Saving Yourself For Marriage Is Back On The Table

gay-male-wedding-ring-bsby Manny Cosme

A friend of mine is a devout Christian, growing up in a household that upheld the dogmatic principles of a particularly stricter sub-sect of this religious philosophy. Like many of his peers, he took a vow of chastity when he was a teenager, promising to save his sexual explorations until he was properly wedded with a woman in holy matrimony. But as he grew into himself, and into his own sexuality as a gay man, he soon faced the possibility that he may never get married, at least not to a female. And if he never got married…then he could never have sex. This was a terrible realization for him, as you can imagine. And so he had to face a very tough decision: “Do I remain celibate for the rest of my life, or do I break my vow to God?” After wrestling with this choice for a long time, he finally opted for the latter.

And while it was good and it was wonderful and it was enjoyable to explore this sexual side of himself, he never could completely let go and open himself fully without feeling a slight twinge of guilt for breaking his promise. It has stuck with him, always kind of nagging at the back of his mind. And so, during a recent conversation, this topic came up. “You know, we gays can now marry. Gay Christian men can now uphold their vow of celibacy. We can actually abstain from sexual relations until we are married…because marriage is now possible. Isn’t that interesting?” He offered no more, but I knew what prompted the rhetorical question, and what he was thinking in the back of his mind. And yes, it was quite an interesting thought.

This is an issue that the straight community has dealt with since religious doctrine became social law. Gay men, who were once exempted from having to follow these rules, are suddenly faced with the same philosophical and spiritual decision. Do I abstain from sex until I’m married? This forces us to explore the very meaning of sex and define the role that it plays in our individual life. What is sex to me? For some people, sex is a sacred act that should only be conducted by two people who are spiritually connected to each other, symbolized by a union recognized under God. Others feel that sex is an act that should be enjoyed with multiple people throughout one’s life, and can derive both spiritual and physical pleasure by sharing and merging bodies with another. However you define sex will then determine how you handle this choice.

Now, to be fair, this question has always been on the table in some form. Though we couldn’t be legally married per se, we have always had the ability to form monogamous, life-long partnerships with another person, with or without society’s consent. But the conscious and sub-conscious connection between a union sanctioned by the self and a marriage sanctioned by law can sometimes be missed. For my friend, his devout religious teaching instilled in him a belief that a civil union and a marriage are two different things, and are guided by two different sets of rules. And so, for him and others with similar beliefs, the ability to legally marry has taken on a different context than anything else experienced thus far. This is “marriage” as defined in dogmatic law.

And so we now have marriage, which means we now have choice. We are free to really ponder this issue and decide how we choose to define the role that sex plays in our lives. We can make a conscious decision, and that is the amazing outcome of this. If you want to wait for marriage…now you can. How do you define sex? Will you wait for marriage, or will you not? The choice is yours to make.

About Manny Cosme

MannyCosme150Manny Cosme is the founder of the Gay Love Project, a resource center for gay men facing challenges in their love life. Manny provides personal relationship coaching for clients around the world, and hosts special workshops and webinars on various topics pertinent to gay men. His coaching style infuses techniques borrowed from traditional coaching tools, energetic leadership, astrology, and spiritual metaphysics – providing for powerful, life-changing results. He is frequently invited to speak and to write about gay relationships. Manny holds two certifications in life coaching. He is an active member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Centers for Spiritual Living (CSL). A native of San Francisco, Manny currently resides in Washington DC.

Manny can be contacted at the Gay Love Project website: www.gayloveproject.com

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