While growing up, I had always intended to stay a virgin until marriage. That was a part of my faith, and what I wanted. I remember that I would pray for myself and my future husband that we would stay pure.
But in high school, my desires got the better of me, and I ended up losing my virginity to my boyfriend at the time. Even though we broke up later on, we were in love and I thought I could marry him at some point, so having sex with him felt right. And then I had sex during a couple other relationships. They weren’t just random guys or flings—I was in love. And I had already lost my virginity, so why not?
Fast forward to my sophomore year of college, when I just had gotten out of a relationship, and I wanted to live a care-free life like all my other friends. Everyone was going to parties, getting drunk, having sex, and I didn't want to miss out on that. On the night of my sorority’s semi-formal party, after it was over, I went with my date back to his fraternity house. I had just met him (my friend set us up for the party), and we had sex in his room. First of all, the sex was just awful—it was awkward, and he clearly had no idea what he was doing. But I also hated it because I had no idea who this guy was, or who he had been with before, and it just grossed me out. It wasn’t someone I loved or even someone I knew.
After it was over, I left and went back to my sorority house. I remember walking into the house, seeing some of my friends and proclaiming: “I’m a born-again virgin!” I was half-kidding in the moment (I was still a little drunk), but at the same time, I knew that’s also what I wanted. About a month later, when I was home over winter break, I decided that I was serious about waiting to have sex again until I was married. I prayed for forgiveness and help to stick to this goal moving forward.
The following summer, I started hanging out with my now-husband, Mike*. We had met during the school year, but it wasn't until the summer before junior year that we began spending more time together and, eventually, dating. That’s when I told him that I was waiting to have sex until marriage.
Even though we hadn’t talked about where we stood at that point, or where our relationship was headed, I wanted to make it clear and be upfront that sex was off the table. We had both slept with other people before, so I wasn’t sure how he would take the news. To my surprise, he said “alright, that’s fine, let’s wait.” I guess I didn’t expect to find a man who would be so supportive of it. After that, we never really had to have a conversation about it. It was something that was important to me, so he was on board.
There were definitely a few times where that decision was difficult. On vacations, we would stay together and sleep in the same bed. And he also lived two hours away, so we would spend weekends together at each other’s places. Whenever we were alone together for an extended period of time, it would be hard to resist. We would be intimate in other ways, but anytime it got close to the point of actually having sex, we’d stop. It was challenging, but worth it.
As our relationship became more serious, we started planning our future. I was going to graduate from college soon, and we knew we wanted to move to a new place. Eventually, we decided to move to San Diego (where we live now), a nice change from the midwest where we were both from, so I started applying for jobs out there. But my parents were uncomfortable with the idea of us living together unmarried. That’s when we seriously started considering marriage, and what was holding us back. Turned out, nothing. We were already ready to be together long-term, we just hadn’t thought about marriage. I eventually landed an interview in San Diego, and Mike flew out there with me, so that we could check out our future city together. That’s actually when he proposed! Then, about eight months later, we got married.
To cut to the chase, the sex we had on our wedding night was amazing. The whole night itself was pure bliss, especially since sex was something we'd both been anticipating for so long. We've definitely had better sex since then (it was our first time together, after all), but everything about it just felt right.
And the wait was so worth it. First, when we were dating, it eliminated the guessing game of where things were headed—I never had to wonder whether he was just in this for sex because that wasn’t an option.
Even now, two years into marriage, it's helped. Mike has been going through a health issue for two months, so we haven’t had sex for two months, and it hasn’t been a problem at all. We keep thinking “we’ve done this before!” In that regard, sex hasn’t become something we need to rely on for our relationship. Plus, I feel like deciding to '"re-virginise" actually bonded us, because it was something we went through together.
No regrets, whatsoever.
*Names have been changed. As told to Jamie Hergenrader.
This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.