I met a wonderful man through my church about four months ago and we’ve been dating ever since. Aside from being a good person who treats me well, we share many common values. One of those shared values was that we both believed in saving ourselves until marriage. I know that he’s the one. I’m very much in love with him and I know that he feels the same way about me. But I don’t want to wait until I marry him to show him how I feel; I’m ready to take our relationship to the next level. I know that I need to talk with him about it, but I’m scared I’ll lose his respect and ultimately, his love, if I tell him that I’ve changed my mind on this previously important belief. Do you have any advice for how to approach him or what to say? —SS, Atlanta, Georgia
The Gay Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
You sound like a person whose faith is a central pillar in your life—and your faith asks you to wait until marriage to have sex. I’m also guessing that your faith holds certain views of those who do not wait until they’re married.
I’m not here to judge you or your faith, but I do want to point something out: you’re ready to sleep with this man you love and you feel that he shares your values, yet you believe that he won’t respect you and perhaps not even love you anymore if you sleep with him before the nuptials. This doesn’t sound like a shared value to me. If he would truly leave you because of this, what will happen if you’re at odds with your faith in another matter later in your life together? Faith and shared values are important, but trust, flexibility, and faith that a person can grow and change are also key ingredients in a relationship. If this guy is strictly by the book and you’re more independent in your thinking than he is, I have to wonder if you’ve truly met your ideal match.
Ultimately, you have to decide what’s most important: staying true to your faith and shared ideals or risking sharing your feelings. If he leaves you over it, maybe it’s a blessing.
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
I’m a big believer in the assertion that a girl’s got a right to change her mind. But—and I can’t believe I’m about to say what I’m going to say; my friends will probably think some sort of impostor has taken over my keyboard—you’ve come so far, SS. Do you really want to give in now? I get it; you love him and you want to show him you love him and you’ve got some delicate body parts that are about to explode from desire. But this is a big deal to both of you and I’d hate for you to throw away two lifetimes of dedication to a belief without giving it some serious thought—especially if you ended up not getting married for some reason.
I think the next time you’re smooching it up or heavy petting or …wait, what exactly do people who don’t have sex do when they’re messing around? Are you limited to boob touching and butt grabbing? Is there oral sex? (Sorry, I digress …) Anyway, I think when you get to a lull in the action, and you’re laying there on his chest all dreamy and lovey, like they do on All My Children and Days of Our Lives, you introduce it like, “Wow, that was really fun. Have you ever thought you might be ready to go all the way and see what it really feels like?” I guaran-damn-tee that he’s thought about it and wants to (he’s a guy, after all), so I think you’re safe to continue on and say, “Do you ever think about us doing it? Because I do.” You guys are human. It’s okay to admit that you want to have sex with each other and maybe he hasn’t brought it up because he’s afraid of how you’ll react.
How both of you deal with it after you get that admission out on the table is what’s key. If he gets mad because you want to talk about something important to you, is he really your guy? Also, think about how you might feel in each scenario. For example, will you feel guilty about breaking your commitment to save yourself until marriage? Might you grow resentful if he agrees that you should sleep together—or doesn’t? Or do you think it will bring the two of you closer?
Good luck, SS. I will now give my keyboard back to the regularly-scheduled, hedonistic, sin-committing Rebecca.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
I’m always intrigued by people who wait to have sex until they get married. I mean, don’t you hope to know everything you can possibly know about a person before you say you want to spend the rest of your life with someone?
Having said that, you state in your question that you know he’s your #1 and you’re his. But you’ve only dated for about four months—you’ve still got plenty of time to take it to the next level. Don’t stress over it or rush into it. I don’t how old you are, but that would make a great deal of difference in the way I would respond. If you’ve been dating people for several years and just haven’t had intercourse, it leads me to wonder why you’re saving yourself. Is it for religious beliefs? I only ask because you said you met in church. Whatever the case may be, if/when you do choose to have sex, make sure you know that you’re doing it to please yourself as well as the other person. Take it from someone who’s had a lot of relationships. You want to make sure you’re doing things for you just in case something changes and your ultimate goal of marriage doesn’t work out.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
The beauty of having a great relationship like the one you purport to have is that you can feel free to communicate your feelings freely and honestly. I doubt he’ll lose respect for you or be as upset as you think if you bring the topic up. If he’s turned off by you posing the question, then he may be too judgmental and inflexible, which aren’t such great qualities.
You sharing your reevaluation of something you both previously agreed upon may turn out to be an interesting litmus test of your relationship. It’s easy when you both agree on everything all the time, but what happens when you don’t? How you two handle that is a great indicator for future success. Since you’re discussing marriage, all the better to find this out now. Any value or decision worth its weight—and wait—can stand up to questioning and second guessing.
Let him know what you’re feeling. The only thing you’ve got to lose is your virginity.