Keeping it in My Pants: Making Sex Unimportant

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In the hormone-ravaged, sexually charged terrain of 21st-century relationships, it’s hard for a 20-something-year old young, Black, Trini male to survive. Well, not really.
It’s actually the place to be for that kinda guy…assuming that he doesn’t have a strong, Christian history that he still identifies with. And he doesn’t place great emphasis on relationships, commitment, and love. And if his absentee father, grandfather’s questionable sexual history, and negative male relationships don’t give him a complex about openly defying male stereotypes.
Okay, that was kinda personal. Ignore it. Moving on…
To get to the point, I’ve been having a few conversations about sex. Mainly because I think I’m the only 21-year-old in East Trinidad that’s abstaining from sexual intercourse willingly (yeah, you can go ahead and “awww”, ladies).
It had never dawned on me, though, that this had so much weight. In fact, of all the controversial labels I’ve worn in the last few years – atheist, activist, LGBT ally, heterosexual, male, jewellery maker – this is the one I’m most concerned about sharing.
Just to set the context, I’m not abstaining because I’m deathly afraid of the fiery pit of hell. I’m more concerned about STIs most times, and that’s not it either. I’m concerned about having a level of intimacy with a person based on affection and commitment. It’s kinda how good relationships are built; you nurture an intimate and committed relationship with someone, which, as it grows, ushers in more intimacy and greater commitment.
Thing is, that’s pretty out of the ordinary. In fact, it might very well be the wrong way to look at sex. After all, people don’t get kissy or huggy. They get horny. And it doesn’t only happen to people in committed relationships. Am I any different? Nope. This is partially why me abstaining is so heavy.
I am a horny 21-year-old Black man, living in a country where this means I can go ahead and sex up de damn place. Yet I still have the capacity to keep it in my pants – willingly (this is also very important, as I am a modestly handsome man, and my being abstinent is not a result of a disability, physical deformity or general fugliness).
To add insult to injury, I’m actually in a relationship. Means, opportunity and motive. So what the @ss I really waiting for in serious?
The conversations I’ve had recently about it haven’t made that question easier to answer. They revolved around a couple of ideas that don’t make abstinence seem much cooler. The first one is that, in a world where horniness is divorced from commitment, me waiting makes it difficult for me to keep a relationship, and kinda miraculous that I even have one to start. The second is that me placing so much virtue and principle behind sex is a little oppressive, and a lot obsessive. After all, we’re taught to believe that all relationships end, and it has nothing to do with sex because it’s just a trivial recreation that is allowed in sexual relationships – hence the word ‘sexual’.
So putting so much weight behind sex forces the person you have it with to be mindful of the notion that you want to be with them forever, regardless of the fact that they don’t see that as possible or even normal. Fair points, I suppose. So I’ll take them one at a time…
First off, I can admit that I thought that unless I found another rare Pokémon like myself, or stopped being so silly and just gave up the magic stick, I might have to start adopting cats to spend the rest of my life with. And then I grew up. I was never waiting for someone who had the same values as me. I’m waiting for someone who understands my values, and whose values I understand.
It’s cool if that person had sex, likes long kisses, wears boy shorts, or watches Naruto. Okay, maybe not the Naruto thing, but you get what I mean. Her sexual history doesn’t matter. Her sexual future does.
Having a few sexual encounters is not abnormal. How you judge them, and what you want out of your future, as a sexual being, absolutely does. And I want someone who understands that I desire something special, with someone special. Or else I wouldn’t even waste my time entering a relationship.
Secondly, sex with me isn’t a bargaining chip, a handcuff, or a gun. I’m waiting, because when a relationship grows enough, it can easily support that sort of intimacy. It becomes something special, but not something that a relationship needs to survive.
I have no intention of telling my girlfriend that sex with me means she can never leave. All it means is that, if we know how strongly we feel about each other, we are committed enough to each other to share that intimacy, and share that commitment. That’s it.
I’m not making sex important. I’m making sex unimportant. It’s not what a relationship needs to feel valid, but it can only healthily exist in a valid relationship. In my view, at least. I want a relationship that doesn’t need sex to feel real, and that can handle that time when it comes. And I definitely want to wait, so the person I do have sex with understands that she’s not just another one in the line, but someone I really care about and want to have a special connection with.
Tina Turner once asked, what’s love got to do with it? I say, everything. And that’s what’s important to me.

In the hormone-ravaged, sexually charged terrain of 21st-century relationships, it’s hard for a 20-something-year old young, Black, Trini male to survive. Well, not really.

It’s actually the place to be for that kinda guy…assuming that he doesn’t have a strong, Christian history that he still identifies with. And he doesn’t place great emphasis on relationships, commitment, and love. And if his absentee father, grandfather’s questionable sexual history, and negative male relationships don’t give him a complex about openly defying male stereotypes.

Okay, that was kinda personal. Ignore it. Moving on…

To get to the point, I’ve been having a few conversations about sex. Mainly because I think I’m the only 21-year-old in East Trinidad that’s abstaining from sexual intercourse willingly (yeah, you can go ahead and “awww”, ladies).

It had never dawned on me, though, that this had so much weight. In fact, of all the controversial labels I’ve worn in the last few years – atheist, activist, LGBT ally, heterosexual, male, jewellery maker – this is the one I’m most concerned about sharing.

Just to set the context, I’m not abstaining because I’m deathly afraid of the fiery pit of hell. I’m more concerned about STIs most times, and that’s not it either. I’m concerned about having a level of intimacy with a person based on affection and commitment. It’s kinda how good relationships are built; you nurture an intimate and committed relationship with someone, which, as it grows, ushers in more intimacy and greater commitment.

Thing is, that’s pretty out of the ordinary. In fact, it might very well be the wrong way to look at sex. After all, people don’t get kissy or huggy. They get horny. And it doesn’t only happen to people in committed relationships. Am I any different? Nope. This is partially why me abstaining is so heavy.

I am a horny 21-year-old Black man, living in a country where this means I can go ahead and sex up de damn place. Yet I still have the capacity to keep it in my pants – willingly (this is also very important, as I am a modestly handsome man, and my being abstinent is not a result of a disability, physical deformity or general fugliness).

To add insult to injury, I’m actually in a relationship. Means, opportunity and motive. So what the @ss I really waiting for in serious?

The conversations I’ve had recently about it haven’t made that question easier to answer. They revolved around a couple of ideas that don’t make abstinence seem much cooler. The first one is that, in a world where horniness is divorced from commitment, me waiting makes it difficult for me to keep a relationship, and kinda miraculous that I even have one to start. The second is that me placing so much virtue and principle behind sex is a little oppressive, and a lot obsessive. After all, we’re taught to believe that all relationships end, and it has nothing to do with sex because it’s just a trivial recreation that is allowed in sexual relationships – hence the word ‘sexual’.

So putting so much weight behind sex forces the person you have it with to be mindful of the notion that you want to be with them forever, regardless of the fact that they don’t see that as possible or even normal. Fair points, I suppose. So I’ll take them one at a time…

First off, I can admit that I thought that unless I found another rare Pokémon like myself, or stopped being so silly and just gave up the magic stick, I might have to start adopting cats to spend the rest of my life with. And then I grew up. I was never waiting for someone who had the same values as me. I’m waiting for someone who understands my values, and whose values I understand.

It’s cool if that person had sex, likes long kisses, wears boy shorts, or watches Naruto. Okay, maybe not the Naruto thing, but you get what I mean. Her sexual history doesn’t matter. Her sexual future does.

Having a few sexual encounters is not abnormal. How you judge them, and what you want out of your future, as a sexual being, absolutely does. And I want someone who understands that I desire something special, with someone special. Or else I wouldn’t even waste my time entering a relationship.

Secondly, sex with me isn’t a bargaining chip, a handcuff, or a gun. I’m waiting, because when a relationship grows enough, it can easily support that sort of intimacy. It becomes something special, but not something that a relationship needs to survive.

I have no intention of telling my girlfriend that sex with me means she can never leave. All it means is that, if we know how strongly we feel about each other, we are committed enough to each other to share that intimacy, and share that commitment. That’s it.

I’m not making sex important. I’m making sex unimportant. It’s not what a relationship needs to feel valid, but it can only healthily exist in a valid relationship. In my view, at least. I want a relationship that doesn’t need sex to feel real, and that can handle that time when it comes. And I definitely want to wait, so the person I do have sex with understands that she’s not just another one in the line, but someone I really care about and want to have a special connection with.

Tina Turner once asked, what’s love got to do with it? I say, everything. And that’s what’s important to me.

 

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Brendon O'Brien

Brendon O’Brien is a writer, Spoken Word poet and performer, blogger, activist, and a host of other things. Simultaneously pursuing performance and journalism careers, he writes an almost-weekly, inspirational blog for ARC Magazine called “Operation Ante-Up”, as well as his own blog http://thezenplayground.tumblr.com, and has tried his hands at acting in the 2010 Best Village-winning “RepatriHaiti”, and directed the ASHTAR Theatre production ‘The Gaza Monologues’.

10 Comments

  1. amanda

    January 30, 2012 at 4:37 am

    hmm i like this article. i can sort of relate as i am a 24 yr old female and virgin. i struggle wit “what am i really waiting for?” yes religion as well as HIV/aids has some part in my decision making, but i figure, if i have waited this long,there has got to be someone out there who appreciates that and not just see me as aha i get a real adult virgin to beat out. then there is that factor as well. i dont want to be like the others “having sex become so casual as sharing some nachos in trincity. i guess i value that sex is something beautiful, im one of the few in today’s world who think ole school.
    and like all virgins im still able to catch able to catch the mythical unicorn so yay me and you who still carry that sexually inexperienced flag high
    (its believed that only virgins can catch them)

  2. Marsha S. Haneiph

    February 2, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What a courageous statement, especially for a young Caribbean man. Good for you and hope that some of your brethren take note. My decision to abstain from pre-marital sex was never predominantly about my faith; and I’m a card-carrying member of the Jesus Brigade. It’s about waiting for a truly committed relationship and not risking my health. Really though, massive kudos to Mr. O’Brien!

  3. ribber

    March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    It’s even worse when you’re celibate and single. Only when one steps out of that sphere (that Matrix, if you will), does one realize how sex-obsessed, couple-obsessed, and heteronormative the world really is, and how freeing and isolating singledom and celibacy can be.

  4. Jason

    March 27, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    “You’re putting the pu$$y on a pedestal man.” — 40 yr old virgin

  5. Avinash Samlal

    March 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm

    married— Sex is the best medicine…nex to swimming..best work out..IMO..

  6. Ash

    April 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    i wish i was still a virgin. sex takes up too much of ma bloody time… joking. sorta. good read. nice flow and style.

  7. Yvonne

    May 30, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Proud of you, and everything you say you stand for in this article. Blessings and greetings from Uganda, East Africa.

  8. John Kizza

    May 30, 2012 at 7:38 am

    Brilliant. I can relate.

  9. Andrea Alicia Smith

    August 15, 2012 at 11:49 am

    VERY interesting. Job well done

  10. Kalifia Lorelei Lee

    October 24, 2012 at 10:49 am

    WOW! I have to admit I am impressed. I’m in a relationship too and we have decided to not make sex important. When I tell people, they watch me as though I’ve lost my mind. My co-worker asked me “so what do you do then?”…I felt sorry for her knowing that her relationship was hinged on sex. Nice to see a young man taking a mature and smart stance with sex and sexuality :)

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