Being a person who is naturally confident and very open about my lack of sexual experiences, I tend to have a lot of conversations about sex. Despite this, it does suck to be in my twenties and still find myself completely unable to relate to eight out of ten conversations unfolding at Happy Hour at any given time. It's like sky diving… you may know every scientific detail and have asked all your friends what it was like. Yet, it is not until you climb into a plane, get 13,000 feet in the air and use every ounce of will-power to jump, will you know how incredible the thrill of the fall is. Sex is (can be) thrilling and amazing. Yet, I’ve never “done the deed”, nor have I kissed a guy in five years. Why???? Was it lack of offers? No. Am I unattractive? I don’t believe so, but you stalk my Instagram (@rileysewell… shameless plug) and judge for yourself. Is it for reasons of faith? Yes and no, let me explain.
On a side note: I believe in no sex before love… (it just so happens I think waiting until marriage is an amazing sign of love).
Through the waiting, I am building the muscle of self-control. It’s more than not having sex. It’s not watching porn. It’s avoiding masturbating. It’s not getting in a bed with a guy who makes my heart skip a beat (the struggle is real yo… I live in Los Angeles which has an over-supply of alluring men). It’s not over-drinking at a dark, loud party. It’s keeping my dance moves PG even though I know my natural tendencies are R-18. (FYI- at a party, with my famous DJ friends we convinced a group of two hundred people that I am Shakira by flicking my blonde curly hair and moving my hips… they believed me and lined up for autographs). It’s allowing the voice of wisdom to get louder in my head than the growls of the inner lioness within me. The lioness I’ll unleash on my wedding night. But until then, this lioness has to act like a kitty.
You see, I don’t focus on the waiting. If I did it would be like trying to stare at the sun, only to realize the day has passed me by. If I idolize the wedding night, then I miss enjoying the journey. Through the wait, I truly believe I’ve gained more than I’ve lost (although I have not gained an STD, Mom, you can relax!). Yes, my body cries out for “crazy, push you against the wall of the shower” sex. But my character has been strengthened. I’ve learnt not only self-control, but discipline, wisdom and how to gracefully say no. And I also happen to believe that if something doesn’t cost you much, it will not be appreciated much either.
I wait because I know my why. Like a caterpillar waiting to emerge as a butterfly, knowing the why helps whilst growing in the cocoon. I don’t dwell on the rule, I focus on the reasons. Too often we ask ourselves… “How far is too far?” or, "If I’m saving sex for marriage, can I have oral sex?", or "How much kissing is too much kissing?”, “Can I sleep in the same bed with someone?", "What if our clothes are on?" Instead, I ask “Why am I doing this?” The wrong questions can point you in the wrong direction.
The blood, sweat and tears (literally) will be worth the love in the honeymoon sweep. Call me old-school, but I think the most beautiful gift I can give my future husband is the cumulative sum of sacrifices I made to keep my body, mind and soul pure. The touch of one man is worth the untouches of hundreds of men I had to shake my head and walk away from. I also know the value of the love I have to give. And I would rather choose the quality of one human over the quantity of many. I might be currently completing my Master’s in Global Leadership, but I think I’ve gained my PhD in Saying No. When I finally do say yes, you know it’s going to be the best sex I ever had. You know why? I ain’t got nothing to compare it to! (Come on, you saw that one coming, right!)
As some of you may know, addictions can be inherited through genetics. Personally, sexual addiction has also been passed down for generations in my family. It has been used as an unhealthy compulsive behavior and commodification resulting in the degeneration of intimacy. So, I’ve decided to swing the pendulum to the other extreme. Like the child of a drunkard who swears off even a drop of alcohol. I’ve seen the dark side of sex, the poison it can be to a relationship, slowly killing away the health of love. It’s like making wine; if you pick the grapes too early off the vine, the wine is bound to taste terrible. But if you wait for the right moment, you can get a flavoursome bottle that gets better with age. I don’t want sour, I want sweet. And I’m willing to wait for it and avoid tasters along the way (can you tell I’m currently drinking a glass of cabernet with all these wine analogies?)
Imagine you are stranded on a tropical island. Your supply of water and food is rapidly diminishing. But you find a boat and kayak hidden in a forest that you could possibly use to get to the mainland. The boat has a 95% chance of success, but the probability of making it to safety with the kayak is less than 50%. With these odds, it forces you to think carefully about the decisions you are about to make, knowing your life depends on it. But what are the odds when it comes to sex? Science shows that my odds of heartbreak are lower if I wait. On average, less than 5% of relationships between couples who wait until they are married before having sex result in divorce. Compare that to the stats that came out of the National Survey of Family Growth which found that 40-50% of U.S. marriages end in divorce. Like poker, I would rather fold now for several rounds before going all-in when I know I’m going to win on the game of love.
Finally, you can find my why amidst the heart of God. The same God who created the universe must have a good reason to ask us to wait until we are past the start line of marriage. Yes, my faith is the reason I don’t have sex before marriage. But out of my faith, many other lessons and discoveries have come. Whether you are Christian or not, hear me out.
Being a virgin can make a person stand out, similar to a wildflower in a field of roses. In a world that is slowly becoming accustomed to the instant gratification, experts caution that this comes at a price: it’s making us less patient. In other words, our culture today says not to wait. If you do, you can show the world you are unique, fearless and unafraid to be yourself, like a salmon fish swimming upstream! I’m waiting to have sex, not just because the Bible tells me so, but because this is also my testament to the world of how important my faith is to me, and how sincerely I try to pursue it.
Imagine you’re with your friends playing a game of cards. Your mate, Jimmy lays down an Ace. An almost-undefeatable card. He’s about to confidently pick up the winnings. When suddenly you slam down a joker like an absolute baller. My virginity is my joker. Not a lot of people can lie it down. There’re only two jokers in a set of 54 cards. That’s 3%. There are 3% of people who are over the age of 18 and still a virgin. I am one of the 3% (and maybe you are too?).
I love myself enough to be okay with being alone until the right person comes along. And then hold out until the wedding night with that person. I guess I'm an outlier with a joker in her pocket, holding out for "friends with better benefits". Variation of a common saying is… abstinence makes the heart grow fonder. While I wait, I choose to pump love into my own heart, like a balloon. I’ll let this season of waiting be a chance to love on the woman who looks back at me in the mirror. I know I'm more than enough, and so are you.
Until then, join me on this journey.
But what if you've had sex? Well, don't worry, the next journal is for you. To be released 14 March, 2019
Journal of a Virgin