“I’m Worth It”: Why You Don’t Have To Have Sex In A Dating Relationship

Elizabeth and Darren during their engagement.
Elizabeth and Darren during their engagement.

My husband Darren and I waited to have sex until we were married. In fact, we even waited until we were engaged to kiss (but that is a different story).

When my husband Darren and I were dating, his actions proved to me that he thought highly of me and valued me as a person. He was respectful of my boundaries and even put some in place himself. He listened to me and was patient with me. He liked me for me–not because I was a female he desired only for sex.

Sex is a basic human desire. And it’s a good and beautiful thing! We are all programmed with the ability and desire to have sex. So why be countercultural and wait?

Because you (and I) are worth it!

I recently heard the song “Worth it” by Fifth Harmony. But the band isn’t singing about the “worth it” I’m talking about. The song is supposed to be empowering for women with its feminist themes, but it made me very sad. Rather than elevating the worth of women, it continues to celebrate the idea that a woman’s worth is based on her sex appeal. In the music video, the singers, dressed as businesswomen on Wall Street, dominate the male assistants and sing suggestively: “Give it to me, I’m worth it, Baby I’m worth it, Uh huh I’m worth it, Gimme gimme I’m worth it.” The rest of the (rather graphic) lyrics make it clear that the song, at least on one level, is about sex.

I’d argue that every person is worth much more than this song suggests. Sex–whether you’ve had it or not–does not define your worth. Furthermore, the sex described in this song does not demand any sort of commitment or consequence. The worth described has little to no value in the currency of relationships. Lastly, it seems backwards to have to convince someone that you are worth his time. That is not something you should have to convince someone of–he should treat you with dignity and respect regardless.

Cheap sex with no strings attached can be thrilling in the moment–but the high doesn’t last and it often leaves a person feeling worse than before. As Brittany wrote in an article here,

“When I was having sex, I would have a small sense of being love and wanted – two feelings that I craved. To make a guy want me – I thought that was the power of a woman. But as soon as the guy was gone I only felt empty and disgusted with myself for not being stronger. Even though I felt horrible, I still craved that attention, and somehow it made me want it all the more. I told myself that I wanted to be able to have sex like a man, to not think of it as something emotional and about love, but to just enjoy it in the moment. But deep down I knew I was looking for love. I thought that somehow I’d find it through sex.”

You are worth more than “just sex.” You are worthy of real love. Even if you are not married and have already had sex, you still have a chance to ask your significant other to prove to you that he or she sees your true worth by abstaining from sex from now until you are married.

Think about it: you automatically value something you have worked hard to earn. I remember treasuring the clothes that I picked out and purchased for myself as a child or the small souvenirs I bought on vacation with my “vacation money.”  Similarly, waiting for sex until you have committed to marriage demonstrates the high value you place on the other person as a person (and not just for their body).

In other words, waiting for sex until you’ve made a lifelong commitment is a way to show that you don’t just lust after a person, but that you really love the person. In my perfect world, the Fifth Harmony lyrics would be more along the lines of “Marry me, I’m worth it!”

Darren and I knew the value of waiting. We got to know each other in different ways in order to make sound judgments about each other without the interference of our hormones. It helped strengthen our relationship and prepared us for marriage because we had to learn to show love and communicate in other ways. When we did marry, sex was a treasure we both were able to fully enjoy in the protective boundaries of commitment. I never had to convince Darren that I was worth it. He had already proven to me that I was.


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