Forget ‘Sex Strike’: Abstinence is Beautiful
She’s got a good idea, but for all the wrong reasons. I explained to my friend that Hollywood star Alyssa Milano is upset about pro-life laws like the one just signed in Georgia, which bans abortion after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
“Our reproductive rights are being erased,” Milano declared in a viral tweet. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike. Pass it on.”
Milano says since women’s “choice” is being taken away after getting pregnant, the only solution is to not get pregnant in the first place — and to make men suffer in the process. Hence, “sex strike.”
“A lot of pro-lifers have pointed out that she’s essentially calling for abstinence,” I told my friend. She burst out laughing at the sudden realization of the irony.
We don’t need resentment-motivated abstinence. What we really need is abstinence motivated by love.
The Nature of Sex
Our society likes to pretend that sex is just another human appetite. That we need to have sex frequently to be happy and it’s unhealthy to deprive ourselves. Really? As if sex is not deeply emotional and spiritual and family-oriented. As if sex is not deeply marital by nature. What else can cause the trauma of being used and abused like sex outside of loving commitment? What else can create new life?
Abstinence before marriage is healthy, empowering, responsible and loving. That’s because of the nature of sex. Sex is a good thing, but it’s not loving to mess around with it irresponsibly. We’re taught that “safer sex” is responsible. But no condom or pill provides perfect protection against STIs and pregnancy. And no amount of consent can create the emotional safety of trusting lifelong commitment. God calls us to a more loving way.
Sex, as it should be, is an expression of relational connection and emotional intimacy. It belongs in the context of a man and a woman who have committed to loving and serving each other for life through marriage. This intimacy is naturally fruitful and is designed to create a family.
Privileged to Reap the Rewards of Abstinence
My parents instilled abstinence in me at a young age. They gave me a purity ring on my thirteenth birthday to commemorate my commitment to living a pure life, sexually and emotionally. Today I wear this ring on my right ring finger as a reminder that I am in the ultimate covenant relationship: I belong to God. My purity comes from Him.
I know I’m privileged to live a life of purity. I am blessed with loving parents who raised me to follow wisdom. Sex, in my mind, has always been associated with marriage. Not everyone is so privileged.
I’ve never had to feel the pain of giving myself to someone, only to realize they weren’t committed to me and I was being used. I’ve never had to worry about contracting an STI. I’ve never had to face an unplanned pregnancy. There’s so much pain I’ve never known.
I’ve enjoyed trusting relationships with men who care for my well-being and honor me as their sister in Christ. Men who understand that waiting and protecting is part of loving.
Never Too Late
No matter how you were raised or what your level of sexual experience is, you can always make a fresh start. My dear friend Tasha is a perfect testament to God’s redemption of our sexuality. She has allowed me to share a bit of her story.
Tasha was first molested at age 8. Her mom stripped and prostituted herself. She grew up to follow in the way of her mom. And then she gave her pain to God, turned away from that life and began the process of healing.
Last August she made her commitment to purity official with a purity ring. She posted to her Facebook, “I said yes to purity. It is never [too] late to rededicate and surrender your whole self [to] Jesus.” She told me that choosing abstinence means having her desires rightfully satisfied and choosing “a better way.”
Right now Tasha’s going through job training for an upper-level position at Hope Center Ministries. She’s preparing to help run a new center where women with experiences like hers can overcome addictions and find healing through Jesus.
Isn’t her life beautiful? God really does take everything we give Him. Our abuse. Our mistakes. Our pain. Our love and obedience to Him. He turns our lives into something beautiful.