When virginity is no good

“Twenty may sound early to get married, but tell that to the girl who had her knees locked since puberty and the boy who spent years trying to convince her that just the tip didn’t count.”

The above line is from an article by freelance writer Jessica Ciencen Henriquez called “My Virginity Mistake.” Before I go any further, read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Jessica’s thesis is that her choice to remain a virgin was a colossal mistake; that if she had engaged in pre-marital sex, her disastrous six-month marriage would have ended before it had begun. Bad sex equals a bad marriage, and if she had “test-driven the car” she would have realized what she was in for.

Jessica’s argument is fundamentally flawed. As I explain why, keep two points in mind. One, I believe Jessica is wounded and bitter; two, she mistakenly uses a personal experience as a vehicle to condemn virginity and pedal promiscuity and free love.

After a chaste three-year relationship, Jessica agrees to marry her college sweetheart. But she does not actually love her future husband: leading up to the wedding, she has second thoughts and morning of she almost bolts back down the aisle to freedom. At the reception, they celebrate apart in their own circles of friends and she realizes she does not know the man she just married. When the long-awaited moment arrives and they can finally consummate their marriage, Jessica wants to get food instead.

“You only get one wedding night, Jess,” said her husband. Even then, she “doubted that would be true.”

Jessica was not prepared to marry this man—was, in fact, mentally running from the marriage almost before it had begun. After a brief respite due to a urinary tract infection, Jessica resumed her “wifely duties.” But every time she and her husband came together in the marital act, she would mentally check out and compile grocery lists.

“Had we had sex before our relationship transitioned into a contract,” she insists, “I would have known that there was no passion, no spark, nothing happening between our bodies.” And yet, before the wedding day there seemed to be definite sparks: “Before we got married, I used to love kissing him. We would spend hours attached at the mouth because aside from occasional drunken foreplay, it was all we had.”

The idea that love takes communication, hard work, and patience never seems to cross her mind. She (and her husband) refuses to try and make their sex life better: “I was not a willing student but he was no teacher, either. … For months I believe that might be me [sic] and rather than try something different, he began to believe it too.”

What exactly is Jessica upset about—a failed marriage? a failed relationship? not having sex before marriage?

If it’s the first, she knew walking down the aisle that she did not want to marry the man. Sure, a little late—but she knew before having sex with him.

If it’s the second, the relationship was already failed. He was pressuring her for sex and she was too blinded by her desire to have sex to realize they weren’t right for each other. If they had engaged in premarital sex, it could have blinded them even more to their incompatibility.

If it’s the third, then her thesis is rather ridiculous. You can’t argue for breaking the rules just because you want to break them.

Statistically, couples that sleep and/or live together before marriage are exponentially more likely to divorce than couples that do not. Sex before marriage does not equal marital happiness or longevity. And sex with multiple partners—which Jessica plugs in the last paragraph—brings with it STDs and using another human being as an object for your personal pleasure.

Don’t blame bad sex for a failed marriage. Blame your immaturity, lack of effort, or total misunderstanding of what marriage actually is. Face the fact that you may be the problem. There are marital issues that have to be solved through discussion, humility, patience, and respect—and these issues will arise regardless if you’d just once had free, noncommittal, experimental sex.

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