NAS: Let's talk about SEX, bay-bee!

I meeeeean, not all those deets. I am going to safely assume that we all know what sex is, and have a general idea on how it goes down. :)

What we are going to chat about is this: Our culture is obsessed with sex. With anyone! At anytime! If you want to, just do it! But, the Church teaches that sex was created for the context of marriage. Why do you choose to abstain? Why aren't you going around having sex with just anyone? How would you encourage others to do the same? How do you remain strong when everything in our culture is encouraging you to abandon your convictions?

I don't have sex. I haven't had sex. And, I won't be having sex unless I make some wedding vows with my future beloved, God-willing.

There, I said it.

Are you surprised?! Of course not! :)  Annnnnd, didn't we talk about this already?! Well, no. We have talked about chastity (and here)... which includes sex, but is much bigger. Sex can be talked about alll on it's own. :)

There are many people around the world who have chosen to not have sex for a variety of reasons. For me... growing up, I was not tempted. It was never really a struggle for me. I didn't date much. This is not to say that I was living a completely chaste life, or was curious about sex, but I found that it was not as much of a struggle for me as it was my peers, especially in high school.

When I first chose to join the "True Love Waits" campaign when I was in high school, it was because of this: I did not want to get STDs nor did I want to get pregnant.

The smaller outside rings are a recent
addition from my momma!
That's it. Honestly. I saw those things as a huge stress for a teenager. Some first hand, others from stories my mom would tell me of the kids she worked with. Both of those things seemed so daunting to me, that I would never want to tempt them. I loved kids and babies, but I didn't need them right then. Nor did I want to seek medical attention for something that was so easily avoidable.

Even though my Aunt Marie set up this beautiful God-centered ceremony with my parents, grandparents, Godparents and gave me my beautiful ring (that I still wear, and had everyone sign a paper that stated they would all help me live out my choice of not having sex until I was married... I didn't see it as anything more than just choosing to not have sex.

I didn't understand sexuality in the context of faith and God. At that time, I didn't understand God at all in my life. That wouldn't happen until my sophomore year in college.

Once I was in college and started understanding and seeking the answers to those big life questions: what is my purpose? What's the point of life? How did we all get here?  You know the ones.  I found comfort and Truth in the Catholic faith.  And thus, Truth and understanding of our sexuality, as women. As humans. As children of God.

The Theology of the Body is an amazing thing that Saint Pope John Paul II gave to the world. He allowed us to explore the similarities of men and women, on all levels. And you know what, us women are different from men. It's a plain fact. We see the world differently. We love differently. We think differently.  But, God created men and women to compliment one another. "This is why man and woman attract each other sexually and intellectually. When a husband and wife express their love for each other in bodily union, their love finds its deepest sensual expression. Just as God is creative in his love, so too man can be creative in love and give life to children" (Youcat #400).

I am not an expert in TOB nor do I plan on diving in right now... but I am trying to give a little context into why I choose to not have sex. It's more than just avoiding STDs and pregnancies. Sex is serious. Sex is important. Sex is beautiful. Sex is a big flipping deal! I respect it's purpose too much to just have it, just because I want it. It's not about what I want.

It's a gift. A gift of love.

Human love is reflective of divine love. The more a person loves and gives of himself, the more he resembles the love of God. The highest form of self-giving love between a man and a woman is by having sex. When there is sex, but no love a lie results "because the closeness of their bodies does not correspond to the closeness of their hearts.... sex then becomes inhuman; it is degraded to a means of obtaining pleasure and degenerates into a commodity" (Youcat #403).

To be able to share such a special gift adds weight to the seriousness of sex. To the relationship you are in: do I love this person so much that I am doing this for them, or is this only for my own pleasure? Our call to love should be all about the other person and not about you. Not about your wants or desires or pleasures. Our call to love requires a dying to oneself and to sacrifice for the other person. If I am choosing to go around having sex all the time, what is it is about? What is the focus? You and your desires?  Quite possibly. I wouldn't want to take away from the unifying, self-gift that sex is designed to be.

I don't want to do something that jeopardizes the love that I have and will give to my future husband, and that of God.

Ok, Jen, I'm not going around having sex with everyone! I know it's important and I am in a committed relationship. Yes! I am sure you are. And there are so many wonderful people that are in your same boat. What do I say to you? Hmm... I heard Pam Stenzel speak last year and the story of her priest friend counseling couples for marriage really stuck with me. He always asks them if they are having sex and/or living together, if so, he says, "I want you to look at each other and realize that your future spouse has already proven to you that they are comfortable having a relationship with a person outside of marriage." Bam! That is intense, huh? And while you may not agree with that statement, I think it's worth pondering.

Part of the self-giving, unifying love that sex offers is when the two become "one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). That one flesh is the beautiful and amazing gift of a child. It's a natural, normal consequence of having sex. Our culture wants us to think that it's something we can control. We have contraception. Abortions. Fertility treatments that allow us to have babies, basically whenever we want. There is a huge disconnect in our world today that sex = babies. But, only sex when we want it. Babies when we are ready. And more often now, sex isn't even in the equation of baby-making. We have taken the entire thing and turned it around: sex isn't seen as a unifying, complete self-gift anymore, it's just a means of pleasure.  Ideally, when you have sex, you are telling the other person, "I am giving you all of me, including the possibility of having a child with you." If you are having sex outside of the context of marriage, but are not open to having the one thing that can naturally happen when you partake in the fun, you are in an essence not giving yourself completely to the other person. You are holding back part of the entire design of sex and relationships and marriage.

And basically... that's why I am not having sex. Yes, it's true... I don't want to get any STDs or get pregnant right now. But, I also respect the sacredness of sex and it's purposes: to unite with my future husband in the highest expression of love and bear fruit from that amazing love.

Apparently I had a lot more to say about this than I thought. :) And went in a slightly different direction than I was anticipating. Even though I am pretty adamant in what I believe here, please understand that I realize everyone is in a different place in life. I am not in the place to judge anyone who is having sex outside of marriage or using contraception or any of the other situations that don't fall into "not having sex before marriage and being open to life always." This is my perspective on sex and relationships and marriage... one in which I believe brings the fullness of life and love together. These are the reasons I choose to not have sex, and maybe they have resonated with you to take a different look at your life, no matter your state in it! :)

I know I'm no Arleen Spenceley (who undoubtedly has LOTS to say on this topic. Don't believe me?? Check out her website!), but I am passionate about this. How about YOU?  What do you all have to say?? Why do you choose to not have sex? Let us know, and linkup below!

Next Week!
Discernment Challenges
We all agree that discernment is challenging. Figuring out what the Lord is calling you to do with your life can be frustrating and exhausting. But, then add on lack of family support, cultural pressures, and your personal expectations... ugh. And, this isn't just in relation to vocational discernment, but general life discernment, too! How do you keep going? What helps you to push through? How can we encourage one another? What indicators have you experienced that lets you know you're going down the right path?

November (already?!) 4
Still have those deal breakers?
We have chatted about our deal breakers/non-negotiables before, but how do you keep from letting your standards fall? What prevents you from just dating any guy out there? What keeps you going?

November 11
Feeling Down
What ways do you run to implore the Lord's help when you are struggling? Do you always spend time in Adoration? Do you dive into the bible? Automatically go to Confession? Could you be better? And what about those times when things are good and you are joyous? Do you still give the Lord your time?

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  1. First off, thank you for being so frank and open about this. I was never (and am still not) good at talking about my views on chastity. Once I began studying the Catholic faith, I realized that everything is intertwined. If the view on contraception makes sense, then so must the view on chastity. If chastity makes sense, then the view of marriage makes sense. If marriage makes sense, then the views on being open to life makes sense. Etc etc.

    If you look at sex with a secular mind (that it is a primary pleasure), it totally makes sense to have it whenever, however you want. But for me, it just doesn't equate. Our bodies are hardwired to emotionally bond during sex. It makes babies! That is the giant hurdle we humans can't seem to get around. Anyways, the moment I knew sex was for marriage was when I started to understand the church's teaching on contraception. It all just kind of fell into place after that. It either all fits or none of it does. And I'm awfully convinced that it fits. :)

    And yes! It's SO incredibly hard. And it does seem crazy in the modern world! But I promise, it's not.

  2. I don't want to do something that jeopardizes the love that I have and will give to my future husband, and that of God. - this. I always think it. I also love the story by Pam Stezl , it is so true. Love this post!!!

  3. I wear a heart-shaped ring on my left index finger. It has no significance; I got it a craft fair because I like the way it looks and I have trouble finding rings that fit since I have large knuckles and thin fingers. Only a few years ago, I realized it looks a lot like a chastity ring!

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