Russel Wilson may be abstaining because of a message from God. But that choice has other benefits.
Earlier this month, an interview, in what felt like an impromptu mini TED Talk by Russell Wilson, set the internet ablaze. In the video, he made the “announcement” that he and his also-famous girlfriend, pop artist Ciara, are abstaining from sex. According to Wilson, this decision came to him via God as a way to lead his girlfriend into a life that could inspire others. As a man who is also practicing abstinence, I applaud this decision. I think it’s admirable for a couple to make that commitment. However, the topic of abstinence often brings up some misconceptions and assumptions that are worth discussing.
Abstinence isn’t just a religious duty.
For Christians, not having sex means you’re saving yourself for the person who you’ll end up marrying. Historically, purity was how women were valued to potential suitors. In modern times abstinence can be practiced by both believers and non-believers alike. Abstinence, in its encompassing definition, is about resisting temptation.
Part of being a mature man is exercising self-control; just because you can doesn’t mean you should. When it comes to abstaining from sex, it goes deeper than simply saying you won’t partake in it. It’s about recognizing that sex may be a weakness for you. Sex has been known to cloud one’s judgment. It’s no secret that sex has led to relationships between two people who had no business being together in the first place. Removing that added pressure allows people to think more clearly about the choices they make when it comes to matters of the heart.
Abstinence doesn’t have to be relegated to sex.
When you hear the word “abstain”, you automatically think about the sexual component. However, abstinence can pertain to anything. You can abstain from alcohol, from drugs, from pornography, anything that brings harm to your mental or emotional stability. For the sake of dialogue, I’ll label these as “vices.” What the vice is isn’t as important as your response to it. So a public figure like Russell Wilson saying that he’s abstaining from sex shouldn’t come as a surprise. If you take at his social media imprints, he’s as wholesome as it gets. One thing that you can specifically about him is he’s consistent in the way he chooses to live his life. If you’re going to commit to resisting one type of temptation, it’s important to have that fluidity in all aspects of your life. That’ll make it easier to stay focused on the bigger goal.
Abstinence doesn’t hinder intimacy.
When you have a mate you are attracted to, it makes not having sex that much more difficult. People have it in their minds that not having sex is a major barrier to intimacy.
Spoiler Alert: It’s not!
Sexual intimacy is important because it helps to develop sexual chemistry. It’s a healthy part of a functional relationship and it needs to be nurtured that way. Neither of those things will make a difference, though, for two people who have glaring flaws in other areas of compatibility.
Abstinence is not a ploy.
One thing that bothered me about the way this topic was originally broached is how Russell Wilson proclaimed that God spoke to him. Even though his girlfriend is a believer and agreed to take the vow with him, I can’t help but feel like Wilson’s position as the man took away her voice in the matter. He certainly took the lead in discussing this in a very public forum before she’d gotten a chance to speak about her position. Abstinence is a personal choice. It’s something that shouldn’t feel forced after you’ve already decided to be in a relationship with someone. If you’re practicing abstinence in any form, that’s a first date disclosure type of conversation.
We are living in an era where the only way to not be tempted is to live off the grid. Social media contributes to depression and heightens sensitivity to stimuli like sex and drugs. What used to be hidden in plain sight is now out in the open.
We shouldn’t look at celebrities’ lives and try to apply their rules and standards to our own. However, abstinence is a concept that is as old as civilization. Its root may be in religious foundations, but it’s also a very simple idea to test your willpower. Abstaining from sex or any other type of temptation is one way to eliminate future stress that could have a negative impact on your life.