Nothing gives me as much pleasure as holding each other close and feeling each other’s skin when I believe that a man loves me. I’m very affectionate. I love to cuddle. I love to kiss and hug throughout the day when possible. I love to hold hands. I love sex. I want all of these things. But, at this stage of my life, I can only enjoy romantic affection when a man does love me. The kind of love I’m talking about is the kind that lasts. It would be wonderful if romantic affection with a man led to lasting feelings of love for each other and to his wanting to spend the rest of his life with me.
But that’s just not the way things are. The fact is that most marriages and most relationships don’t last. And it’s simply another fact that, when my love relationships ended, my pain was much deeper and, by far, much more long lasting than the man’s was. Mine isn’t a matter of not wanting to take a chance on love for fear of getting hurt. It’s a matter of no longer being able to confuse sex and love. The love I seek is of the mutual, deepest kind; and for me, sex will be an expression of that. I know now, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I can’t attain that love through a sexual dating relationship.
I can attain it only by cultivating a best friendship over very adequate time until we both know that we’re ready and able to commit our whole hearts and our whole futures to each other. I want to marry a man to whom handholding, kissing, caressing and sexual intercourse mean special experiences of mutual, exclusive, faithful, romantic love to be shared with only one person for a lifetime; and I’m waiting until marriage to share these expressions with that man. I want to experience that kind of meaningful sex. I have some old-fashioned values regarding relationships, but I’m very progressive in many ways.
The philosophy I have about waiting until marriage is one that I’ve had on and off since about 1986. The lessons behind my ideas are ones that I’ve learned several times, each time more deeply. Sometimes I’ve rationalized having a sexual relationship without marriage; but, in the end, I always wished that I hadn’t. To give you an idea of how strongly I’ve felt about the advantages of premarital sexual abstinence and friendship first, I’ll mention that, in about 1987, I started The National Chastity Association. I wasn’t seeking to convert anyone.
Instead, the group provided a rather unique opportunity for like-minded singles, especially ones who were motivated by practical rather than religious reasons, to meet one another. It was a type of singles club. My association and I were featured on most of the major television talk shows and written up in most major newspapers across the country. In a matter of months, there was a membership of about six hundred people. I ran the group by myself, and that was long before I learned how to use a computer. I was depressed and lonely during that period and eventually found the work to be too much for me; so I discontinued the organization.
One of the most common responses that I’ve gotten from men about my thoughts is that sex is natural and that it’s an important part of a growing relationship. They’ve pointed out that it goes hand in hand with the growth of feelings and that it’s an important way to get to know each other. I think that sex is natural and beautiful. But no matter how great the short-term benefits may be, that’s all they’re likely to be – short-term. I’m not speaking for all women, but if I were to have sex with a man that I really liked, I’d most likely become quite bonded with him.
Indeed, my feelings for him would deepen with the physical intimacy. And because of that bond, I’d be devastated if and when our relationship ended. That bond has always been much stronger for me than it has been for the man. I’m looking for a man who wouldn’t want to put me at such an unnecessary risk. That kind of genuine caring is worth more to me than all the emotions that exist in a usual love affair. I’m looking forward to having a dynamic experience of getting to know each other that most people have never had or even knew existed.
That occurrence will happen only and precisely because we’re holding off on being physical. I’ve had a taste of the quality of communication involved. I know that it’s possible and that it’s awesome. Another very common response that I’ve gotten to my values is related to the first. Men have expressed a concern that, without having sex or at least a degree of physical affection before marriage, true sexual compatibility might not be there after marriage. Chemistry and sexual compatibility is very important to me. It’ll be crucial for my special friend and I to communicate deeply over time about every concern.
I have no doubt that, without being physically involved, I’ll capable of getting to know intimately and adequately the man for me. I’m looking for a man who’ll be capable of the same with me. Many men have expressed a certain respect for waiting to have sex but not for waiting for things like kissing and holding hands. I know that, for me, kissing or even holding hands will lead to more. However, the most important reason that I need to wait, even to hold hands and to kiss, is that I need a man who wants to express romantic affection to only one person for a lifetime.
Do you remember the old saying, “Will you still respect me in the morning? ” My personal perspective on this is that, knowing what I know, if I have sex before marriage, I’m not respecting myself enough. I’m selling myself short … cheaply. I’m settling for less than I deserve. I can’t expect to get the respect I want from man if I cheapen myself that way. Even if a man were to think that he respected me in a sexual dating relationship, I’d know that there was a deeper respect that he didn’t have, even if wasn’t completely aware of not having it.
As I look around me, I see that most people are alone and feeling at least somewhat frustrated in their desire for someone to love and to be loved by. I know that most people get emotionally and physically involved when they’re virtual strangers to each other. I think that the way that I’ve approached relationships in the past doesn’t really work. I’m not saying that my values are for anyone else. But I’m just not going to do what I now know doesn’t work, and I’m going to do what I have every reason to believe will work, at least for me and for one special man.
I haven’t meant to convey that I think that there aren’t any men who consider it a matter of their own self-care to wait until marriage themselves. Yet I know that such men would be very rare. So, although I’m open to the wonderful possibility, I don’t expect that I’ll necessarily find a man who already holds these ideals as deeply as I do. But I know that I’ll be able to keep exploring a friendship with a man only if, along the way, he learns to respect these values and embrace them utterly, if he hasn’t already learned to do so.