if you’re not abstinent, you’re doing it wrong (a response)

sex_blocksFirst, I strongly advise you to read this post by Matt Walsh, since my post is in response to it.

All done? Here goes…

Needless to say, I am not a fan of this post. I do have to say, to make it perfectly clear, if your choice is to wait until marriage to have sex, well then, that is your choice. I’m not going to berate you or tell you you’re doing things wrong. If you and your partner are happy with this decision, then good for the both of you.

It’s pretty clear that Matt feels that sex should only be associated with love and not only that, committed love. I take great issue when he tells his reader that he’s “doing the RIGHT thing” by saving himself for his future wife. Who is he to say what is right and wrong? If two people choose to have sex before marriage, this is not wrong.

Unfortunately, Matt only sees sex as one thing. Where as the rest of the world knows that sex is many things and it’s different for everyone. What it means to people is as individual as the individual themselves and there is nothing wrong with that.

In regards to the health teacher mentioned in this post, it’s a good example of how terrible sex ed is in the states. Is abstinence unrealistic? No, but let’s face it, teens are having sex and to not educate them is wrong. Sex ed in the states is ….. well …. terrible. Also a topic best left for a different post.

Matt seems to harp on casual sex a lot and from his post, I gather that he thinks any sex that is not with your monogamous spouse that you lost your virginity to, is casual sex. Well, I’m here to tell you, no, it’s not.

Casual sex in my own opinion, is anything from a one night stand, to a no-strings sex partner. It is completely possible to be unmarried and not have casual sex. I was in a committed relationship for 6.5 years and I would hardly call that “casual sex”. He and I never got married, as we grew into mature adults, we drifted apart with our differences.

I’m going to quote Matt Walsh word for word here. This part of his post was striking and made me speechless.

You could ask any married person who slept with other people before meeting their spouse (I wouldn’t recommend actually asking this, I’m just trying to illustrate a point here): are you happy about it? Are you glad that you gave yourself to someone other than the person you now love eternally? If you could go back to those times, would you stop yourself?

Was it worth it?

Really, was it worth it?

Do you wish you could say that your spouse is the only person who has experienced these intimate, sacred moments with you? Are you proud that there are other men or women in the world who have seen this side of you? Are you satisfied that what you give to your spouse is now secondhand?

If they tell you they feel happy or neutral about the fact that they gave themselves to someone other than their spouse, you’re dealing with someone in a very dysfunctional marriage. Any honest person in a healthy relationship would tell you they’d erase those moments from their lives if they could. They can’t, of course. Nobody can. We can’t live in the past and harp on our mistakes, but this all leads to an important point: the myth of “casual sex” persists, even though many of us — millions and millions — have seen it for what it is. Marriage as an institution is in rough shape, but people still do get married in this country. That means millions have had to look at their spouse and say — probably silently in their own heads, deep in their subconscious — “I have nothing new to give to you.”

It’s a tragedy, really. It’s a shame. You deal with it and you move on, but “casual sex” has taken its chunk and you’ll never get it back.

And now let’s dissect this. He advises his reader to not actually ask a married person these questions… well, why not? He seems so certain about the truth, why not ask these people?

I’ll answer these questions… Am I happy about having had sex with other people prior to meeting my husband. Sure, there is nothing I should be unhappy about. I’ve had good  relationships and I have had bad relationships. Have I always been happy about the sex I’ve had? No. Of course not. I’m only human and I’ve made mistakes and bad judgment calls with people. Am I glad I gave myself to someone else instead of the man I married? What kind of a question is this? It’s not a matter of being glad about it, it just is. Could I have picked a better person to lose my virginity to? Sure, I could have. Do I regret it not being with the man I married? No. Would I stop myself from giving up my virginity, so that my husband could have had it? NO.

No, I don’t take anything back. I don’t feel bad that I was unable to give my husband my virginity. Am I proud that other men have had sex with me? Again, what kind of a question is this… slut shaming anyone? Yes, I am proud of who I am today, sex and all.

This one is really rich, so apparently what I gave my husband is “second hand”. Wow. So, having sex makes me an object… a second hand object. There’s more to me than sex, my friend. I had a lot to offer my husband when I said, “I do.” Oh and yes, of course he and I had sex before the “I dos”.

So according to Matt, I am in a dysfunctional marriage because I am not unhappy about the fact that I was not a virgin when I met my husband. If I was an honest person in a healthy relationship, I should want to erase my past. I should feel terrible about it. Well, I don’t. My past, makes me a better person today. My past makes me a better lover to my husband. My past makes me appreciate my husband that much more for who he is and not just what’s between his legs. Just because my husband was not my first, it does not mean “I have nothing new to give him”! Hello! I’m a person here, not just sex.

But here’s the underlying reality, because Matt believes sex should only happen between two virgins once they are married, he doesn’t understand that sex is many different things. Sex is kinky, loving, raw, unattached, committed … it’s unique for everyone and every experience. It’s never the same between two people and that’s beautiful. For some, sex is very important in a happy relationship, for others, it is not. (This is where you run into problems when an asexual person marries a hypersexual person as virgins).

We’re told that we are sexually “liberated” if we throw ourselves at strangers and give ourselves over to people who couldn’t possibly care less about us.

Ah another dose of slut shaming again. By the way, being sexually liberated is not solely defined by running around having sex. Sexual liberation also means being able to talk about sex. Sexual liberation means being open minded and nonjudgmental of how other people are doing it.

But where are the people who regret abstinence and monogamy?

Right here in my home, my husband. You see, my husband was married to his university sweetheart, not me. They remained abstinent till marriage. In fact, they did everything by THE book. They didn’t have sex and they didn’t live together, prior to the wedding. After the joyous occasion, it was off to the honeymoon and a chance to enjoy each other as husband and wife (or is that man and wife?). Only, as he tried to consummate his marriage, his wife pushed him away, saying it hurt too much to go on and for the next three years of his marriage, my husband remained pretty much a virgin, unless you call his attempts at having sex actually having sex. Though I suppose giving his wife oral sex counts as having sex, but she never reciprocated. My husband remained married to his wife for a total of 6 years, making it a total of 10 years of being together. My husband, being a religious person was distraught over this. Here he is, married to his first girlfriend and they are not having sex. He started to feel bad too. He felt not having sex wasn’t a good enough reason to leave. Eventually, the two of them did manage to have sex, he could count on one hand how many times they would have sex in one year. Remember when I said there is a problem when an asexual person marries someone who enjoys having sex? Well, here you have it. My husband, someone who enjoys having sex, married a woman who was happier never to have any. Needless to say, had they not waited till marriage, my husband could have avoided getting married to someone who could not make him completely happy in life. Obviously, they divorced and of course the problems were more than the lack of sex.

Abstinence is not wrong, nether is not being abstinent. If you’re happy to be abstinent, then I am happy for you. Life is short and we should all be happy. It’s honorable to say you will not live with or have sex with someone until you are married. Maybe it works out for you once the happy occasion happens, or maybe you will face a lot of challenges. Chances are, you will face a lot of challenges discovering each others sexual interests and household habits. These challenges will either be easy to overcome, or become unavoidable and keep you from being happy.

Not being abstinent is by far not the guarantee to a happy marriage, but it does eliminate some of the challenges. Living with someone before getting married helps you see if you can be happy living with them and having sex prior to marriage helps you see if you are sexually compatible.

Before I close this post, lets talk about casual sex. As I said before, I think Matt believes that all sex that doesn’t happen between spouses who were previously virgins, is considered casual sex. This in my opinion is not true. I have had 3 long term relationships in my life prior to meeting my husband. One lasted 6.5 years, one lasted just over a year and another just over 2 years. This was not “casual sex” to me. I was in a committed relationship with these people, hoping to see if they were marriage material down the line and all I have to say is, I am so thankful I never married any of these men. Yes, I have had casual sex as well. Some of it, was not a good judgment call on my part, but some of my flings were wonderful and I don’t regret them at all. My one regret in life is not having met my husband till I was 27, not because of sex, but because it would allow me that many more years of life with him if I had met him much sooner. (yeah you can tell I’m in an unhealthy and dysfunctional marriage)

Casual sex can absolutely be a bad thing. Some people use it to mask a deeper issue. Some people trick themselves into believing casual sex is fulfilling, but this runs deeper than just the sex, obviously.

Other people are truly happy to have casual sex and DO find happiness in it. There is nothing wrong with this in my opinion as long as all parties involved are on the same page. The problem comes when someone is mislead to believe that their partner wants more than casual sex like they do, but that comes down to open communication of what two people want in life.

All I’m saying is, if Matt’s reader wants to save himself for his future wife, there is nothing wrong with that and I hope he finds the right woman to marry. Just don’t make those of us who have chosen a different path in life into, second hand sluts.

©Semi-Charmed Life


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