My husband and I waited until we were married to have sex. I will be the first to tell you, it was not easy. Thomas and I were a couple for almost five years before we tied the knot, and I knew enough just from being his girlfriend to be sure that I wanted all of him—his mind, his soul, and his body. I loved the way he played with his hair when he was tired; I loved the way he smelled; I loved how incredibly safe I always felt when he was with me.
We knew that sex would inevitably complicate our relationship, though, and our dating relationship was already complicated enough as it was. Thomas and I started out with some pretty big obstacles that needed to be worked through before we could make any lifelong commitments, and it was clear that it was going to take a lot of hard work, tough conversations, and time. So we chose to take sex out of the equation.
That decision didn’t always make sense to our friends, however.
Thomas and I both lived at college when we started dating, and there are definitely certain expectations about hooking up on college campuses. Many of our friends were open about the fact that they were having sex, either casually or within relationships, and sometimes the fact that Thomas and I were not having sex seemed like a bigger deal to them than it was to us:
–“That’s so old school. No one believes in that any more.”
–“You have no idea what you are missing out on.”
–“Is something wrong with your relationship?”
–“I give you six weeks before you change your mind.”
–“You just need to get some action, man.”
I know that our friends weren’t meaning to be hurtful with their comments, but it was embarrassing and frustrating to have our sex life (or lack there of) constantly open to public scrutiny. So we stopped bringing it up altogether.
Thomas and I agreed to let other people just assume whatever they wanted about our relationship. What was or was not happening in our bedrooms was truly no one else’s business, and if people jumped to the conclusion that we were having sex because we were dating, that wasn’t our problem. If one of my roommates noticed that Thomas had spent the night at our house, I wouldn’t go out of my way to inform her that he had actually slept on the couch.
Eventually, however, Thomas and I started to feel incredibly isolated in our relationship. We knew that waiting for sex was the best choice for us as individuals and as a couple, but it was so hard to keep saying no when everyone else around us seemed to be saying yes, yes, yes!
Even among our friends who shared our beliefs about waiting for sex, it felt like no one really understood what we were going through. The obvious solution to many of those friends was for us to just get married right away. In fact, we have multiple friends who met, got engaged, got married, and had a baby in the time that Thomas and I were still dating. There is nothing wrong with that, but Thomas and I knew it still wasn’t the right time for us to get married. So we kept pushing forward with our relationship for years while unfortunately continuing to feel more and more alone.
I remember one day complaining to Thomas that we barely knew any other couples who had seriously dated for more than a year without either getting married or moving in together. I wished that it was easier to find others that were like us: long-term dating couples that didn’t live together and were pursuing relationships that—at least for the time being—didn’t include sex. We needed support to stay true to our commitments, but it was difficult to find.
That’s when it hit me: If Thomas and I were not willing to share with anyone else that we were choosing to hold off on sex, how could I fault any other couple for not talking about the same issue with us? Thomas and I realized that we needed to be more honest with our friends when the conversations turned to our alleged sex life, even if it meant answering some unwelcome questions from time to time.
Although it was very challenging at times, I am glad that Thomas and I waited until we were ready to get married and waited until we were married to have sex. It was especially difficult in college when we felt like we were the only people making those decisions, but by sharing our story, I hope that other couples in Thomas’s and my situation will feel at least a little less alone. Being married now (finally!) is awesome, and I can assure you from the other side that sex is great and most definitely worth waiting for.