My story began long ago, before I was even old enough to know any better…. I was about 10. My parents were divorcing and my mom left us kids with our dad who was probably struggling in his own right with how to suddenly raise four little ones by himself. On one occasion, he awkwardly tried explaining to me the reasons behind the split but his speech somehow turned into a venting session. I listened in shocked silence to him talk about their lack of a sex life of all things but noted at that young age that men wanted someone who liked sex.
A seed was planted. Sometime before that, my mother would often let me thumb through the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogs that came in the mail. I was fascinated by all the pretty colors, feathery costumes, and high heels. Another seed.
Then there was the time my sister and I found some porn magazines in my parents’ closet. Another seed.
And as I grew, my mother would say things to me like, “Men only want one thing from you.” Noted. And then there was my overall starvation for hugs, compliments, and love. Before I was even of an age to think rationally for myself, I came to the conclusion that sex equaled love and love was what I felt like I needed to survive and therefore I studied up on all the advice I could find in magazines….Cosmopolitan, Penthouse, etc.
In the midst of my promiscuity, I enjoyed being sexually active. I felt like I was good at it. I collected compliments, I felt in control, and I felt wanted. Those relationships came with all of the hugs, companionship, and the “I love yous” that I was after, in exchange for sex, something that I enjoyed anyway. It was the sweetest deal!
Of course, relationships come with their compromises and issues and it hurt so much when one would end. The best remedy to that pain, I discovered, was by sleeping with someone else. I didn’t realize it was more like a payday advance, that it was all being drawn from somewhere. I just knew that I had money in my pocket at the moment, per se. Over time, it seemed that I had settled into a pattern of sorts. I would have sex with someone, it turned into a relationship, the relationship would ultimately end and I would have sex with someone else.
After one relationship in particular ended, I found myself especially low. I actually didn’t want to just go on to the next one. I was ready for a change. I credit that entirely to the work of the Holy Spirit because if you would have suggested to me before to stop having sex, I would have laughed in your face. I considered myself a Christian but that was one area that I just wasn’t about to hand over to *God*. I likened it to if you would tell someone to stop eating or breathing. I am totally serious about how much I felt like I needed sex.
That brings me to the end. With the support and encouragement of a female friend, I agreed to stop. That was five years ago. The first months were the hardest. I felt like what I imagined drug users withdrawing feel like. After some months I developed a clarity that I never had experienced before. It was like when people say, “You can’t see the forest through the trees.” I had a pretty fierce determination to make it to the first year mark. I made it! Then the novelty kind of wore off. I found myself in uncharted waters. I was interested in relationships again but I had to guard my new-found purity. That was something that got more difficult over time. I hadn’t ever seen an example of what “godly dating” looked like. The control freak in me thought I had to figure it all out, in advance, by myself. That failed.
So then, with some missteps behind me I found that I didn’t have to control anything so much as I just needed to lean on the One who is in control. And to that end, I found a new beginning.