The Top 5 Arguments Against Waiting Till MarriageApril 10th, 2010 by Mike
Unless you only hang out with “church people” for your entire life, you are going to end up discussing your decision to wait until marriage with somebody who is not waiting till marriage. It will become a familiar situation: Some friend/acquaintance, biased by their own decisions, will try to poke holes in your decision to wait, and you’ll either hear them out, smile and nod, then dismiss the conversation, or you’ll decide to engage them and argue your case.
The best of these people will argue as your friend, because in their own way they’re genuinely trying look out for you and they feel that they have legitimate, intellectually-sound objections to waiting till marriage that directly impact your future happiness. The worst of these people are just trying to corrode your virtue because they hate you for it; they despise what they don’t have in themselves and want to destroy it so you’ll be like them and they’ll feel less convicted (misery loves company).
Sometimes people will throw arguments at you that you hadn’t considered before, and other times it’ll be the same ol’ shill. Here are a few that I’ve heard over and over.
1. What if you’re not sexually compatible with the person you marry?
Alternate form of this argument: You wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive!
Sexual Attitude = Frequency + Enthusiasm + Kinkiness. The objection here is that you will marry somebody who differs from you on one of those three factors. I’ve once had this objection put to me this way: “What if you discover that you like it hot and heavy and you marry somebody who likes it quiet, lights off, missionary-only? You’ll be locked-in to the relationship and totally unfulfilled!”
This is a very valid objection on the surface. In many ways, attitude towards sex (waiting or not) can be a quality like “sense of humor”: everybody is slightly different and a mismatch can really eat away at a relationship if not addressed, just like those non-waiting people told you that it can. You may think that you can “just tell”. You may think that because your girl/guy is enthusiastic and open in conversation that they’re going to be the same way in the bedroom. That is not always the case, especially when it comes to people with little sexual experience.
Tips on Determining Sexual Compatibility Without Sex:
- Casually bring up the issue of marital sex in a tone that reflects your own attitude, then gauge their reaction.Here’s an example: If you’re super-excited about marital sex, convey that when you mention it. Likewise, if you’re nervous and unsure about it, convey that too — in your tone. Then see whether you get the same emotional tone back. Not a fool-proof method, but it should help you get some idea.
- Watch out for hang-ups about sex. Being nervous/uncertain about the sex issue due to lack of experience is one thing. Being repulsed by sex because of some childhood trauma is something totally different (and a much longer battle). Not everybody waits for the same reasons. For some people, “waiting till marriage” is just a safe slogan that masks an underlying hang-up about sex. Find out if that’s the case.
- Talk to them about why they’re waiting till marriage. Are they waiting because they’re a romantic? Because they’re deeply devout in their religion? Or just because they’ve never really had much of a sex drive?
- Note how often they joke about sexual frustration. Frequent jokes (blatant or implied) about sexual frustration are typically a good sign that the person has a raging sex drive underneath all of that willpower. Lack of jokes may suggest otherwise.
- Have an honest, vulgar conversation about it. Only attempt this after you’ve achieved a high level of trust and conversational intimacy. Find a window to broach the topic, then really get the details on what their idea of marital sex looks like (in terms of the big three: frequency, enthusiasm, and kinkiness). Note that you may want to wait until a little later in the relationship for this one. Just because you’re not having sex doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about sex. This is also a great way to pre-gauge how comfortable they are communicating about sexual topics (see next point).
- Communication the ultimate trump card when it comes to sexual compatibility. If you have great communication inside the bedroom, you may well conquer any other perceived differences pretty quickly. Likewise, if one of you is mute about their sexual needs or feels completely uncomfortable communicating in the bedroom it may be a serious problem. Good news is that you’ll probably marry somebody who you can communicate with really well in all areas.
- It’s unlikely that you will have a near-supernatural level of compatibility in so many other areas and be a mismatch in the bedroom. You’re probably going to marry somebody that compliments you in many ways, and that will include physical stuff. Just don’t settle for somebody you’re not crazy about and you’ll probably be fine.
2. Don’t you want to be “good” for your future husband/wife?
Sex is like martial arts: it is a skill that improves the more you practice and the more techniques you learn. Most non-virgins will tell you that “you’re going to suck at first”, like a fighter with no training. This is, with few exceptions, totally true. You are probably going to suck at sex in the beginning. Non-virgins offer this up as an objection because they’ve been in a situation where they sucked and the other person didn’t (due to having more sexual experience)…and they felt inadequate and less desirable for it.
When a non-virgin thinks about this objection, they are picturing you marrying somebody and then awkwardly struggling to perform while the other person is mildly frustrated, waiting on you to “catch up”, and meanwhile comparing you to all the people before you who were way better.
5 Reasons Why This Is Not An Issue
Do you remember the first bicycle you had when you were a kid? Do you remember how well you learned to ride that thing? You would do wheelies, hit the breaks and skid sideways to a stop, jump off ramps — all kinds of stuff. That first bike probably got more attention, focused learning, and experimentation out of you than any other bike thereafter. I’ll bet your bike had a good time too.
- You’ve got plenty of time to have fun learning. In context of a short-term relationship, sucking at sex (at first) means big problems. But in context of a marriage with all the time to learn, you’ve got plenty of time to learn to be awesome…and you get to do that with somebody you love and trust completely…in the best possible environment.
- Sex is best when you actively learn it — for the teacher as well as the student. If you marry somebody with more experience than you, it’ll be loads of fun for them to teach you. Think about it from their perspective: You’ve been with a few people who had their own generalized style and techniques (for better or for worse). Now this girl/guy you love is giving you an open invitation to tell them exactly what you like and and how you like it and bending to your every whim. And if you marry somebody with the same lack of experience as you, then you get to learn together.
- You’re probably going to marry somebody who’s under-experienced too. I’ve watched a lot of couples fall in love and get married, and I’ll tell you that one thing they all have in common (waiting till marriage or not) is balance. Not like they’re identical; just balanced. Sexuality-wise, this means that if you’re waiting till marriage you may well end up being attracted to and marrying somebody who is either waiting also or relatively close to it (i.e., not extremely promiscuous). It’s just the type of person that you’re going to gravitate to.
- They’ll love you regardless. Like I said in #3 about attracting somebody who is balanced with you…you don’t marry somebody unless they are connected to you in a way that is stronger than any connection you have had with anybody else ever. If by some chance you marry a Kama Sutra master and you’re a virgin, I promise you they’re going to be so focused on making you happy that it’s not going to matter if you’ve got a little learning curve. In fact, they’ll most likely feel guilty about their own over-experience.
- The learning curve is one of the main advantages to waiting. Walk by a magazine rack next time you’re in the grocery store. There will be at least one magazine with a headline like “sex tips to keep your relationship spicy!” or something to that affect. When you have sex in every relationship leading up to marriage, you’ve done a lot by the time you get married, so keeping things fresh and new becomes an issue over the long term. If you’ve never had sex before, you’re threshold for “spicing it up” is going to be laughably low. This is a very good thing. This means you’ve got a long, long time and lots of incremental spice-upping before you run out of novelty. And that’s going to keep your sexual relationship interesting and exciting for much, much longer. You’re just getting started when everybody else is burnt out. You’re paced for distance.
3. Trust me, after you have sex you’re going to want to experience it with other people
I’ve never given much weight to this objection, but I’ve heard it more than once. They’re argument is always something like: “Trust me, sex is like a whole new experience. And once you experience it with one person you’re going to get curious about what it’s like with other people and you’re going to want to try it with other people. You’ll think about other people wonder what sex would be like with them.”
Why This Is Less Serious Than it Sounds
Do me a favor: Next time you hear this objection, consider the source. You will rarely hear a married friend make this argument to you. It’s always younger friends who are themselves doing lots of casual dating.
Think of kissing. If you’re over the age of 17, you’ve probably had a few relationships that involved kissing. Now, think back to when you were dating somebody that you were totally crazy about. Think about all the times you were kissing them. Did you ever think “I really want to experience this kissing with other people?” Does that sentiment even come close to what you feel when you think back on those memories? Of course not. More likely, you could picture yourself kissing that person and only that person for the rest of your life, if it hadn’t all gone to hell (assuming you broke up).
The same people who say “you’re going to want to experience sex with lots of people” are also the ones who will say that “kissing can be as intimate as sex,” so this kissing example holds with their logic, IMHO.
The whole flaw in this argument is that it completely ignores the notions of love and commitment. It comes from the perspective of a casual relationship, not one where love and voluntary commitment are involved.
Two Relevant Concepts from Psychology
I should also note (thanks to Ben in the comments for pointing this out) that it is normal to be in a relationship and occasionally look at other people in a sexual way, but not to the extent that people who make this “You’ll want to experience sex with other people.” argument suggest.
They argue that you’re going to have this deep, nagging pull towards sexual variety that will corrode your current relationship, unless you exorcise that demon earlier in life through lots of pre-marital sexual experiences. But that’s exactly how it plays out.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you’ve been married for ten years. One day, while out for coffee by yourself, a devastatingly attractive stranger starts flirting with you. How do you react?
According to what I’ve studied of Relationship Science (Psychology applied to relationships), the answer to this question depends on how satisfied you are with your marriage.
If you’re unsatisfied with your marriage, you might have a strong desire to have a sexual experience with that attractive stranger. You may start bemoaning your decision to wait until marriage for sex, and resent it for robbing you of sexual variety.
But if your marriage is satisfying, two concepts come into play: Inattentiveness to Alternatives and Derogation of Alternatives.
Inattentiveness to Alternatives means that if you’re satisfied with your marriage, you may not even notice the stranger flirting with you. Your happily-married brain is blind to potential alternatives. You’re happy with your marriage. You’re not looking for a way out. And for that reason you don’t notice them when they present themselves [Source: Scientific journals on Inattentiveness to Alternatives].
Derogation of Alternatives is even more interesting. According to several studies, do you know what happens when happily-married people encounter attractive alternative partners? They start picking the alternative partner apart and focusing on their flaws. And the more threatening the stranger is to your happy marriage, the more viciously you pick them apart [Source: Scientific journals on Derogation of Alternatives]
Kurt Russel once famously said, when asked how he had remained committed to Goldie Hawn while being a sex symbol, “I’ve met a lot of other women, but none of them are Goldie Hawn.” In my experience, that’s a common sentiment among people who are happy with their partners.
So to summarize: Sure, you’ll occasionally notice attractive members of the opposite sex while you’re married, but only in a passing way, unless you’re otherwise unsatisfied with your marriage. Lack of lifetime sexual variety won’t make you unsatisfied, but being unsatisfied will probably make you start longing for sexual variety (hope that makes sense; if not leave me a comment).
4. Various arguments against religion and/or The Bible
Some people will try to attack your decision to wait until marriage by attacking the Bible or other religious texts because they think it is your primary motivation for waiting.
They will say things like “Did you know that the word ‘virgin’ had a different meaning when the bible was written and it doesn’t actually mean that somebody hasn’t had sex before?”
Or “What about that chapter of the bible where there’s all that sex happening? Doesn’t that totally contradict the whole abstinence thing?!”
Or maybe they’ll try to guilt you: “I’ve had sex. Does that mean you think I’m going to hell?”
Whatever the argument, most all of them are pretty hollow unless the only reason you are waiting is because of religion.
Why Anti-Bible Arguments Are Irrelevant
These people (who argue against waiting by arguing against religion) assume that you are waiting for purely religious reasons. More often than not, waiting till marriage is much more of a personal decision than a spiritual decision. And if it’s not, it needs to be. Personal decisions are much more easy to maintain with conviction than spiritual ones.
You may start out waiting till marriage because you want to conform to the values your favorite church preaches. But that’s only the beginning. If you want to make it past age 18 without caving on your decision, you’re going to have to come up with much more internal reasons to wait in addition to your spiritual reasons. The people who only wait because of church pressure usually fail anyway (because it’s somebody else’s decision, not theirs). The people who make it are usually those that really identify with the notion of waiting till marriage for sex and make it their own, religion or no religion.
Note: I do not mean to be anti-religious with this section. Your religion/spirituality can be a big part of why you’re waiting. I just mean that often you will be more stable about your decision to wait when you find ways to personally agree with it on multiple fronts, versus just the religious aspect.
5. You’re limiting yourself in who you can date
One of my very close friends (who is not waiting till marriage) once said to me something along the lines of “You’re limiting your available playing field severely if you’ll only accept a virgin. And what’s more, you don’t know how many opportunities [to have sex] you’ve missed out on (serious glance as if he knew specifics). ”
This was said to me by a great and long-time friend, who was genuinely trying to look out for my own happiness. Presumably, he knew of some girls that had wanted to date/have sex with me, but changed their mind once they heard I was waiting till marriage. In his view, those were missed opportunities for me to be happy.
Why This Doesn’t Have to Be True.
I have never rejected a girl on the basis that she wasn’t a virgin/waiting till marriage. If I did, I would be limiting myself. Of the eight (ish) serious romantic relationships I’ve had over the years, only one of them was with a girl that was also waiting till marriage. Clearly, those other, non-waiting girls liked me enough to date me even though they had to make do without something they were very accustomed to (sex). If, as my friend hinted at, there were other girls that were interested in me but got turned off when they found out I was waiting, then they probably weren’t that interested in the first place and I don’t consider it a loss.
Bottom line though: Don’t limit yourself with dating. If you are hell-bent on marrying a virgin, fine. But you’re not going to get to the marriage point without at least becoming close friends with somebody first. And in terms of close friends and dating, there’s no reason to require the V-card. You’re missing out on a lot of great relationships that will teach you plenty and help prepare you for that final relationship.
In general, hoping that you’ll end up marrying a virgin is one thing; requiring that somebody be a virgin before you’ll considering going on date with them is a quick ticket to dying alone and stunting your growth.