I lost my virginity in my late teens. Regrettably it was too soon. For many years after that, I cried about my premature decision. I felt foolish. Ashamed. Embarrassed. And coming from a strong Christian family, I battled to live with the shame and guilt in the aftermath of our premature decision. As a result, my secret was soon discovered. My family was shattered. After numerous meetings with the elders at home, I realized the depth of my family’s disappointment and in an effort to instill the fear of God in me, it was made apparent to me that there is no place in the world for girls who give themselves away before marriage. I knew my family meant well but their choice to scold me frightened me; their harshness paralyzed and crushed me. I shivered at the thought that I now belonged in the group of people who were “going nowhere in life.” My self-esteem reached an all-time low. I was determined to prove to myself and to my family members that there was more to me than that, but the voice of shame silenced me. I quietly gave into the fear that my future looked bleak and I succumbed to the lie that I was never going to be someone significant in life. From then, I resented sex. And abstained from it.
Before I got myself into all that trouble, I was a young teen in love. My beau was as handsome as they get. He was my first boyfriend and he lived up to every fantasy I had about what a boyfriend would be; he cared about me, he made me feel valued, he was thoughtful, he had big dreams in life and he featured me in them, he was grounded, kind, smart, and funny. We met in varsity, I was a freshman, he was a senior. From the moment we met, I felt incredibly attracted to him. He had a certain charm about him that mesmerized me, I was caught completely off guard by his calm personality, and I smiled. Prior our decision to take our relationship to “the next level”, we had been dating for two years. In those two years, we had the time of our lives. Simply put: we were best friends. We talked about everything, we prayed together, we encouraged each other, laughed at each other’s jokes and completed one another’s sentences. My beau was the romantic type who surprised me with flowers and planned fun weekends. Our love was innocent, simple and fun. In many ways, we taught each other how to love. He owned my heart and I had his.
On the eve of our second anniversary (which my parents later said we had no business celebrating because we weren’t married), we made a decision that we were ready for sex. Though it felt right at the time, in hindsight, I think we lacked the maturity to make a sound decision about what would be our first sexual experience. Looking back, a decade later, I can safely say, our decision to engage in sex so early was motivated by the wrong things, we assumed that being in love qualified us for sex and moreover, we allowed external pressure from our friends to determine our decisions. Though we knew better, we were oblivious of the fact that sex without the safe haven of marriage would wreck us, divide us and completely destroy our innocence.
I don’t think I was ever the same after that day. I regretted our decision. And to be honest, I lacked the emotional maturity to deal with my own fears and regrets so I secretly (and unfairly) resented him for it. We agreed to not have sex again. But nothing ever went back to normal after that.
Sitting here today, I can tell you this: sex is a beautiful thing and it was never designed to bring shame. At the right time, with the right person, within the bounds of marriage, sex is a blessing. But what we failed to appreciate then is the sacredness of sex; it was never meant for boyfriend-girlfriend but for husband and wife. We used sex as a way to prove our commitment to each other, when the only proof worth pursuing was marriage.
The emotions that come with sex are powerful but also very dangerous. Over the days, weeks and months, I became incredibly attached to him and he became more demanding of my attention. The truth is, sex can make you feel more attached to someone and subsequently more vulnerable if things don’t work out.
Some of the things that I noticed were changing about us are that our prayers became shorter, our conversations were more serious, our walks were faster and marriage became the next obvious step for us- and we were determined to get there, fast!
In a twisted way, we no longer wanted to be together because of each other, us staying together became about us “covering” our shame. What a toxic way to live. I truly believe that my beau desperately wanted to do the “right thing” but marriage wasn’t it. We just weren’t ready. We were young adults who were suffering the consequences of their actions and reality exposed our immaturity. See, we were free to make our decisions but we were not free from the consequences of those decisions… And from that I learnt to carefully calculate the cost of my decisions because whether we like it or not, we will pay for them later.
We grew apart at a rapid speed. The relationship became emotionally draining. He demanded to know my whereabouts and I felt entitled to plan our lives, budget and time. We frustrated each other but we were too scared to end the relationship. And so we stayed together and allowed our guilt to make us prisoners. We were headed on a wrong path until (I believe) our Creator rescued us from each other.
After four bitter-sweet years together, Mr Handsome was offered an opportunity to work abroad in his line of business. It was an opportunity of a lifetime for him and my first reaction to the news was relief. We celebrated his big break and two weeks later, with tears in our eyes, we said our goodbyes and ended our relationship as he left the country. It was then that I fully understood the importance of waiting for marriage to have sex… I cried for the parts of myself I had given to a man I now knew wasn’t meant for me.
Every once in a while we talk and share a good laugh, and although we have both moved on and gone separate ways, something lingers there, a connection that can never be denied, a story half-told, a bond we cannot break. And that is the power of sex, it ties you to someone far beyond the physical. In its right place, it is powerful, but outside of marriage, sex brings havoc.
I hope one day I can muster enough courage to say to him, “I’m sorry for what we did… I’m sorry for taking from you what belonged solely to your wife.” And I appreciate this more now because I have dreams of getting married and although I’ve forgiven myself, I would’ve loved to be that girl that kept herself for marriage. To my future husband, I apologize. To my God, thank You for Your forgiveness.
No matter how cool, casual and meaningless the media and society portray sex, please don’t buy into the lie that it means nothing. Sex is sacred, beautiful and worth waiting for. And believe me, outside the bounds of marriage it costs you something. Long after the act, you have to live with yourself (and confess to your God). Don’t let foolishness, impatience and pressure cost you your dignity. Even if (like me) you’ve crossed that line before, it’s not too late to make an empowered decision today. It is better to wait…
My hope is that the more we know, the better we will choose to do.
Love and light,