Today, only 3 percent of North Americans save sex for their wedding night. This comes as no surprise for the sexual revolution has been in full throttle for decades—we are shocked only when someone tells us that he or she is an active part of that 3 percent.
I lost my virginity at 23, after living through my teen years and being called a “prude.” Like most people in the Naughties, I did so at the whim of the usual, maverick society. But after three sexual relationships and one virginity down, I (brace yourself) have become one of the 3 percent. This time without the threats of hell or damnation, but with the by-line of self-value, and ceremonial occasion.
At 31, I closed my bedroom door when it came to men, rethinking how to have fulfilling relationships without sex.
Why would I exchange momentarily thrilling escapades for the bane of long-suffering abstinence? Society might chide, suggesting that such idealism could end in sexually-incompatible-tears, nevermind a waste of pelvic floor muscles. But I disagree.
Here are five motivations to keep in mind—reasons why I, and many of my comrades-in-arms, are trying to keep it clean, and savor that moment for when someone is truly willing to commit for life, not just twelve hours:
1. Make the living room become the new hotbed to discover things you used to ignore. Find the lost art in conversation, philosophy even. Swap arousal for vinyl and foreplay for unfamiliar stories. Rewire the brain to go back to the real things of life.
Yes, sex is awesome, but it shouldn't dictate your evening. If your relationship only functions through sex—you already have a problem.
Sex is made for a heart of exclusivity, one focused on serving, not taking from the other.
2. Understand that the ability to say no to pre-marital sex is actually a form of honor, not rejection. Those who want to get their sexual needs met will interpret you saying no to sex as a form of pushing away.
If the man says he needs to have sex with his girlfriend in order to fall in love: Thank him for his honesty, and call the chap a cab. He's not on your page—you’re looking for substance and compromise for longevity.
Add a touch of light-hearted fun to this subject too (no hell and damnation statements please). You'll soon find the men who really are interested in you, rather than driven to feed their own desires.
3. Know you will make better decisions about the character, virtue and soul of a person outside of sexual connection. This is the part where liberty returns. You're no longer tied to someone physically, confused by whether you should stay with them or not. The head stays clear, and you fall in love for all the right reasons.
Abstinence is about using the beauty of sex in the right context, not causing harm with unspoken disclaimers.
4. Forgive yourself and others, for when you took advantage of someone in your past, or when someone took you for granted. Carrying this stuff over to new relationships is as helpful as cyanide. Self-sabotage can result in overt sexual activity with men you don't even like.
Forgive yourself by walking through the pain of what you've faced, then make a decision to start afresh once more.
5. Self-Discipline isn’t self-denial. Generation Y believes liberty should be reckless, spontaneous, fuss-free. The problem is, most things without a boundary or two are harmful. Miroslav Volf once said that for us to create a world without boundaries would be creating a world of no-thing: Black and white just become gray, shapes and definitions become one blob of nothing / no-thing. When it comes to sex, certain restrictions need apply.
Three percent might sound like a dying trend, but it represents 10 million people. That’s down from 11 percent in 1950, when we might have estimated the whole world waited for marriage.
Don’t be swayed by the smoke and mirror trends of post-modern culture. They change, but behaviors have had a knock on effect, causing the government to spend millions in preventive measures—chlamydia and teenage pregnancy are costly on the body, as well as the health care system.
As we embrace a future of provocative propaganda and a world filled with instant gratification, did we throw the baby out with the bath water when we ran a free-for-all campaign in the burning loins brigade?
When hook up apps become passé next year, might purity become the new progressive?
Perhaps it just might.
Carrie Lloyd is author of "Prude: Misconceptions Of A Neo-Virgin" (Red Arrow Media, February 2, 2016).