This past summer, I decided to “cast my bread upon the waters” in my search for love by signing up with catholicmatch.com. So far, I haven’t managed to strike up a dating relationship. I did exchange some messages with a few ladies and even talked on the phone several times with one lady who lives a couple of states away. However, our goals don’t seem to be compatible, so that fuse fizzled out about soon as it was lit.
The site has a forum where people can post and discuss all kinds of topics. This week, I came across the following post:
For those who have always been celibate ie never ever had sex – regardless of how old you are, do you ever worry that perhaps you’ll die a virgin? is this a big concern for you, and how do you deal with this. And for the re-born virgins either by virtue of having gone through a divorce and now celibate or have had premarital sex and now celibate in keeping with the teachings of the church, do you fear never having sex again?..and for all who fit into the category above, how has this negatively affected your relationships in the past. I know it has been a deal breaker for some of the guys I’ve dated…hence why I’m here on CM. please share your thoughts. Thanks.
A bunch of people weighed in on the issue. Some spoke of embracing abstinence until marriage, citing both Church teaching and other secondary–though very compelling–reasons. For example, one 32-year-old fellow wrote:
Well, I do not worry at all. St. Paul says it is harder to stay chaste than to get married Amen. Who can say, ” I turned down sex several times to such and such and that girl because I didn’t want to hurt her.” in front of your peers? Not many. Who can say, ” At my age of 32, I am humbled to remain a virgin. I do not date or marry mainly for the sex or company.” I dated one woman in that I told her up front that I wanted our touch to be “proper.” She soon melted in my arms. Why not take the time and kiss for hours? Why not massage each other? Hello! You got a great woman in front of you, massage her legs, back, scalp? Write some poetry about her eyes or something? I like being able to be apart of creation through the sex act; I want to have the commitment from her first and when I ask her father for her hand in marriage I will do it as a man.
Sex does not make a boy into a man.
Also, if I do get married, then I will remind my wife how much I waited for her. Also, I can look my son in the eye and tell him about my experience as a virgin, and also give my daughters an example of what you can get if you listen to mom on how to find a great husband.
I think two things mostly in response to this question. If I am swayed by the world then I would believe that to be a virgin is to be worthless. The voices of the world say why not indulge yourself whether or not children are wanted and whether or not you are showing love for a spouse? But, I believe that the pleasure of this world are nothing compared with those of paradise where there is no need for fulfillment and no need for anything.
Unfortunately, I’ve found that many of the subscribers at catholicmatch.com have bought into the world’s sexual mores, as the following comment on this discussion thread shows:
I feel that two loving adults can “consent” with each other. It has to be in love and in a dating relationshp. Sex is part animalistic and also a way to show love. I think it all depends on the indiviaul person. I do think it is not a good idea to just go sleep around with anyone. It is a very emotional connection so I think two people need to be in a steady type of relationship and not just running around with every one. I think if God wanted one to be a virgin he would have had the person to be in some type of religious order. I just want it to be clear that I do not think sex is a sport or entertainment…
The commandent says though shall not covet thy neighbeighors wife. Not having sex is a doctrinal rule of the church not a commandment. Plus, to my understanding God can forgive whom ever he wants.
I decided to add my thoughts on the matter as well. Here was my response:
I’m a 37- (almost 38!) year-old man. I’ve never been married, and I’ve remained celibate. So that makes me one of those people that our society loves to make fun of (e.g., the film “The 40-Year-Old Virgin”). These days, young people are expected to be promiscuous. Those who aren’t, as another person has already brought up in this discussion, are often accused of being secretly gay, afraid of commitment, etc. I have remained unmarried because my circumstances (let’s just say I’ve learned that life is good at throwing curve balls at you!) have not permitted me to do so. And I have remained celibate, even when presented with the opportunity to engage in fornication, because I don’t believe in sex outside of marriage.
In all honesty, it’s not easy for me. In fact, words can’t express how frustrating and lonely it is at times. And no, it’s not simply about sex; rather, it’s not having the love and companionship as well, not to mention not being able to have started a family of my own.
Thus, I’d have to respond to the initial question–whether I’m afraid that I’ll “die a virgin”–by saying that my fear is actually dying unfulfilled. And not being able to enter the sacrament of holy matrimony with a godly Catholic wife and have children would definitely be a big part of having an unfulfilled life. Some people in this discussion have said that they wouldn’t have any trouble going to the grave without these things, but God has not granted me any such grace. (This was a big factor in my decision not to try to enter the priesthood or religious life, despite the urgings of several people at my church, including my pastor.)
So, you’re getting a glimpse of what it’s like for a single Catholic like me trying out the online dating scene. I’m interesting in hearing your thoughts on the issue, especially from any of you who, like me, are struggling to remain chaste as a single Catholic.
And ladies, if you have any helpful advice for me, I’m all ears!
St. Raphael*, pray for us!
*Patron saint of single Catholics–something I’ve only learned since joining catholicmatch.com.