I got an email from a reader the other day. She was full of anxiety about a situation I am sure many (if not most) of you know all too well. After being set up by a friend with a guy who doesn't value chastity (except when it suits him), she had to explain that she doesn't want to have sex before marriage.
By the way, this is an example of how we have to fight like berserkers to stop "gay marriage" and other upheavals of the social order. Don't think, "Oh well. If we lose this battle, we can just go and form our own little Christian enclaves, and we'll be left alone." Ah ha ha. That isn't going to happen. And it shouldn't happen. For example, let's look at what the average English chap thought relationships with girls looked like in 1911 and what he thinks they look like now:
1910: 1. Find nice girl--(don't get sidetracked by bad girls), 2. marry nice girl, 3. sleep with nice girl, 4. eventually become proud papa.
2011: 1. have as much sex as you can have, with as many consenting partners as you can find, because this is the greatest thing in life; 2. when you feel like "getting serious", find nice girl; 3. sleep with nice girl to make sure monogamy will not stop the sex supply; 4. when you feel ready, move in with nice girl and split chores 70/30 although you said 50/50, but come on, she must be a neat freak; 5. when your friends have started getting married, ask nice girl to marry you and be rewarded by her shrieks of joy and gratitude; 6. have huge blow-out wedding once you can afford it; 7. have child once you can afford him/her/it.
The man in the 2011 scenario is not an evil bastard. He is just an ordinary bloke of his times. And therefore that is the kind of bloke we are dealing with most of the time. Even if he is a western Catholic, from a Catholic family, he probably unconsciously believes in the 2011 scenario because he gets messages that this is normal every day. This is why just scooting off into enclaves is no way to deal with outrageous social engineering. If you do that, then you've lost the war without a fight, and any Catholic who is willing to do so can never make a remark about "once dropped, never fired" French rifles ever again.
Back to my reader. My reader did not tell the guy up front that she did not want to have sex before marriage. When the Overwhelming Question came up, she tried to put it as vaguely as possible, so the guy thought she just wanted to be sure she could "trust him" first. And, actually, this was true, because the only man you can trust with your private parts is your husband, and then only after your husband, unless he has never had sex before, has been declared clean of sexually transmitted diseases. But this vagueness only delayed the crisis in which my reader had to tell him what he thought very bad news indeed. Hands up everyone who has gone through THAT!
Well, I will not go into in tooth-grinding details, but in short it was All About Him and he said that if he had known that right up front, he would have dumped her, but as he had grown to care for her, he was willing to put up with it and see where the relationship might go. However, he worried that he might grow to resent it.
FAIL. FAIL. FAIL. FAIL.
The A response to "I don't want to have sex until I am married" is "Oh my gosh. I totally respect that, and I hope you don't feel like I've been pressuring you."
The B response is "Of course you don't. If you were the kind of girl who did, we would not be together." (This is vaguely annoying, but I can hear most of the Catholic guys I know saying that.)
Everything else is F for Fail.
Because our grandparents and great-grandparents lost some serious battles in the 1960s, young women are told every freaking day that they are stealing from men if they do not have sex with them. It is positively schizoid: on the one hand "Your body, your choice", and on the other, "I feel so hurt that you will not have sex with me. I see this as you having power over me, and that's not equality. I associate this kind of behaviour with needy women, and am disappointed with you. Why are you being such a bitch about this?"
When it comes to you killing their kids when said kids still kind of look like tadpoles or space aliens, A-OK. When it comes to you explaining that sex is for marriage, AAAAAAAAAH! You're worse than Stalin.
I'm afraid the one cure for the horrible position Mr Resentment puts you in, concerning the sovereignty of your body, is to dump him before he dumps you or, worse, badgers you over the long months into having sex with him.
The pattern will look like this: MR WONDERFUL mr angry MR WONDERFUL mr angry MR WONDERFUL mr angry. He plays good cop/bad cop all by himself until you are half-insane. No man is worth that, so if he fails the Sex Talk, ditch him.
For lo, it is he, NOT YOU, who has failed the Sex Talk.
The only man on earth you are indebted to have sex with is your husband, if you have one, and even that is open to some negotiation under some circumstances. You are under no obligation to have sex with anyone else. Meanwhile, men are obliged BY GOD not to be bastards about it. Of course, if they are bastards about it, your tummy will know, and even if you don't want to listen to your tummy, your tummy will tell you to dump them. You should listen to your tummy because your tummy is your best friend and it is screaming "Red Alert! Whoop! Whoop! Whoop! Red Alert!"
Society is broken, and although society is still very much down on out-and-out rape by violence, society does not give much of a damn about rape by Chinese-water-torture nagging and sighing and "What about MY needs?" And society has more-or-less told young people that they will die or go crazy if they do not have "regular sex", so society has created successive generations of men who think they have a right to it. Not just in marriage, and not even just in exchange for money to prostitutes, but for free, from the girl who likes them enough to make out.
G.K. Chesterton, who was around in 1911, would be appalled. He would be staggered that not only do men in great numbers debauch the kind of women they might (or should) marry, they make such women feel bad about refusing to be debauched. And not only that, instead of dismissing such men with the steely, noble gaze of a red-headed Chesterton heroine, women feel bad about saying no. We feel guilty. We wonder if we are being selfish.
Well, we aren't. We are being good. We are protecting ourselves, our hearts, our health, our future husband's health, our future children's health, our histories and our immortal souls. We are even protecting the sulky moron who feels personally attacked by our refusal to have sex with him. We are behaving like women have for thousands or years.
He, meanwhile, is also behaving like men have for thousands of years. He can dress up his routine with 21st century waffle about "rights" and "needs" and "equality", but as some rather pessimistic woman said long before the sexual revolution, "His job to try, and your job to say no."
I throw this in because of the men who actually squeak a pass from the Sex Talk Test. Lapsed Catholic men from Mediterranean cultures who have been around the block a few times and then meet a Nice Catholic Girl will sometimes try the old "voulez-vous couchez avec moi ce soir?" anyway and then get The Sex Talk. Then Mr Mediterranean Cultural Catholic says something like, "Well, I don't like it, but I respect that." Then they will either stick around and get married or they will scram.
Actually it is only on the topmost level of their consciousness they don't like it. Subconsciously they have moved the NCG from the "Foxy Lady" category to the "Potential Wife" category. And, if he sticks around, the NCG can expect a ring real soon because a man in love is still a man who wants to have sex. Duh.
An Amusing Word about Making Out: I get a lot of letters in which readers admit to making out with non-husbands. Because almost everyone not a priest, including Archie Comics, tells you that making out with non-husbands is fine and fun, gazillions of Catholics end up making out.
Actually, I think making out with non-husbands is risky, judgement-clouding, obviously sexually-charged behaviour. It certainly channels sexual frustration, but I believe it makes it worse, especially for men, if memory of masculine complaint serves, unless you are getting married next week.
You may say, "Oh come on, Seraphic, now you are sounding kind of old-ladyish. Making out with non-husbands is not such a big deal." Okay, then, so can, like, I make out with non-husbands?
You: (screams) No! Of course you can't! You're MARRIED!
Me: Okay, so you can make out with non-husbands because you are Single, and I can't because I'm Married?
Me: So because you are Single you can have highly charged sexual experiences with a man here and a man there, and because I am Married, I can't.
You: Um. Yes. Um.
Me: Where is this in Scripture and tradition again? Because, you know, I thought any deliberately chosen, highly-charged sexual experiences were just for Married people.
Me: Ah hah!
You: Don't go all Smug Married on us, or we'll come to Scotland and kill you.
Me: Just sayin'.
Update: National Catholic Singles Conference . Girlfriend has ideas quite similar to mine, except that she is a Theology of the Boditarian. Hat tip to Berenike, who sent me the link.