Let’s talk about abstinence

Here follows a gratuitous (and poorly gimped) picture in a shameless attempt to capture your attention:

40-Year-OldVirginMoviePoster_lambchop

Now for some serious life-thoughts. The 40-year-old virgin , I am led to believe, is a movie about a man in his forties who is still a virgin. I have so far refused to watch the movie – mainly because the title seems suggest being a 40-year old virgin is somehow shameful.  This post is, however, not about the movie. It is about this: people are taking longer and longer to get married, and if they’re Christian (in a more-or-less traditional sense that is) they are taking longer and longer to have sex.

These Christians (at least in the Western world) live in a society in which the average age of losing one’s virginity is probably below 20. To be 30 or 40, single, still waiting for mr(s) right, can feel shameful.  It is not the same as a taking a vow of celibacy (as Catholic priests do) because the intention was never to abstain from sex completely: it was to wait for marriage. And there is perhaps only cold comfort in the knowledge that you have acted according to your highly cherished beliefs.

By the secular one may be viewed as pitiable for being unable to “get laid”, or as stupid for not making use of (or finding) opportunities to engage in a clearly pleasurable activity. Within the church community you may be surrounded by younger couples (some even with Children), churchgoers who pity you (behind your back) for still being unmarried, and well-meant comments such as “I can’t believe some guy/girl has snatched you yet” or “I can’t believe you’re still single” probably don’t help.

I take the above comments from the blog I kissed my date goodnight1. in which a 32-year old woman reflects on her experience with Christian dating. With Christianity in decline in the Western world, the pool of eligible partners for these long-time singles shrinks (unless they are willing to consider inter-religious relationships). The Christian dating process (if you consider Christian dating to be viable at all) seems to have additional complexities. The common way dating is portrayed on television and in movies (that is American television and movies) in which dating seems to go hand-in-hand (so to speak) with sex can put off devout Christian singles.  Indeed there is even a book I kissed dating goodbye (which I have not read), which outlines an alternative closer to traditional courting for Christians.

I know little about dating, so don’t read my blog for dating advice. The truth is, though, dating is probably the best way for these singles to meet potential partners. And indeed,  Christians seem to have found ways to adapt the secular dating methods. I often find, on biblegateway.com that I am presented with advertisements for Christian dating sites, none of which I have used, at least not yet. However, I am single, and I may be single for a while still. I may yet turn to dating sites, speed dating, or some other nifty dating gimmick.

One “solution” to the problem of “40-year-old virgins” is, of course, to just change your opinion about pre-marital sex and join the world – date like you’re in the movies. Better yet, date like you’re in Grey’s Anatomy (those doctors have a lot of sex). One could even try to justify it Biblically (the outrage).  But I don’t think this is the way to go.

I am a single man, waiting for that one special person. The idea of uncommitted sex fills me with dread. (The book SuperFreakonomics informs me that in 1930s America 20% of men lost their virginity to prostitutes , which is horrifying. Now 70% of men have sex before they marry, which is not much better). For now at least, I am committed to the lifestyle I have chosen. If you are waiting too, you are not alone.

1. Disclaimer: the I kissed my date goodnight blog is about dating, not about sex. I do not presume to know anything about anyone’s sex life other than my own

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  1. #1 by Thomas on 06/12/2012 - 3:04 pm

    Apparently it’s particularly difficult for christian women to find a suitable partner. The church in the west is demographically more female than male. Us guys, we have an easier time 😛

  2. #2 by johandp on 06/12/2012 - 8:54 pm

    ooh, a comment 🙂 I suppose the solution to the problem is then to convert asian men to Christianity 😛

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