HONEST THOUGHTS ON ABSTINENCE FROM SOMEONE WHO DID IT (BY NOT DOING IT)
On a scale from TLC special religious to Bill Clinton "sexual relations," probably the somewhere just past the middle with Bill leanings.
- •My church has started a class about sex within marriage for the ladies, and it's had me thinking about what we teach teens.I am a liberal member of a conservative church, and a somewhat liberal resident of a conservative state. There was virtually no sex ed growing up, and to my knowledge that remains true. We had True Love Waits, an abstinence program at my church, and a video about how mommies and daddies get pregnant in 6th grade at school.
- •In retrospect, abstinence was the right decision for me.
- •As a teenager I was an extremely introverted/self-conscious/awkward mess. I wasn't totally WORKING to be abstinent.
- •I also married fairly young (23) and my now husband grew up with the same values, so we were supportive of one another.If he weren't supportive of this particular decision, he would not have been a good choice for a boyfriend. Even if your partner disagrees with your reasoning, they cannot force or guilt you into anything.
- •There were definite personal positives.
- •My teenage and early college years were pretty easygoing.I focused on school, friends, and planning for my future. I did some dumb things, but I didn't face too many life altering decisions (std, pregnancy, etc.). I had some casual relationships, but only 1 real "boyfriend" before college. It was pretty drama free.
- •I got to experience so many milestones with the same person.As I sort of touched on in my introduction, we weren't TLC wedding special abstinent, but we did a lot of things for the first time with one another.
- •I made a choice about my body and my limits and was able to honor that.I know a lot of people get that choice traumatically taken, so I'm very thankful I even had the option.
- •I also feel as though the whole religious-based abstinence system itself has some serious flaws.
- •Abstinence only sex education IS NOT sex education.Telling kids the realities of sex won't give them "permission" to do it, just like avoiding the subject won't steer them away from it. This is vital information for human beings to have. Either give it to them in a structured/informative environment or they will get information wherever they can find it.
- •Women are placed in an unfair position.Virginity is a "gift" to your husband who will likely not be interested if it's already been given. We should control our actions/dress/demeanor to ensure men are not tempted. You won't want to have sex when you're married, but you'll have to appease him! All untrue. If someone won't continue a relationship with you because of your sexual status, you dodged a bullet. Modesty is well and good, but not for the sake of other people. And unless you're asexual, you'll probably want to have sex.
- •Men are assumed to be hormone controlled zombies.Heard when I was 21 as a sponsor at a youth retreat for my church "Boys will tell you they love you, but it is a lie to sleep with you." I was basically a kid when I fell in love, and I know he wasn't lying to me. They were also told that men can't really control their "urges," so you have to sort of remember that boys will be boys and move on. That kind of mentality is harmful to women, and men.
- •Sexual sins have been placed on a pedestal by modern churches.The Bible doesn't say "The greatest commands are love God, love others, and don't touch a penis until you are wearing a wedding ring." Trust me, my husband went to grad school for Greek/Hebrew linguistics. There are definitely sexual limitations put in place, but it's not the end all to salvation that many modern institutions make it out to be.
- •My advice?
- •For non-Christians...Make sure you understand your choice. Talk to someone you trust and get reliable information. You are the only person who should be in control of your body. Whatever you choose, be safe, be consensual, and be informed.
- •For everyone:Stop judging people based off of this stuff. It's dumb of you and likely not your business.
- •For Christians...Make sure you understand and agree with your choice. If anyone tells you that questioning a "doctrine" is wrong, they are the ones who are incorrect. Read/study/talk to someone you trust. To me it seems that the Bible puts some definite limitations out there, but only you can control your body. Whatever you choose, be safe, be consensual, and be informed.
- •General disclaimer.This was my experience. I know other people with my background that completely regret abstinence, and people who were not abstinent that are glad that was their choice. I also know I'm ignoring a million other issues (orientation, gender, etc.) but that wasn't part of my experience so I cannot speak to it.