by Thao Nguyen
Sex. We choose when, where, and whom to engage in it with. We are taught from a young age to value our sexuality, but also that we are free to do with it what we want. As my good friend puts it, “We live in a time where [we] are encouraged to do as [we] wish with [our] bodies, actions, and lives in general. We are so busy filling our lives with short-term pleasure, that we sell ourselves short when it comes to long-term satisfaction.” And selling myself short is exactly why I choose to abstain from sex until I get married. Before I get any further, I want to make it clear that I'm not here to tell you that you should or shouldn't do one thing or the other; ultimately, the choice is yours. But what I do want to say is that there are many good reasons to consider abstinence; these are mine.
Premarital sex has become totally normal in our society; so much so that when celebrities make it public that they have chosen celibacy, it’s considered shocking and groundbreaking. Yet I’ve never believed that there was anything irregular about my choice to stay a virgin until I get married. Yes, it isn’t what my fellow peers practice, yes, it’s gotten me accused of being a prude and a religious freak, and yes it makes dating very difficult. But I choose to see it as a gift to myself and to my future husband more than I see it as being counter-cultural.
Sure, my future husband will receive my body when that day (or should I say night) comes, but what I receive is peace of mind. I’m an anxious person with major trust issues. And my virginity is exceptionally important to me. It’s a big deal to me to have sex with someone, and I don’t want it to be tied to any distrust or unnecessary anxiety. To me, waiting for marriage means I won’t have to worry about being used for my body, it means I don’t have to worry that the man doesn’t love me for me, and it means I don’t have to worry about the future of the relationship. I will know that the person I am with loves me unconditionally and has made the ultimate commitment to me. When that time rolls around, sex won’t just be about physical pleasure, it’ll be about a mutual expression of love and complete commitment to each other.
“But Thao,” you might be saying, “what if you meet someone and fall in love and know that you will get married eventually?” The problem is that there really is no guarantee. Until we have both said our vows (in front of a priest), there's always the time and the option to walk away from each other. More than that, I want to be able to be with my husband and let him know that I waited for him. And that is my gift to him. I chose to love this future man enough that I am willing to wait no matter who else will come into my life between now and then. Some may claim that that isn’t feminist of me, to save my virginity for a man who I have (probably) not even met yet. Yet I don’t think there’s anything more empowering than to make my choice and stand by it, no matter what the rest of the world may say about me.
To me, love is about sacrifice. And this is the sacrifice I am choosing to make. To say no to the ways of the world, and stand proud by what I believe sex should be about. And that is how I choose to avoid selling myself short. Because this choice isn’t just about loving my future husband; it’s about choosing to have sex only with someone I love more than I love myself. Because I know for me, that is the only way I can treat their body and sexuality with the dignity they deserve. To me, sex isn’t just significant, it is also selfless - it expresses to the other person that I love them to the point that I am willing to be completely open and vulnerable to them. And that is something worth waiting for.