Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Man's Hands

A few weeks ago my good friend Marcey (if you're looking for a blog all about an amazing girl who is going to design school in London you should read hers) sent me this article from the New York Times wanting to know what I thought about it. It's an article all about waiting until you're married to have sex. The article has certainly made it's way around the block (get it? That was a joke) and I've seen lots of people respond to it (including one of my favorite ladies here).

The author of the Times article is a Latter-day Saint (aka Mormon) poet, Nicole, who has decided that she is no longer going to wait until marriage to have sex. That's a really big deal for LDS people--no hanky panky before marriage. As someone who is LDS and didn't get married until she was 29 I spent several long years in that grown-up virgin world with many of those same feelings and fears. I remember when the movie 40-year Old Virgin came out understanding why other people would think it was funny but it hit WAY too close to home to be funny to me.

Nicole ends her article by saying, "I would have an IUD instead of children; I would have intellectual and spiritual freedom; I would write poems and finally live inside my body; I would, for the love of God, feel a man’s hands on me before I died."

There is something missing in her logic but I know that I had some of those same feelings when I was single. As someone who is now in a sexual relationship after years of adult virginity I can say that the author is giving sex more power than it really has. If you're thinking that having sex will give you intellectual and spiritual freedom and allow you to live inside your body you have unrealistic expectations. I have been married for more than 2.5 years, I have a baby who is almost 11 months old and I am still trying to live inside my own body. The intimacy and acceptance that the author yearns for in the article don't walk into the room when your virginity walks out.

When you're not having sex it's easy to think that sex is the ultimate panacea. People who are having sex have a slightly different perspective. This week I read this thread which was started by another friend of mine. She asked a a forum of post-baby ladies this question,

how do you feel about sex?

it's awesome, the best thing EVER!
it's great sometimes and FAIL sometimes
i could be a happy nun, no lie
i'm a virgin and faked my pregnancy

The responses of the people on the forum were funny and interesting. The majority of them said that sex was "great sometimes and FAIL sometimes." There were also a whole slew of responses that can be summed up by this, "been there done that..over it."

I'm not going to try to say that sex isn't great. It is great. It is a great expression of love that I get to share with someone I love and it's pretty dang fun. There is a place for it in my own struggles with body, intimacy and belonging but it is only a piece. What I would have had to trade-in to lose my virginity at a more "normal" age (a whole slew of religious beliefs about potential and family) is a larger and more beautiful part of the whole puzzle than the piece that is "a man's hands on me before I die."

1 comment:

  1. So true. I love sex. With my husband. It's fun, but even more than that, it's intimate. I know waiting without an end is sight is easier said than done. Been there, done that. But I also don't think it can be reduced to what was quoted, or my own personal favorite when I was single, "feeling the weight of a man on top of me".