Last week a young woman, A, asked in response to my post “When Virgins Marry“,
You wrote, ”Marriage was the door to sex for me and my husband. And because I’ve never known sex outside of it, I’m afraid I’m terribly biased about the power sex can have.
When virgins marry they get a chance to experience things together. That’s not to say sex can’t be redeemed, that honeymoons where raped women and men learn to know one another’s bodies and souls cannot also be stunning, amazing, vow-sealing.”
Not to sound contrary, but you are terribly biased by the fact that you’ve never known sex outside of marriage.
And I’m afraid that for some Christians who are not virgins (either by their own choice or not), sex perhaps has lost some of its glitz and glamour; is this the power you speak of?
Here’s a question: how would you encourage a habitual fornicator, a rape survivor, or someone who has “done it” just once, to save sex for marriage? I’m led to think that the answer goes way beyond prizing “our” virginity, but rather valuing our relationship and holiness before God above all else.
Although I dislike quoting her because, for the most part, I disagree with her thesis that virginity in itself does not exist, Jessica Valenti makes a strong point in her book “The Purity Myth” that Christendom has idolized the concept of virginity throughout its history.
Rather, I believe and agree with you, Jonalyn, that it is more important to consider what purity and righteousness before God is.
Since this discussion occurred in the comments, I wanted to re-post her excellent question and my response to dialog more fully.
I think an analogy would help us talk about sex better.
Many people see sex much like they see a sport, the more people you play with, the more often you play the better you get at it. This makes sense if only scoring (orgasm) is involved. It would be best to practice sex a lot and with lots of partners to get really good at the technique.
But since sex involves more than technique, since it engages body parts that are certainly private and often associated with shame, since intimacy, not merely technique is part of good, hot sex, since the best sexual experiences I’ve heard about involved more than a well- endowed man with great endurance or fantastic oral sex techniques, since the best, hottest, most enjoyable sex I’ve heard spoken of came from couples who’ve been together for quite some time, I (as David Schnarch, sexual therapist and author of Passionate Marriage, there is a direct correlation between great sex and cellulite ), therefore, I want an analogy thathill iterates the necessity for intimacy and technique.
And I’ve landed in one: watercolors.
I see sex as more, not less, than a sport. Sex is like painting watercolors. I might like to dabble with other mediums, but to get really good I have to stick it out with the same watercolor materials even when they look boring next to some new pastels or (be still my foolish heart!) some graphic design programs. I have to pick up my same brushes and practice again and again to really know how the brushes behave in my hands. And I will be able to be free and bold and beautiful in my work…. (And in bed) if I stick with the same medium (and guy).
You cannot get good at sex by practicing on many others. You only get good at sex by creating a safe zone of mutual respect and regard, one that is protected by God as a realistic zone to conquer shame and fear.
That said, to those who are no longer virgins, I’d say the reason to stop making love until marriage is the same as to the virgins: if you want to enjoy good sex you need marriage to start the watercolor. Then, you can plan to begin working with the same brushes and paper without a switcheroo which requires you start all over in terms of intimacy and trust.
Married? unmarried? all matter of sexual experience? or inexperience? your comments are welcome.