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I waited until I was 29 to have sex.
That is a strange thing to say out loud. To type. To read. But, I did it. I waited until I was 29 to have sex.
Waiting was a decision that I did not make on my own. Growing up as a baptist Christian meant that the "Talk" not only included the usual pictures of STD ridden bodies but also included the reviewing of scripture—scriptures that told me that my virginity was sacred. If I was to please God, I was to remain a virgin. I was to remain pure. I was 14 when I was given my first purity ring. The cheaply made band that fit snugly around my finger read "True Love Waits." And, that's what I was told to believe. If he loved me, he would wait. I wore my ring until I was 26-years-old.
True Love Waits was drilled into my head. Thoughts of sex and what pleasures it could bring became something that I buried deep. So deep that, even into my 20s, I would turn away from scenes of people kissing on television. I would fast-forward through sex scenes in movies or just change the channel until I thought the moment had passed. Sex was taboo.
I grew awkwardly, unsure of myself and my body. I didn't know how it worked. I didn't want to know. So I shied away from what would draw attention to my curvy frame. I had somewhat refused to be feminine. And I found comfort in not being wanted. It meant that I did not have to tell anyone that sex was a bad thing and it wasn't going to happen. Then, when I was 26-years-old, I took my ring off.
The decision to remove my daily reminder that true love waits wasn't one made out of rebellion to the teachings. It was actually a fairly simply reason—I couldn't fit it anymore. But removing the ring was much more than twisting the thin metal band until it came off of my finger. Removing the ring lifted a weight that I hadn't realized was there. Strangely, shortly thereafter, my confidence soared. I embraced wearing clothing that accentuated my curves, I bought makeup and even decided to dye my hair. I found myself smiling more and enjoying the attention of the opposite sex. The ring—waiting for true love—was heavier than I thought.
It was not until a dinner date with my older sister that I had realized the true weight of the decision made for me. She had asked if I were scared to have sex. I told her no. I meant to say yes. Yes, I am scared to have sex. Terrified, really. But I told her no and we moved on with our conversation.
Earlier this year, I found myself in familiar arms. We had dated before, back when neither of us had time or was tolerant enough to be with the other. One night, lingering somewhere between awake and half asleep, I whispered okay. My strange mumble had nothing to do with the moment. Yet he knew what I meant. That night, our first night together, was filled with an assortment of overly dramatic outbursts of fear. All inside my head, of course. I drifted to sleep afterwards thinking the worst. He got what he wanted. He was going to wake me up soon and send me home. Instead, I woke up to find him still beside me with his arm around my waist. He was sleeping peacefully. I smiled despite the notion of having done something wrong, pressing itself firmly against my mind.
I left him in bed, wandered through the dark, and sat on the couch. I let the notion of wrongdoing gnaw at me for awhile. Then, the alarm on my phone went off. I made no attempt to turn it off. I sat there, listening to my alarm drown out the thought that I should be ashamed. But there was no feeling of guilt. No feeling of shame trying to consume me. There was just me, in that moment, feeling more comfortable than I had ever been.
At no point did I question my faith, or whether God was upset with me because I gave in to sins of flesh. I, at no point, wondered what punishment I would suffer for failing to wait. It wasn't going to come. I had resolved that I am human. And part of my humanity is learning to love and trust my body. To love and trust another so deeply that I give my body to them.
I waited until I was 29 years old to have sex. The decision to do so was my own.
I do not regret it.