When I wrote my last post For the Girl With No Game, I had the nagging feeling that I was hiding a part of my identity. I said that sex is a healthy, positive, human experience that should be celebrated. I was essentially saying that there’s no way to have game if you have a negative view of sex. I agree with that wholeheartedly, but what I didn’t say is that I was abstinent before marrying my husband.
In this self-care journey, I’m “Marie Kondoing” my beliefs: figuring out what needs to be chucked and what is worth keeping. I’m a devout follower of Christ. Most of my life, I’ve had a clearly defined world view, but I have to admit that most of my choices growing up were more about church pressure than wisdom. Being abstinent was no exception.
As a grown woman, I’ve evolved. I refuse to blindly follow anyone or anything. I want to have a deep sense of understanding why I do what I do, and I desire the kind of faith that comes from the gut instead of the culture. So, that leaves me here… Sitting in the middle of my thought life, deciding what to make of my pre-marriage abstinence.
Sex has such an icky stigma in church. When I was a teen, the messaging I got was, “Wait until you’re married, or your life will be ruined.” When I got married, the conversation was, “Make sure you have lots of it, or you won’t to keep your husband.” There was so much fear around it that it took a while for me to enjoy it. If nothing else, I just wish the vibe around the conversation was different in church.
On the other hand, I would say that I’m proud of myself for having a counter-culture conviction in America and sticking to it. As a teen, I believed that God wanted me to save sex for marriage. I didn’t know much more than that, but it was enough for me to make a decision about what was important for me at the time. I had friends that were sexually active, and I think I was fine with that. But I didn’t allow anyone to pressure me into doing something I didn’t want to do. At sixteen, I was a person of conviction. That’s boss! I struggled with a lot of other issues, but peer pressure wasn’t really one of them. That has served me well as an adult.
Looking back, I wish I had a stronger “why” at the time. I don’t think “because God said it” is a good enough reason for anyone to choose abstinence. Not that statement alone anyway. Ultimately, that’s why I choose it, but there was so much more value to that particular choice that I didn’t see.
I should have been using that time to make decisions about what I wanted out of my relationships, out of sex and (for me) out of marriage. There were so many questions I could have answered for myself during that time, but I didn’t ask because I didn’t know to ask.
If I could do it all over again, I would have dated to find someone with an aligning purpose in life. And I would only tie my soul to that person after we were clear on our vision as a couple. In retrospect, I think I needed to be abstinent to have that clarity of mind, the time, and the emotional space to define what I wanted. I also needed the ability to make a clean break with someone with a conflicting vision.
Abstinence simplifies things. I have a few friends now that were also abstinent before marriage, and we all had the gift of discovering sex with one dude. I’m not saying that won’t change because… well… life happens. But I think there’s something beautiful about simplicity. One could argue I’ve missed out on some adventures, but if I’m sexually satisfied with what I have at home, is that missing out? Or is that contentment? If I’m happy, I think that’s the point.
Abstinence also helped me learn the value of boundaries. Through my journey, I learned how important it is to state what I’m comfortable with up front. Clearly defined lines. Crossing that line or even trying to see how close one can get to the line tells me a ton about that person’s regard for my desires. There were times when I wasn’t up front about my boundaries (for fear that I’d scare a guy off), and that blew up in my face. I couldn’t be mad that someone tried my boundaries because I never stated what they were in the first place. My personal and professional relationships are now healthier because I know how to communicate my intentions up front. Sidebar: Boundaries by Henry Cloud is an excellent read if you’re struggling with this by the way.
All in all, I wouldn’t change my decision to be abstinent before marriage. Today, I thoroughly enjoy sex and have a life partner with similar life values. If I could, I would change the energy around the conversation about sex in church and empower people who want to be abstinent with the information to maximize their time and energy.
About me . . .
I'm Cyrah Hill. I'm a woman of faith, an actor and an everyday black girl.