When chastity gets messy

I never thought having premarital sex was okay. I went to Catholic school for 12 years, heard chastity talks, pledged my virginity to God and my future spouse on several occasions, and was a leader in a chastity club. I went on a chastity trip with my mom and two aunts on my 16th birthday. I am the poster child for “it was not supposed to happen to me.”

I wanted nothing more than to marry my boyfriend of two years. Although he did not share my beliefs, he knew how firmly I believed in saving sex for marriage. He was not ready to get married, so I did something I was not ready to do as a compromise—or because I loved him, or because I was tired of fighting the good fight, or because I just wanted to have sex. I will never forget after we slept together the first time. He immediately said it was the best day of his life. I immediately cried because it was the worst day of mine. We continued to date and struggle with chastity for three more long years. After all, the battle only gets harder once you’ve crossed the line. Eventually, we broke up for good.

Now this is usually the part of a chastity story where a magic moment happens, the writer turns their life around and lives chastipply (chastely+happily) ever after. There was no magic moment, no one person, event, or any one day that my life turned around. It was, and is, a long battle. I still fall, I still kiss boys I should not kiss, and I still do not always date the right guys. I am still a sinner and always will be.

With each new fall it is easy to give up and stop fighting. After all, society tells me that claiming to want chastity and still making mistakes makes me a hypocrite. For me, chastity is a daily battle. Here is what I have learned along the way.

1.       I need to date a guy who shares my beliefs. Several guys have told me that they don’t mind not having sex until marriage. But that’s not enough. It’s not enough to find a guy who is willing to abstain if I require it of him. I know I’ll probably fall unless he wants chastity as much as I do.

2.       I wasted a fair amount of time looking back and asking “why oh why did I mess up so badly when I knew better?” Although I did learn some things about myself and got to use all of my company-offered free counseling sessions, chastity really came down to the basics: Chastity is about love, and not expressing physical union until that union exists in reality (marriage). It’s about sacrificing momentary pleasure now so that I can more freely give of myself in a lifelong commitment of love.

3.       Pick good friends! I have found that the best way to find joy in my singleness is to have as many awesome Catholic girlfriends as possible. I am lucky enough to have five accountability partners who I adore and admire, not just because they are also trying to practice chastity, but because they have amazing careers, passions, and a sense of adventure.

4.       It is ok to have guy friends. Also, if you remain pure with a boyfriend, it’s much easier to be friends after the breakup.

5.       LIFE IS ABOUT MORE THAN SEX!!!!   Focus on the million other things and keep your mind, body and soul focused on healthier outlets. My dream was to learn to sail. I did it.

Bottom line…do the best you can every day. Repent and confess when you fall but DON’T GIVE UP! It is never too late to start again.

40 Comments

  1. This is a beautiful witness. You even made me tear up. I will pray for you! God bless!

    By Jonathan | 2 years ago Reply
  2. The hard part is finding a guy who wants chastity as well. It’s also hard because I think that couples should express their affections to one another physically, but stopping when appropriate is always so messy and hard to define. I think the larger probably is a lot of men’s resistance to marriage. Dating for years while being chaste is hard. People should only date purposefully, discern their dates wisely, and then just as they do in their spiritual life, take a leap of faith with someone well suited to them and on the same path to holiness for the sake of legitimizing the union in the eyes of God and starting a family.

    By Alex | 2 years ago Reply
  3. Dating’s purpose is to find a spouse. If you are discerning the possibility of marrying the person you’re dating, you will find yourself eventually dating people who feel the same way.
    Great article!

    By Mercy | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Praise God! Thank you for such a beautiful post and sharing your story. God Bless <3

    By Miranda | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Thank you so much. I totally understand and relate to you. I have fallen so many times and have gone to repent. I at times feel as if I am hypocrite myself because I talk to so much about chastity and purity and yet fall for my temptations. But I have learned to repent go to confession and ask God for guidance and forgiveness. Knowing that I am fighting the good fight and being strong by staying chastity and saving my entire self to the one God has called my spouse makes me so proud and willing to keep fighting this fight. Yes Chastity is difficult but it is possible. Lets not give up. God will always be there for us and guide us.

    By Jazmin Martinez | 2 years ago Reply
    • I feel hypocritical A LOT as well about this. But one thing that has helped me to overcome that is when I talk to people who aren’t practicing chastity or who think those of us who practice chastity are prudish. I’m now able to say to them no, I’ve been where you are. I’ve met with temptation and gone through with it. And now I’m coming back to practicing chastity. It gives them a chance to see that I’m happier practicing chastity than not, and I’m hoping it inspires them. 🙂 Use your past as a witness of the mercy of God in His second chances He gives us. Stay strong girl! <3

      By S | 2 years ago Reply
  6. I agree with an above comment — finding a man who also wants chastity is very hard. Even if you go to Catholic specific dating websites. On the profiles it asks everyone about the basic tenets of the Catholic faith and if they believe in them. Almost every single guy marks that they believe in everything except premarital sex. Everybody wants premarital sex. It’s really sad. And I can’t tell if these guys say they want premarital sex because they do want premarital sex, or if they say they want premarital sex because they think the women won’t want to date them if they’re not interested in premarital sex. I’m sure that every generation has thought they were in the most difficult societal times, but I’m really feeling it. My mom says they don’t call it finding a needle in a haystack for nothing. So I keep looking. : )

    By Shelly | 2 years ago Reply
  7. Thanks so much. I feel like this article is meant for me. Just recently went through a similar situation. Thanks be to God we never actually had sex but at the same time, my innocence is lost…everything that happened meant the world (good and bad) to me, but nothing to him. It’s a difficult battle. And the regret is overwhelming. You are an incredibly strong woman. Stay strong! John 16:33 <3

    By S | 2 years ago Reply
  8. Wow. I could have written this… Thanks, I really needed this.

    By Natalie | 2 years ago Reply
  9. It’s difficult to live chastity in a highly un chaste world.
    I’m really glad to see this, surely many out there are going thru the same thing.

    God works wonders but it takes a whole lot of faith to see it.

    Hope that girls (or couples) out there realize that
    1) it’s never too late to correct mistakes and live chastely because there’s a much deeper and more real reward of joy to this
    2) God does not want to be outdone in generosity. He has bigger and much better plans for us only if we choose to give our hearts to him, first.

    Mistakes make us stronger and closer to him. And allows us to discover our GREAT dependency on him. You gave such simple yet powerful lessons/advices. Thanks for sharing this to the world.

    By KC | 2 years ago Reply
  10. Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! I so totally relate to my life growing up – and indeed, when we constantly put ourselves into occasions of sin – the battle increases 10 fold! IF I may re-iterate your list of lessons learnt – to go to confession frequently, as SOON as I’ve put myself in an occasion of sin. Weekly (and even daily) confession sometimes is not a bad thing, and in fact a HUGE source of grace for the battle onwards. and to PRAY! A daily prayer life is essential to a life of holiness 🙂 God bless you!

    By Jeanne | 2 years ago Reply
  11. Thank you for sharing your story– it’s exactly what I needed to hear today! Having gone through a very similar situation, I’ve found the hardest part to be overcoming the past and embracing grace whenever I’m tempted to look back. God has helped me reach a much deeper understanding of his love for me through my mistakes, and I pray that you continue to share your story and bring strength to others. God bless!

    By Emily | 2 years ago Reply
  12. Thank you for this encouraging piece, hopefully many women out there will not lose hope and continue to fight the good fight. I am still on it, and, as what Jazmin said, I sometimes feel like a hypocrite for not being truly chaste in my own relationship. I give credit to God for helping me not fall – I still haven’t given myself away, though. And I pray to continue fighting until I cross the “finish line” (marriage) with my current boyfriend 🙂

    Let’s pray for each other on this journey! God bless us all!

    By Des | 2 years ago Reply
  13. Wow thank you I was just about to give up the fight because it is so hard when you love someone so dearly ! I truly appreciated this post because it reminded me that the relationship between my boyfriend and I is actually a relationship among my boyfriend me and Gos

    By M | 2 years ago Reply
  14. I understand! Good sharing 🙂
    Don’t ever get hooked with your memories, it’s the devil who wants you to remember and ponder on your sins that you have confessed and to cry on it… Run away from such thoughts from the beginning 🙂 I know you know, still… 🙂 God bless ++ 🙂

    By Matt Pratt | 2 years ago Reply
  15. This spoke directly to me. Thank you for this…I’ve been feeling so alone in this struggle and I was deeply touched.

    By Anonymous | 2 years ago Reply
  16. Everyone has different experiences. I was waiting til marriage until I was raped shortly after my 20th birthday when I was drinking at a friend’s house. After that, my boyfriend who was staying chaste until marriage broke up with me because I was no longer a virgin.
    That experience changed me forever. I realized since then that life is so much more important than chastity. Obviously there are good reasons for it like avoiding pregnancy before a commitment and avoiding STD’s, but giving up on chastity empowered me to date men who actually care and love me in every way, regardless of whether I have been with another man like so many Christian men do. I am not married yet, and I hope to be someday, but I will not wait in the meantime. Because there is so much love and adventure I want before then and I am not willing to wait until Prince Charming finally comes into my life. My advice to the author of this article is stop guilt tripping yourself! Intimacy is meant to be enjoyed. I could have let a negative first time taint the rest of my experiences too but I didn’t. I recommend you do the same. God bless 🙂

    By Vanessa Oceana | 2 years ago Reply
    • I just wanted to say that I’m really sorry for not only the abuse you experienced at your friend’s house, but the lack of love your boyfriend showed to you, in leaving you because of what happened. It’s amazing that someone would do that to you, just at the moment you needed them the most to reassure you that you’re not any less pure because you’re a victim of rape. If the guy really loved you, then he still would have loved had you after the rape. After all, you were just as pure before the rape as after (even though it might not have felt that way). But your soul is pure. It’s not like it’s a sin to be abused! His rejection of you was not because of his Christianity, though, but because of his deeper insecurities and his real lack of Christian love. You don’t marry a girl to get her virginity. That’s messed up. I always tell girls, “Don’t be afraid that a good guy wouldn’t love you because of your past. If he judges you by your past, he isn’t that good of a guy!”

      My wife has been through a lot in life with guys before I met her. I was a virgin, though, when we married. Her past didn’t make me love her less, though. It made me want to love her more, to make up for what those other guys did to her. I wrote an article for guys who struggle with their significant other’s past, where I basically tell them to man up. You can see it here, if you want: http://chastityproject.com/qa/im-a-virgin-but-am-dating-a-woman-who-had-a-bad-past-but-is-really-pure-now-the-idea-of-her-past-haunts-me-how-can-i-get-beyond-this/

      I do want to challenge you to think about the idea that rejecting chastity is empowering you to date guys who really love you and care for you. Is it that they love you, or that they just don’t care about the past? Sometimes, overlooking one’s past can be an expression of love. Other times, it’s a sign of indifference: In other words, “I don’t care what you’ve done with other guys, just like I presume the guys in your future won’t care about what we do together, either.” This isn’t really love, but rather sometimes an attitude in guys who just want to use. Real love is not about overlooking the wounds of the past, but striving to heal them together. Anyway, I wish you all the best, and hope you find the love that you truly deserve, to make up for what you’ve had to deal with from certain guys in the past!

      By Admin | 2 years ago Reply
    • Please, please, please repeat after me: RAPE IS NOT YOUR FAULT. It’s a crime, not a “negative first time experience” or personal failure. It is not a reason to give up and throw one’s values to the wind either. Yes, intimacy is meant to be enjoyed…like a fire is meant to be enjoyed…in the fireplace, not consuming the house. 😉

      By enness | 2 years ago Reply
  17. Thank you for sharing your story and great advice. It is a very hard battle to fight and may we always remember that god loves us no matter what. Keep up the good fight and pray for all of us who are fighting the same battle. God bless you!

    By Aurelio | 2 years ago Reply
  18. It is hard not to feel stupid in trying to promote the priceless beauty of true sexual love when your battling the “drive” to pervert it yourself. Sometimes I feel like I should just stop trying to understand God’s genius in giving man the desire for sex, and hopelessly settle for the world’s view, and be doomed to grind my will forever, if I want to “stay pure”.
    What has helped me most is, (1) PRAYING and asking God to help me to desire and act as he created me to, having given me my desires, (2) Reading “The Freedom of Sexual Love” (www.randomhouse.com), which helped me understand just what I was protecting by chastity, and (3) remembering that I am NOT, and not going to be, the slave to sex that the world tries to make us out to be by saying that lust is really what we all want.
    NO!
    We want TRUE LOVE!

    By Gabriel | 2 years ago Reply
  19. Thanks for this post. I appreciated it.

    By Annie | 2 years ago Reply
  20. Yes! I agree with Gabriel! We want true love! God forgives… Sometimes forgiving the unforgivable can mean forgiving ourselves as well. That was so hard for me, and I am still tempted at times to be lured into thinking that I am not redeemable, not a new creation after what happened between me and my boyfriend. God has changed our hearts and has strengthened us to start anew, and it is a daily process. He is so kind, loving, and merciful, though. After we received the sacrament of reconciliation, and pledged to start anew, the enemy tried so many times to bring us down with shame and guilt, but we are forgiven. All who ask for it are forgiven, thanks be to our amazing God. Even in two years’ time, thanks to prayer, the sacraments, our friends, and healthy outlets, my boyfriend and I are well on our way to full healing, I feel it. It can be easy to doubt that truth, but we have to hold on. God is so good. I’m so thankful.

    We want true love–not the counterfeit that uses and hurts and scars (even when we don’t realize it at first). Awaken our people, Lord, to redefine our cultural “norms” and what is generally accepted and even embraced about love and sex and beauty.

    Thank you for this post. It really gets to the heart of what it means to be on the road of healing and repair of heart, soul, and body after giving in, and how God lives and forgives.

    God bless. <3

    By Tammy | 2 years ago Reply
  21. Hello, my name is Domagoj and I am from Croatia (homeland country of Blanka Vlasic ) 🙂
    I converted before 3 years and the reason was the 8 week theology of the body seminar (1-1,5h per week by my priest in my parish who now has 1000 students listening to theology of the body – he really touches us with his words by Holy spirit) father Damir Stojic is his name 🙂

    I want to say one tip for all you struggling with falling with your partner. The tip is to make a very strong decision not to do it again!
    If you do that decision you wont fall. My frend made that decision and didnt fall wit his girlfriend and they lived together. They were in bed sleeping near each other and they didnt have sex because of his strong decision not to hurt God by doing this sin. Than he moved back to parents. (He converted while living with his girlfriend)

    You have to pure your heart that you really not want to do it before marriage. When I really wanted in my heart and my mind not to masturbate than I stopped doing it and I never did it again.
    If you say in my mind I wont do it because its a sin but want to do it in your heart you will do it. Than pray our Heavenly father with all your heart for pure heart. (mass and the body of Christ and rosary helps a lot)

    Second tip is never be with your partner alone in the room. So always date with him in public places.

    Third is go to mass through week, and pray rosary and read Bible and confess every 7-14 days. This gives you the strenght to overcome the will for sex.
    When you do this you wont fall.

    And offcourse very short kissing at the end of the date, not french kiss because it turns you on.

    Just read the book from T.G.Morrow about dating… 🙂

    Just put our Heavenly father in the first place in your lives, and have a relationship with him, talk with Him every day it will make you not to do the smallest sin!

    By Domagoj | 2 years ago Reply
  22. Thank you for this!

    By Joan | 2 years ago Reply
  23. I never knew. You are as beautiful on the inside as you are outside. Dominus tecum.

    By Bob Ward | 2 years ago Reply
  24. So basically obsession and religion made you regret a completely natural act and break up with the love of your life. Fantastic

    By timy | 2 years ago Reply
    • Absolutely not. He was not the love of my life. We had many problems. Go
      Figure one of our biggest problems was we were both too selfish. Pre marital sex was just one way this problem manifested and ruined the relationship.

      By Kellie | 2 years ago Reply
  25. Beautiful…Thank you for sharing!

    By Jason Roebuck | 2 years ago Reply
  26. Anyone with a history book could tell you this chastity delima is a bit misguided. Since the dawn of chrisianity to the 16th century give or take, people would be married to each other within a matter of weeks. This was the perspective of the time of the bible. This “rule” was created to control men and there love of prostitution. It was ment to control an increase of bastarded children that would only live to starve and beg. Fast forward to present day. That age of safe sex and pregnancy prevention. It is illogical to deny basic biological instincts based of rules set down a few thousand years ago. It’s like assuming that it is right to have slaves today based of the bible claiming that slaves should obay their masters. We do not have slaves because it is barbaric and inhuman. To not have sex in this day in age is to be with someone for in average 2 years without sex. Sounds a bit inhuman doesn’t it? With respects to everyone’s beliefs, instate mine.

    By Enlightened | 2 years ago Reply
  27. This has to be the best chastity testimony I have EVER read! I posted this on my wall saying this: Please read and take this advice very seriously, she’s coming from experience and you will never regret not trying to follow her advice instead of regretting not keeping your convictions. For those who have remained strong in their convictions, hang on to them and cherish them as a prized possession!

    By RoseMarie DeCorby | 2 years ago Reply
  28. Thanks! Needed to read something like this. I’ve been in a relationship for 1.8 years. Both my boyfriend and I are catholic and we have always considered best to abstain ourselves from sex until we are married.

    But it has being very hard for me, because I don’t think he truly wants it as I much as I do (chastity), so it is not that balanced and I feel like it’s mostly it is up to me. He doesn’t mind when I remind him of the importance of chastity, but rarely he’s the one putting out the stop sign when things get heated.

    For me, It has being a big struggle because I had never experienced the desire of something that is wrong in the eyes of God. I wish a part of me didn’t feel inclined towards all the passion and the sexual desires. I have considered breaking up, waiting for a guy that want chastity even more than me, but I have realized that chastity is a virtue and it is a process to make it grow.

    I wish I could talk to somebody about it but my conversations with church friends about this subject are a little superficial and since I’m a leader in my youth group i feel kind of embarrassed because everyone thinks of us as saints or something -.-

    I really don’t hate this division inside my heart and soul.

    By CC | 2 years ago Reply
  29. This sort of persistence toward sanctity (i.e. love for and conformity to God’s will) is the essence of the universal vocation to sainthood. Well done.

    I yearn though for a time when struggles like yours are not made unnecessarily difficult by a culture in which the chastity and its fruits are not equally encouraged in Catholic boys.

    By Leo James | 2 years ago Reply
  30. Good for you! I grew up in the ’60’s and ’70s’ when having “free love”, a euphemism for sex, was the way to go. I didn’t grow up Catholic, and there was no one to tell me otherwise. I firmly believe that friendship is the best basis for any long term relationship. If it leads to marriage, then so be it. Good luck on your journey. I’m 66 years old and converted to Catholicism in 2004. Can’t tell you how much my life has changed since then, and all for the better.

    By Eileen | 2 years ago Reply
  31. Thank you for your honesty and openess. It has truly encouraged me to continue in the battle for reclaiming chastity body and soul.

    By kate | 2 years ago Reply
  32. I think you are not firmly fight what is the right thing to do in that night. because you said that you begun close to God when you are 12 yrs old. but in that moment you lose your faith. but the good thing is try to live on what is in your heart right now. and i salute you for your outgoing fight against that odds. God bless you my friend.

    By Michael andrew | 2 years ago Reply
  33. My beloved sister, I can totally relate to what you are writing feeling and desiring in your heart. The only difference is that I am originally from another continent. I thank-you for opening your heart, for being courageous to write this beautiful testimony and for being so authentic. I know that the Lord does not abandon his precious children. Have recourse to the throne of purity, love, obedience and strength, the Blessed Virgin MARY. With Mama MARY you will fall less and less frequently until you will stop, all will end, because Mama loves you gently and carry you in Her arms close to her heart. Mama MARY is the one who pulled me out of a relationship where we were both children( in mind) trying to figure things out. Thank-you again, remember my beloved sister that one is never wrong by crying, calling and imploring the Mother of all because she directly envelops you with so much love coming from the Sacred Heart of JESUS. Pray the rosary everyday, try to do the daily holy hour and daily mass, ask the intercession of St Joseph,Archangel St Michael, St Mary Magdalene, St Mary of Egypt, Little Therese, St Padre Pio, St John Vianney, St maximillian Kolbe and all the saints. Be blessed and surrounded with the holiness, purity, peace, strength and courage of the Sacred Heart of JESUS and the Immaculate Heart of Mama Mary. Obtain a picture of JESUS and Mary and carry it with you all the time, as well as the miraculous medal and St Benedict medal. Keep persevering and never despair for the Lord sees your effort and is not deaf to your cry. Pray, hope and do not worry as St Padre Pio said. Peace be with you in the Sacred Heart of JESUS and the Immaculate Heart of Mama Mary. Keep trying to do your best. Thank-you

    By Muriel | 2 years ago Reply
  34. I live chastipply (ever after?)! after 3 years with no boyfriend and surrendering my whole life to God, plus a high dose of Theology of the Body, many confessions and Rosaries and even more Adoration hours of the Holy Eucharist, I’m finally in that state where I’m chastipply!! At moments it felt hard and almost impossible. But last saturday I started my novice year to become a Lay Missionary of Charity. For God REALLY there is nothing impossible.

    By Cecilia Gonzalez | 2 years ago Reply
  35. Just remember– chastity is necessary in marriage as well! I was blessed to find a man who wanted chastity as much as I did, and we still had a ridiculous battle during our one year of dating and then another year of engagement. Now married for five years, there are many opportunities to practice chastity– each postpartum time, any time we’re using NFP to postpone a pregnancy, if one of us is tired or not in the mood, if eyes start to wander… I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s a virtue you’ll need to practice forever! This was a beautiful and encouraging piece, and I pray that each of you may find a Spouse if it is in God’s Holy Will for you 🙂

    By Sarah | 2 years ago Reply
  36. Chastity is entirely possible and it doesn’t have to be so terrible as our young people have been led to believe. My husband and I began to date as seniors in high school and didn’t marry until 4 years later. Sex was never a problem or issue. We kept our affection for each other limited to tender kisses (not crawling into each others mouth like we see on TV today) gentle hugs, and holding hands all the time (and we still do hold hands after 62 years of marriage.) Keeping your virginity makes you respect each other and realize that the other person really cared for you and is looking out for your best interest. What a great wedding present to give each other.For the young people just stating out…..the best thing is to set your limits early in your dating career and never go past being proper in your actions. Once you go over the limit it is hard to stop and your whole life is ahead of you. GOOD CHOICES MAKES A GOOD LIF AND BAD CHOICES MAKES A MESSED UP LIFE. Choose chasity and you can never go wrong. I’ve lived it and I know. I cannot understand any self respecting young women would want to be USED by every Tom, Dick and Harry that comes along. Prayer helps keep thing in the proper perspective.

    By jo | 2 years ago Reply

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