We're happy to present this excerpt from one of our favorite sites The Good Men Project. Today Eli and Josie help a woman whose boyfriend's pledge of virginity is leaving her unsatisfied.
Dear Sexes: My boyfriend is a Christian virgin who is saving himself for marriage, while I have had multiple sex partners. We have talked at length about it and do our best not to judge one another’s life choices. But we are now a year or two into the relationship, and I miss sex A LOT! We have done almost everything short of it, but the act itself is very important to me, and I am feeling very emotionally distant from him. How do I handle this without hurting his feelings?
She Said: First, his feelings about sex and sexuality are incredibly important and I think it’s so great that you’ve been supporting one another’s pasts and choices about sexual expression.
The very first thing you should do is explain to your boyfriend that while you totally support his choice of wanting to remain a virgin until marriage, you really miss intercourse. I say “intercourse” because it sounds like you guys are already really sexual with one another. And that’s sex. Connecting intimately, and giving one another pleasure is sex.
Find a way to tell him that you want to stay with him, and you want him to know you’ll honor his desire to abstain from intercourse, but that you want your deepest feelings to be out in the open. I wonder if there’s a compromise to this situation. What exactly do you miss about penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex? Penetration? I wonder if you two could use a sex toy together while you’re fooling around? If he’s not comfortable with that, you certainly could use one on your own.
And you should absolutely avoid rushing into marriage so that you can have PIV sex. Marriage should only happen if you’re both fully committed and ready to be together for a lifetime.
Once you address within yourself exactly what it is about PIV sex that is so important to you, maybe you’ll see that PIV sex is more about something you feel you need emotionally rather than physically. If that’s the case, see if you can reconcile a way to get that emotional need met in a different way. It could be about acceptance, affirmation, or intimacy… or something altogether different.
If you do that work, and it turns out that it truly is about the physical sensation (or physical sensation combined with emotional closeness) and you discover that you cannot get that in any other way, it may come to you needing to move on to a different relationship. This is not a way to pressure him to change his values, it is not an ultimatum. If he wants to compromise those to keep you around, you should do your best to not let that happen. Loving someone means supporting the things that matter most to them. But if, after all this work, you decide PIV sex is non-negotiable, I think it’s worth moving on and both of you starting over with someone new. I just don’t think that necessarily has to be the case if you talk and work through it.
More from The Good Men Project: