I grew up Christian. My parents weren’t super religious, but we went to church most Sundays. As I grew up I became more and more immersed in the culture.
I remember one lesson we did when discussing sex before marriage. We watched a video of a girl put duct tape on her mouth, take it off and put it on a boy’s mouth. After doing this several times, the tape no longer stuck. Taking off your tape and giving it to someone else was supposed to be about having sex with someone else, and that if you do it enough, you’ll have nothing to give to your husband. Wait until marriage to have sex. Sex is a good thing, but only for married people.
As the rule follower that I am, I filed this away as a check mark for being a good Christian. Many years later, I got my first boyfriend. He was a senior and I was a sophomore. He was my first kiss and the first boy to hold my hand. I knew I would not have sex with him. I was too young, and I was supposed to wait until marriage anyway.
But I found out there are some areas in between hand holding and having sex. What was okay then? What rules did I have to follow? How could I be a good Christian if I didn’t know the rules? I tried to look it up in the Bible. I went online to find verses. And let me tell you it was very unhelpful. Everything was vague and talked about marriage. I got very stressed out about it. No one had told me about this part. No one told me what to do. No one had guidelines on what was in the “good” column and what was in the “bad” column.
I had to ultimately decide for myself. How far is too far? What am I comfortable with? How can I honor my body?
When I had my second boyfriend, I had a better idea of what I wanted. Before I started dating this guy, we had been friends, and I told him about the idea about waiting until marriage to have sex and he seemed to agree. Not 1 month into us dating did he first ask to have sex. I was shocked! He was wholeheartedly on the other side of the argument. Eventually when we hung out, things would get to a point I didn’t want to go farther and he did. I would get stressed preemptively every time we went out because I knew it would end with him upset. Again I was conflicted. Was this right?
Fast forward to college. It seems like everything is based around “hook-up” culture. I’ve never really been tempted though. Thinking now about waiting for marriage to have sex seems like a ridiculous idea. Why would I wait for a man to take restrictions off my life and my experiences? To say that I have to wait until marriage seems so oppressive and not feminist at all. I don’t need a man to make me whole, especially in context with God. God made me whole in the first place, right? He made me in his image, and I respect myself as such.
My sexuality is a part of who I am and how God made me. Why would I suppress that gift? I respect that gift by respecting myself, however that may be. If that means not having sex, then I won’t. If that means growing and learning about myself and my experiences, then I’ll respect that too. The idea that I have to pray to God to send me a man to marry so then I can accept a certain part of myself is ludicrous and upsetting. No woman, or man, should feel they need to be completed by another person. I respect myself and my body and my sexuality.