Help! My Boyfriend Wants to Wait Until Marriage for Sex!

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Eli and Josie help a woman whose boyfriend’s pledge of virginity is leaving her unsatisfied.

Dear Sexes: My boyfriend is a Christian virgin who is saving himself for marriage, while I have had multiple sex partners. We have talked at length about it and do our best not to judge one another’s life choices. But we are now a year or two into the relationship, and I miss sex A LOT! We have done almost everything short of it, but the act itself is very important to me, and I am feeling very emotionally distant from him. How do I handle this without hurting his feelings?

She Said: First, his feelings about sex and sexuality are incredibly important and I think it’s so great that you’ve been supporting one another’s pasts and choices about sexual expression.

The very first thing you should do is explain to your boyfriend that while you totally support his choice of wanting to remain a virgin until marriage, you really miss intercourse. I say “intercourse” because it sounds like you guys are already really sexual with one another. And that’s sex. Connecting intimately, and giving one another pleasure is sex.

Find a way to tell him that you want to stay with him, and you want him to know you’ll honor his desire to abstain from intercourse, but that you want your deepest feelings to be out in the open.

I wonder if there’s a compromise to this situation. What exactly do you miss about penis-in-vagina (PIV) sex? Penetration? I wonder if you two could use a sex toy together while you’re fooling around? If he’s not comfortable with that, you certainly could use one on your own.

And you should absolutely avoid rushing into marriage so that you can have PIV sex. Marriage should only happen if you’re both fully committed and ready to be together for a lifetime.

Once you address within yourself exactly what it is about PIV sex that is so important to you, maybe you’ll see that PIV sex is more about something you feel you need emotionally rather than physically. If that’s the case, see if you can reconcile a way to get that emotional need met in a different way. It could be about acceptance, affirmation, or intimacy… or something altogether different.

If you do that work, and it turns out that it truly is about the physical sensation (or physical sensation combined with emotional closeness) and you discover that you cannot get that in any other way, it may come to you needing to move on to a different relationship. This is not a way to pressure him to change his values, it is not an ultimatum. If he wants to compromise those to keep you around, you should do your best to not let that happen. Loving someone means supporting the things that matter most to them.

But if, after all this work, you decide PIV sex is non-negotiable, I think it’s worth moving on and both of you starting over with someone new. I just don’t think that necessarily has to be the case if you talk and work through it.

He Said: Hurry up and get married tomorrow! I’m kidding of course, but even so, the clock is ticking. You’re in a quandary, because you can’t suppress your desire for sex with your boyfriend forever, and at the same time you can’t completely change your boyfriend’s relationship with God (and his desire to wait until marriage).

This question might be blasphemous, but is your boyfriend’s relationship with God more important to him than his relationship with you? Is he willing to lose you, in order to wait until marriage to have sex? Are you willing to lose him, in order to not have to wait any longer for sex?

Ultimately, you can only control your actions so… If you can’t wait, then talk to your boyfriend and make sure you’re very clear exactly how serious this issue has become. Maybe (though not likely) he’ll reevaluate his values and priorities, if the alternative means losing you. Is an open relationship a possibility for either/both of you? If you could fulfill your sex needs with someone else, would that satisfy you? Or is it your boyfriend (specifically him, and him only) who you desire?

How serious are you, and your boyfriend about this relationship? Can you imagine yourself being married to one another? Is it something you both want for this relationship, eventually? Are you in a position to get married sooner rather than later? There’s no perfect time to get married, so if this issue is really the ONLY problem you’re struggling with, maybe it’s time to consider a proposal.

At the same time, rushing into marriage is a recipe for disaster. Ultimately, if you can’t find a situation that works for both of you, it might be time to go your separate ways.


Do you have a question for Eli and Josie? Ask it here!

Originally appeared at



Photo: Flickr/Ashley Webb

About She Said He Said

Eli and Josie, friends since college, realized how lucky they were to have one another—an honest friend of the opposite sex who tells it like it is. They wanted to share that with the world and so was born.


  1. If people do not want sex before marriage, you probably have two chooses, except or do not. If you want to stay with them, you are probably going to have to accept it, if not, you will probably have to move on. Regardless of what you say, facts you may use, or how many people agree or disagree with you, it’s likely that you can not force anyone else to do anything they do not want to do. If they want to wait, that’s their right and if they choose to wait, that’s something you are probably going to have to accept, if you want to stay with them.

  2. Let’s see: you disagree on a fundamental relationship issue. Which raises the obvious question: on what other fundamental issues have you failed to explore your differences? Religion/spirituality is obviously one. Frankly, the fact that you have failed to do a comprehensive hard-headed examination of your differences, and thus have not given yourselves the opportunity to resolve said differences, the stats say any marriage you attempt is almost certainly doomed to failure inside of five years.

  3. Hi Flyingkal
    Warning sexual content follows…..
    You are right,we do not know anything about what this man wants.

    And to feel emotional distant in a love relationship must be very hard,indeed. But having sex is not = emotionally close.
    It depend on the persons.

    Some want a lot of sex,but are not able to be emotionally close. Others are so good at intimacy that you are close emotionally without sex.
    The best is be able to both be emotionally close both sexually and not sexually. Those who can are blessed.

    About oral sex.
    Why it means so much for men I don’t know. I fear it is a product watching porn.

    Women have a vagina,it is designed for rough activity,it is sensitive and has strong muscles.

    The mouth however is filled with teeth!
    It is not designed for a penis.

    Fellatio is hard work. You have to cover your teeth with your lips to protect the vulnerable penis,and then you loose all feeling in the lips.
    And it can take a long time………
    And as you know a mans member is large. Use your imagination.

    I can give it out of love but frankly I think it is boring.

    Receiving is ok,but if I have a choice I prefer any kind of intercourse. And I always have a choice.
    I can live fine without oral sex.
    It can also give cancer. Michael Douglas tells his story about that . He is not the only one.

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Leaving aside anyone’s particular preferences around giving or receiving oral sex, I just want to touch on what you said about Oral Sex giving cancer. Yes, you can contract the HPV virus through oral sex, in any combination of male or female. But that is the same HPV that you can contract with ANY kind of sexual activity. HPV is a frisky virus, it comes in many forms, all of which are sexually transmittable. At some point, every single sexually active person has probably come in contact with it, most of us more than once. Much of the time, the virus runs its course and leaves. Sometimes, however, it doesn’t, and it is known to cause all sorts of reproductive and oral cancers. (Cervical, uterine, anus…. you name it, if you can have sex with it, HPV can cause cancer in it.)

      This is why people like me yell all day long about condoms and dental dams. This is why we tell people to get complete STI panels done on a regular basis. HOWEVER, there isn’t really a good standard test for men. In women, HPV is part of a pap screening. In men, the only place we can test for it is the anus, and only a handful of doctors routinely recommend anal smears – and then only for gay and bisexual men. (Which totally leaves straight men out, and is not right for lots of reasons.) We need to develop better screening for HPV!

      Also, because it is asymptomatic, most people don’t know they carry it, unless they specifically get screened for it. So men pose, and are at, higher risk.

      Short version: Condoms. All. The. Time.

  4. OH FUCK THIS!!!! Love, do you really want to have sex? Is your boyfriend seriously declaring a vow of purity til his wedding night? Is her practicing what he preaches?

    Wonderful, good for him!

    Now dump him and get a new boyfriend. You two are uncompatible.

    Case closed…

  5. Typo
    Catholic or Protestant.

  6. It is hard to be a Catholoc or Protestant.
    And how about Muslims? They have even strickter rules and regulations for sex.

    This is from a website for Catholic teachings:

    “The Use of Sex Outside Marriage is Wrong Sex therefore is in its right order when it is used within marriage. Outside marriage any use of sex is wrong.
    Hence thoughts, actions, words, pictures, books, or anything which is used deliberately to stimulate sensual
    powers outside marriage are sinful. Christ went to the heart of the matter when He said: You have heard that it was said of them of old ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery’. But I say to you that
    whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her hath already committed adultery with her in his heart, (Matthew 5: 27)”

  7. Not all beliefs are created equally. This form of belief system will inevitably spill into other areas of their lives. She needs to think hard on being with someone who holds such beliefs. Sex is the least of her problems.

    There is plenty of green grass for everyone between being pure and being a Pez dispenser.

  8. A question to all of you.

    Imagine you are married or cohabitation and it is not an open relationship,but a monogam one.
    Then your partner has a sexual happening with someone else.
    Infidelity. That hurts! That hurts like hell.

    Do you feel it hurt more if he or she had PIV sex?
    For me I does.

    • Blowjob/Oral would probably hurt a lil more but I dunno. The sex itself + the cheating + wanting someone else is what would hurt, not so much the acts themselves. It’d hurt if they just made out with someone.

    • FlyingKal says:

      I think it would depend mostly on the state or our own sexlife.

      In my relationship where we stopped having sex altogether, I often contemplated what I would do if I found out she had sex with another person. And I reached a state of mind (at least I think I did, can’t swear what I would have done, had it actually happened.) where I just wanted to know why she didn’t want me. If she was bangin’ someone else or really was (or had become) asexual was really not the point, because the net result for me wasn’t any different. If you get what I mean…

      Then again, oral sex or anything a little “spicy” that she always refused to do with me would probably be more emotionally painful than straight-down P-i-V. Like as I was never worthy of her making that kind of “effort” for me.

      • Hi Flyingkal

        The funny thing in this story about this young man is that he gets all the “spicy” sex and even gets the women to beg for more.
        Think about it!
        He is NOT pushing or demanding sex,and it gives him all he wants and more.
        I don’t think he is manipulative, I think he is honest ,brave,and has integrity.

        Personally I thnk oral sex is boring,but that is my problem.

        • FlyingKal says:

          He is NOT pushing or demanding sex,and it gives him all he wants and more.

          No, you can’t say that because noone here have the slightest clue about what he actually wants.
          If being honest, brave, and having integrity means that your partner will feel very emotionally distant, then what?

          Personally I thnk oral sex is boring,but that is my problem.
          Giving or receiving? Or both?
          And why is it a problem?

  9. Alastair says:

    It sounds as though there has already been plenty of dubious rationalization going on in this situation already. Frankly, I am surprised that the two of you are in a relationship together in the first place.

    At root, this is a question of consent, and how much you are prepared to compromise on that to get what you want. The gold standard of consent should be sexual relations that honour a person’s wishes, both generally and in the moment, uphold and are in keeping with their value system, and leave them without any sort of regrets. By trying to pressure, manipulate, or rationalize your boyfriend into this, or by trying to exploit legalistic loopholes that meet the letter of the moral command but violate the spirit of it, you are not honouring his value system and are showing that you are prepared to settle for considerably less than the gold standard of consent.

    And this sort of thing can come back to haunt people. By leading your boyfriend into a position of uncomfortable cognitive dissonance and tension with his value system, you would have gained for yourself a boyfriend with a less certain moral compass for yourself. A person who becomes inured to going against or compromising their moral compass at one point is much more likely to do it at other points in the future. These later infractions may prove painful to you.

    He may also come to resent you in the future, when he realizes that you were prepared to put your wishes ahead of his value system. For the price of your selfish premarital sexual satisfaction (and, let’s be very clear about this: if it does not honour his consent, it is selfish) you may have left him with deep regrets, guilt, and negative feelings towards you.

    • Alastair, well said. You need to run for president of the sexual awareness campaign!

    • wellokaythen says:

      Forgive me, but this sounds like an argument saying she would be a “foul temptress” just for bringing up the subject.

      I suggest there is a difference between discussing the possibility of something and pressuring someone into doing it. There must be some way for her to mention what she’s experiencing without putting pressure on him or “leading” him into sin. If there is no way to bring up the subject without some sort of moral violation, then that does not speak well for their ability to communicate. (And it doesn’t speak well of those moral values in the first place.) That leads me to a similar conclusion to yours: what are the two of them doing together?

      Could she mention her feelings in a way that is not pressuring him into having sex?

      • Well, she could get him drunk and take advantage of him too, or just slip him a roofy. If we want to get technical. But no means no.

        When did a man’s word and beliefs become something we have to challenge and second guess?
        If he has moral obligation to God, family, tradition, or a just pinkie swear with his buddy to remain a virgin, and he breaks his word, he’s going to regret it. If she doesn’t like it, he can escort her to the nearest exit.

      • Your foul temptress comment reminds me of Homer’s Odessey and the message about willpower and temptation. The Sirens would lure the sailors into the rocks with their inticements and seductive sounds. But Odesseus covered his men’s ears as they traveled past the Sirens so they would not stray into the jagged rocks of temptation.

    • Isn’t his commitment to virginity also selfish?

      Really, if he’s remaining a virgin in order to get into heaven, or to avoid divine punishment, or to avoid negative consequences on himself, or to benefit from virginity, then he is doing it for self-interested reasons. There is nothing more self-interested than trying to get to Heaven. Heaven is by definition the optimum experience of individual self-interest.

      If he’s waiting because he thinks it will make his marriage easier or stronger, then that’s a selfish reason as well.

  10. Hi Josi
    This may not be about his relationship with his God,as you put it.
    My guess is that he knows already that oral sex also is sex the way the Church and priests teach us. Just like Archy says.

    But maybe this young man want to start his marriage with a kind of sexual intimacy he never tried or experienced with any other woman. I think he is smart!

    And PIV it is also how we make babies,and the sex act when you actively want to start a new life and a family is very special.

    PIV is so emotionally and physically different from any other kind of sex that is worlds apart IF the women likes PIV. Not all women enjoy it as their preferred way, but maybe this young man is convinced it means something special for HIM.

    She should respect his borders,and frankly I see her problem ” a luxury problem.”

  11. End the relationship. Your values are incompatible. In the long term this will prove to only be the tip of the iceberg.

    • Good advice. Speaking as someone who is married and our sex drives are not really compatible… yeah. Wish I’d known then what I realize now. Women who have to chase and pester their men for sex (I’ve met a few) are no happier than the men who aren’t getting enough.

  12. wellokaythen says:

    Don’t be afraid to be a hairsplitter if you must.

    When he says “no sex,” ask him for specific rules or limits, if you haven’t already. Does this mean anything leading to his orgasm is off the table, or anything leading to either of you having an orgasm? Is he only talking about PIV? Does virginity include oral sex virginity? Does he expect you not to masturbate in the meantime either? Is it just his penis that’s off limits, or does that include sex toys as well?

    There may actually be some sort of middle ground that you haven’t explored yet. Usually my advice is to try to brainstorm together to see if there are some acceptable loopholes. Here is a great moment to practice those mutually beneficial negotiation skills that are going to come in really handy when and if you do get married, to him or to anyone else.

    And, don’t be afraid to express your own theological interpretation. You have a right to a religious opinion just as much as he does. If the human body was created in God’s image, and the clitoris is the only organ whose sole function is sexual pleasure, then God must have some sort of intention for people to enjoy sex.

    • wellokaythen says:

      P.S. I like what “She Said” said as well, the part about making your feelings known, about how you miss sex. That’s not to pressure him or challenge him, just to let him know how your sexuality is going right now. It could be a very intimate, emotionally close moment when you share something like that with him. Maybe you’re feeling lost or isolated because you don’t know if abstaining is hard for him as well? I bet if he could tell you how hard it is for him that might make you feel a little better.

      As She mentioned, it could be that what you’re missing about something like PIV is something that you can get without the actual PIV. If he doesn’t even want to talk about sex or your missing sex, then maybe what you’re craving isn’t so much the sex itself as the sexual intimacy that comes with it?

      Ultimately, there’s frankly nothing wrong or abnormal about just missing the physical act itself. Maybe you’re missing the deeper emotional connection, and maybe it’s something more nitty-gritty. Only you will be able to know for yourself.

      • Joanna Schroeder says:

        You totally copied all my answers, wellokaythen.

        I do think this idea of “technical” virginity is fascinating. Where do you draw the line? What is God against? What does God want? Over on our site, where this was originally published, Nick, Mostly told her to go look up some certain passage in the Bible. You’re right, she can challenge his theology.

        I just find that doesn’t work. Usually if you’re this convinced that something is God’s word, you’re probably basing it more upon someone who taught you that, and less upon the actual Bible.

        • Kissing and that’s it. Anything else is wrong, I don’t get why people try to break the “law” and get around acting like anything non-piv is ok when remaining celibate for marriage. You’re still having sex! An action done for sexual arousal. Reminds me of people that try to say they’re virgins when they’ve had anal sex and use it to try remain as a “good” person in the eyes of their deity.

          If you want to have sex, then have sex. Don’t try to cheat n bullshit around it, just do it or don’t. If you’re having oral sex or anal sex, even handjobs then you’ve already failed the celibacy part which shouldn’t even matter anyway. It’s still ALL sex.

          • Archy, I’m with you. No means no…end of discussion.

            • wellokaythen says:

              I understand the need to be consistent and not be wishy-washy, but frankly her boyfriend, like most modern-day Christians, is probably bending all sorts of other biblical injunctions. There is a perfectly valid theological question here – why is it okay to ignore some Bible rules and not others?

              Presumably her boyfriend eats cheeseburgers and other non-kosher things. He probably shaves his face, which is an “abomination in the eyes of God.” If he wears clothing made from more than one kind of fiber he is also breaking God’s commandments. If the argument is that Jesus came and dispensed with a lot of older Jewish law, then why did he dispense with some laws and not others? What exactly did Jesus say about sex before marriage? As I recall from Sunday school, not much. He actually seemed to be quite nice to fornicators, adulterers, and prostitutes.

              There isn’t any “no means no” when it comes to not eating pork. Lots of Christians say prayers thanking God for delicious bacon. Didn’t God say not to eat pork?

              One could also take a very hardline tack and say that the letter writer should not be allowed into church ever again, since Paul quite clearly speaks out against “fornicators.” That’s going to make it hard for him to marry anyone who’s not a virgin.

          • Joanna Schroeder says:

            I know people who say that even kissing is breaking the virginity vow.


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