Abstinence in Marriage

Question: Dear Luise: I am in a religious study program that teaches that the creative instinct is misused. It suggests that marital sex takes up much-needed energy and distracts people from focusing on what matters most, which is service. Marriage is highly supported in this approach, as is sex, but it is only for the express purpose of parenting. I am still young and admittedly impressionable…so the jury is still out on this one, for me. I study but I also think things through from my own perspective. What I have read on your web site suggests that sex can bring conflict and the lack of it is not as unusual as one would suppose. Do you have any suggestions on this subject for a person on the threshold of life? I have not been sexually active like many of my peers, mostly because I see it waging havoc in their lives. Ted

Answer: Dear Ted: Well, aren’t you an interesting critter? Your points are well taken and your objectivity is as refreshing as an ocean breeze. If you read further on my web site you will see that there are many other areas of serious conflict in marriage including, but not limited to finances, parenting, and career. Also, not having sex often brings on as much conflict as having it. Sexual expression is one of the most intimate areas of human interaction, so it follows that it probably requires a high level of mutual cooperation to be of real value.

In many instances, sex does not stay the central factor in a marriage. That’s not always the case because some couples focus strongly on maintaining a deep sexual connection. Much has been written about the comfort that mutually satisfying, sexual expression can bring and we also see every day on the news where “domestic violence” takes those who misuse it.

This is pretty much a case-to-case situation. We all have different levels of sexuality and there are many ways that it can play out in our lives. Some people choose a life of sexual abstinence and, again, there are many reasons for this from escapism to focusing on spiritual goals. Others identify with their sexuality to such a great degree that their whole self-image is tied up in it.

I would suggest that you ask a lot of questions, if there is room for that in your study program. It is clear that you are doing that in this venue. Observe and learn and think. What wonderful options! Look within your heart and access your own intuition to see what seems to apply at the level of your own natural inclinations. Read, talk to people. Your life is your own and you have the right to point it whatever direction you choose. All too often we follow the crowd blindly and don’t customize life.

There are many study programs out there. Each one suggests it is the best and the wisest. Each one is…for someone. If yours is a fit, you will be able to figure that out. The world is your oyster. Blessings, Luise

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