Monday, March 29, 2010
Sex Ain’t All That: #8 Advantage of Long-Term Abstinence
"New moms and the post-baby sex slump" (CNN.com)
This particular article brings to light one of the advantages that long-term abstinence cultivates in an individual. C.S. Lewis once said that “Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it.” I’d extend that also to sex in that it is a good thing (if not great), but it is not the best thing. There are surely many things above it. This is one of the realizations someone (hopefully) comes to after enduring sexual abstinence for a long period of time, well into their adulthood. From the earliest pubescent stages, we’re told from our peer and pop culture that sex is indeed the culmination of all that is good, lovely, and satisfying in human existence (marriage bonds be damned!). So it becomes a pedestal, even an idol, of achievement we strive for, especially guys (though deep down we just want someone to know and love us). For someone who has practiced a lifestyle of volitional virginity though (even someone who isn’t a virgin but has renewed their minds), there is a sociological and relational maturity that occurs leading towards the awareness that “you know what, it’s ok if I’m not sexual active.” The overwhelming peer pressure that was so strong throughout the high school and college years has slowly ebbed into a still present, but much less potent voice. This is important in relation to the aforementioned article because this type of realization, and self-control, bodes well for these “sexual deserts” in a marriage that are inevitably going to occur.
Can you imagine though a guy that’s been sexual active since his teens when his wife passes that “six-week it’s ok to have sex again threshold” and she’s like “no thanks”? Now all the sudden he’s dealt with a scenario he’s never practiced or been prepared for. How long can he hold out? How long until he seeks “satisfaction” elsewhere? I’m not saying someone who’s been sexual active all their lives is doomed to infidelity once the first baby comes, of course I’m not absolutely insinuating that, but I am saying it’ll be a lot harder for that guy that’s never exhibited sexual self-control. This will definitely lead to greater strains in that marriage either way.
Of take the opposite type of sexual “veteran”. The couple that got married young. A person that abstains until sex until they get married is to be heralded, but a person that gets married young like in their early twenties has hardly endured the really tough trials and tribulations, and subsequent personal refinement, that volitional virginity throws at you in your transition into true adulthood and real independence. This male who spent just a few years abstaining for sexual activity in his late teens understands a little the notion “hey it’s ok if I’m not sexually active”, but they never had a chance to experience independent adulthood within this counter-culture paradigm. How’s he going to respond when all the sudden something he’s been used to is taken away from him and he just hasn’t had all that much “adult” experience with volitional abstinence? Will he hold a grudge against his wife for not being willing? Who knows? But he’s most likely going to a be a bit more antsy about getting back to business than the guy who went much longer without sex.
Now obviously these are grand generalizations and speculations…but the principal I think is true and these type of scenarios lend themselves to favor individuals who probably have less “experience” in sexual matters, and got along fine in their adult lives despite it. The opposite effect could occur also though. A guy that waited all his life to have sex and maybe didn’t get married till his thirties may think himself “entitled” to resume married “operations” because he thinks he deserves it for holding out so long beforehand. Well this guy obviously missed the whole point of volitional virginity in the first place, and his selfish ambitions will lead to much strain in the marriage one way or another anyways.
…Which brings me to the overarching caveat here. Regardless of sexual experience or not, it is a guy’s heart towards his wife and the marriage in general, and the understanding of selflessness and sacrifice, that makes his marriage strong (not if their having sex or not – but of course it is a component); giving him the motivation and strength to endure whatever period of abstinence is required. But as in most things, experience is huge…and in this case, lack of sexual experience gives the brand new father an advantage.