The Wait Continued
***Disclaimer: This is a post discussing a mature subject matter. It will contain references to sex but not in an erotic or inappropriate way. But is not generally meant for children under the age of understanding to read.***
In mid-January, I shared the reason I have chosen to wait to have sex until marriage. In the months since I wrote that post, I have worked through a lot in my life both spiritually and philosophically. As I have continued my journey in dating I have come across a few things that until I started the dating process I had no idea were as commonplace as they are in our culture. Some things that came as a surprise and some things that did not. My desire to write this follow up post started in March. In early March I attend a short run teaching series at a local church for young adult singles covering relationships and God's plan for sex and relationships in our lives. It set a very healthy perspective and tone for this entire journey. The series was based on a book that I have recommended to friends since I read it and am going to recommend it now because I think it is a very healthy perspective in general on the biblical context on romantic relationships in each of their phases. The book is called. Single, Dating, Engaged, Married. It is a great perspective if you ask me. But I also totally understand if you aren't interested. I will be sharing my perspective throughout this post. But it will be vague and will also really just be scratching the surface of everything I am trying to cover. I have not only spent a lot of time in contemplation and even conversation on a vast array that has covered all of the subjects with people of all different walks of life and background. I have tried to approach the subject outside of my faith to see if I would still as the person I am, decide to hold to the virtues that I have followed my whole life. At the end of the day, the answer to that question is a resounding yes and it is not just for biblical reasons but more because of biblical principles.
Over the course of the last six months, I have found that not only is hooking up commonplace but was quite surprised when men who called themselves "Christian" asked about hooking up. I have found this to be common here in the Bible belt where if they grew up in the church regardless of if they actually have a relationship with God people will call themselves "Christian" but in reality, they wear it as a label but do not live their faith as a lifestyle. But I think it is relatively understood though that hooking up is commonplace in our culture. The thing that I did find kind of surprise is the number of women who are using these dating apps to hookup. I know it might seem odd that I would know that but it has become somewhat common for me to trade dating horror stories with matches especially when I clarify my stance on not hooking up. Most conversations end or fizzle at that point once or twice the guys have asked about my experiences when they do I share some of the crazy stuff I have been told or asked. Often they will share some really random things about girls actions on a first date that had me well this emoji says it best: 😳
I am also going to cover an issue that has been a personal struggle for me because I fell prey to it on numerous occasions when I was especially vulnerable and not guarding myself or my heart. But also in part, out of sheer curiosity and the ease of detachment that it offers when exploring my understanding of sex. I have zero experience when it comes to any sexual experience, No Nothing! I have never even kissed or had any physical interaction of a sexual nature with anyone. So when the hormones are flowing freely and some guy makes advances that start triggering all the wrong ideas even though it may feel good at the moment and it doesn't feel like you are really actually doing anything we often forget how easy it is to fall prey to sexting someone. I have on several different occasions fallen prey to that particular issue myself. At first, there was a lot of guilt. Now someone else has seen parts of me that no one but my husband was ever meant to see. After the first time, it wasn't as easy to say no to the next guy. Because I mean that ship has sailed so why not? Well, I will tell you why not right now. This one was a more difficult one to explain a biblical reason or otherwise because texting, phones, the internet and so many other things that make this detached form of sexual interaction possible were not exactly a thing until this era. So I found myself justifying it as a grey area on the occasions that I followed through with the interactions. Mostly because in some ways I have often seen masturbation as a bit of a moral grey area because it is not clearly addressed in the bible. I don't think that it is healthy but I also don't think that I would be able to clearly argue that it is morally 100% right or wrong. I think as a practice it is unhealthy for many reasons and that is why I have deemed it wrong but I believe that there are contexts that it is not wrong like inside of marriage when the couple agrees that when they are apart they can be together in that sense. So hence the grey area. I think using it while alone is not healthy because when we climax our bodies release hormones that are meant to attach us to the person we are with, at that moment. So being alone means we have nothing to attach to and that starts to affect our bodies healthy balance of hormones. Also, those hormones are very addictive and over time lose their potency. The effects of that have been somewhat detrimental to a large part of this generation as so many men are masturbating to pornography. I am not going to go into much further detail about this stuff but I will give you a link to an article I read that was very informative and is a completely secular perspective on a lot of the stuff I am talking about: The Sex Recession
Something that came as a much greater surprise to me is Polyamory, the first time I came across it on a profile they were vague and simply said "POLY but don't be scared". I had to Google it, which I really hate to do sometimes because you never know what may come up when you Google things on dating profiles. The hardest part about this subject was seeing it on the profile of someone I have known for a long time who is seeing someone but still dating other people and hooking up. Apparently, in recent years non-monogamy is far more prevalent then I had ever realized. In fact, one or two different apps/websites have options for you to select that you are open to non-monogamy or even have couples profiles so that couples can look to swing or other things. But I recently over the course of my matching had a more direct interaction when one of my matches asked if I would be interested in having a FWB (friends with benefits) relationship. Although I told him I wouldn't be interested in the idea I ended up asking him some questions about his stance on the idea and what he shared with me was a perspective I have never heard before. I understand that I have had a limited scope on these subjects because of the fact that I have grown up in the church and hold a very biblical understanding of sex. Also so often the subject of sex is avoided at all costs in Christian circles which I personally think has been somewhat detrimental to helping this generation form a healthy biblical understanding of sex. In the midst of that conversation, I realized I wanted to seek out a different perspective beyond my own. This is all part of the reason I wanted to write this follow up to my post in January. But unlike the one I wrote in January, I wanted to take a more investigative approach. I am not sure how many of you saw some of my discussions in the Stoicism groups that I am a part of about Friends with Benefits and Sexual Abstinence. I wanted to gain a non-religious view and perspective on the ideas of Sexual Abstinence until marriage and similar subjects. Someone else actually posted a question about One-Night Stands in the group so I didn't have to ask about that one. I knew that those philosophy groups have people from varied backgrounds and walk of life they are often glad to share their perspectives and with the right prompting some shared some really intriguing and insightful perspectives. My desire has been throughout this process is to see how someone who neither agrees with or believes in the biblical view of sex would treat these different subjects.
I want to give you an overview of my research, thought experiment and studies. I gained a lot of perspective throughout this process. I tried to stay open-minded but also stayed true to myself. Although I definitely danced the line, the Lord has been truly faithful to protecting me and my virtue even when I tested the waters a little more than I should have. When you are walking a slippery slope always make sure you are anchored well. I did not always act with the utmost of virtue and compromise is what really got me in trouble. I made some choices that I personally feel crossed a line although some wouldn't say so I feel at the end of the day what may have been a mutual exchange didn't add value to anyone participating so I feel that it was not a healthy exchange. I chose to engage in sexting and although it seemed to feel good in-the-moment it didn't add value to me or the other party participating. This is something that I really had to work through mentally. I was able to have a conversation on this subject with one of my friends, whom I will keep anonymous because of the nature of this article, in a joking manner he asked me to send him a nude picture. Then immediately said he was teasing.
But In response, I said this: "I know you are teasing when you asked. But I also know you do legitimately want me to send you a picture. It's only fair, right? I mean all it is is another exchange of information. I am not mad at you or judging you but the point is that you still have not seen me completely as a person. I am pixels on a screen to you. I get that this is where I personally have compromised before. But for the same reason, you wouldn't actually be sending me any pictures I will not send you any. We are both worth more than that, an exchange of pictures and words or digital interaction of some sort. It doesn't give either of us value. Every exchange with someone I have had although mutually agreed upon was wrought with selfish motivation. Sex as an act is meant to be in the confines of marriage because it is a mutually beneficial act that when selflessly motivated will bring so much more pleasure to those participating than when each party is out to find their own satisfaction. Sorry to kinda turn this around on you like that but I really think I needed that reminder as much as I think you did!"
This statement in whole conveys the primary reasons I feel like sex outside of marriage is not healthy. When it is selfishly motivated it just doesn't seem right. Now does getting married mean suddenly sex will not be selfishly motivated... Well of course not. It is a matter of perspective and how we have our hearts aligned when we approach sex in or outside of marriage. I covered quite extensively how I think we should approach sex in my first post on The Wait.
I can't honestly tell you that I was able to fully hold to that perspective throughout this process of study. I had my days where I was ready to give into my physical drive and ignore the rest. My resolve was not always strong but the Lord is faithful and even when I was ready to shelf this article, just literally go for it and end the what is apparently endless waiting. It has been a challenge and I didn't handle it perfectly but thankfully no one was hurt during this process and really some of the choices were made by default when I had given up my resolve. I am very thankful for this entire process I have learned so much not only about myself but also about other people. I have heard some points of view I never would have if it weren't for this whole study and research. I am also glad that I ended up where I did in the process.
I have plenty more that I learned but feel that some of it would be better addressed differently. Partly for the sake of brevity and also because I feel it is better not to share too much detail. But if someone would like to know more or ask any questions I will put a form at the bottom of this post where you can email me directly with questions unless you already have a way to contact me then just text, email, call, message or meet up with me and I will be glad to answer questions or share more about what I learned. I have additional resources that were recommended to me but because I have not had a chance to vet them I will not be sharing them on here. I hope that my crazy journey can offer some insight and help someone keep their heart and self safe and healthy. I feel that at the end of the day the healthiest possible option for me is the one that I find myself in. Which is funny considering that if you asked me two days ago that may not have been the case.