Just because I want to have sex doesn’t mean I’m going to

Prodigal Daughter – Meredith Gillis (Cara Smith/AQ)

Last week, The Aquinian published an article titled ‘Girls just wanna have sex’. On my first read through, I jumped to a lot of conclusions about what it was saying. On my second and third reads, I was able to remove my shock and disagreement with the headline from what the article said.

I agree with a lot of it, including the bit about the playing field leveling out in some ways.

Like the girl interviewed for the article, I went to Catholic school. And, like her, in the five years since I graduated high school I’ve gone to both extremes, both in terms of my sex life and in how I felt about it in my faith.

Talking about chastity isn’t easy, especially when I’m not willing to present an argument for it based on “because God/the Church/the Bible says so.”

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t hard. Not having sex is difficult when most of the people around you are having some form of it. It’s especially difficult when you enjoy being in the bar scene on weekends, and when you have the stressful kind of week an endorphin induced coma would make easier to cope with.

In the long run though, I think not having sex is a better decision.

For myself, I think of it in terms of motherhood. Sometimes sex results in babies. If I decide I’m mature enough to have sex, I’m also deciding I’m mature enough to be a potentially single parent.

Condoms break, and the pill is less effective if you don’t take it at the same time every day, or if it gets mixed with alcohol or antibiotics. (I have a litany of reasons for hating the pill, but that’s for another time.)

Over the years I’ve learned to recognize the difference between having sex because I want to escape my life or because I want to feel something; and having sex because I love the person I’m with.

Beyond motherhood and the reasons why I would choose to have sex, my biggest reason for trying to choose abstinence is my relationship with God.

It’s not a Catholic guilt thing; it’s a trust thing. Do I trust God enough to be chaste until I’m gifted with a husband? Do I trust God to cross my path with a man who will love me for the person I am today and the person I’m trying to be, rather than the person I have been?

What bothered me about last week’s article was the feeling that people don’t take sex seriously anymore. It’s a big decision, and not one that can be undone.

When you’re having sex for the wrong reasons it really hurts. In my experience, that hurt is nothing compared to the agony of ending a relationship with someone you love when you’ve shared your sexuality with them. No matter what Tennyson says, I think it’s important to protect yourself from making a break-up more difficult and getting in to those ‘it’s complicated’ situations.

And to the virgins out there, sex is a lot easier to live without when you’ve never had it.

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