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What Happens To Men Who Stay Abstinent Until Marriage?


by Sarah Diefendorf

Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara arrive at a White House State Dinner in April.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend, the singer Ciara, recently announced plans to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.

It was a vow that came as a surprise to many. After all, sexual purity is a commitment that is historically expected of, associated with – even demanded of – women. However, sexual abstinence is not something assumed of men, especially men like Russell Wilson.

Wilson, an accomplished, attractive athlete, embodies contemporary ideals of masculinity, which include style, wealth and, yes, sexual prowess.

So how does a man like Russell Wilson navigate a commitment to abstinence while upholding ideals of masculinity? Wilson’s status as an athlete and heartthrob is likely giving him what sociologist CJ Pascoe calls “jock insurance.” In other words, due to his celebrity status, he can make traditionally nonmasculine choices without having his masculinity questioned.

But what does it mean for a man who isn’t in the limelight, who makes a similar type of commitment to abstinence? And what does it mean for the women they date, and might eventually marry?

I’ve been researching men who pledge sexual abstinence since 2008, work that comes out of a larger scholarly interest in masculinities, religion and sex education.

While men make this commitment with the good intentions for a fulfilling marriage and sex life, my research indicates that the beliefs about sexuality and gender that come hand in hand with these pledges of abstinence do not necessarily make for an easy transition to a married sexual life.

Who’s Pledging “Purity?”

Comedian Joy Behar recently joked that abstinence is what you do after you’ve been married for a long time. Here, Behar makes two assumptions. One is that sexual activity declines both with age and the time spent in a relationship. This is true.

The second is that abstinence is not something you do before marriage. For the most part, this is true as well: by age 21, 85% of men and 81% of women in the United States have engaged in sexual intercourse.

purity ringIf we compare these numbers to the average age of first marriage in the United States – 27 for women, and 29 for men – we get the picture: most people are having sex before marriage.

Still, some in the United States are making “virginity pledges,” and commit to abstinence until marriage. Most of the data that exist on this practice show that those who make the pledges will do so in high school, often by either signing a pledge card or donning a purity ring.

Research on this population tells us a few things: that those who pledge are more likely to be young women, and that – regardless of gender – an abstinence pledge delays the onset of sexual activity by only 18 months. Furthermore, taking a virginity pledge will often encourage other types of sexual behavior.

Virgins In Guyland

But little is known about men who pledge and navigate this commitment to abstinence.

I was curious about how men maintain pledges in light of these statistics, and also balance them with expectations about masculinity. So in 2008, I began researching a support group of 15 men at an Evangelical church in the Southwest. All members were white, in their early to mid-20’s, single or casually dating – and supporting each other in their decisions to remain abstinent until marriage.

The group, called The River, met once a week, where, sitting on couches, eating pizza or talking about video games, they’d eventually gravitate toward the topic that brought them all together in the first place: sex.

On the surface, it would seem impossible for these men to participate in what sociologist Michael Kimmel calls “Guyland” – a developmental and social stage driven by a “guy code” that demands, among other things, sexual conquest and detached intimacy.

Rather, the men of The River approach sex as something sacred, a gift from God meant to be enjoyed in the confines of the marriage bed. At the same time, these men struggle with what they describe as the “beastly elements” – or temptations – of sexuality. And it is precisely because of these so-called beastly elements that these men find each other in the same space every week.

The men of The River grappled with pornography use, masturbation, lust and same-sex desire, all of which can potentially derail these men from their pledge.

It raises an interesting dilemma: to these men, sex is both sacred and beastly. Yet the way they navigate this seeming contradiction actually allows them to exert their masculinity in line with the demands of Guyland.

Group members had an elaborate network of accountability partners to help them resist temptations. For example, one had an accountability partner who viewed his weekly online browsing history to make sure he wasn’t looking at pornography. Another accountability partner texted him each night to make sure that he and his girlfriend were “behaving.”

While these behaviors may seem unusual, they work in ways that allow men to actually assert their masculinity. Through what sociologist Amy Wilkins calls “collective performances of temptation,” these men are able to discuss just how difficult it is to refrain from the beastly urges; in this way, they reinforce the norm that they are highly sexual men, even in the absence of sexual activity.

The River, as a support group, works largely in the same way. These men are able to confirm their sexual desires in a homosocial space – similar to Kimmel’s research in Guyland – from which Kimmel notes that the “actual experience of sex pales in comparison to the experience of talking about sex.”

A ‘Sacred Gift’ – With Mixed Returns

The men of The River believed that the time and work required to maintain these pledges would pay off in the form of a happy and healthy marriage.

Ciara, in discussing her commitment to abstinence with Russell Wilson, similarly added that she believes such a promise is important for creating a foundation of love and friendship. She stated that, “if we have that [base] that strong, we can conquer anything with our love.”

So what happened once after the men of The River got married? In 2011, I followed up with them.

All but one had gotten married. But while the transition to married life brought promises of enjoying their “sacred gift from God,” this gift was fraught.

Respondents reported that they still struggled with the beastly elements of sexuality. They also had the added concern of extramarital affairs. Furthermore – and perhaps most importantly – men no longer had the support to work through these temptations.

There were two reasons behind this development.

First, respondents had been told, since they were young, that women were nonsexual. At the same time, these men had also been taught that their wives would be available for their pleasure.

It’s a double standard that’s in line with longstanding cultural ideals of the relationship between femininity and purity. But it’s a contradiction that leaves men unwilling to open up to the very women they’re having sex with.

These married men and women were not talking to each other about sex. Rather than freely discussing sex or temptation with their wives (as they had done with their accountability partners), the men simply tried to suppress temptation by imagining the devastation any sexual deviations might cause their wives.

after marriage

After marriage, the men felt left to their own devices.

Second, these men could no longer reach out to their support networks due to their own ideals of masculinity. They had been promised a sacred gift: a sexually active, happy marriage. Yet many weren’t fully satisfied, as evidenced by the continued tension between the sacred and beastly. However, to open up about these continued struggles would be to admit failure as masculine, Christian man.

In the end, the research indicates that a pledge of sexual abstinence works to uphold an ideal of masculinity that disadvantages both men and women.

After 25 years of being told that sex is something dangerous that needs to be controlled, the transition to married (and sexual) life is difficult, at best, while leaving men without the support they need. Women, meanwhile, are often left out of the conversation entirely.

So when we urge abstinence in place of healthy conversations about sex and sexuality, we may be undermining the relationships that are the driving goal of these commitments in the first place.

Complete Article HERE!

20 Interesting Facts You Never Knew

Everyone took a sexual education course in middle or high school to learn about the “birds and the bees.” However, there are a lot of facts that sex ed teachers leave out. These facts are sometimes the most interesting and the most useful in real-life situations. Here are 20 little known facts about “doing it.”

Patterns In Sexual Desire

Most women have an increase in sexual desire around the time that they ovulate each month. This is nature’s way of making sure the Earth stays well-populated.

It Sounds Gross But…

Semen can be great for the facial pores and can even help with acne. The male-produced “facial cream” can also prevent wrinkles.


A Headache Is A Bad Excuse

We’ve all heard the cliche “my head hurts” excuse for turning down sex. However, sex often helps with pain, especially with headaches.

We’re Not Judging

Many straight men enjoy having their anal areas stimulated, and that is totally okay! Sexual experts say that the anal areas are packed full of nerves and can make a male orgasm so much better.

1, 2, 3…And They Keep Coming!

Women can orgasm an unlimited amount of times. Men generally need a period of time after orgasming to recover. However, women need barely any time and are ready to go as many times as they please.

Men Are Erect…A Lot

It is said that many men experience about 11 erections every single day. While they may not be raging every single time, it does happen pretty often.

Celery Can Arouse

Yes, celery. The pheromones in celery can cause arousal in men. In addition to the arousal, the vegetable also makes men who eat it more attractive to women.

The Left Side Is The Best Side

A group of scientists found the upper left quadrant of the clitoral head is the most pleasurable spot to touch. So, it’s okay to tell him to go “a little to the left.” It’ll be sure to make the sex even more enjoyable.

Orgasms Are Different

A man’s orgasm lasts about 22 seconds while a woman’s lasts about 18. It is also very common for it to be uncomfortable to pee after having sex because of an antidiuretic hormone that prevents urine from freely flowing.

Sex Can IMPROVE With Age

Sexual attraction is a life-long drive. The reason most older people don’t have sex very often is that there is a lack of opportunity to have sexual encounters.

Get Your Heart Going

Sex is a great way of getting in your daily cardio exercise. During an orgasm, heart rates can reach between 140 and 180 bpm.


Lube Can Make A Difference

While lube is considered a sex tool for older people, many sexual experts say that a little lubricate can make the difference between pain and pleasure during sex. This doesn’t mean the woman is not turned on. Natural “lube” can come and go without any warning.

Penetration Is NOT The Secret

Most women do not orgasm from penetration alone. The majority of women need some type of clitoral stimulation to reach their climax. It has nothing to do with size or penetration.

Everything Expands

The penis is not the only thing that grows during a sexual encounter. In fact, the testes grow by 50% and the vagina can double in size when aroused.

More Sex Makes You More Appealing

After having sex, a woman’s estrogen levels double. When estrogen levels are higher, a woman’s hair can look shinier and her skin can even feel softer.

Not Only People Can Be Arousing

Some people have sexual attraction to objects instead of specific people. There is a woman known to be sexually aroused by the Eiffel Tower.

Have Sex, Live Longer

Scientists have found that orgasms can actually prolong your life. That’s right, the more sex you have, the longer you can live.

Humans & Dolphins Alike

As far as sex is considered, dolphins and humans have one key fact in common. The two mammals are the only animals in the world that have sex for pleasure.

Sex Everyday Keeps The Doctor Away

Sex can actually help you stay healthy. Many doctors believe this is because sex can lower blood pressure and greatly decrease stress levels.

It’s Like Two Puzzle Pieces

Not every penis, or vagina, is the same. If a guy is too large, women can control penetration by changing positions. If he is too small, there are many toys, etc that couples can invest in.


Review: The Ultimate Guide To Sex After 50

Hey sex fans!

2015 is turning out to be a banner year for sex positive books. Here it is still only January and this is my second review of a noteworthy book about human sexuality.

A few weeks ago, January 8th to be precise, I introduced you to Cooper S. Beckett’s book, My Life on the Swingset.  In that review I mentioned that Cooper had been a guest on my Sex EDGE-U-cation Show.

Today’s review features a book written by another guest on my show, but this time it was the SEX WISDOM Show. Today’s book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty: How to Maintain – or Regain – a Spicy, Satisfying Sex Life, was written by the brilliant, Joan Price.

Joan is on the forefront of our culture’s discussion on ageless sexuality. She is the author of Ult+Guide+Sex+50+covertwo other books, Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty and Naked at Our Age: Talking Out Loud about Senior Sex. She is a sought-after speaker and workshop leader. And, if that weren’t enough, she’s also a fitness expert. This woman is a ball of fire, sex fans, and an absolutely charming interview. Be sure to listen to the two-part interview I did with Joan, you’ll find them archived HERE and HERE!

Joan and I talked about some the many myths that surround sex during life’s second half; she covers this topic more in depth in her new book. The misinformation about sex after 50 is so pervasive that even many of us seniors and elders perpetrate it. And, of course, we’re often the butt of jokes.

1. We lose interest in sex as we age.
2. Senior sex is boring.
3. Dating as a senior/elder is depressing and hopeless.
4. Seniors with arousal issues just give up on sex.
5. Sex becomes more frequent as we age.
6. Real sex must involve intercourse and orgasm.
7. Health concerns and menopause will end one’s sex life.
8. If you’re interested in sex after you turn 50, you’re a dirty old man/woman.

The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty is the perfect antidote to the dismissive and degrading way that so much of the popular culture deals with senior and elder sexuality. Joan celebrates not only the existence and appropriateness of sexual desire for seniors and elders, but how sex can and does increase the health and wellbeing of older people.

Joan states her credo in the Introduction.
“…being sexual at this time of life means:
• Enjoying arousal and orgasm, with or without a partner
• Having a zesty, sex-positive frame of mind
• Being open to new possibilities
• Giving pleasure to this body that is capable of great delights
• Making a commitment to myself to be sexually aware and healthy”

Joan invites her readers to join her in conversation. And a big part of that conversation is being aware of what’s going on with our body as we age. Being attuned to that, and being able to communicate that to a partner, is key to great senior/elder sex. (To be frank, it’s the secret of great sex at any age, but I digress.) To that end, Joan includes in her book actual comments from real people that she has encountered in her work. These anecdotes reflect an array of feelings that underscore the conflicts, successes, and complexities of real life situations. And this being the Ultimate Guide, Joan includes the input from many of our colleagues who weigh in with their expert opinion on the topics she is addressing.

I love that Joan often makes the point that having a fulfilling sex life is not dependent on having a partner. Lot of seniors and elders are without a partner, but that ought not be an impediment to sexual enjoyment. Self-pleasuring, with one’s hand, or any of the myriad toys available to us, is the foundation of a rich, healthy, rewarding, and ageless sex life.

Joan also examines a topic near and dear to my life. In my book, The Amateur’s Guide To Death And Dying; Enhancing The End of Life, I took great pains to include a chapter about the sex and intimacy needs of sick, elder, and dying people. Joan does something similar in her chapter — Cancer, Cancer Treatment, And Sex. I am so grateful that Join addressed this timely topic, suggesting, as she does, that people challenged with cancer, or any other chronic condition for that matter, take their sexual performance questions to their doctors. I think we both believe this will go a long way to underscore the notion that wellbeing is not merely about absence of disease, it’s’ about quality of life. There’s also a marvelous section about sex and grief too.

And, just so you know, this isn’t a hetero-centric book. Joan includes all sexual orientations and lifestyles.

I highly recommend Joan’s new book, The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty, to everyone. If you are a fellow senior or elder, this book is chock full of important and practical information about things we care about. It also provides much needed support and encouragement as we make our way through this season of life. If you’re not a senior or elder, this book is an indispensable resource for you too. Not just so that you will be sensitive to the needs of others, but that you’ll grow in appreciation of the fact that sex is for a lifetime. And hey, you just might learn a little something new from someone who isn’t “new”.

I want to say a special thanks to Cleis Press, Joan’s publisher, for sending me this review copy of The Ultimate Guide to Sex After Fifty.

Kudos to Joan! Your book is a marvel.

Be sure to check out Joan’s websites: and

PS:  This book would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift.

Can’t Give It Away

Name: Dave
Gender: male
Age: 40
Location: Wisconsin
I have a boyfriend that I love very much. We have been together for over 6 years and we care for one another very much. The problem is that we never have sex. The last time was probably two years ago and that time he just took care of me and that was it. I haven’t seen him climax in years. I asked him if there’s a problem with me and he says no. I know he still has a sex drive because I’ve caught him masturbating once. When I bring up the subject he says he knows we need to work on it but that’s as far as it goes. I know he’s not cheating, but I can’t say the same about myself. Should I feel guilty for seeking sex outside our relationship without his permission? In the past I’ve felt horrible about this, but my frustration is overriding my guilt. But it still bothers me because I am not being the moral person I was raised to be. I’ve asked him about opening our relationship, but he doesn’t like that idea either. What am I supposed to do?

Sad to say there’s not much a couple can do to either beef up a sex drive or cool one down, when one or the other partner has no will to do so. And I would say that if you guys have been living successfully like this for four years, there’s little chance of turning this around. I understand your frustration about the sex thing, but I also hear you say that everything else is pretty OK.

So let me ask, is the sex thing with your partner so important that you want to risk upsetting the whole apple cart?oh-oh

If, as you say, you are feeling guilty about going outside your relationship to find the sexual satisfaction you need and want, then it is high time for you to have a chat with your partner and pound out some new relationship perimeters. The tension you are experiencing between your sexual desires and your moral compass is a real good thing. It ought not be denied. But like I always say, these can be very difficult negotiations to hammer out. However, not to try to come to some kind of accommodation to insure the sexual health and wellbeing of both is, I believe, a form of sexual abuse.

You might consider the upfront approach:  “Honey, I can’t live without sex.  You and I haven’t been sexual together for ages.  I can no longer abide the status quo.  Here’s what I propose. You are my partner; I love you very much.  I will always bring you the gift of my sexuality first.  And I give you the right of first refusal.  If you’re not interested, I will honor that and not pester you for what I need and desire.  However, if that’s the case, I intend to look for what I need elsewhere. Living without partnered sex is no longer an option for me.”

The important thing here is, regardless how you approach the subject, there’s no need to sink to the lowest common denominator.

But, for the sake of argument, let’s just say that your hubby is still interested in sex, maybe even sex with you.  Perhaps you could be asking yourself; is the sex you have with your partner is just boring? And you’re misinterpreting his boredom as disinterest? You say he masturbates. What’s in his mind (or on the computer) when he does? Would you even know? Ever thought of asking? Maybe he’s just too self-conscious to come right out with it and ask for what he wants from you. Is there any way you could entice him back to bed with a little spice? Would he respond to some porn, or toys, or even a three-way?

Maybe it’s just as well there’s no sex in your relationship, you seem to be getting along very well otherwise. But only a frank and open discussion with your man is gonna shed the necessary light on this situation.

See Dave, you have lots of options. It’s time to be creative, like the fabulous homo you are.

Good Luck!

Whoa Daddy!

Name: Kirk
Gender: Male
Location: Belfast
I think my dad is sexy and want to fuck him but am scared to ask! I also fancy my best friend and every time he stays over with me I fantasize sucking his cock and fucking him hard what do I do?

My you’re a randy little bugger, huh Kirk? I see you didn’t include your age when you wrote me. so I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess you’re still a lad.

First off, I want to direct your attention to the advice I gave a young man named Jaymie earlier this month. You will find that column HERE! I want you to read this because my words to him apply to you as well. Particularly in terms of your desire to suck your best friend’s cock and fucking him hard. You’re such a charmer!

Second, you should know that you follow in a very long line of gay men who have and do fantasize about boning their hunky dads. This is all very natural and it provides a wealth of extremely tantalizing mental material for our wank sessions. And that, my friend, is where this oughta stay.

Incest, and that’s what we’re talking about, is taboo. And it’s taboo for several really good reasons. The most devastating thing about incest is the secrecy that must surround it. No one violates this universal taboo in the open. The secrecy and the inevitable shame and guilt when found out will, sure as shootin’, destroy a family dynamic. Your old man will know this even if you haven’t grasped this yet yourself.

At the same time, it would be foolish to deny that sexual and erotic tensions often swirl around a family dynamic. It’s unavoidable. A father’s love for his children, a mother’s love for her children can and sometimes does develop an erotic component. A son’s love for his parents, a daughter’s love for her parents can morph into a powerful sexual desire. But like I said, crossing the line from longing to actuality is a loaded gun aimed at the heart of the family. Your dad’s parental responsibilities to you must trump any eroticism he may have toward you. You, on the other hand, have a responsibility to your father not make his job any more difficult than it is.

Here’s the thing, part of being a parent to a teenager is acknowledging and allowing for the teen to practice his or her seduction skills inside the family unit. Girls harmlessly flirt with their fathers and compete with their mothers. Boys harmlessly flirt with their mothers and compete with their fathers. And sometimes this happens toward the same-sex parent too — boys toward their fathers and girls toward their mothers. The adults need to take all of this in stride. They have to believe the flirtation is harmless so they can provide their children with the proper non-seductive environment for their maturation to occur. If the flirting crosses the line into full-on, for real seduction the unspoken agreement between parents and children is shattered. And there will be hell to pay.

The same is true in the reverse. A child must have the confidence that as they mature and develop their sexual identity, they will not unwittingly become the object of their parent’s seduction or worse their predation.

Of course, Kirk, there’s the distinct possibility that your old man doesn’t share your sexual predilections. And coming on to him could easily destroy whatever bond you may share. In fact, your disclosure could easily backfire into a violent response. Your dad could easily knock your block off.

Here’s a tip: if you absolutely must confess or confide your attraction, save it for when you are old enough to have moved out of your parent’s house. That way some of the sting will have gone out of revelation because the family dynamic will have changed. But you can be sure the awkwardness will continue.

Good luck

I’d like to remind you of the toll-free Lick-A-Dee-Split sex advice podcast VOICEMAIL HOTLINE at 866-422-5680. Got a question or a comment? Want to rant or rave for a bit. Or maybe you just gotta talk dirty for a minute or two. Why not get it off your chest and give dr dick a call at (866) 422-5680.

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