Not a word that appears on this blog very often, I’m thinking.
It’s a word that makes me think of halibut. Which in turn leads me to thoughts of Monty Python.
Not flattering… or sexy.
I can continue the haphazard word association if you like, moving on to baited, and then on further still to cell.
In case you hadn’t guessed, I am that word: celibate.
If you need – as most people do – to put me into a box, then for the purposes of this article, the most important and significant box is this: I am Christian.
As you may be aware, for the most part (theologies differ), Followers of the Way believe that sex outside of marriage is verboten. I believed this absolutely up to the age of around 20.
It might seem contradictory, but I like logic, you see. I like the weight of evidence. Not sleeping with boys age 16 provided freedom from the perils of emotional ties, heartache, teen pregnancy and a raft of unsavoury ‘diseases down there’, not to mention the fact that illegitimate offspring were a sure fire way to torpedo any future plans for a career.
In 1995 girl in my class at school was expelled for being pregnant.
Back then there seemed to be rather good arguments for being a good girl.
As I got older the reason and logic argument started to fade. Student life came and went, so did a couple of boyfriends and sex went into the bargain too.
Fast-forward 9 years. I have been single that many years, since a three-year live-in relationship ended. Now I’m staring the mid-thirties firmly in the eye and have not had sex for seven years, not even snogged anyone for four.
I am still a Christian. But I am no longer convinced that waiting and ‘staying pure’ is an absolute requirement. I blame Him (God) for these stupid rules that only fit perfectly and make sense for a healthy marriage in an ideal world. There do not appear to be any answers for those left out in the cold, high up and forgotten on a shelf somewhere.
I want to be wistful, and poetic about it. Full of tortured longing in a dramatic, French sort of way… but I am just a bag of blood and bones, held together by a slowly evaporating shrinking, wrinkling wrapper of skin.
Even though I no longer subscribe strictly to the doctrine of no sex outside marriage, I also know that no matter how much I want it I am not going to jump in the sack with just anyone.
It is such an up close and personal thing that despite the frustration I still want to be with someone who knows me, and with whom I have built up some sort of trust. I want a lasting and certain attraction to be in place, rather than a haze of blinding alcoholic lust.
My own hands know me so well now that I wonder if any man can satisfy me. But then I recall distant memories of salty flesh and tongues and heartbeats, and the rise and fall of a beloved breathing chest. And I know that I cannot pretend.
I know that two are better than one.
I know I would rather seek out lines on another body and slowly map out its territory than follow the old familiar relief/tension management system that currently functions as an inferior replacement.
Have I failed God, or has he failed me? I truly do not know, but I cannot help feeling that sticking to my principles and staying true to the path I have chosen has cost me a great deal.
I pay the price with bitter lonely tears and many long years of untouched cruelty.
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I’m 22, and a virgin. I know how hard it is to wait, I’ve been criticized or condescendingly congratulated on it by people with no intention to do it themselves. I know it’s not always fun. I think people also forget that celibacy does not mean frigidity. You can still have a satisfying, intimate, ‘sexual’ relationship with someone you love and trust without having sex. People are just uncreative sometimes. :P
Thankfully, I did find a wonderful man who is willing to wait with me, although he’s not a virgin, and we’ve been together for a little over a year and a half. We’re getting married next year, and I’m 100% convinced the waiting will have been totally worth it!
The bottom line–stay strong, and as cliche and unhelpful as it can be sometimes, know that God has a plan for you!
“You can still have a satisfying, intimate, ‘sexual’ relationship with someone you love and trust without having sex.”
You see, I have to pull you up on this one. If you are having a satisfying, sexual relationship with someone (but not ‘going all the way’), you are, in all tense and purposes, having sex. You are no more a virgin than a woman in a sexual relationship with another woman. Is penetrative sex the only true definition of sex? I don’t think so. This is not an attempt to discredit you or to make you feel ‘unpure’, I am merely responsing to a public declaration that is, in my view, ultimately flawed. There is no more shame in being sexually active as there is ‘virtue’ in being a virgin.
But then I am not a follower of organised religion so your final words: “The bottom line–stay strong, and as cliche and unhelpful as it can be sometimes, know that God has a plan for you!” are meaningless to me. Stay strong? Stay strong for what? For the loss of intimacy in our short lives here on Earth based on man made scripture contrived to control society by placing the fear of God in them? Er, no thanks.
This is so sad. Much love xxx
What a sad story; too many of us are prisoners of the repressions doled out in our youth and of the inhibitions that have developed from them.
Thanks for sharing your story . . it was very well-written.
I was raised in that same background & had the same vigilance about the rightness of purity until that faded away & I noticed everyone else was having fun & boyfriends but me. It’s been a long & winding road toward understanding sex & what it means for me since then . . . & I’ve been celibate a year & let me tell you, I feel your pain.
I no longer ascribe to anything Christian, because I have the same disappointments & that lifestyle didn’t work for me. My brother is getting married tomorrow, a virgin to a virgin. Imagine my surprise when we had a lingerie shower for her, with elderly ladies from the church/school I once attended, and some of them were very outspoken about the joys of married sex . . . From the way they talked to us about sex in high school, I figured they’d bring presents of flannel pajamas. And they did bring some racy lingerie . . . but there were whispers when the bride to be opened my present of lingerie + lube + condoms!
It’s a very confusing world, and I feel you about the pain of being left out of that magical perfection if you only follow the rules. I’ve tried both ways, too, and I’m still lookin’.
Much luck & love for the rest of your journey!