The First Step of Abstinence Is Believing It’s Possible
For some reason, the irresistible nature of sex has come up in various forums and offline conversations. Frankly, my own youth stands as evidence, but placing my experiences in review, I’m not so sure that it had to be so. Had I met anybody like Sarah Hinlicky, writing here in 1998, I’d have likely scoffed, but that would clearly have been my loss:
Okay, I’ll admit it: I am twenty-two years old and still a virgin. Not for lack of opportunity, my vanity hastens to add. Had I ever felt unduly burdened by my unfashionable innocence, I could have found someone to attend to the problem. But I never did. Our mainstream culture tells me that some oppressive force must be the cause of my late-in-life virginity, maybe an inordinate fear of men or God or getting caught. Perhaps it’s right, since I can pinpoint a number of influences that have persuaded me to remain a virgin. My mother taught me that self-respect requires self-control, and my father taught me to demand the same from men. I’m enough of a country bumpkin to suspect that contraceptives might not be enough to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or disease, and I think that abortion is killing a baby. I buy into all that Christian doctrine of law and promise, which means that the stuffy old commandments are still binding on my conscience. And I’m even naive enough to believe in permanent, exclusive, divinely ordained love between a man and a woman, a love so valuable that it motivates me to keep my legs tightly crossed in the most tempting of situations.
Sex is the sort of subject on which folks feel a need to sound worldly when it comes up, which skews the way we talk about it. But I’ll tell you this: It simply isn’t the case that everybody’s secretly full of lust and deception.