Is it hard to abstain from sex before marriage when it can feel like popular culture is always encouraging you otherwise? We talk to three women who waited.
Stephanie*, 22, Relationship: Dated husband for four years, married for two, is now divorced.
"I grew up in a pretty conservative family, so losing my virginity before marriage was unthinkable – sex was a big deal.
I romanticised the idea of losing it to ‘the one.’ I know it sounds old-fashioned, but I genuinely believed sex was something shared between a husband and wife. My [upbringing] played a part in this. When I met my now ex-husband, he was equally inexperienced and shared the same values about waiting until after marriage. We agreed that we wouldn’t get too intimate or physical with each other because it would be hard to stop once things got heated, so we never really did more than make out.
We had awkward sex on our wedding night, but I had read that the first time is never good, so I thought it was normal. We kept trying, but we just weren’t compatible in bed. It was extremely frustrating. There was a lot of resentment and we played the blame game about whose fault it was. The rare times that we had sex, I had to picture other men to feign interest, and I think I only orgasmed a handful of times.
I feel the reason we could resist each other when we were dating was because we had no sexual compatibility. I wish I had saved myself a lot of heartbreak. A relationship without the physical is essentially just a good friendship."
Amanda*, 28, Relationship: Dated husband for four years, married for one year.
"I have always been concerned about what people thought about me. When I was in polytechnic, I noticed that the girls who slept around always gained a reputation. I told myself I should only have sex after I got married so people wouldn’t have anything to say about me – which, honestly, isn’t a good reason not to have sex. Peer pressure was a challenge because my friends lost their virginity [before they were] 18.
My husband was my first serious boyfriend, and the only person I considered having sex with before marriage, but we made a pact that we would help each other abstain. I think talking about it is really important because you get a sense of what your partner’s priorities are and what aspects of a relationship are important to them.
When my friends tell me about their one-night stands, I do wonder if I missed out, but I think it’s natural to always question your choices.
Sex with my husband is great, but I don’t have anyone to compare it to so I don’t know how he stacks up against other men. I don’t have any regrets about waiting, but I don’t think it matters much as long as you’re comfortable with the person you’re having sex with."
“We had awkward sex on our wedding night, but I had read that the first time is never good...”
Sheryl*, 25, Relationship: Dated husband for two years, married for six months.
"Waiting was a personal decision; I wanted to make sure the person I committed to loved me for everything I am. If a man truly understands and respects you, he won’t pressure you into having sex. I struggled with being the only virgin in my group, especially because I have some friends who are pretty experienced and made me feel bad for not participating in their [conversations about sex].
My first boyfriend wasn’t a virgin when we met, and he made me feel like I wasn’t fulfilling an obligatory part of my duties as a girlfriend by wanting to wait.
Agreeing to wait until marriage played a huge part in allowing me to fully trust my current partner (and yes, the sex was worth waiting for). Now I know how good sex can be, I almost wish I met my husband and got married younger – kidding! I sound old-fashioned, but I don’t think a relationship needs to be defined by sex – or the lack of it. Waiting for the right person is something you can only do once."
“Now I know how good sex can be, I almost wish I met my husband and got married younger – kidding!”
Waiting vs Playing The Game
The pressure to have sex doesn’t only come from guys; in popular culture, it’s often implied that if you’re not getting laid on the regular, you’re doing something wrong. Known as wait-shaming, it’s just as bad as slut-shaming since whether you want to play the field or the waiting game, the decision should always be yours. Sex is amazing, but only if you do it with someone you’re comfortable with. If you’ve found the right person, you can talk about it and make the decision together. As long as your decisions empower you, then you do you, girl.
Images 123RF.com Text Compiled By Claire Soong. *Name has been changed.