Doing It All “Right”
a badge representing Abstinence club membership

I grew up in South Africa where most public schools had a religious services and undertones, and sex education was focused on abstinence. In addition, my family went to church were we were told to stay pure and remain virgins until our wedding nights. The tale was that marriage is between lifelong friends and the sex part is sort of extra and necessary to make a family. 

So as I was told, I married my best guy friend at 22. The wedding night was obviously awkward, embarrassing, and painful (mostly for him because the church was also against masturbation, so he didn’t). While we were virgins on our wedding night, we had kissed before. Looking back to the first time I kissed him, it felt like kissing my brother. I guess I should have known the sex would never get any better with this start and our culture of avoiding the topic of sex outside the bedroom. 

We divorced after 9 years. I mostly felt confused about the fact that I had done everything “right” and still ended up failing at my sex life and relationship. I followed every rule and was promised a happy and loving sex life blessed by God, but instead I was rewarded with a decade long sexless relationship. Now I’m in my thirties, single and for the first time forced to think about my sexual values outside of marriage. Surely it would have been easier to figure this out in my twenties when everyone else were doing it too!