I have previously explored bedroom antics, however. I had three sexual relationships in my 20s. Your cherry was monumentally lost at Back to my youth I was an only child growing up, raised by two very loving Baptist ministers who dressed me in used curtains. Everything they needed was in God, relationship and community.
My parents taught me what they knew and I adored them. But I was growing up within a very different culture, where serving my sexual desires was an expectation. I was a laughing stock at school for my virginity, but I put that down to being individual. I refused to buckle to the pressure of people who were making sex look as desirable as swallowing a glass of water from the Thames. Nothing was said from the pulpit on the topic that was bandied around the classroom like the latest footy score.
I lived in bipolar environments: There was no listening heart to run to; instead there was a fear of rejection and a loss of respect. My purity became an expression of perfectionism and the fear of making mistakes grew.
But the more women who were happy to have sex outside of commitment, the more options I lost. When I shared my stance on sex, there were usually two responses from men. The first would be a suggestion of a summer wedding, with no need for a long engagement…after two weeks of dating.
The second was a look of horror, as if I were telling them I had committed credit card fraud with their billion-dollar Amex account.
My father died very suddenly, and not long afterwards four other beloveds followed suit. I began to lose hope in God. So I engaged in the audacity of self-gratification, thinking: I had nothing to hold out for, no God to be true to and no remaining identity of my own as a daughter. While the whole affair was fun in some ways, it had a painful long-term effect that left me hung out to dry; still unknown, still misunderstood.
Sex did make me feel connected, for a moment. It made me feel part of the 21st century, for a moment. But it made me stay in the wrong relationships for too long. It introduced me to greater fear of abandonment and, therefore, co-dependency. Carrie recommends Moral Revolution: A mistake or three turned into a justification of why it would be ok to have sex before marriage: Too much pride, too much arrogance.
On this occasion it looked like a father trying to tell his daughter that the bond of sex was made powerful for a reason. It is potent enough to hold people together and can also tear them apart.
Following that revelation I handed over the reins and my sex life, bringing myself back to self-value. I was helped by strong male leaders who loved their wives, were unafraid to gently confront and were willing to love me in my mess. In previous years, no one had been honest with me until I began speaking up myself. It turned out that more than a few of us were in the same boat, leading sexual lifestyles outside the marriage covenant, yet still attending church.
Church leaders were often embarrassed by our mistakes. Somewhere between the heartache of break-ups and the power of an omniscient yet paternal love, God bought me back to an original design, based on his ideas; not my own and not those of the culture in which I live.
All that searching for false intimacy made me lose the best version of myself. So he brought men into my life who chose to value and honour me because I was finally honouring myself. Not out of fear, but out of honour. We have a supportive group of Christians in our lives who are aware of how high our sex drives are. Recently, my mentor even asked me: You talk about not having sex these days, but truly, where are your hands?
Honest fathers who love me but want me to develop an emotional connection before a physical one and, greater still, to have the most intimate relationship with God possible. It cannot be suffocated; it must be openly examined. My friends who have faced divorce have suffered this dichotomy the most. They have already waited for covenant, have been monumentally hurt in marriage and are still wired to be sexual beings.
So what of it? Regardless of hurts, we must react with a foundation in self-love, not self-sabotage. The healthiest relationship decisions take place within purity. Outside of it comes co-dependency, fear and a need to fix those hurts within the walls of sexual exploitation.
The Church needs to be overtly confident in talking about sexuality and rejoice in it so that we find more breakthroughs in vulnerability, in honesty and in hope. The power of daughterhood Regardless of age, daughterhood has helped me access a greater wisdom and sureness of my own identity. All that time apart from God I had been searching for myself, when the creator had been trying to show me who I was all along.
All it took was inspiration from some godly marriages, a little love in my mess and a sprinkling of honesty from those who had walked this road before me. In the end, it had nothing to do with the beauty of sex and everything to do with the joy that purity brings. As Christian musician John-Paul Gentile wrote: But the highest costs communicate the highest worth.
You can find out more at Her Glass Slipper.