When Abstinence is Not the Answer


Oi this woman. I wanna smack her and give her a hug at the same time. People are so messed up when it comes to sex!!

So many red flags here to address, we’ll just have to list them all:

There is a difference between abstinence and chastity. Abstinence is saying no to sex. Chastity is saying YES to God’s plan for sex. Teaching kids to say no to sex without adequate explanation or guidance is the same thing as saying “Don’t Smoke, Because I Said So”. Why would any child take you seriously?

The only way abstinence pledges will work is if the person making the pledge “gets” the whole picture. A ten-year-old especially today would be unlikely to “get it” because of Comprehensive Sexual Education (from here on out referred to as CSE) which is so far removed from chastity education it ain’t funny. That’s why we see these stories of abstinence pledges “not working”. How do we expect a ten-year-old girl to understand exactly what she’s saying yes or no to, when she takes an abstinence pledge? Unless there is adequate, consistent, continuous information/formation behind the decision, chances are that pledge means nothing to the person and may eventually backfire, as we see here.

There’s a difference between EXTRAMARITAL SEX and PREMARITAL SEX. Both go against God’s design for sex, but it is important to understand the distinction. EXTRAMARITAL SEX is sex with someone other than your spouse. PREMARITAL SEX is sex with someone prior to marriage.

I don’t know what church she goes to or which Bible she’s referring to, but the Christian Bible does NOT teach that ONLY women should remain pure. The Bible does NOT teach or condone misogyny. On the contrary, the Bible calls EVERYONE to purity and chastity: singles, men, women, those who self-identify as homosexual, and YES, even MARRIED people. (This is also why you gotta be picky about what Bible you’re reading — they’re not all the same, but I digress.)

Sex within marriage is meant to be both UNITIVE and PROCREATIVE. It is not about “duties” or “fulfilling someone’s sexual needs”. That is a very distorted view of sex and one that we need to correct wherever we see it.

If GOSSIP were the *lifeblood* of ANY church, then that church would hardly be Christian. If the previous sentence is how one understands church, then a) the basic understanding of church is already flawed and b) the basic understanding of CHRISTIANITY is also flawed, right off the bat.

Holding on to virginity is not about having something to brag about. Sure, it’s admirable. But to hold on to purity so that it could be the source of PRIDE is missing the point. Holding on to purity is holding on to God’s GIFT. While yes, we could be great examples to younger girls, and that’s certainly something to shoot for, that is not the primary purpose of living a chaste life.

Just like SLUT is not an identity, VIRGIN is not an identity either. We are made for so much more than sex. The mantra “My Body, My Choice” is not a Christian mantra. Christ died on the Cross, for goodness’ sake! This author actually found a man who respected her wishes to wait until marriage. He was actually following Christ’s example to *die to self*. That in itself is remarkable and a gift of grace. How many men out there today can say the same thing?

“What is sexual enough” is NOT the question that needs asking. Everything we do when it comes to sex, whether prior to or after marriage, is about giving God’s gift the proper respect and reverence it deserves.

Whether someone is a virgin or not is a PRIVATE matter. It’s not something you need to advertise. Granted, it is a shame that we now have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases and it’s probably a good idea to know your fiance/fiancee’s STD status before you utter those vows, but that is still a conversation that needs to take place between two people considering marriage — it is not for public consumption. In fact, any discussion about sexuality rightly belongs between a man and a woman headed toward marriage, and anything deviating from this is an abuse of the spousal privilege that should be reserved between married persons or those engaged to be married. (An example of acceptable discussion on sexuality between unmarried people would be between a woman and her fiancé as they discuss options for Natural Family Planning in reference to their wedding date and honeymoon.)

Using contraception on your wedding night is a great way to start a marriage. NOT.

If sex is/was painful, inexperience with sex is not necessarily THE reason. Pain-free sex is NOT dependent on whether you have sex before or after marriage. If anything, sex could be more painful prior to marriage because not only are people dealing with inexperience but also with youth, immaturity, impatience, ignorance, etc. While inexperience with sex may be a contributing factor, there may be other things, including medical conditions or an anatomical problem, or contraceptive use which can cause vaginal dryness. A good pro-life OB-GYN doctor can help address these issues. Planned Parenthood will probably tell you to try a whip. Don’t confuse things.

Chastity is first and foremost between you and God. Because chastity isn’t just a physical thing, it’s a HEART thing. And only God knows your heart. But understanding God’s plan for sex and marriage provides us with the proper framework in which to understand and live chaste lives.

Sex according to God’s design is SACRED. Any message or teaching that detracts from this truth is not from God, EVEN if it comes from your pastor’s mouth. Sex according to God’s design is FREE, TOTAL, FAITHFUL, FRUITFUL. Does that mean easy? No, because marriage is a journey, and sex is just one small part of that journey. It’s also a journey that transforms both spouses, and saying I Do at the altar doesn’t automatically translate to bliss in bed. If that’s what your church is teaching you, come check out the Catholic Church. We don’t compromise on the truth.

If you hate sex, don’t stop there. Aversion to sex may be related to self-esteem issues, or hormonal imbalance, or past physical or psychological trauma. Get professional help and find out what can be done. But don’t blame “not losing virginity before marriage” for it. Married sex is still sex between two fallen creatures and therefore it won’t be perfect or blissful, certainly not all the time, and quite possibly not the first time. Sex is a language that is learned and developed between spouses within marriage — it’s not an instant thing, but learning together is what grows a good marriage.

Men who put their wives’ sexual needs high up on the scale of priorities aren’t necessarily feminists. There’s no need to put the FEMINIST label on simple decency and kindness and consideration that all CHRISTIAN men aspire to, or should if they aren’t. Learning about the gift of sexuality and fertility is one way to demonstrate this, and marriage is the perfect venue for such learning. So no, you weren’t sold a fairy tale. You were sold LIES. And I’m happy that you found your way out of some of those, but the whole TRUTH is still out there, waiting for you and others to discover it.

The rest of the article is just more whining and griping about the “disadvantages” of staying a virgin prior to marriage, all of which come from a misunderstanding and misinterpretation of God’s design for human sexuality and marriage.

I couldn’t figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time.

The only reason this statement rings true for you is because the stuff you learned via your religion and your sexuality don’t match up.

Contrast that with the Catholic view of human sexuality:

St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body
Holy Sex!: A Catholic Guide to Toe-Curling, Mind-Blowing, Infallible Loving
Mulieris Dignitatem: On the Dignity and Vocation of Women
Casti Connubii: On Christian Marriage
Love and Responsibility
Man and Woman He Created Them
Theology of the Body for Teens (preferably taught in small group sessions involving parents and their teens)
Humanae Vitae: On the Regulation of Birth
Live Pure Movement
Chastity Project

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Posted in The Catholic Perspective
2 comments on “When Abstinence is Not the Answer
  1. She’s not religious anymore, so I doubt she wrote this with god in mind. I find it sad how shameful people view sex. It’s not shameful: it’s how we got here. If people stopped telling children that they should be ashamed of their sexuality, I doubt we’d have people crying in bathrooms after having sex for the first time out of fear that they suddenly lost their worth.

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