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Why People Don't Talk About Abstinence

PennyI had a really awkward experience at work just the other day (remember, I've only been working here for a few weeks now). The members of my group were sitting around having some cake because it was someone's birthday. Well, the birthday boy is getting married this summer and some of the guys were giving him a hard time about it, as would be expected.

Then one guy says:

Well, you know the story about the jar and the pennies. If you put a penny in a jar for every time you have sex before getting married and take a penny out each time you have sex after getting married, then you'll never run out of pennies.

Now, I hate it when guys say dumb things like this. Even more so if the guy has gone through a divorce. Talk about not learning from your mistakes.

However, I decide to open my mouth and say "Well, then I don't have any pennies."

Judging by the initial reactions, I think most of the guys thought I was bragging about my sex life, so I felt the need to clarify.

"No, no…I was a virgin when I got married, and so was my wife."

And that's when the awkward silence hit the room. That's right…in a room full of men I dropped the V-Bomb.

Now, to me it's not that big of a deal. I'm very happy with my decision to put off the joy of sex until marriage. I love my wife, and our abstinence was one way that we both used to show our commitment to one another and to the Lord's perfect plan.

However, for most men, virginity is something to be ashamed of. About the age of thirteen I started hearing guys bragging of their "conquests" and the condemning "What do you mean you haven't done it yet?" questionings. For a while, it was like I was being left out of a club, but it was always one that seemed so dirty that I really didn't want in anyway.

With people bragging about how many times they've had sex or how many people they've had sex with, it makes abstaining get look down upon. Heck, even look at last summer's hit movie The 40-year-old Virgin. The implication is that if he hadn't had sex yet, there was something wrong with him. Even the scare of STD's is declining as drug companies are pushing treatments which minimize outbreaks, sending the "I may have an STD from sleeping around, but that doesn't mean I have to stop" message across loud and clear.

But when you flip the script and talk about virginity in a positive light, it will make any person who has had sex feel awkward. To understand that I could have had sex before marriage if I had so desired, but chose not to, is a very foreign idea. Hence, the awkward silence. I'd probably have had more luck starting a conversation on STDs.

Talking about abstinence in a positive light runs counter to everything that most people have learned from society, media, and in some cases, their parents. Is it any surprise that discussions on not having sex dry up so quickly?

Good role models that show the benefits of abstinence need to rise up so that the tides can begin to turn. I'd like to think of myself as one of them, and I'll brave the awkward silences to get that message through. Will you?

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