The phrase ‘sexual purity’ usually denotes some degree of abstinence. For some this means avoiding sexual intercourse until a legal marriage ceremony has been performed. For others it means avoiding all activities deemed ‘sexual’ including kissing or cuddling. Having explained my theoretical problems with ‘sexual purity’ I only have a few things to say about the practise.
Firstly, even if you already have a good relationship, it takes awhile to build up the trust necessary to take each step on the road to complete sexual intimacy. This is something that isn’t mentioned much in the ‘abstinence only’ circles. People who have never touched have to start from scratch regardless of their legal status. Even if they’re married. This isn’t a bad thing. Sexual intimacy is tied to trust, and trust takes time. Still, there are practical concerns to be aware of. People who abstain from both intercourse and outercourse until marriage should be aware of the time it will take to build up and adjust to a fuller range of sexual activity.
Secondly, I believe it’s important to recognize that sexual activity isn’t just the fulfilment of an urge. For some people, sexual activity is one of their primary expressions of romantic love. Some might even argue that at a certain level, sex becomes a relational necessity. Think about it. When a married couple stops having sex, most people would say their relationship is in peril, that there are other problems that are eating away at their marriage and thus stagnating their sex life. It is culturally recognized that sex is an important component to a healthy marriage. So why shouldn’t it be a component of a healthy romantic relationship? Something to think about…
As far as what I believe to be sexually healthy behavior, I believe sexual intimacy should track emotional intimacy. I believe that it’s important to talk with your partner, to be comfortable with whatever you’re doing, and to know what expectations and emotions are attached to each action. I believe it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent pregnancy if you’re not ready for a family, and protect yourself from disease. I believe that trust is at the heart of a healthy sex life (and indeed, a healthy relationship). And I believe that everyone needs to sort their own sexual ethics for themselves.
Related articles (of various perspectives)
- What’s so Great About Sexual Integrity (psychologytoday.com)
- What is a Healthy View of Sexual Intimacy? – Articles (wilmingtonfavs.com)
- Everybody’s Asexual (neutrois.me)
- True Love Waits? A Sibling-Comparison Study of Age at First Sexual Intercourse and Romantic Relationships in Young Adulthood (Psychological Science – http://pss.sagepub.com/)