I’ve always been fascinated by couples who choose to practice abstinence, even considering it at one point before ultimately giving up the cookie because the temptations levels were mighty high.
I ask a lot of questions, wondering how women and more specifically, men, hold on to the steadfast belief that waiting to engage in sexual activities will make for a longer and healthy marriage. The answers I’ve received from couples who have held out before marriage range from the tenet that the passion between two people are heightened and strengthened, and a different level of trust is created. Of course, I’ve heard counter-responses from those who question the longevity of a union when partners are “inexperienced” in the bedroom or don’t know how to arouse their partner.
The discourse is one that goes back and forth, with pop-culture references of so-and-so “teaching you” and arguments of learning along the way with someone you love. I understand both ends of the spectrum, while keeping in mind recent conversations of purity, what that looks like, and how it’s defined. Bible scriptures are quoted as back-up and opposing ends cite out-of-date ways of thinking for relationships. But to each his own.
After further research on the top, these are some of what people consider the benefits of practicing abstinence before marrying and being down with the “purity industry”:
Low to zero percent chance of contracting a STD
The avoidance of an unexpected pregnancy
“Meaningful” relationship without the emotional turmoil failed, sexual relationships bring
Fully understanding the love v. love debate
More sex (think about how many men say their sex life decreases post-marriage)
There’s a great article on MadameNoire from 2013 on one woman’s choice to practice abstinence, with her thought process on her decision stemming from looking at celibacy as “a place of self-discovery.” She also indicted how celibacy aided in helping her break ties easier with men, brought about a sense of emotional clarity, and kept her away from the BS that comes with being in a committed relationship. Her points were very valid.
But celibacy isn’t something practiced by the average Joe and Jane around the way. Tamara Mowry Housley is a celeb who believed and followed it prior to marrying her husband, Adam. The co-host of The Real has openly spoke on losing her virginity at 29, regretting her decision to do so before marriage, and remaining celibate until officially becoming a Mrs. More power to her!
So, I wanted to see if I could find a couple within my age range that is actively practicing celibacy and get their thoughts on falling back and holding out on sex, temptation, and what celibacy will do for them in the long run. I came across Brianna and Paul who shared their thoughts, individually and as a unit, on the subject at hand.
When and why did you make the decision to not have sex before getting married, and how far were you into your relationship before sharing this with your fiancée?
Brianna: I had a close relationship with Christ at a young age and was raised in church. However, during my teenage years I strayed away and wanted to grown up too quick, mainly because of daddy issues. In my heart, I wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. However, I didn’t place the necessary actions behind my thoughts to hold virginity in high esteem. I gave into pressure and had sex for the first time in 2009 while in college, even though I had always wanted to remain a virgin until marriage. Shortly thereafter in November 2009, I joined a sexual purity movement called ‘Worth the Wait’ to have accountability in my decision to remain celibate until marriage. I made the decision to become a Reborn Virgin, or practice abstinence because I did not want my future relationships to be based on the physical and I wanted to honor God in my decision. I knew that he had the best for me, so I really wanted to trust him in this area of my life.
I met my fiancé at church in 2014, so he sort of had an idea of what type of person I was. But he also thought that church girls are the biggest freaks! So I had to show him that I was genuine in my relationship with Christ. But I wasted no time in letting him know that I had been celibate since 2009 and I can’t wait to get married to release the beast! [Laughs] It may have come up in a group outing within the first week of us hanging out.
A lot of people assume practicing abstinence doesn’t last long, hence short engagements. What helps in your journey in not being intimate sexually?
Brianna: I think not being intimate sexually gives you the ability to ask a lot of questions and really get to know each other. I really feel like I know Paul well and he knows me to the point where I can’t hide anything from him. The best decision, which helps to stay away from sex, is to stay in public places and be open and honest about how you’re feeling with each other. We definitely know the attraction is there and it will be VERY ENJOYABLE during the proper season once we are married, so we have accountability and do a lot of group outings with our family and friends.
Brianna: In the long run, I think it helps to develop trust and honor. Because we are practicing self-restraint during this season, I don’t have to be worried about extra marital affairs, because we have disciplined ourselves in our foundation. So I can trust that if I’m having a health challenge or we may be away from each other for an extended amount of time, I’m not worried if Paul will be faithful because he has proven himself during dating, as well as our engagement, that he has self-control and restraint.
I don’t feel pressured or guilty in our relationship in doing something that is against my morals, so I have a certain respect and honor for Paul for him valuing me enough to wait until marriage. Lastly, it will provide for some great intimacy because we have a lot of it pinned up! [Laughs]
What were your initial thoughts on Brianna’s decision to practice sexual abstinence? Did you automatically accept it for what it was or did you have a hard time coming to terms with that?
Paul: Yeah…alright. When we didn’t kiss for the first six months, I was like BRUH. But the funny thing was, I could have continued, but Brianna was the one who kissed me! [Laughs] I accepted it because every other relationship was just based on the physical, and I knew I wanted something more.
I desired a Godly woman, and if this is what it took to keep her, I was okay with that decision. And I was really able to open up to Brianna in a way that I had never done with any of my other girlfriends, because instead of sex, we talked and talked and talked… and continue to talk.
Paul: My friends didn’t believe that I could do it or understand how I’m doing it. I let my friends know that I love Brianna enough to respect her decision and not to tempt her. My family is supportive because they are Christians as well.
Do you ever have those moments of wanting to “give in?”
Paul: OF COURSE! But I think of how it would change the dynamics of our relationship and how much I love and respect Brianna.
Do you worry about not being sexually compatible? Should that be a deal breaker in a relationship?
Brianna: I’m definitely not worried about being sexually compatible. I think communication solves everything. You have to tell someone what you like. I know that Paul is a giver and wants to please me in other areas, so this will definitely not be any issue for him. I also know that if God wants me to wait, it will definitely be worth the wait. He doesn’t make any junk and he wants me to have the best in every area, including my sex life. I don’t think it should be a deal breaker, because I believe intimacy and fulfillment can be attained through communication.
Paul: No, I already know we’re sexually compatible. I can see it in her eyes! It shouldn’t be a deal breaker. Communication is key.
Are you practicing celibacy before marriage? Share your story below!