“Marriage is the death of sex.” A (never-married) friend announced when she found out my plan to be celibate until marriage. I was engaged at the time and she was horrified at the thought of me marrying a man I hadn’t bedded. The problem was that in order to scare me, she first had to assume that my (albeit, limited) sexual experience in the past had been enjoyable.
I found that being in a sexual relationship meant living in fear of accidental pregnancy, possible STDs, debilitating guilt and a rollercoaster of emotions I didn’t even realize were so deep until separation would painfully pull them to the surface. I found casual sex to be a wicked oxymoron and the friends with benefits thing to be better fit for movie scripts.
One day out of nowhere, like unexpectedly catching a glimpse of myself while passing a reflective surface, I saw a side of me that I found repulsive. I saw a girl who had a guy calling her phone for sex but wouldn’t consider calling her his girlfriend. I saw a girl who became so inexplicably attached to a guy that she turned a blind eye to egregious actions. A girl who was relating too much to descriptions of jump-offs and side chicks. A girl who was having lackluster sex with a guy who didn’t even like her that much. A girl who knew she deserved better but didn’t have the gumption to seek it out.
So I quit. Cold turkey. I don’t even remember the day, but I do remember being done with him and with all of them.
Up until then, I had been looking around totally bewildered as to why I was an automatic loser at this no-strings-attached game. My friends did it. A lot of them. They were bumping uglies with an endless stream of men, yet seemed completely unaffected by their interest or disinterest. The men were as expendable to them as they were expendable to him. They moved on from one guy to the next like it was some sort of video game! I was flabbergasted…and stuck on one guy (who was nowhere near stuck on me) for years. I didn’t get it. Friends tried to give me helpful advice. One friend told me that I wouldn’t be so attached to a guy after sex if I’d just “up my numbers”. That didn’t seem like good advice, so I ignored her! Ultimately, I decided to be done with the game. Besides, what’s the prize in being able to walk away from bed after bed, man after man unscathed?
I knew that I would never get to the point of being able to shut down my emotions and more importantly, I realized I didn’t even want to get to that point. I wanted to have feelings. I wanted to be in love. I wanted to be consumed by a man. I wanted a man to be consumed by me. Approaching a relationship without feelings didn’t seem rewarding at all. Sure it would have kept the tears out my eyes, but I didn’t want to do without the love in my heart.
Looking back now, I’m glad I experienced that time of celibacy. It wasn’t always easy but it definitely wasn’t any harder than dealing with the emotional baggage from decidedly one-sided relationships with men who, honestly, weren’t that great in bed anyway.
And if I could see that friend now, I’d tell her that marriage certainly hasn’t been the “death of sex”. Sure there are sexless marriages, but they’re prefaced with that adjective because that’s abnormal. Honestly, I can’t imagine anyone having sex more than married people.
In fact, according to The Huffington Post:
One of the most comprehensive studies on the subject, which was released in 2010 by the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University, confirmed this, compiling statistics on sexual attitudes and habits of 5,865 people between ages 14 and 94. An average of 61 percent of singles reported that they hadn’t had sex within the past year, compared with 18 percent of married people. Looking specifically at those between the ages of 25 and 59, 25 percent of married people reported that they were still having sex two to three times per week versus less than five percent of singles.
Not only does marriage mean having more sex, it’s also much better sex because you’re intimate with someone who knows you and you know him. That alone is one million times better than just knocking boots with some guy who finds you attractive and wants to try out some wack move that his last conquest only pretended to enjoy.
For someone who has experienced sex with a hollow-chested man, I can tell you the pleasure of being intimate with someone who you know is going to be there the next day and the day after because they’ve committed to you cannot be overstated.
Sex in marriage is better for many reasons. You don’t have to look perfect, you don’t have to pretend to like it, you don’t have to pretend to not love him for it, there are no strange surprises, you can experiment more, you don’t have to experiment at all, there’s no feelings of self-consciousness, you don’t have to worry about your naked sexts going viral, you don’t have to attempt to disengage your heart from your body, and you’re not competing with other women in his recent past or near future.
What I wish I’d known sooner is that the horror stories of marriage after celibacy are meant to frighten people and not based in reality at all. Marriage is not at all the death of sex, but in fact is the best I’ve ever had.
What do you think? Do you think married sex gets a bad rap? Are you – or would you consider – celibacy until marriage?