I grew up in the Church, and was constantly reminded of how necessary it was to keep myself for marriage. This was all good and dandy when I was 12, and when I was in an all girls’ boarding high school and there were no prospects for sex. And then there was the part where I wasn’t even really interested in guys at that point (Well, maybe just one). So it was easy to carry my virginity chip proudly. Now, fast forward several years, and I’m in college, living on my own, my boobs have finally come in (and in full force, might I add), and I’m surrounded by a plethora of potential male partners who want my number/want to be with me/want to marry me. *eye roll*
But hold up- let’s take a second to discuss celibacy.
Let’s be 100% honest right now- all cards on the table. This is going to be the kind of realness you don’t see (but should) in your churches, faith groups and friendships. I’ll admit I began this post maybe two months ago, but didn’t have the guts to finish it. But since I began the post, I’ve met and reconnected with a lot of people who are jumping on the celibacy bandwagon, and I’m beginning to feel, maybe there’s an audience for this thing- even if they don’t know it yet. Maybe there’s someone out there who’s been waiting to hear this. So here we go:
Sex is awesome. It is. No two ways about it. And it’s even better if both of you actually know what you’re doing. But it can also be meaningless, and while some people revel in the idea of meaningless sex, I am not one of them. And I know there are others who share my sentiment. I have come to the point where I’ve accepted that a lot of it has been meaningless for ME. Not because I wasn’t interested in or didn’t love the person I was with at the time, but because here I am, single. I gave my all, and it amounted to nothing. And if I keep giving my all, and it keeps amounting to nothing, then what really is the point? If sex for me is only really great when I have a real, loving and meaningful connection with the person, and leads to pain and stress otherwise, then why am I wasting my time?
It’s funny how we live in a world where it is more publicly acceptable to say “I’m going to live my life sleeping with every guy I can find because it’s MY vagina and MY prerogative” than to declare “I’m NOT going to go around sleeping with any Tom, Dick and Kwaku because it’s MY vagina and I can do whatever I want or DON’T want to do with it”. We live in an age where people have more negative things to say about the girl who decides to stop having sex and wait for marriage, than we do about the girl who doles it out for any guy who gives her a wink and a wave. At least she’s not being a hypocrite, we say.
But what’s hypocritical about deciding not to have sex anymore? What’s hypocritical about deciding to stop any action, sin or not?
And yes, I can tell you that the Bible categorically condemns sex before marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2). And not because sex is bad or God doesn’t want us to ‘have fun’. There’s repercussions for sexual immorality (physical and spiritual- but this isn’t a sermon so…). It’s why we have STDs, HIV, unwanted pregnancies, rushed and unwanted marriages, and misery. Not to say all these wouldn’t exist if everyone abstained from sex till marriage, but they sure wouldn’t be as rampant. It’s just regular practicality. But this isn’t a biology lesson- and neither is it a morality lesson. We’re all sinners, myself probably the greatest- that’s not news. The point is that we choose to judge people who want to remain virgins or become celibate because it’s only in doing so that we can feel better about our own actions. I can say this because I’ve been there. I’ve been that judgmental person who rolled her eyes at all the Jesus posts I came across- not because I didn’t know they were true, but because it annoyed me. It annoyed me that they were constantly throwing in my face everything I wasn’t, and at the time, everything I didn’t really want to be because I was happy living my seemingly comfortable life. So this is not conjecture. I have been there and done that, and here’s my take on it now: being celibate doesn’t make you any more righteous than anyone else. It doesn’t make anyone lesser than you- or make you less of a sinner. Sin isn’t something you can do away with by checking off some list of righteous acts or lifestyles. Our very essence is sinful and we couldn’t reverse that with supposedly good works if we tried. It’s human nature to react in this way that associates outward expressions of faith with self-righteousness- but that’s far from the truth. Wanting to honor God with your body or abstain for whatever reason is not self-righteous or self-serving- if anything it’s DENYING yourself pleasure for a greater purpose or good. It’s the same with people who spend day after day in church or night after night in the club- No one is ‘better’ than anyone else. We all aren’t worth much on our own at the end of the day- and Grace and love covers all regardless of what form our sin takes. Like I said, this post isn’t necessarily faith-based- I’m not here to tell people to be celibate or they’ll burn in the hell fire. Lol if not for Grace we’d all burn either way. I just thought I’d take a second to address the stigma attached to celibacy.
But back to the main story…
So basically, my virginity ship sank for one reason or the other. Regrets? Never. No such thing. But what happens after you make the decision to abstain from sex, because you realize just how meaningless it really is outside the confines of a long-lasting, loving relationship – and that there was something to it when God said “chill on the sexual immorality and adultery bruh!”? How do you tell the really cute guy that has 99% of what you’re looking for in a partner that, while you’re not a virgin, you just really don’t want to have sex with him?
Unfortunately, they don’t cover this in Spiritual Formation 101, or when your parents tell you about the birds and the bees (A talk which you’re most likely not even going to get with African parents), and they totally should. Whatever your reason for wanting to abstain, faith-based or not, it is not an easy conversation to have, or lifestyle to carry out. I’ve even had someone tell me “why should I have to wait and pay for what you gave to someone else for free?”. I KID YOU NOT. It is a CHALLENGE to live in a world where sex is the norm and is what a guy expects of you. Like, it’s not as if there isn’t already a shortage of good men (I believe the current ratio is like 174:1), and now I have to find the few out of that minority who are willing to not have sex with me unless they want to marry me? Dang. That’s like finding a needle in the ocean.
And the trials don’t stop with finding a guy who thinks you’re worth waiting for- there’s also a struggle in remaining celibate while you wait for him to pop up. There are some HOT men out here! With chiseled arms and dashing smiles and smoldering gazes. Ugh. It’s one thing to say no when you’re ignorant of what sex really is, but a whole other ball game when you can TELL it would be off the chain. And you know 90% of these hot guys are definitely not into the whole celibacy bit, and there are more who will not be honest with you or themselves and tell you they can’t do it before you even start anything. Sigh.
So how can you be taken seriously when telling a guy you’re celibate? Honestly, I haven’t the faintest idea LOL. I’m still figuring it out- but I promise to let you know when I do. But i’ll say this: there ARE men out there who share the same beliefs as you, or will love you enough to respect your wishes. We all WANT sex – we don’t NEED it. Despite what Steve Harvey and co want to tell you, men are not animals who have to consistently be thrown some bone or the other, or tricked into staying. There is a man who will love you enough to put you before his wants. And if he doesn’t, then, excuse the cliché, but he might not love you very much.