It’s a rather odd and unnatural objective, I admit, abstaining from sex as a modern day single female, with the goal of saving it for marriage.
Particularly in a day when majority marry later, girls bloom earlier and the social norms of a dating culture (non-existent as it may be) no longer really caters to this idea of relationship ideals, at least not in any conventional sense of the word.
For most any single female, with a solid understanding as to why you don’t engage frivolous make out sessions each time the opportunity presents itself, your single years can present, frankly, a climate of unclarity and confusion you simply weren’t prepared for.
If you’ve embraced this value, on any level, you know what I mean. Maybe you’re a virgin. Maybe not. Either way, your decision to embrace this idea that sex is created to take place within a marriage, may at times appear prudish. You’re the girl labeled uptight for being too good (too proper, too well-behaved, too morally-composed) to appreciate half the jokes in Master of None. It’s often assumed, when you’re a conservative single female, you’re eager for nothing more than a shiny ring, an elaborate wedding and a pretty place to play house; all good girls care about are the romantic happily ever afters in the form of some kind of glorified desperate housewife scenario.
The traditional picture had long been painted to me as such: boy meets girl, then comes baby, and a family life soon in full swing, dwindles whatever of a woman's sexual drive had existed to make babies, prompting her to tell all her single friends, “It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.”
The general thought has long been that while men struggle to steer their sexual fantasies, women battle their romantic sensibilities. While males have a sexual drive, females are simply emotionally-wired. That men just want sex, and women want some cinematic, romanticized version of it.
But maybe my traditional concept of gender roles was highly old-fashioned. I grew up in a pentecostal church (think charismatic christian, sans the snakes and interpretive dance and blow horns. Ok - maybe some interpretive dance.)
Sex was always taboo, a big no, no. And simultaneously a central focus for young singles in the church, it was directly addressed, yet completely avoided. Almost as if the Nike motto in reverse: Just don’t do it.
My teen year were likely the most marketable time to be a virgin. True Love Waits, an international Christian group promoting sexual abstinence, birthed from the Baptist church in the late 1990’s and quickly became a widely embraced abstinence slogan by the Assemblies of God and Catholic church alike. Along with purity rings and Christian hit singles like DC Talk’s I Don’t Want It, while sex was taboo in the church it remained a topic of high intrigue and a top-seller in bookstores.
Churches have long addressed sex geared to gender-exclusive talks for frustrated boys, accountability groups for the red-blooded sexually-driven male, and of course the annual sermon series on the importance of sex for a healthy marriage, while us single folk sit there, twiddling our thumbs, acknowledging our lackluster level of optimal health.
If you’ve been raised with the slightest similar concept of traditional gender roles, and have found singleness to be a longer journey than you could’ve anticipated you probably feel about as prepared to navigate your sexuality and this season of singleness as you do to manually compile your annual taxes or start a bonfire out of sticks in a secluded neck of the woods.
For all boys and men a drive for sex is identified as completely normal, healthy and expected. For females, it's often totaled up to be daddy-issues or a promiscuous fixation in search for a deeper identity. And, maybe it is.
Or, maybe, for the majority of us, it’s just plain normal.