For those who choose to abstain from sex and keep themselves under lock and key until marriage, they're missing out. I'm not saying they're missing out on the physical pleasure that comes with having sex, because I imagine those who are extremely religious would feel nothing but guilt, if they did indulge. What I am saying, however, is that virgins are missing out on the necessary dialogue that people need to have in order to have a healthy and happy sex lives, even if that happy and healthy sex life is still a ways a way.
A new study conducted by the American Sociological Association found that talking about sex, even to virgins, is very important. You may have chosen to take a purity vow and keep things, well, "pure" for your future husband or future wife, but it doesn't mean you can ignore the fact that you're a sexual being and in being as such, you need to have a discussion about sex.
It was Sarah Diefendorf, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Washington, who led the way in this research. By looking into the lives of 15 evangelical Christian men who chose to abstain until marriage, she found that although they had support groups, that's all they're doing: just offering support. They're not preparing these individuals for what they can expect for when they become sexually active in the future, and more importantly, they're not even teaching these men and women how to communicate to their future partners in regards to sex.
When these men in the study got married, there was trouble. Not only did their churches teach them to keep their "problems ‘in the dark’ after marriage, the men reported feeling like they couldn’t discuss sex with their friends and that they didn't know how to comfortably broach the subject with their wives. The newly wedded men also expressed surprise that sexual temptations continued to taunt them." Um, yeah. Just because you waited to have sex, then married, and maybe even have a great marriage, it doesn't change the fact that these men, like all of us, are sexual beings. With that being the case, temptation will always rear their ugly head. Welcome to the club.
As Diefendorf explains, "After marriage, the church culture assumes that couples become each other's support, regardless of the issue at hand. There’s little support in figuring out sexuality in married life, and these men don’t know how to talk to their wives about it."
As one of the study's participants put it: "For me to come home from work and say, 'Hey did you like it last time?' I mean that would be — that would be such a weird question for me to ask." Actually, if virgins were taught how to talk about sex, this wouldn’t be a weird question at all.
I realize that for many religions pre-marital sex is pretty much the worst of the worst. I understand that talking about sex, especially for them, is weird, but it's important. If you we go by what "God" wants, then sex is just for procreation. Great. Fine. Let that be your thing. However, if you're going to procreate, you might as well have a good time in the process; you shouldn't be made to feel wrong and weird when you're intimate with your husband or wife.
When one of the participants of the study was asked how he'd feel if a pastor or priest actually talked about sex in these support groups, he said he'd "cheer." I think that right there is very telling about the steps that need to be taken in informing virgins everywhere of what's to come when they finally marry and "do it."