Friday, 14 October 2011

The Overwhelming Question

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.


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?

You: Exactly.

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.

You: Um.

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.


kozz said...

How very condescending. I do feel that there is a high possibility of him cheating and/or dump her and using this as a convenient excuse.

kozz said...

****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***

My response is for this comment. The comment box ate my a part of my previous comment.

Mustard Seed said...

This issue has been on my mind lately because I'm single and haven't dated in a few months. I've had this Talk multiple times before with guys, whose reactions ranged from "you're joking, right?" to "well that just seems unnatural, what's wrong with you" to "men don't actually really value chastity and you're wasting your energy." (UGH.) Thankfully, I have also found a few guys who said "wow, that's really smart" and even "that's great, I agree" or "I disagree, but that's OK if you want to wait." [On that last one, it ended up not being OK with him after all and we broke up.]

Anyway, the older I get, I feel like the harder it will be to find a guy who agrees with me on this. An acquaintance recently offered to set me up with her handsome, Harvard-going friend, and I got all nervous because I didn't want to have to have The Talk yet again. It is so awkward to be shot down and told you're crazy/weird. I know the alternative isn't any better by a long shot, but I don't know, I guess I'm looking for encouragement. Anyone?

Kate said...

I've had The Talk often enough and one time I even got a good response - the "good for you, I respect that, I won't pressure you into anything" response. And he stuck to it (until I found out about his six other girlfriends....).

I find that the worst part of the talk isn't the wacky responses, but actually having it at all. I resent having to spell it out for anyone - when did "I'm Catholic" lose all of its meaning? I cringe when I have to explain the do's and don't's of Catholic teaching. I'm incredibly shy as it is and The Talk just puts me over the top.

healthily sanguine said...

Superb post! Also beware the Catholic guy who intellectually/verbally agrees with you yet physically pushes the limits (utter FAIL), or who feels that since he is so Virtuous as to abstain from sex before marriage he is entitled to be a self-seeking jerk in other ways. How a guy behaves outside the bedroom when you are dating is how he will be inside the bedroom when (if) you get married--so that's a sobering thought.

Seraphic said...

Well, healthily sanguine, I think what a guy is like inside the bedroom entirely depends on the guy. Er. It's rather removed from the public realm. So removed, I'm not going to talk about it.

Kate, we have to have The Talk because of the Sexual Revolution. We lost a very important battle in the 1960s, and therefore modest women have to actually talk about their wish to be chaste to increasingly clueless and irritated men.

And if you think that Talk is stressful, imagine when you (and every faithful Catholic) have to have The Talk with your children's teachers about the radical new sex ed curriculum in their class.

Imagine when you have The Talk with a social worker because of what your children said in class about marriage being only between one man and one woman or that you can't become a man or woman through "sex reassignment surgery."

This is what happens when Christians lose Christendom, and when we lose our fight to save humankind from harmful and totalitarian ideologies one can find right there in "Brave New World." Heck, we can find it in "Humanae Vitae."

Unless you date only devout Catholic boys from Catholic cultures, you are going to have to give The Talk again and again. I'm sorry and I hate it, too, but that's the price we paid for losing the culture war.

Seraphic said...

Mustard Seed, the reason why you feel shot down is because young men are emotionally stupid and think you are shooting THEM down when you explain why you don't want to have sex with them. Actually, I doubt they listen to the explanation. They just hear "No Sex" and freak.

I suggest freaking out at them, like a radical feminist girl, instead of feeling all apologetic and embarrassed.

"How dare you?" is a good way to start. "How dare you assume that you have any kind of sovereignty over my vagina!" [Use the Latin words; that will get their attention.] "How dare you demand something which could cost me--emotionally, physically, historically--so much and will cost you NOTHING! I bet you're pro-choice, too. I bet you would be the first person in the universe to say I could kill your unborn child in my belly if I wanted to, because my-body-my-choice, and yet because I wish to keep my vagina to myself until I marry, you are all "That's unnatural." Well, F*** you. Your problem is you think women are just a natural occuring form of post-op trannies. Why don't you go find one of the latter, you *******?"

And march off. Awesome. That really is how Nice Catholic Girls should deal with the ****** who make them feel "shot down" for expressing their sexual wish to be sexually chaste.

I think every nice polite ladylike girl is allowed a few F-bombs for just this occasion.

theobromophile said...

ROFL to your NCG tell-off.

Last part first: ah, but Seraphic, as Singles, we are entitled to flirt with men, go on dates with them, be courted by them, and receive flowers from them, all of which you, as a Married Lady, cannot do. So, yes, there are things that us Singles can do that you can't do as a Married lady, but there's things that a Married Lady can do that us Singles cannot. Whether or not making out with dates is among those is a different question, just not quite so cut-and-dry as you make it sound.

That said... one of the great evils of our time is that virtue, sense, and health is deemed to be repressive, illogical, and unhealthy, and its adherents are damned as crazy or in need of correction. We are told that the most confident girls are the girls who succumb the most readily to societal and male pressure, that the ones who fight for their virtue and only give themselves to men who love them are the ones who lack self-respect and self-esteem. It is so (expletive) BACKWARDS.

The one thing that gives me any hope is seeing how men calm down as they age. As a very wise woman often says, it takes men two years of seminary to develop the understanding that girls have on the playground. Likewise, after a decade or two of dating, they understand what we "get" as young women: that women who "put out" lack confidence, often have some mental issues (whoo doggies, I could write a book on that one!), and don't respect themselves nor the act.

Seraphic said...

Ha! Married ladies are allowed to receive flowers from men, and I do. I also receive trinkets from my husband's adoring (? tolerant?)friends, particularly for my birthday. Then there are hostess presents, greedily, I mean, gracefully accepted. And I do seem to recall being carted away for coffee on one or two occasions to give advice or English practise...

Plus in Edinburgh, where too-loving couples are regarded with suspicion, so it is only polite to flirt with other men when your husband is chatting with the women to his left and right. There are strict rules that you learn as you go along. If you cannot grasp them, then it is better not to try.

healthily sanguine said...

Ok, fair enough, Seraphic. I was (obviously) extrapolating a bit, but my point was mainly just that if a guy is generally selfish and does not look after your safety or comfort in day-to-day life while dating, it might end up being the same after marriage, in the bedroom. And on the flip side, I remember once saying to a friend who was going to be married and nervous about the wedding night that her husband wasn't going to turn into a different person or anything: he would still be generous, considerate, etc. But of course, I have no first-hand experience to back that up, so should probably also say no more! :-)

Seraphic said...

Well, I certainly think it is a good idea to reassure frightened brides (bless their wee hearts, I love them) that their nice, thoughtful grooms will not turn into hideous Somali-pirate types once they are alone! Of course, they probably will not turn into Don Juan De Marco either, so patience and communication and a sense of humour are key, says Twice Married Lady.

But in general, a lousy thoughtless, selfish boyfriend will make a lousy thoughtless selfish husband, guaranteed.

MorganLaFey said...

Dump him, Reader! If you care enough about him and his immortal soul to have The Talk, he should care enough about you and yours to respect that. Not begrudge you this, not threaten you with dumping(!).

Anything less than his wholehearted agreement and concern for you as an equal in the relationship is a fail. There are still good men out there who will honor your wishes, or even feel the same way already. Toss this one and keep looking for someone worth your time and energy!

Summer said...

I don't worry that I am selfish having the Talk, because I KNOW I am not. I DO worry that it means I will never get married because, let's face it pretty much every single one of my friends who has gotten married has only been proposed to after sleeping with or living with the guy. It is the norm in our culture and if you deviate that far from the norm, well it makes it very difficult. It is hard to give the Talk not because I am afraid to do it or so much that I worry that one guy will say but because I fear I won't ever find the right guy. And I see so many other women my age who have seemingly good lives having made very different choices than me, now having husbands and children and being held up as examples of virtuous Christian women (and I'm not saying they are not that now, but you know what I mean).
Many times when my mother laments or intimates why aren't you married with children like (so-and-so) I think well it is because I gave the Talk and she didn't, but I never actually say that to my mother because it would usually be divulging a confidence about (so-and-so) and because my mother still believes that 99% of Christian woman wait until they are married and she would not believe it even if I told her. Our culture has changed but many older Christians are in the dark or in denial about that and that itself can make it even more frustrating because they criticize you without even realizing at all what a challenge you face being so counter-culture.
Sometimes the only thing that keeps me sane and believing that having the Talk is the right thing to do is reminding myself that Seraphic SAYS saying no will not keep you from getting married if it's God's will. I totally sympathize with Mustard Seed and just dreading the possibility of having to have it again and being afraid to hope that maybe THIS is the time you won't have a bad experience with it.

Seraphic said...

Oh, I should report that my Reader has given him the old heave-ho, and he is annoyed.

I know all kinds of Christian women who did not sleep with their boyfriends before they were married, or at least not before they were engaged. Once women are engaged, no longer do they talk about this stuff except to say how hard it is to wait when you are engaged.

Sleeping with a man before marriage does not lead inevitably to a break-up, but neither does it lead inevitably lead to marriage. No man is ever going to reward you for sleeping with him by marrying you. Don't ever think that sex is some kind of shortcut to marriage because these days it never, ever is.

In the old days, sure, a desperate sex-having girlfriend would "just get pregnant" but today this will get you squat from a guy (except pressure to abort or half his income for 18 years), and if the priest knows you're pregnant, he won't do the wedding.

Really, just hang in there. Don't try to sell your body (and risk your soul) for a ring. There really are decent men out there.

theobromophile said...

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.
Denying base wants is part of the process by which we grow into adults. Everyone agrees with this when it's in relation to food, money, interpersonal relationships (friendships, families), school work, etc. We may not want to save our pennies, do our homework, arrive to work on time instead of sleeping in, or bite our tongues around difficult relatives, but we learn and know that such things make our lives better and ourselves better, more mature people.

Somehow, however, we've forgotten that part of how boys become men is to learn to live with not having what their bodies want. I suspect that it's partly due to the subtle cruelty of that phrase, "Ready for sex," which implies that those who do not desire it are immature and will change once they grow up.

Which is to say: denying a man what he wants because you want something different isn't selfish; it's making him into a man.

Little Mary said...

I so admire women who don't feel all apologetic about being true to themselves and the Truth... if anybody knows any ways to help develop that, would be much appreciated... I'd rather be a Confident Catholic Girl than a Nice Catholic Girl...

Mustard Seed said...

Seraphic, I will keep your rebuttal in mind if it should become necessary in the future. (I purposely refrain from swearing so that people know I Mean Business when I do swear, hehe.)

I feel like I would rather hope to find the right man than sell myself short, even if having the Talk means that it'll take me longer to find the right one, and even (though I really hope this is not the case) if it means that I won't get married. I know what Summer was talking about - I've had friends get married who didn't wait at all, and they seem pretty happy now. It doesn't seem fair somehow, even though I know it's not like we earn more of a right to marriage by being chaste, and after all I'm pretty happy at this point in my life. Also what works for them wouldn't necessarily work for me. Still, it's hard to make sense of it sometimes. Above all I just don't want to become bitter.

I would rather know the grace, joy, and freedom of chastity as a single person than risk marrying someone who won't even date me unless we have sex. So I guess that means putting my faith in God because that's the only thing that does seem to make sense.

Katie said...

Summer - I understand your experience of the older generation just not getting the whole 'Talk' thing. My mum (God bless her) also lamented my singleness and couldn't understand why I wanted to narrow my choice to Christian men. It was hard to explain that for most men (even really nice, kind men) a relationship meant sex.
It takes a huge amount of courage to have the 'Talk' and then the responses can be laughable (on reflection) as other readers here have mentioned. One Catholic guy said - yeah that's fine - that's what I believe too but we can do 'other things'!!! The relationship didn't last long enough for me to find out what these 'other things' were.
Mustard Seed - you are right, the only thing we can do is to have the 'Talk' and put our faith in God. Seraphic found a good man so maybe God has a few more up his sleeve.
Thanks for bringing this topic up Seraphic - I have lots of good Christian female friends (not just Catholics) who have the 'Talk' dilema so we need to encourage each other to keep standing up for what we believe in.
It would be interesting to find out if any men out there have ever had to have the 'Talk' with a girl.

Jim said...

You may be surprised by this, but there are in fact guys that go through this with women. I lived with my first girlfriend, and when we broke up I was so hurt and messed up that I told myself I was not going to get in a physical relationship again except with the woman I married. Sooo, I spent the next several years going out with women where it fell into a pattern. Usually somewhere between the third and fifth date, all of the sudden they start dropping hints that they want to sleep with you (usually fairly clearly like, "it's late, wouldn't you rather stay here tonight than have to drive home?"). I guess at that point they felt that since you've been through several dates, you will probably stick around and you have been elevated into "someone I'm willing to sleep with" material.

With me, I always had a reaction where I would just tighten up inside, and I would mumble and try to beg off or if the invitation had been more explicit, say I wasn't ready for that. Do you know how they reacted? Almost every time I was then asked whether I was gay or had a problem relating with women. And that would be the end of the relationship.

So it cuts both ways. And it can be just as discouraging as when men do that to women.

Fortunately, when I finally met my wife, she wasn't playing that kind of a game, and she became first a friend, then someone I trusted, and I admit we moved in with each other when we got engaged. But we're still married 27 years later.

Med School Girl said...

Great post, Seraphic! And great comments so far from everyone else.
My own experience with the dreaded Talk has taught me a few things.
About 3 years ago, I dated a guy who really pursued me. I initially wasn't really interested, but gradually grew to like him. After 2 months of casual dating (i.e., seeing each other once a week), he asked me why I wouldn't ever stay over at his place and why we weren't having sex yet. Maybe I was naive, but his boldness really threw me off-guard as I felt that even if a person wasn't waiting for marriage (although I certainly was), barely knowing each other after 2 months was not grounds for sex. You can imagine my surprise about learning the "3rd Date Rule" from this blog!
He argued with me initially, saying that sex is "natural" and "good" and it isn't inappropriate just because a couple isn't married. I, stupidly, kept dating him, and kept making out with him, and kept letting him take off my bra and continue to push my boundaries.
We eventually broke up once I moved away for school, but not before he had a chance to tell me that he didn't want to really date me anymore or have any displays of physical affection if it meant he couldn't sleep with me. It stung to realize that I should have broken up with him first, the moment he failed the Talk.
I have to say that I don't know that I entirely agree with Seraphic about no making out, because I like kissing as a means of distinguishing spending time with a boyfriend from hanging out with my brother, but I do see her point about it essentially being a means to an end, which is sex, and which is what our bodies get geared up for when we do it. I would certainly be way more cautious about boundaries in the future.
Before this post gets even longer than it already is, here are the lessons I've learned:
1) I would have the Talk sooner than later. It is far better to find out where a guy stands on such issues early on and have him break up with you or vice versa right then and there than to hide your true beliefs out of fear and have to encounter a painful situation later on once you're more attached.
2) Any man who is worth your time and who is godly will treat you like gold and fully respect you in WORDS and ACTIONS. Do not be surprised if there aren't millions of men who are on the "No Premarital Sex" train. We are products of the culture we live in, and this belief is super duper countercultural. However, there are many good men out there, who would never, ever pressure you even if they aren't necessarily on board with the teaching at first.
3) I am lucky to have many friends who have married good Catholic men. They waited for my friends until their wedding night, and although some of them initially weren't fans of the idea, their hearts changed and they were just as equally determined to be chaste as the relationship developed.
4) I also have many friends who aren't Catholic. They know that I'm a virgin and that I'm waiting until marriage and they really respect this. Jerky guys might not make us feel like we're doing the right thing, but we really are, and we should feel encouraged by this, and strong! It frees us in so many ways.
5) I just started seeing a really nice (so far) NCB. He is coming to visit me in a few weeks (we live in different cities). I told him upfront that I wasn't comfortable with him staying with me (given that we don't know each other well) and he was perfectly understanding of that and had been planning on staying in a hotel. I have a feeling that the next visit will involve a kiss, and I have been thinking a lot about the Talk and when/how to have it. I can tell you that I have changed now from the lessons I learned from the past. NCB has to prove to me that he's worth my time and heart, including answering a) or b) to the Talk, NOT me shirking away and hiding my true beliefs out of fear.

Seraphic said...

Thank you for all your comments, peeps! I hope this will show Singles from around the world that they are not alone in having to give "the Talk." We all have given "the Talk", and the older ones probably have many times. Once I was quizzed by a guy I had a crush on, "How Catholic are you?" and I, knowing exactly what that meant, said, "Very." That was the shortest version of the Talk I have had.

Jim, thanks in particular for your guy's eye view. I am not at all surprised at what the women said, because many women gauge their sexual attraction (and therefore their ontological worth) by a man's interest in having sex with them. And if a man does not make moves, women do worry that a man just wants to be a friend or is gay or whatever. Which I do see is disheartening for a Christian man who just wants to protect his heart and be good. You too have been hurt by the "Third Date Rule."

Little Mary, it occurs to me that one way to begin becoming a confident soldier of Christ is to stop thinking of yourself as "Little Mary."

Mustard Seed, we must get over this idea that God strikes women who sin sexually with lightning bolts. You have no idea what regrets cloud their memories or if cervical cancer will strike them down in their mid-40s. You can't see the scars on their hearts. Meanwhile, if a woman marries the only man she commits sexual sins with, and they are happy, at least her sins, though sinful, were at least not stupid. I suspect devout girls, who think all sexual sins equally bad, sin more stupidly than non-devout girls.

(I hasten to add that to marry an awful man just because one has committed sexual sins with him is very stupid indeed. So many girls stay in terrible, terrible relationships because they are ashamed and think the only way their sins can be justified is by marrying the guy. But this is not true.)

The rain falls on the just and unjust alike, as it says in the Good Book and also in MY book, where I contemplate the Bad Girls of my high school year and all the goodies they now have: houses, husbands, cute children. Really, it is natural (Prodigal Son's brother) to feel resentment about God's mercy to others, but nature is fallen and too much resentment about God's mercy to others is bad for us.

Med School Girl, no making out, no missing bra. Just saying.

I appreciate that you like kissing. So do I. But the kind of kissing you are talking about is actually foreplay, as I would never have admitted when I was Single, but it is. It works ten times faster than alcohol to get women "in the mood". Women crave it like men crave sex, and although it is not as dangerous as sex, I think Nature meant it as a gateway to sex.

It clouds your judgment because it spikes bonding hormone and it can make you fall in love with whomever you are making out with, which (gruesomely) is great for a cavewoman who has been dragged off by a complete stranger caveman from the next tribe, but not so great for a modern-day woman who cannot look her friends in the eye as they scream "What are you thinking! He's a toad!" When making decisions about a man, you need all your brains in working order.

Ironically, married women--who nowadays have more to lose than Single women--know exactly what is okay and what is not. Pecking a man-not-our-husband on the cheek is now a big deal and making out with a non-husband is UNTHINKABLE.

Mustard Seed said...

I agree, and I definitely didn't mean to say that I think I'm any better/less sinful than anyone who did have sex before marriage or more deserving of mercy. I'm not perfect by any means at all, and their business with God is obviously their own business. So those are important things for me to remember.

I don't understand how some sins are stupid and others aren't (again, I should worry about my own sins), but you make a really good point about resentment, and the stuff about making out too.

Med School Girl said...

About your "no missing bra" comment: touché!
(no pun intended)

Hilary Jane Margaret White said...

You forgot step 8: get a divorce. Most stats show that shacking up or sex before marriage greatly increases divorce rates.

Lena said...

Thank you for your MOST ENCOURAGING post. I wrote about your posts on my own blog because I think people especially single women need to read what you wrote.


Lynea said...

That was so awesome for you to just say the truth about making out. It's an action that is intended to raise the passions, and that is precisely why it is only suited in the context of marriage. We do all remember that to incite lust in yourself or another is a sin? Right? So why, when the act is only to serve the marital act, would someone think it is ok?

All this rampant non-sense of easy women and manipulative men should only make it easier for women to discern the wolves from the sheep, or the effeminized, weak-willed girly boys from the real men. Tell the man early on what you are all about so he knows from the start the game plan. If he tries to push that, then he doesn't respect you. I had one guy tell me that he couldn't know if he was attracted to me unless there was some physical interaction (since he had a bad cold and all his other senses were thusly "handicapped"). I told him that was a great coincidence, since I had some physical interaction for him in mind --- a swift kick in the behind! Yep folks! We've got the upper hand, that is, if a guy really likes you, but even that is not enough --- he's got to want the same things you want (full stop).

Seraphic said...

Thanks for the great comments! The computer ate my response to the sin/stupid sin question, so I'll blog on it soon.

theobromophile said...

So why, when the act is only to serve the marital act, would someone think it is ok?

One of the biggest complaints that women have about affection in their marriages is that men think like you think: any affection, touching, passionate kissing, etc. must lead to sex. Women end up screaming that they would just love a time in which their husbands could kiss them, rub their backs, cuddle, and then go to sleep.

You are operating under the assumption that the one and only purpose of kissing is to prepare for intercourse. Those of us who firmly reject that assumption as not conforming to reality, nor being anything but a recipe for marital unhappiness and divorce, likewise reject the "kissing is only for those on the verge of matrimony" idea. I reject the "burqa mentality", in which women are obligated to avoid anything that arouses men - as if men are not naturally aroused ten times a day no matter what we do. Again, part of growing from a boy into a man is learning how to control that hair-trigger desire. And heavens, you would think that devout Catholic ladies would want a man who can kiss and snuggle without leading straight into sex, unless you all plan on slapping a bundle board into bed while practising NFP.

Seraphic said...

Nothing HAS to lead to sex. I think we're all on board with that one. "No means no," and there you have it. I was considering what Nature meant deep, passion-arousing, skin-tingling kissing for.

If you are talking about a peck on the cheek or even one smacking kiss on the lips, then no. Obviously Nature did not intend this to get the motor running.

But if you are talking about a man and a woman grasping each other and stroking each other's bodies and gobbling each other's mouths (goodness what a start to a Monday morning), then yes. We are talking about something that, unless checked (which of course it can be and should be unless you are married), will led to sexual intercourse.

I'm not sure what "hair-trigger" means when you are talking about an hour or more of snogging on a couch. Sure, a boy needs to learn not to stare at women's breasts or legs as he walks down the street, and he also needs to learn not to fondle a girl's bottom while dancing and not to grab at a girl's breasts during a good-night kiss or whatever other kissing, but this does not mean that making out trains a man for chastity or continence. Come on.

What women want in marriage is beside the point when we talk about what women want before marriage. Every marriage is different, and every woman has to negotiate what goes on in the marital chamber.

However, no unmarried woman has the human right to be kissed and snuggled. Yes, it is pleasant, but in some situations, it is very imprudent, not because men are jerks, but because women overestimate their own commitment to chastity. There is also the danger of using a man whom you wouldn't marry in a million years as a snuggle machine.

It occurs to me that maybe women could understand men and the male sex drive better if we contemplated how much we love to make out, and how annoyed we get if someone says we shouldn't do it. We should think about this, not to give in to non-husband's sexual demands, but to consider our that our desire to snuggle may be inordinate and unfair on a poor non-husband guy, especially if he is TRYING to be chaste.

Denise said...

I have a question about Mr Mediterranean Cultural Catholic. How is he not the same as Mr Whiny Sex-Demanding Boy-Man? After all, he "doesn't like it", even if he will respect it.

Why would a Nice Religious Girl want to stick around with someone like that?

Seraphic said...

No, they aren't the same. Mr Mediterranean Cultural Catholic takes No for an answer, respects you for it, and then either stops calling or starts thinking rings. He only dislikes it on the surface. He likes it after he thinks about it for five minutes because he wants to marry the kind of girl who says No.

(I rejected the advances of his cousin, Mr Polish Cultural Catholic, who dumped me shortly for someone else, and years later Mr Polish Cultural Catholic told me how proud he was of me for saying No. Which was a tad patronizing and rather over-familiar, coming from him, but that is how he felt.)

Mr Whiny Boy-Man does not take No as the definitive answer the first, second or third time, does not respect you for it, and whines like a child who has been deprived of his lollipop. He hangs around and works on your nerves, telling you what a bad feminist you are, etc., etc.

A Nice Religious Girl would stick around with Mr Mediterranean Cultural Catholic if she (A) has a huge crush on him and (B) knows he is not really a jerk, just Mr Mediterranean Cultural Catholic. Nice Religious Mediterranean Catholic marry these guys all the time.

At the end of the day, the real bastard is not the guy who stops calling because you said "No" but the guy who refuses to take "No" for an answer but screams and schemes until he gets what he wants.

Yes, it's disheartening when you go through a patch of No-caused break-ups, but there is nothing so horrible as being in the emotional clutches of a man determined to seduce you.

Seraphic said...

Caveat: of course, if any guy is a regularly church-going (not just C&E, hatch, match, dispatch) Catholic or other kind of traditional Christian, and he doesn't call because you said No then he is a slug-eating hypocrite, and you can tell him I said so.

Denise said...

For a Nice Religious Girl, is it legitimate for her to want the guy who has "been around the block a few times" to show some remorse about that, or should she just chalk it up to "sowing wild oats" and not dwell on it too much?

Mustard Seed said...

Wow what a popular combox! I think Seraphic hit the nail on the head. Making out, while infinitely enjoyable, does not make for a clear-headed assessment of a guy, his merits/flaws, or his actual level of interest (or many other important things). Earlier this year, I got seriously burned by a CB because I snogged too much, forgot about emotional chastity, and let my heart run away with itself. Then things fell apart and I realized how much harder I had made it for myself. That was a painful lesson to learn but one that I hope will help me in the future.

Also, I've been reflecting over the weekend about God and His mercy, and I feel a lot less bitter and more hopeful, so thank you Seraphic for your take on that.

Anonymous said...


re. the man who has been around the block --

I can relate to this question and so will speak to it if I may. My fiance, before he was a believer, was pretty big into the party scene. A lot of drinking, a lot of stupid decisions, and also a certain amount of sex. That's just how his life was.

A few years before we met, however, God got ahold of him, turned him upside-down, shook him, and set him back on the path he should have been on all along. My fiance's life was absolutely transformed when he encountered Christ.

He told me about his past on our second date, and I was surprised by my reaction. I regret that he slept with other women -- but the sadness that was there was much more for him than for me. And he regrets it, too -- but he's not wrapped up in guilt and I wouldn't want him to be. The past is the past; those sins were dealt with on the cross. They are forgiven, and we move on. And so actually what surprised me the most is how peaceful I felt about it.

So, as a NPG about to marry her NPB who has been around the block once or twice, it's true that I don't think about it as "just" sowing wild oats or whatever; I don't mean to trivialize things. It was sin. But it is forgiven sin, long-dead sin, and I choose to remember it, when I do, in that light.

Denise said...

Thanks for the perspective, Anon. May I suggest that you felt at peace because he had felt remorse? I guess I am wondering about the man who doesn't seem to think it was such a big deal.

Seraphic said...

I suppose the major worry for me in such a situation is if the man thinks that adultery is okay.

Any sinner owes his or her apologies for past consensual sexual sins to God alone. Women (not all women, obviously) tend to be less hurt by a loved one's sexual past then men are; it is a terrible idea for women to talk about them to new men in their lives. A man should shut up about he did in the past, too, once he understands that knowledge of his past sins hurts or frightens the woman he loves.

Denise, it sounds like you have a story to go with the question. Feel free to send me an email. But I can tell you right now that if you resent and distrust a man, you shouldn't marry him.

Denise said...

Not so much a story as an anecdote. A while back I dated someone who was not a NCB. We were at a bar and we were watching silly young girls throw themselves at men with the way they dressed and acted. And he said that he and his group of male friends referred to them as "Practice Girls". I was appalled.

Seraphic said...

Yowch! But imagine how differently the girls would behave if they knew men thought like that.

Meanwhile, I think a lot of chaste men would say that, even if they themselves did not take advantage of, er, "Practise Girls."

kozz said...

they would behave any better. Infact, it might be twisted into something about "female empowerment".

Denise's scenario reminds me of the song- F** me pumps by Amy Winehouse < caveat: one F bomb at the end>