I Wasn’t A Virgin. Here’s Why I Decided To Wait Until Marriage to Have Sex Again.

I chose to lose my virginity on the night of my high school graduation. The cheesy teen-movie element of that fact is almost too embarrassing to bear, but it’s the truth.

As I’ve written previously, my relationship with my high school boyfriend was a tumultuous one, and sleeping together seemed like the only way I could keep him. I was wrong, and when he left a few months later, I had more heartache than I could have ever imagined.

Rebounding into a new relationship seemed like the best way to move on (it wasn’t until later that I realized what I needed was more counseling), so I settled in with a new boyfriend after only a few months. This guy was in many ways the opposite of my first love, and we got serious really fast. I remember the first time we talked about having sex; he told me that he wanted to marry me some day but that we were still too young. At least he can see us getting married in the future, I thought to myself. The first guy wouldn’t have considered making any commitments like that to me.

We did sleep together, and we broke up a year later. But if I’m honest, I didn’t have sex with him because I thought it would lead to marriage. I had sex with him because it seemed like it didn’t really matter anymore since I’d already lost my virginity. I don’t think I’m the only person to think that way. When I talk with or observe my friends and peers, they seem to share the same attitude. Losing your virginity is a really big deal, and then after that it seems like sex isn’t really that sacred anymore.

I used to feel like there was no reason to maintain physical boundaries in a new relationship because I hadn’t kept them in a past one. But the truth is, it did matter. Because every time those relationships ended I felt less and less whole. Every time I lost someone with whom I had shared the deepest parts of myself, I felt even more rejected, self-doubting, and lonelier than I had before. Recovering emotionally from that repeated sense of loss was a long, painful process for me.

I thought I could fill that hole with a new relationship, but each breakup was only making that hole bigger. Eventually I got so tired of the cycle that I decided not to date at all for at least a year. I took time to learn more about who I was independent of a romantic relationship. I cultivated friendships, journaled, got counseling, spent time with my family, and got involved in a faith community. Slowly I began to feel like myself again as all the heartbreak had time to heal.

I came to terms with the fact that though I once thought sex was an expression of my love for and devotion to the other person, it was actually pretty empty without a lifetime commitment. Essentially I was only expressing affection until it was no longer convenient or comfortable (at which point we would break up). I realized that that is a far cry from the true commitment—the commitment I saw in marriage—that I really craved. After a lot of self-reflection, I realized that I had used sex as a way to feel valued and important. Moving forward, I knew I didn’t want to do that anymore. I needed to know that I was more than what I could offer men sexually. I needed to believe in my value as the smart, kind, and capable individual I was working to become.

By the time I started dating my husband Eric, it had been three years since I had been in a romantic relationship. I was proud of the wholeness and healing I had worked for. We both believed sex involves sharing yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually with the other person. He had never slept with someone, but I had experienced firsthand the loss that comes with giving my body to a person who hadn’t made any promises to keep me in his life. We agreed together to wait until after we married, to wait until we had made a lifelong commitment to each other. Even though I was no longer a virgin, waiting was important to me because I realized sex was a big deal. And I wasn’t willing to give me up to “keep” a guy. I guess you could say I lost my virginity but found myself.

Shannon

Shannon is a wife and mother of two boys who spends her time hosing mud off children, scrubbing sticky furniture, and rushing to the ER to have nails extracted from small intestines. Shannon lives in Iowa and blogs at We, A Great Parade (http://www.agreatparade.com/).She is part of I Believe in Love because she believes in the beauty of humanity.
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