I have been saving sex for marriage for a long time, and I’ve noticed over the years that when people find this out, there are a series of reactions that take place. Most often they begin with utter shock, transforming into sheer horror, and end in misunderstanding about my choice and the belief that I am very naïve, and I must be brainwashed by my faith or my family.
Today I’d like to debunk some of the myths that surround the idea that saving sex for marriage is some sort of horrible tragedy in my life. Because it isn’t.
Today I’d like to tell you that I am ok, and I am going to continue to be ok. I don’t feel deprived or sad about my choice. I wasn’t manipulated or tricked into my decision. I don’t feel like I am missing out, and I don’t condemn anyone who isn’t in my shoes.
Let’s explain some of the misconceptions:
MYTH #1: Because I’m saving sex for marriage, I think sex is evil.
Dear World, you couldn’t be more wrong. The reason I am saving sex for marriage isn’t because I think it’s evil, it’s because I know it’s holy! And holy things are sacred and beautiful, and meant to be treasured and shared in the proper setting and context. In the case of sex, it’s meant to be shared with my spouse—the person who wants to bring Christ to me and help me grow in holiness. That’s the person who deserves to have all my love in holy sexual intimacy.
MYTH #2: I am missing out.
I’ve been living 27 years without sex, and I’m doing just fine. I don’t feel like am missing out at all, because there is so much more to relationships than sex. When I date a guy, I get to experience him exactly as he is as a person. I get to see him entirely as a child of God, and I get to truly grow in authentic friendship with the person I am with. And that’s what I want in a spouse—a best friend—not just a sexual partner.
MYTH #3: Waiting is easy.
I will never ever tell you that it is easy to wait. It’s not. It’s a struggle. There are times when I have felt that I wasn’t going to make it. I’ve been in holy and not-so-holy relationships. I’ve battled myself and prayed like crazy that I wouldn’t fall into sin. The only way to get through it is through prayer, an understanding of the value of sex, and dignity of the human person. If I didn’t have that, I’d fall like a house of cards. God is my strength. Waiting isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.
MYTH #4: I must not know sex is awesome, or I’d be having it.
I am well aware that sex is awesome, and that’s exactly why I’m not having it! I know that it’s going to be the greatest expression of love between my spouse and I, and that’s why I am waiting! The only person worthy of sharing such an intimate, intense, mind-blowingly awesome experience with me is the person who wants to give their whole life up for me. That person sounds pretty amazing to me, and well worth waiting for.
MYTH #5: Chastity isn’t for everyone.
This couldn’t be further from the truth—chastity is for every single person on the planet! It doesn’t matter if you’ve tried and failed at living a chaste life or if you’ve been successful your entire life at being chaste. It is for everyone, no matter what your state in life. You can always get back up and try again if you fail!
Chastity is for anyone who wants an authentic experience of love. It’s for anyone who recognizes that there is more to this life than sex. It’s for anyone who sees their own value, dignity, and worth, and wants to preserve that for the right moment—after their wedding vows. It’s not for the few and far between. It’s not for the brave and strong of heart only. It’s for everyone.
MYTH #6: I think people who’ve had sex are terrible people.
I don’t promote chastity to condemn anyone. Each person has dignity and value, regardless of his or her sexual behavior. I don’t promote chastity to tear others down—I promote it to elevate and uplift the human person. I promote chastity because I see the beauty of it, and I want to live out that beauty myself, and I want everyone else to have the same privilege. I want to encourage those who want to join me on this journey, whether they are in the same place as I am or not. It’s a hard road. It’s a long and difficult path to follow, and having support is key. If we don’t have that, the world will discourage us in a second. No matter who you are, or where you’ve been, you’re still worth waiting for.
Don’t let the lies get you down. Living a chaste life can be difficult, but like most difficult things in life, it’s worth it. We’ll come out on the other end better and stronger for it, but only if we see the beauty of it, and we live it out because of that, and not in spite of it.
I’m praying for you.
Ashley Ackerman is first and foremost a daughter of God, and after that she works for His glory as a high school religion teacher, campus minster, speaker, and blogger. She is a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, where she earned her master’s degree in Theology. You can read more of Ashley’s blog posts by visiting her personal blog, “A Heart Made for Grace” where she shares her musings on all things Catholic.