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The First Time in More Ways Than One.

I was writing a novel in which the main character decided to remain a virgin until she got married. Her reasons (they weren’t religious or prudish reasons) and her boyfriend’s reaction and attitude toward her decision played a role in the story. The fact that their wedding night would be their first night together, and her first time having sex would impact their lives later.

After “Soul Sister” read the manuscript, she said, “No way. A guy would not wait five years for a girl no matter how much he loved her.” I was surprised because Soul Sister likes to view the world through her tiny little rose-colored glasses.

I didn’t like her response. My rose-colored glasses on the subject were still firmly perched. So, I went to the next most reliable source I had on male behavior, my husband.

“Nope. Never happen,” he said resolutely.

“Not even if he loved her very much?”

“I would say a guy would wait four or five months tops, if her really loved her.”

OK, I realize it’s hypocritical of me to be disappointed. Not only did I not wait until I got married, I lived with him for two years first. Still, for some reason it made me sad to think it was impossible for a couple to wait. I reluctantly changed the story slightly.

I met a young newlywed just a few months later. She had read my manuscript and we were discussing it. I told her about my original plan to have the characters wait to make love until their wedding night. She told me that she and her fiance–yes, this is true–waited five years until their wedding night. I wiped the smudge off my rose-colored glasses with a smile. But I didn’t change the plot of the story back to the  original. Five years is just too unbelievable.

 

What are your thoughts? If you read a book and the characters waited until their wedding night, would you think it was unbelievably unrealistic? Do you have an opinion about a couple waiting to have sex until they are married?

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6 comments on “The First Time in More Ways Than One.

  1. My husband and I waited 3 years. Our wedding night was the first time we made love. It was worth the wait. I would love to read a novel where the couple waited. Not only would it be unusual, unfortunately, buy it would be inspiring as well.

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  2. Thanks for sharing that, Heather.

    I think you’re right about the novel. Unfortunately even if someone were to write a good book with that as part of the plot, they would have a hard time getting it published in today’s mainstream market.

    Anyone up for the challenge?

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  3. Hi Dawne! None of my writer friends know this about me, but I actually went to and graduated from a Christian high school, which would likely shock a few of my beta readers, due to the type of mainstream, liberal content presented in my book. Not only was my school Christian, it was a Baptist, King James Version Bible only, wear skirts and shorts to your knees, get kicked out for having premarital sex kind of Christian school. Strict was an understatement. Oh, and they also pushed a particular college on us, so fundamentalist in nature, that I have no problem considering it a type of religious cult. Anyhow…

    We were taught — sternly and incessantly — to save ourselves for marriage. Not only that, several of my teachers (who went to said fundamentalist college, of course) believed kissing, holding hands or touching of any kind before marriage was just as deplorable as engaging in premarital sex. Therefore, my beliefs concerning the reality of this sort of thing…are a little more skewed than most.

    Do I find it believable and incredibly realistic that people would wait to have sex on their wedding night? Yes. One of my girlfriends growing up married her boyfriend of over 4 years, and their mutual views on the subject necessitated them waiting until their wedding night. My cousin wed at 26 a virgin — her hubby, on the other hand, not so much. But he waited 2-3 years for their first time. Now, do I believe a man will really and truly wait five years or more to have sex with his bride? Yes. But knowing what I do about men (even ones who profess to be Christian), I’m not naive enough to believe he’s not getting a little on the side while waiting that long. Some men are noble enough and firm enough in their beliefs to wait. But certainly not all.

    The type of storyline you’re referring to would work VERY well in the Christian fiction market. Those agents/editors/readers would buy that 5 year scenario without thinking twice. Seven years ago, I probably would have, too. Heck, I read enough Christian fiction back then in which the characters actually DID wait until their wedding nights to know this for a fact! I think if a man *really* loves a woman, he’ll wait however long it takes and do whatever he needs to do to claim her heart in the end. But it’s safe to say that he probably needs to have first devoted himself to some kind of moral or religious code. Otherwise, no, very few men would wait longer than 6 months, tops.

    To be viable in the mainstream market, there’d have to be an incredibly unique spin on the wait-until-marriage concept. Say, on a dare, for example!

    Sorry for the long-winded comment! Very interesting post. =)

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    • Hi Ashley,

      I really appreciate everything you shared. It’s too bad that sex can be stereotyped to be a bad thing and that waiting for your wedding night seems to be a rule not a choice.

      I’ve pondered the question of waiting until your wedding night since I wrote the book. (I am a “Why” person.) Growing up, I knew somehow without really ever hearing the words, that the ideal is to wait for your wedding night. I think for most people it is an ideal, but many think it’s one they can’t or don’t want to achieve.

      That’ why I was so upset when I thought it was impossible for a couple to wait. It was discouraging to think that nobody could live up to this ideal.

      Where did that ideal come from, I wonder? Is it innate in us or somehow conditioned by our culture?

      As for the book, I agree totally. Although it has started me thinking…

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  4. I’ve always thought of waiting as ideal. I mean, I grew up in a family with a pretty traditional outlook on life…on both my mom’s and my dad’s side. I remember my very liberal and promiscuous older half-sister saying one time, “Why would you marry someone if you didn’t know how he was in bed?” and I was like, “WHAT did she say?!?” I also remember having a slight tinge of regret when my friend got married a virgin and kept telling us how nervous and excited she was at the same time. Because, clearly, I hadn’t waited and wouldn’t be able to have that kind of experience. On the other hand, I don’t regret not waiting, either.

    I am a traditionalist at heart, and if I have a daughter some day, I will tell her it’s ideal to wait for her wedding day, but I won’t expect it of her or be disappointed in her if she doesn’t. The same goes for a son.

    I think the notion’s ideal and remains ideal for some generations (my grandparents, my parents), but the abstinence till marriage thing is fading quickly with my generation. And, really, that’s unfortunate. I know SEVERAL (girls at least) who’ve waited for their wedding days, but I’m not sure my future children will able to say the same thing. And like I said, that really is a shame.

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  5. I’ve actually been encouraged by all the comments on and off of this blog. Many more people than I imagined have waited.

    We can just give our children a strong foundation that waiting is the ideal(but not by coercion or force, but the realization of how special the first time is) and be supportive. Then the choice is theirs.

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