To give a little background to this, you can blame this latest rant of mine on a provocative Salon.com article My Virginity Mistake by JESSICA CIENCIN HENRIQUEZ. In this, Ms. Henriquez outlines her devotion to the purity movement as a way of fitting in, and the development of what became her first failed marriage.
The culprit? In her mind, it was abstinence. As she says:
Had we had sex before our relationship transitioned into a contract, I would have known that there was no passion, no spark, nothing happening between our bodies. I would never have agreed to marry him because sex is a significant part of a relationship and therefore a significant part of our relationship was failing. With the failure of our sex life, I felt like less of a woman, no longer a sexual creature but more of a plant. Sitting there, day in, day out, wilting while I waited for someone to take care of me.
Without having sex before marriage, I blindly walked up an aisle and committed myself to a man who didn’t know me and gave my long-held virginity to someone with whom I had no more chemistry than a second cousin.
However, I believe that this is a complete and utter fallacy. It is so much easier in hindsight to believe that had we taken a different course of action that we would have made a better choice. Especially since she openly admits earlier in the article that she was 20 years old, and really hadn't built a solid relationship:
The morning of my wedding day, I threw up. Everyone assumed that I was nervous about having sex. I wasn’t. But it dawned on me how much we hadn’t learned yet about one another. We had known each other for three years by this point, but there was so much unexplored territory. So what was I supposed to do when my “aha moment” came as a dress was heaved over my head by seven bridesmaids? Plus, my mother had mentioned no less than 400 times, this wedding was costing them a fortune; I was getting married, there was no way out.Being 20, and obviously not assured of herself in anyway, she obviously hadn't gotten to know the man she was marrying well enough. To top it off, she knew the relationship was not going well and had more than just wedding jitters but all of the warning signs that this wouldn't end well. And she didn't have the maturity to be able to stand up and say I'd rather make this expensive mistake now, rather than having to pay for the wedding and divorce proceedings.
Further, having sex before would simply have been also, giving her long-held virginity to someone unfortunately bad for her. And she talks about how they used to make out all the time, whose to say that even losing her virginity in the back of his Chevy would have ended the relationship? The problem seemed more a lack of communication. They spent those three years in a sea of hormones but didn't come up for air to discuss anything.
It's far too easy to Monday morning quarterback our mistakes and decide that with this decision it would turn out better, but without a time machine that is completely impossible to predict. No one knows the actual outcome of the road not taken. It's the risk we take in life. And I believe, trading one mistake for another isn't going to do jack.
So the real culprits of her first failed marriage were a lack of maturity and communication.
Blaming virginity is pointless. The point here should be that sex alone solves nothing. Relationships are too multi-faceted to rely on one component, and those who want a fully rounded relationship know this.
And there is nothing wrong with believing that our sexuality should be invested in the right relationship as opposed to one-night stands. If we truly believe in a free society, our sexuality is ours and our body should be ours to do with as we please even when that means waiting for something meaningful. Without being maligned for that choice.