This Is What Actually Happens When You Wait Until Marriage For Sex

This isn’t your mother’s sex talk.

By Alicia Bittle8 min read
Pexels/ArtHouse Studio

Let’s just clear the air here: Purity culture was a complete and utter failure. Acting like sex was some big scary monster in the closet and that we must never ever open said closet door out of fear and revulsion was a mistake. It was worse than a mistake, it was a puritanical lie. And as lies go, it had damaging consequences.

The last “sex talk” I can remember having was probably that one in middle school when everyone was subjected to the infamous, hilariously horrible demonstration of a Barbie and Ken doll smothered in black Velcro, dating, having sex (at this point, Barbie and Ken were smooshed together), and breaking up (Ken and Barbie were then dramatically ripped apart and that quintessentially satisfying Velcro noise echoed throughout the school library). I think there was also something about likening female virginity to pretty wrapping paper on a present and pointing out that after it's picked at, it’s not pretty anymore. But either way, it was definitely overshadowed by Ken and Barbie, and it all definitely missed its mark, as crude and puritanical things often do. 

So what actually happens when you wait until marriage to give away your virginity? Should you even wait? (The answer is yes, just probably not for the reasons you're expecting). And is it worth it? Well, as someone who waited and has been married for almost 10 years now, I consider myself something of an expert in this field, and I’m here to share my own experience, as well as what science, sociology, and psychology have to say about it. 

Waiting for Marriage Is the Height of Romance

We’ve all seen the “girl loses her virginity” trope played out again and again in movies, books, and TV shows. Though, unfortunately, it’s rarely paired with marriage. 

My own experience, however, because it happened on my wedding night, blew every Hollywood rendition of losing your virginity out of the water. Yes, it was dark, and yes, there was candlelight and music and champagne and a big white bed, but there was also my wedding dress and a husband who wanted to savor unbuttoning every single one of the approximately 30 buttons holding together the delicate lace down my back. 

We knew what was waiting for us, but in a much more honest way, we actually had no idea. We had spent six years building up to and waiting for something good, but we didn’t know just how good. We couldn’t have. How can you explain something that transcends the five senses of humanity? It would be like trying to describe your favorite color to a blind person or a sonata to the deaf. It would be a metaphor within a metaphor. Maybe you would be able to communicate some likeness, but again, how can you fully explain something that’s beyond the senses? You can’t. 

Sex is beyond the senses, as all beautiful things are. This is because beauty is objective. When we are moved by such things and declare them to be “wonderful,” “delightful,” or “lovely,” we’re not giving them meaning or value through our proclamation, but instead, we’re communicating our degree of alignment to the natural world. 

Beauty is a natural phenomenon, just like color. If I call the sky green, when as we all know, it’s actually blue, the sky will not suddenly cease to be blue and turn green. I will just bring my sanity (and motives) into question.

That being said, some gifts, some beauty, are only meant to be shared with a single other person. The evidence of this for sex is its two natural “consequences” – the bonding of the couple and children. Sex is procreative in nature. As we know, children require a stable and united (married) father and mother. This is such a fact of life that science has shown that even when a child is provided with a non-biological yet married father and mother, that child will still struggle in ways that a child with married, biological parents will not. 

This is simply how sex was designed to be. It’s not something that can be argued with as we can see it’s objective truth in real time, in real life. And honestly, what’s more romantic than that? What’s more romantic than exclusivity?

In marriage, you get to experience true intimacy, vulnerability, and safety, knowing all of the “risk” is assumed by both of you.

This particular type of exclusivity is romantic because there is literally nothing else on earth this exclusive. Sex on your wedding night isn’t just some one-night fling. It’s not even a “long-term relationship.” It’s the first night of the rest of your life. You chose a man who loves and cherishes you, and that’s how he treats you in bed. Seeking your pleasure, singing your praises, and desiring your best as you work together in harmony for the highest good, because that’s also what sex is. It’s an image of what marriage is supposed to be outside the bedroom, and every time the two of you physically come together in this way, you’re renewing your vows. 

If you haven’t vowed anything to the man you’re having sex with, and he hasn’t vowed anything to you, there’s really nothing substantial keeping you together other than emotion, and that’s a scary thing to think about. You aren’t renewing anything when you have sex, and you aren’t modeling anything either. It’s an incomplete and disjointed act. It’s a distortion of the natural world. Why put yourself and the human you love through that disorder and confusion?

In marriage, you get to experience true intimacy, vulnerability, and safety, knowing all of the “risk” is assumed by both of you. He’s there to care for and protect you now, no matter what.

You Learn More About Your Sexuality and Sex Appeal 

Seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it? This is because our culture has made the haphazard and reductive mistake of equating sex with sexuality. 

The reality of the situation, however, is that individual sexuality was made to be just that, individual. It wasn’t designed to be scrutinized and developed by a handful of others (or hundreds of thousands if you’re on social media). It wasn’t made to be defined by who you’re attracted to. It wasn’t fashioned to become your identity. And it wasn’t created for another man (or men) to determine.

Now, I’m not saying that female sexuality and sex appeal are not influenced by outside forces, nor am I saying that this influence is necessarily a bad thing. But I am saying that the degree of outside interference today on something so personal is too much. And it’s certainly too much once a woman has slept with a man who isn’t her husband, especially if it was at a young age. 

Saving sex for marriage teaches women that they have more to offer in a relationship than just their body. It allows them the space to discover that there are many forms sex appeal can take, such as the playful and down-to-earth sexiness of the girl next door or the intellectual sexiness of the reserved librarian archetype. Yes, physicality is certainly a component of sexiness, but it’s not all there is. 

Finally, you don’t need a man who doesn’t even care enough about you to commit, telling you what you should and shouldn’t like in the bedroom. We have gut instincts for a reason, and it’s important to hone this skill without outside forces that may or may not have our best interest at heart and protect them from being damaged. 

You Escape the Virgin Con-Artists

As absolutely insane as this is, there are nasty, promiscuous men out there who claim to “specialize” in deflowering women, and they’re teaching other men how to do the same. They target a virgin, enter into an “exclusive” relationship with her based on nothing but lies, spend the next several months grooming her, take her v-card, and then dump her. I don’t think I have to point out why this isn’t a desirable situation. 

You Prioritize Sex Appropriately

Waiting for sex isn’t sexy. I know, I know, I just said that it was “the height of romance,” but that’s the end goal, that’s the sex itself I was discussing. Not the waiting.

As someone who has been there, done that, the waiting sucks. It’s not fun to have to exercise that much self-restraint, and it’s not fun to have others tease you about it. It’s hard work, and if we’re being honest with ourselves, as humans, we’re not really into that. 

But I’ll let you in on a little secret: Hard work and self-control don’t cease to exist once you get married. Discipline is what keeps marriages strong and happy and long-lasting. It’s what raises good children. By saving sex for marriage, you both are growing in self-control so that when that complete gift of self finally comes, it’s something to be proud of. It’s actualized. 

Additionally, there will be times in marriage when you won’t be able to have sex on tap. What then? Yes, sex is important, it’s life-giving, it provides closeness and comfort, but it’s not the end all, be all. Self-restraint out of love is more important. 

No Shared Microbiome, Genetics, or Germs

This one is pretty self-explanatory and I feel like we all already know this, but it just bears repeating: Whenever you have sex, it’s the most physically enmeshed two people can be. Especially for the female. 

Have you ever thought about this? Your uterus is not a closed system. Take one theory on the cause of endometriosis, a disease where uterine cells grow outside their uterus and on other organs: The cells escape out the fallopian tubes and are then free to wander about the abdominal cavity. 

The same is true for sperm and because of this (and because of some animal models), scientists believe it’s possible that the genetics of each man a woman has slept with become part of her genetic code. She is then able to theoretically pass this modified DNA down to her children. 

Any man you have sex with is also able to pass on any STDs and/or creepy crawlies he has such as his specific microbiome, but to be fair, you have the potential to do the same. So, all the more reason to only have sex with the one man you trust with your life, namely, your husband.

You Decrease Your Chance of Divorce 

If you want to be happily married to your husband for life (which, let’s be honest here, who doesn’t want that?), one of the best ways to ensure that is for you not to have sex before marriage.

In a study published in 2016, it was found that in marriages where the wife was a virgin, the divorce rate was anywhere from 6-11% within the first five years. This is compared to an overall rate of about 22% today (though the actual percentage is slightly lower as the CDC data includes death in this figure).

Well-adjusted adults recognize that sex is a product of marriage, not the other way around. 

In a 2018 study, it was found that 65% of women and 71% of men who married as virgins reported being very happy in their marriages. With each new sexual partner men added however, their percent chance of happiness dropped in a linear fashion before bottoming out at 21+ partners and a 59% chance at happiness. 

Women’s happiness decreased in a less strict linear fashion, but overall, more partners resulted in a diminished percent chance of being happy in marriage as well. Oddly, women are least likely to be happy with 4 and then 6-10 partners at 54% and 52%, respectively. 

So give yourself better chances than a coin flip! Marriage isn’t always easy, but you can make it easier. 

You’re Never Going To Regret Not Sleeping with Someone

You're also never going to regret delaying sleeping with someone, for that matter, either. Just think about it, have you ever heard a story from a married man or woman lamenting the fact that they didn’t sleep around more? The closest parallel I can think of is “the one that got away” stories told by singles, but even then, it’s not “man, I really wish we’d had sex.” It’s, “I loved them, and I wish it had worked out. I would have married them.” 

This is because marriage is the end goal, not sex. Well-adjusted adults recognize that sex is a product of marriage, not the other way around. They value the relationship over the physical connection. 

Again, this is due to the fact that sex was never designed to be had outside the bounds of such a stable and secure relationship. A relationship bound with vows and the possibility of procreation. And it’s why you pretty much exclusively only hear stories about the sex people regret they had, not the sex they didn’t have. 

You Don’t Have To Use Birth Control

Honestly, there is no good reason for anyone to be on the pill. Put yourself first, and just say no to taking a daily dose of carcinogenic crap. Invest in yourself and find the root cause of your period woes instead of covering them up with a bandaid. You’re worth it!

Additionally, ditch the microplastics and endocrine disruptors found in condoms. Really, the only things meant to be inside a vagina are all natural and, well, pretty obvious. 

Finally, one of the two primary purposes of sex is procreation. If a woman gets pregnant after engaging, it’s a sign something went extremely right! Not extremely wrong, as our culture suggests. This is just nature. So, if you don’t want to have a baby, don’t have sex. And even if you do want a baby, but not with that man, especially don’t have sex! Girl, what are you even doing with him?

You Have Less Baggage 

If you wouldn’t give your ex the time of day, why let him live in your head rent free? Not having sex with your boyfriend is the best way to ensure that never happens. It's also the best way to ensure an amicable breakup or at least a breakup that time can heal and smooth over. 

Sex ties people together. That’s just what it’s designed to do, and there’s really no getting around it. So make sure your exes stay where they belong (in the past) by not having sex with anyone who isn’t your husband. 

You Gain Self-Respect and Respect for Others 

There are lots of forces in the world today that can attack a woman’s dignity and self-esteem, but there are ways to hold onto our self-respect. When we know what our standards are and have the strength to uphold them, when we keep what’s sacred sacred, and when we don’t allow ourselves to be used, we gain self-respect. When others respect our dignity, values, and boundaries, they earn our respect. And we treat others with respect when we refrain from using their bodies or toying with their emotions.

You’re Loving Your Husband Before Even Knowing Him 

How much would you swoon if your future husband told you, “I’ve loved you before I even knew you. I’ve been waiting for you, and only you, for my entire life, so that I could give myself completely and unreservedly to you alone”? It sounds like it was taken straight out of a fairytale or one of those YA novels, right? But the best part is, plot lines like that don’t have to stay hidden between the pages of a book, they can happen in real life. They can happen in your life. Virginity can be a gift you and your husband give each other. 

By saving your virginity for your future husband, you are loving, respecting, and dedicating yourself to him in a radical way. He’s the man you will be with for the rest of your life, he will be the most important man in your life, forever. That's a monumental and beautiful commitment, so why not start choosing him right now?

Closing Thoughts

The unfortunate thing about purity culture is that it was well-intentioned yet did so much damage. Even more unfortunate is that because it strayed from the truth, it wasn’t even able to effectively communicate why people should be waiting for sex in the first place. It resorted to fear tactics and ended up creating a culture of fear around sex. 

And honestly, that’s tragic, because, first of all, fear is a terrible long-term motivator, and secondly, sex and fear are in direct opposition to one another. Sex is literally a form of love, and perfect love can’t exist alongside fear. 

It’s this fearless love that all sex talks should revolve around. Loving yourself and your future spouse enough to wait because what happens after that is nothing short of miraculous.

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