Is chastity in college possible?
In a society that equates masculinity to number of sexual partners, I felt that I would be labeled as less of a man if I admitted that I was a virgin. Despite my anxiety, I still felt that saving sex for marriage was the right thing to do. I had learned about the virtue of chastity through the years, but deep down I still felt the tug from society to succumb to premarital sex and it reached a boiling point during my time in college.
I arrived at college in 2008. It was the first time that I had been confronted by promiscuity on a daily basis. My very first weekend at college, I realized that the main reason many guys went to parties was simply to “hook up” with a girl. While at one house party, I can remember a friend urging me: “Go talk to her,” pointing at a girl, “you probably wouldn’t have to work too hard to get her in your bed tonight.” I laughed, and tried to act cool but in my head I was thinking: “I don’t even know her name! I’m not going to kiss her let alone try to get her in my bed.” And this wasn’t an isolated incident… this routine played out frequently during my first couple years of college. The thing was, no matter how many girls I talked to or danced with, I just couldn’t shake the pit in my stomach whenever I thought about pushing it further. So I would go to a party, hang out with my friends, maybe dance with a girl, and then I would go home. Alone.
My friends probably thought I had no “game” but early on I realized that what I was searching for could not be found at a party. I wanted to find a woman who I could share my whole life with, not just my body. I didn’t want to live out Hollywood’s version of the male fantasy of endless no-strings-attached sex; I wanted to be the knight in shining armor.
And so I struggled through the clash of culture and conscience. I searched for women who could see through the lie of hook ups and one night stands—but it was difficult to find and tempting to ignore. I was starting to question whether I was wrong, whether the ideals I had in my head were even possible in today’s world. Maybe I was just as naïve as society painted those who pursue chastity?
Finally at the end of my junior year I met Jennifer, the woman who would eventually become my wife. From the moment I met her I knew there was something different about her. We were truly committed to chastity and we were in it together. As with most things in life, it was much easier for us to handle this challenge with a teammate who had the same goal.
Many of my friends still thought it was odd that Jennifer and I had never had sex after dating for three years. We had learned to express our love in other ways. I sent her hand written letters, brought her flowers for no special occasion, and planned dates that didn’t have any expectations attached. She knew that when I performed random acts of kindness I wasn’t doing it because I wanted to get her in bed, but because I loved her and simply wanted to make her happy.
Physical temptation will always exist whether you are single or married, but it takes a courageous man to save sex for marriage. Giving in to every sexual desire will leave you hungry for something deeper and more substantial. I have heard it from friends. One of my best friends once told me: “after I have sex with a girl, I feel dirty and when I go home that night. I feel something tugging on me that there is something more out there.” If you take charge of your desires and learn to channel them, you will end up with something beautiful, something that humans crave—true love.
Jennifer and I got married at the end of June 2014. I was glad that I could give myself freely, openly, without shame or memories of past experiences, and that we waited for the sacrament of matrimony to make us one. As we fell asleep on our wedding night Jennifer whispered in my ear “thank you for waiting for me.” Hearing those six words were worth more than any pleasure that the world could offer.
Jeff Swierzbinski attended the University of Delaware and graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Political Science as well as Sociology. He is an active duty Army Officer stationed at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina where he lives with his wife, Jennifer.