Sex. Okay, now that I’ve said it (sorry, mom), let’s talk about it. As you all should know, as evidenced by the fact that I have a child, I am not a virgin. As you probably also know, I am a Christian. I know; I’m a hypocrite. Yes, we are all aware; moving on. Fairly recently, I took a new vow of abstinence until marriage. I decided that my words needed to match my actions, and vice versa. I was tired of preaching the Christian lifestyle, but not fully living it. Sure, God had most of my heart, but not all of it; so it was time for a change.
It’s been a little while since I made that new covenant with God and myself. Now, I realize I can never physically regain my virginity, and that’s something I do regret, because I will never be able to give my full self to my future husband. However, I do know that God has forgiven me; for everything I have ever and will ever do wrong. My slate is wiped clean. So in God’s eyes, I am pure. My spirit and soul have been renewed. My mind has been transformed from thinking about the things of the world to solely focusing on Christ and His plan for my life. So, when I say that I have recommitted myself in abstinence, this is what I am talking about. I know that nothing from my past can be undone, but I can start over in the present in order to create a brighter future.
Okay, as I was saying; it’s been a little while since I made my covenant. Since that time, many things have changed in my life. However, the most noticeable transformation has been my self-confidence and esteem. I used to think so lowly of myself. I hated my life. I didn’t really understand why I was alive. I didn’t believe that anyone loved or cared for me. And I didn’t value my body in any way whatsoever. Over the course of this new journey, though, I have gained something I never thought I would have—self-love. I think there are many reasons why abstinence produces this confidence, and I would like to share some of them with you.
First of all, when you are not having sex, you spend a lot less time naked. Abstinence means keeping your clothes on at all times, unless showering or something similar. I noticed that the less I see myself naked, the more I like myself. Think about it. The longer you spend standing in front of the mirror, the more time you have to pick out your flaws and criticize yourself. It’s the same when you are constantly naked. You’re basically forcing yourself to look at your bare body on a regular basis. The more time you spend naked, the more time you have to find every little thing you hate about yourself. When you are abstinent, you don’t notice the stupid little flaws that freak you out when you’re sexually active. Because no one cares. No one else has to see you naked, so it really doesn’t bother you anymore. But when you’re sexually active, you’re constantly stressing over every little imperfection, because you’re worried your partner is going to notice. Keeping your clothes on eliminates a lot of that unnecessary stress.
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that I am much less selfish when I am abstinent. When you’re sexually active, a lot of your life revolves around you (and your partner). You don’t really seem to notice other people anymore because your thoughts are so wrapped up in yourself. I am definitely more aware of the world around me now that I have decided to remain abstinent. There is even a scientific explanation behind this change. Sex releases a bunch of hormones in your body that create feelings of pleasure and happiness. So every time you engage in sexual activities, your body begins to form a dependency on, or an addiction to, sex. It’s like alcohol or cigarettes. You feel like you need it, and if you don’t get it, you find yourself losing focus at work, or becoming irritable with your friends and family. You forget who you are until you can finally get that release you think you need, at which point you finally return to a normal, functioning human being. Abstinence is really hard at first, I won’t lie. You have to essentially break yourself of a very strong addiction and force your mind to think about other things. But once you do, you realize how much more there is to life, and you start living less for yourself and more for others.
I also think my self-love has improved since becoming abstinent because I no longer feel like a tool for someone else’s pleasure. I have regained my self-worth since quitting sex because I am finally my own person again. I don’t feel like I have to look a certain way or act a certain way or be someone I’m not just so I can please another person. I am finally comfortable being me. I am not just some girl who lets herself be used. I’m not another trophy on some guy’s shelf. I’m a valuable woman with morals, boundaries, and standards, and I deserve a man who can respect both me and my body. Abstinence has given me a new sense of value, because I know that my worth comes from God, not from men. I know that Jesus loves me better than anyone else ever could, and that’s all I need.
Abstinence has also inspired a new sense of courage in me. Before I made my new covenant, I was shy, scared, and easy to walk all over. I had a very hard time telling people what I wanted or voicing my opinion, and not just in relationships, but also in life in general. I rarely stood up for myself, and I always made sure to put other people’s desires before my own. I used to think this was just me being kind and benevolent. Then I realized I was being stupid. There is a difference between being nice to people and letting them use you. I have since discovered that it’s okay to say no, to stand up for myself, and to be a strong, assertive woman. I have truly found my voice, and I am using it to speak up for what I believe in for once.
Another reason I am enjoying my life apart from sex is because I have finally figured out how to be single and happy. I used to think that I needed a relationship all the time. I couldn’t just be alone. I was so codependent and needy that I didn’t even know what to do with myself anymore. Thankfully, I have discovered that being single is actually a great thing. I don’t need a man in order to be happy; and that is such a freeing thing. Now, I’m not saying I want to be single forever, but I am saying that if that did happen, I would be okay with it. I now know that relationships are wonderful, but not necessary. I have my priorities straight, and I know that God comes first, then family, then work and relationships and everything else. Before I was abstinent, relationships always took first place in my life. I didn’t spend time with my family. I didn’t care about God. I was so dependent on this other person that my life basically revolved around one single relationship. So unhealthy.
The most important relationships in my life today are with God, my son, and my family. My friends are great, too, of course. But I have also noticed how fickle they can be. Being abstinent definitely hasn’t made me “cool.” A lot of people think it’s weird or even annoying. They don’t like my views or opinions, and they definitely don’t like that I am brave enough to stand up to them when they are doing something wrong. That has lost me a lot of friends; but at least I know I am doing the right thing. And if they don’t like me for it, I don’t need them in my life anyway. Without sex, I am beginning to see what is really important to me. I have made God my number one again. I have transformed the way I treat people and the way I view myself. I am confident in myself, and I know what I believe. To me, this new level of self-respect and self-love is a thousand times better than my old life of lust and depression.
I’m not saying that everyone should just listen to me and become abstinent, because I know plenty of people who definitely disagree with my views. However, whether you believe in God or not, you have to admit: my life without sex sounds a whole lot nicer than the one I had before. And it is. I guess I am sharing this in hopes that maybe my story will encourage others who might be struggling with the same things. Maybe it won’t. But either way, I am finally brave enough to speak up about it; and that’s what really matters.