Monday, July 23, 2012

S... wait for it... ex

I wrote this post back in 2007, but I thought today was a good day to republish since we just began Natural Family Planning Awareness Week.

A Personal Reflection

I've always had fairly strong convictions about lots of things. Especially the big things like sex-before-marriage, contraception, drinking alcohol, etc.

As I've gotten older my convictions on all of those things have changed and rearranged and taken precedence and taken less importance... but I've always had some sort of conviction about them.

Today's blog is about sex. Prepare yourself.

I don't understand these itty bitty youngsters that are having sex. I don't think I even knew what sex was at the age of 11 or less... and there's no way I was considering participating in it by that age even if I knew what it was. And it makes me wonder why these kids are engaging in sex so early? And what made me be NOTHING like those kids?

I don't remember ever having any serious sit-down talks with my parents about how sex was sacred or sex was for marriage. And CCD back in the day surely wasn't explicit enough to discuss the importance of sex. Maybe I was just naive... or maybe I was just lucky enough to grow up in a guarded environment that kept me that way for a long time.

But even once I knew what sex was... and even once I was a senior in high school with a very serious (or as "serious" as you can really be in high school) boyfriend, sex was still not something I would have even considered. It wasn't an option for me. Where did I get that? And how do I give that to my daughter?

Now... college was a different story. Living with three sorority girls my freshman year opened my eyes or rather ears to a whole lot of things that I had never really even heard girls talk about before. As far as I knew at that time, pretty much all of my high school gal pals were still virgins or were at least pretending to be that way around me. And the naivety started to peel off a bit. And that's when I had to start thinking harder about WHY I wasn't going to have sex until I was married and WHY it was something that was important to me.

And then about my Sophomore year I came up with a metaphor that helped me sort things out a bit. To me sex was like a Ocean to someone who really loved the water. As a young person, you start out in the middle of the island...and you may encounter a puddle or two of water... maybe a small fishing pond... eventually a lake... but the closer you get to the coastline... the farther from the center of the island you walk, the harder it gets to turn around. And once you've reached the Ocean... there's no turning back. You've seen it. You've swam in it. Your first experience with the Ocean, good or bad, is something you will live with forever. And I wasn't ready to dive in.

Was I tempted? Yes. Did I get myself into relationships and situations that could have easily ended at the Ocean? Yes. Did I push my boundaries farther than I thought I ever would? Yes... but always... ALWAYS... by the grace of God, I remembered my metaphor, and I stopped. Because in my eyes the Ocean was the end all-be all. It was the perfection of what water could truly be... it was the beauty that I only wanted to share with one person. And even if I was 99.99% sure I was with that person... I wouldn't go to the Ocean until I was 100% sure.

I guess the moral of this story and perhaps the whole point of hashing these things out is to share and reflect on how incredibly grateful I am that I waited. Knowing that I've shared something with Andrew and he with me in a covenant relationship with no guilt, no regrets, and no disappointment is one of the greatest feelings in the world, and it's a feeling that I would not trade for anything else. Thanks be to God for being with me for 26 years and leading me to the man that I could finally share my whole self with.

“The human body includes right from the beginning…the capacity of expressing love, that love in which the person becomes a gift – and by means of this gift – fulfills the meaning of his being and existence.”
(Pope John Paul II, Theology Of the Body, Jan 16, 1980)