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Night is young, so are we. / Let's get to know each other better, slow and easily. Jermaine Stewart "I think we sometimes conflate institutional systems and structures, and covenant with God, to the point that we believe that signing a marriage license is God’s intention.” This from Christian Piatt, an author and blogger with Patheos and The Good Man Project. “You can be married and use someone,” he points out. “You can devalue and denigrate someone without ever touching them. You can abuse someone sexually without ever having sex with them.” He reviles the setting of arbitrary sexual boundaries as a means of emotional and spiritual protection in sexual relationships. “Hand jobs okay, intercourse not” is, he says, a Pharisaical reduction of the law to its letter. It preserves personal gratification, rather than reverence for the other person and their body, as the goal of a sexual relationship. Marriage, says Mr. Piatt, is no magic pill for a righteous sexual relationship. The end of the matter, he says, is being able to say to your partner “‘I’m doing this out of love and respect and reverence for you.’” It’s possible for a person’s virginity to impair their ability to say that to someone. One woman I interview, who requests anonymity, was engaged to a virgin whose sexual appetite took them much farther than she was comfortable going, even though she was not a virgin herself. “He was so attracted to me, that it was like he was aroused all the time,” she says, while for her part, “my heart was bonded to him in a way that was too soon.” Even though she was more experienced than he, even though they didn’t have intercourse, the memory of it still makes her feel dirty. “You’d think it would be different,” she says, “because we were in love.”

because you aren’t sure yet whether you want to spend the rest of your life with that person.” I ask him whether it wouldn’t be more loving, respectful, and reverential of that person to wait until you are sure. “I don't have a perfect answer to your question,” he says. "In a perfect world, I would love to see that happen, I guess.”

I don't know about you but I swear on my name they could smell it on me. / I've never been too good with secrets. Ben Gibbard It’s not as easy as you might think to lose your virginity. If you want an actual human encounter, with corresponding feelings of attraction, you have to get through the strange moral barrier most people have against casual sex with a virgin. This often narrows down a first-timer’s options to an escort service or someone who really cares about them. Because of this, some manage to slip through the cracks and remain possessed of their virtue well past drinking age. They’re commonly assumed to wear thick glasses and tightly-buttoned sweaters, and to get excited at a close brush with someone on a crowded sidewalk. In fact, there is a whole cadre of virgins with ingenious strategic savvy who can play abstinence like a yoyo, giving out just enough and then snapping back, to mesmeric effect. It’s a marvel of technique. There are also the “nice guys” and “great girls” about whom people wonder “How is he/she not married yet?” The question is answered when you see one of them get dumped. These are the virgins whose consciences chafe against a sense of entitlement that God (or the world, or one person in particular) should have long since rewarded their fortitude. You'll notice that these types are all united by a fixation on sex. Fearing it, defining it, courting it, avoiding it. It's a lot of thought and energy spent on something that you're committed to not having.

"You can be married and use someone. You can devalue and denigrate someone without ever touching them. You can abuse someone sexually without ever having sex with them."

The world that I see inside you / Waiting to come to life / Waking me up to dreaming / Reality in your eyes Jason Wade On these grounds, Mr. Piatt doubts that sex is meant to be a permanent consummation of a loving relationship. That idea, he says, “does presuppose that there is one man made to be with one woman, to be together for all time. I’m not sure that sharing a sexual experience with someone that you care about, or even love, devalues that experience or any future experiences simply

Find hope. Live life. livingwaterscanada.org

56 | CONVERGE. march - april

2013

I am the son / And the heir / Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar. (Johnny Marr) The most common (and perhaps most successful) objection to virginity goes along the lines of “What's the big deal? It’s just sex.” But the objection itself reveals an implicit understanding that sex is not just sex, at all. If it’s simply a rite of physical

Profile for Converge Magazine

Converge magazine // 11  

This 11th issue we explore the ethics of hockey culture, and whether loyal hockey fans are mad at the NHL for the right reasons. We talk vir...

Converge magazine // 11  

This 11th issue we explore the ethics of hockey culture, and whether loyal hockey fans are mad at the NHL for the right reasons. We talk vir...

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