idea of saving sex for marriage will in fact reward you with a husband. That’s simply not the case. The Bible says that if we delight in God i.e. truly find our peace and fulfillment in God alone, He will grant the desires of our heart (Psalm 37:4). Marriage is a valid desire of the heart but ultimately God’s will for our lives is sovereign. There is still no guarantee that living a celibate life will/should entitle you to marriage. Marriage also isn’t for everyone in the Apostle Paul’s opinion (1 Corinthians 7).
Along these same lines, if you’re a virgin, your virginity is also not a reward for your potential future spouse. It’s too easy to hastily embark on a journey of celibacy for the wrong reasons… common reasons are to gain the attention of man or in the hopes of appearing more sexually desirable. We need to shift our focus. Why not wait because you understand your value, and you actually want to honour God with your body first and foremost?
“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20
Ultimately I don’t want to scare you from waiting, I want to support you. I want to fully equip you with another perspective and start a healthier, more honest conversation. You guys know by now that despite the hardships and challenges I’ve just mentioned above, I am still waiting. For me it’s a no brainier that it’s the right choice and I have no regrets about it.
I’m going to leave you with a condensed list of the key reasons why I personally decided to wait. If you’re not already sold, do meditate on these points:
- Obedience and conviction – God intended sex to be for marriage, so by ignoring this and living by the world’s standards I am being knowingly disobedient. I also have a very strong personal conviction which makes me uneasy about ignoring God’s Word on this matter. See also Hebrews 13:4
- Peace of mind – This is a practical point. Not having sex is the best form of contraception and there is literally 0 chance of any unexpected or unwanted pregnancies, contracting sexually transmitted infections etc.
- Navigating a relationship – I have found that removing sex from romantic relationships is a great way to test the seriousness and longevity of the relationship. Once you take sex off the table, do you actually have anything else to connect over?
- Self worth – I wholeheartedly believe I am worth waiting for. To have sex with me is to become one with me, and I refuse to unite my body to just anybody.
- For the sake of my future marriage – No not as a reward, but to protect my future marriage from pain. Jealousy is rife within humans and naturally comparison closely follows. I don’t want to enter my marriage carrying the weight of numerous sexual partners that could potentially cause underlying tension between my husband and I.
That’s it from me today. Woah this was a deep one! Thank you so much for reading if you made it this far. I really pray that this was somewhat insightful and helpful for someone out there. What are your thoughts about waiting until marriage to have sex? Leave your comments down below. & Feel free to message me your comments in private if you would prefer.
God bless you!
“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,” — 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4