I read an article today that made me cringe and then, for the first time, want to join in on one of the many debates that run around the internet. The article was written by a woman who saved her virginity for her wedding night and wished she hadn’t. You can find the original article here: http://www.xojane.com/sex/true-love-waits-pledge
Here is my response.
First off, let me say that it sounds like you were raised in a legalistic, possibly semi-cultic Baptist church. So was I. You said in your article that you no longer go to church and do not consider yourself to be religious. Fine. I don’t consider myself religious either. It sounds like this church of yours may have missed the real Jesus. Sure, they may have used His name, and read out of His book, but they probably twisted a lot of things. One of the first things that I noticed when you talked about church and Christianity was an emphasis on performance. Keeping your virginity was supposed to make you a “good Christian”. Trust me, I get this. I was raised in a performance driven Christian cult. Fortunately, the real Jesus found me and showed me that it’s not about my “goodness” or “badness”, but about His perfection and grace. I would like to suggest that a lot of what you learned about God, the Bible, Christianity, and sex was a lie.
Secondly, after reading your article, it sounds like the biggest problem you had with sex in your early marriage was guilt baggage. Your upbringing taught you that sex was bad and gave you a negative attitude towards it. Then as you and your boyfriend pushed boundaries physically, more guilt was attached to anything sexual. So that, by the time you got to your wedding night, the idea of sex was so riddled with guilt that it was impossible for you to enjoy it (hence the tears in the bathroom). This guilt and shame continued to haunt you through your early marriage and it was compounded by the idea that you “had” to meet your husbands sexual needs, that it was a duty.
You are not alone. There are a lot of women who end up this way. But, it’s not because “God is not blessing” their marriage.
It’s a lack of good education about sex and a lack of reasonable expectations. It’s a negative attitude toward sex passed down by the church, a mother, or other people in your life. It’s guilt piled on by sexual boundaries being pushed in past or present relationships.
I’m sorry, Samantha, that you regret saving your virginity. However, I don’t think your purity pledge and the real God were to blame for your negative sexual experience; I think it was more the legalism you grew up with, the lies you were told, a lack of education, and the guilt you felt.
I was 26 when I got married. My first kiss was at my wedding. I lost my virginity on my wedding night. Was all of this my idea? Not originally. Like I said, I was raised in a conservative Christian cult, so dating was out and courtship was in. I didn’t have the opportunity for a boyfriend or first kiss in my teens. But, once I got out and was in my 20s, I didn’t see the point in dating around or experimenting sexually. I still wanted to wait for my future husband. It was my choice. I also wanted to honor this real Jesus I’d found with my life and my body.
My mom had a great attitude toward sex, and while she didn’t give me much education, she made sure I knew it was a fun and beautiful thing in the context of marriage. When my hubby came along, we were from opposite lifestyles. Because of some past experiences he’d had, and because we wanted to honor God in our relationship, we set some ridiculously high physical standards. It wasn’t out of legalism or trying to impress God or people, but for our own purity. We had pre-marital counseling with a couple from my church and read “The Act of Marriage” by Tim and Beverly LaHaye. We had more reasonable expectations for sex based on good education.
I have absolutely no regrets. Kissing was…interesting, at first…but after 45 minutes of wedding pictures (in none of which are we looking at the camera), I started to get the hang of it. Sure, honeymoon sex was awkward and slightly painful, but it was beautiful. We got to practice and laugh without fear of rejection or failure. And it just got better over time!
I love married sex! We have a great sex life. It’s fun and special and fabulous. We have been married for seven years and sex is WAY better now that it was in the beginning (and it was great then)! I am passionate about good married sex and I talk about it with ladies all the time. Maybe this is why your article hit me so hard and made me want to respond. I believe that sex was created by God as a fun, beautiful experience to be shared between a husband and wife. And I hate it when things (lies, guilt, etc) mess up how God planned things to be. I realize this is not a popular belief, but hey, there’s a reason this blog is called Let Me Be Foolish. 🙂