When chastity gets messy

I never thought having premarital sex was okay. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, heard chastity talks, pledged my virginity to God and my future spouse on several occasions, and was a leader in a chastity club. I went on a chastity trip with my mom and two aunts on my 16th birthday. I am the poster child for “it was not supposed to happen to me.”

I wanted nothing more than to marry my boyfriend of two years. Although he did not share my beliefs, he knew how firmly I believed in saving sex for marriage. He was not ready to get married, so I did something I was not ready to do as a compromise—or because I loved him, or because I was tired of fighting the good fight, or because I just wanted to have sex. I will never forget after we slept together the first time. He immediately said it was the best day of his life. I immediately cried because it was the worst day of mine. We continued to date and struggle with chastity for three more long years. After all, the battle only gets harder once you’ve crossed the line. Eventually, we broke up for good.

Now this is usually the part of a chastity story where a magic moment happens, the writer turns their life around and lives chastipply (chastely+happily) ever after. There was no magic moment, no one person, event, or any one day that my life turned around. It was, and is, a long battle. I still fall, I still kiss boys I should not kiss, and I still do not always date the right guys. I am still a sinner and always will be.

With each new fall it is easy to give up and stop fighting. After all, society tells me that claiming to want chastity and still making mistakes makes me a hypocrite. For me, chastity is a daily battle. Here is what I have learned along the way.

1.       I need to date a guy who shares my beliefs. Several guys have told me that they don’t mind not having sex until marriage. But that’s not enough. It’s not enough to find a guy who is willing to abstain if I require it of him. I know I’ll probably fall unless he wants chastity as much as I do.

2.       I wasted a fair amount of time looking back and asking “why oh why did I mess up so badly when I knew better?” Although I did learn some things about myself and got to use all of my company-offered free counseling sessions, chastity really came down to the basics: Chastity is about love, and not expressing physical union until that union exists in reality (marriage). It’s about sacrificing momentary pleasure now so that I can more freely give of myself in a lifelong commitment of love.

3.       Pick good friends! I have found that the best way to find joy in my singleness is to have as many awesome Catholic girlfriends as possible. I am lucky enough to have five accountability partners who I adore and admire, not just because they are also trying to practice chastity, but because they have amazing careers, passions, and a sense of adventure.

4.       It is ok to have guy friends. Also, if you remain pure with a boyfriend, it’s much easier to be friends after the breakup.

5.       LIFE IS ABOUT MORE THAN SEX!!!!   Focus on the million other things and keep your mind, body and soul focused on healthier outlets. My dream was to learn to sail. I did it.

Bottom line…do the best you can every day. Repent and confess when you fall but DON’T GIVE UP! It is never too late to start again.

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