(It’s not a bad thing)
What is abstinence?
The dictionary defines abstinence as self-restraint, self-denial, or forbearance, usually regarding something that is bad for us, such as alcohol or smoking. It can also be defined as self-control. Basically, abstinence is doing without something that you would really like to have but know is not good for you.
Abstinence from sexual intimacy and intercourse has many benefits (See blog: Is Secondary Virginity a Thing?) not the least of which is not having to worry about becoming pregnant or getting a disease that is sexually transmitted or substance abuse used to mask the shame. (See blog: STDs… Sexually Transmitted Diseases).
But isn’t having sex just normal?
Within the boundaries of marriage, yes, sex is a very good thing. It can be pleasurable for both spouses, produce children as a family unit, and help keep a marriage on an even keel. It’s when it’s outside of marriage that we run into trouble: with disease, breakups and discord, heartbreak, loss of self-respect, as well as emotional, social, and spiritual scars.
But what if I enjoy sex?
Many teens find it rushed, awkward, and worse, unromantic. For many teen girls, their first sexual encounter was due to being pressured by their boyfriend. They may even have been told that if they “really loved” him they would have sex with him. Often the next day they feel regret and emptiness, a feeling of being used. In addition, where they used to have fun and go places on dates, now the only thing they do together is have sex. The very best sex is in a committed marriage with someone who loves you and wants the best for you.
What if we’re in love?
You may believe right now that you will never love another, and he’s the only one for you in your lifetime, but while there may be a few women who are married to their first boyfriends, you could probably count them on one hand… and have fingers left over. People grow up and change, both in themselves and in what they want in a partner. In addition, if you start having sex while in your teens you will have much more difficulty in forming and sustaining a stable marriage later. The fact is that statistically the younger you are when you start having sex the more sexual partners you will have over your lifetime.
What if it brings us closer?
Women are hard-wired to feel emotional intimacy to their sexual partners. Men… not so much. So you may be feeling closer to him, but he may not be feeling that intimacy; in fact, it is more probable that he is only feeling happy that his immediate needs have been met. Even worse, when you eventually break up you will be grieving not just for him, but for what you gave away.
But what if we’ve dated a long time?
That’s great that you’ve waited… it’s certainly best to become friends first, building emotional and intellectual intimacy, and really getting to know each other. But the next step should be marriage, with its rewarding closeness and awesome sexual benefits, learning about each other with physical, sexual, and spiritual intimacy. The problem with going straight to sex before marriage is that often the whole marriage step itself is skipped, which can bring some unhappy consequences. (See Blog: Living Together Vs. Marriage) You’ve come this far; continue to the next healthy step.
Oh, please… it’s just not that big a deal!
Really? There are a lot of other people who will tell you differently. In fact, a survey (taken by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy) found that 55% of boys and 72% of girls said that they wished they had waited to have sex. A big reason for their wishing is the consequences suffered, such as a whopping 20 million new cases of STDs in the U.S. each year. (See Blog: STDs-Sexually Transmitted Diseases) There are also nearly a quarter million babies born to teen women each year. The risks of sexual intimacy and sexual intercourse outside of marriage are just not worth it.
Even if you’ve made poor choices in the past you can start today making good ones. (See Blog: Is Secondary Virginity a Thing?)