This is Ben and Faith. Hi! Earlier today the Night Writer directed our attention to an article about a couple who had waited until their wedding to kiss (hubba hubba! btw). They are both abstinence instructors in the Chicago area schools and they decided together to match their words and their actions. It sounded great to us.
Then we dipped our toesies into the Comment section. There were some supportive and congratulatory comments left by folks. And there were all manner of derogatory comments. Huh? Now just what would the fine readers of the Chicago Tribune have against a couple who waited until marriage to do… um, marriagey things? NW is going to get into some particulars about the logical fallacies, ad stupidem attacks and just plain silliness that some peeps took the time to type. For our part, we just wanted to write this post to chuckle.
Chuckle? Yes, you heard what we said. You see, we haven’t kissed yet and we are having a great time! How is this possible? Can future husband and wife have a good time without, uh, “having a good time”? You’d better believe it! But you’d never know it from most of those comments! If we trusted all of those comments to reflect reality then we’d both be weird perverts who are mentally disturbed or gay or, (wait for it)… just like Hitler! I kid you not. There was this one dude who busted out the Nazi argument to try to dis abstinence! Ich bin ein Berliner! Ja!!!
Now that’s all pretty silly, right? Of course it is. For our part, for the time being, we are getting to know each other better and better. We are learning to laugh, to pray, to talk, to worship, to compromise, to collaborate and to complement each other. In short, we are spending time learning how to be best friends. Fear not! The loverly stuff will take care of itself when it’s time.
Night Writer here. As Faith and Ben said, I have some commentary on the, um, commentary that accompanied the original newspaper article. It seems some people have had some very strong, very negative reactions about two people with an alternative lifestyle getting married according to the dictates of their conscience. As I write this there are currently 290 comments on the original three or four paragraph article. Many are positive but most aren’t, and the negative ones seemed to fall into a few common buckets. You can read them individually for yourself, but in the name of tolerance and diversity, allow me to address these comments here by theme or by representative quotes.
How can you really know a person without physical intimacy? (Related: what if they’re a bad lover, or hiding something, what if your sex drives aren’t compatible?)
This is the obvious response, and one raised in the article as well — shouldn’t you try something out before you “buy” it? Of course, if you buy the logic that not having sex before you’re married is a sure recipe for marital trouble you’d naturally have to believe that having sex before marriage is a major factor in today’s record-low divorce rate. My experience is that sex may make you physical, but it hardly makes you intimate. In fact, once sex enters the relationship it clouds your ability (or even your desire) to properly evaluate your partner’s character, personality and long-term goals if doing so could interfere with getting sex. Rather than taking the time to talk out important issues, or raise questions about troubling actions or statements by the other person, you keep quiet so as not to cause a fight that might mean “no sex tonight.” At the very least, you take up time that could be invested in finding out what the other person is really like.
The physical passion will eventually wane to some extent but the person’s character and personality will stay the same. A person’s inherent witchiness or sloth, ambition (or lack thereof), the number of kids s/he wants, the way s/he treats others — all can be missed during the “interview” process while you’re focusing on immediate gratification.
The question, at heart, is a good one but it is missing the crucial point. It is important to find out in advance “who” your partner is, how s/he performs under pressure and if you’re “compatible”; these are all things, however, that are better revealed before physical intimacy takes place. Sexual compatibility ultimately comes from knowing you have a partner you trust and understand, and who trusts and understands you. And let’s not forget that the most important sex organ is the brain. Good sex — no, great sex — begins long before you ever get into bed.
Why don’t they allow themselves to be alone or to kiss — don’t they have any self-control? Does abstinence mean ‘no kissing’?
Wise people know that good intentions are often overcome by passion and “weak moments” are often the result of negligence or poor planning. The solution is simply to not put yourself in situations where temptation can easily have it’s way; not out of fear of the act, but out of wisdom and a firm and common understanding of what is really important to each of you. Kissing doesn’t necessarily have to be a part of abstinence, but it does tend to inflame the passions and natural desire you have for one another. Making a habit of it continually raises the stakes and lowers resistance, making it more agonizing to back away.
I’m reminded of the scene in Oh Brother, Where Art Thou:
Delmar: Gopher, Everett?
Everett: No thank you, Delmar. I’m afraid one-third of a gopher would only arouse my appetite without beddin’ her back down.
How many times can you go into Old Country Buffet and confine yourself to the appetizer table before you can’t help but rush over to the main courses and desserts? And the best way to avoid speeding tickets isn’t to buy a radar detector, but to not speed in the first place.
Why deny our human desires just because of some invisible guy up in the sky / religion teaches us to fear and deny the physical / God made us to enjoy sex!
Setting God aside (for the moment), there are very good natural as well as supernatural reasons to be careful about sex, such as unintended pregnancy, sexually-transmitted diseases, abortion, child support and invitations to appear on the Jerry Springer Show. Then there’re all the “exes”: ex-wife, ex-gf, ex-bf and extraordinarily complicated holiday schedules. Have you ever noticed that “ex” is two-thirds of the word “sex”?
Perhaps a loving God, not an angry one, really wants the best for us and would like to see us avoid all these ugly complications so he offered some rules on how to use the free will and other gifts he gave us in ways that enhance our life and our ability and capacity to help others.
“Why do we reward this kind of behavior by making celebrities of these fanatics? These freaks have no business anywhere near our youth!” Yeah, don’t they know that we’re supposed to be making celebrities of all those bed-hopping actors, actresses, heiresses and rock stars! The nerve of some people!
“Let’s be honest he’s gay or he’s lying. She’s definitely a flake, so good luck with that. They both need to grow up!”
I’m continually amazed at the number of psychics, mind-readers and psychiatrists trolling the comment sections of newspapers and blogs; nearly as many as those with the special ability to make up statistics on the spot.
“It scares me that these people are teaching our children about important issues of sexual health.” It scares me that there are people out there who can’t abide someone daring to tell their children, “No.”