ancient ornamental wall in temple hall

Your Body is a Temple

Since February, I’ve been slowly decreasing my iPhone, iPad, & MacBook screen time. With my favorite TV show being Black Mirror & after watching The Social Dilemma, I had an epiphany when Lent began. I changed the settings on my iPhone to automatically lock me out of my apps at 10 pm. I now have about two solid hours away from screens before bed. Instead of scrolling, I read a book or write in a notebook or my journal before bedtime. I recently finished reading PS. I Still Love You by Jenny Han. This quote has really stuck with me: “My body is a temple not just any boy gets to worship at. I won’t do any more than I want to do.”

Virginity is Sacred

My mom stayed a virgin until she married my dad. Because of my mother, I thought that I’d wait until I got married too. My mom also got married at 28. It seemed too old, so I thought I’d be married & having sex with my husband by 25. In reality, I was too preoccupied with cheerleading, dance, & getting good grades in school to want to date anyone seriously. I didn’t get my 1st boyfriend until I was 18, after being accepted to the inaugural class at the University of California – Merced.

Even though my 1st two boyfriends pressured me to “give it up”, I did proudly remain a virgin until I was 21. But I will also finally admit that I embarrassingly lost my virginity out of spite & revenge in the end. I dated my second boyfriend for two years. Despite talking about marriage, in the last three months of our relationship, I was no longer worth the wait. He found & started sleeping with my replacement as soon as he broke up with me.

Societal Pressure

Young, heartbroken, & naive… I stopped trusting my own judgment & the morals I lived by. I was influenced by my friends who thought I was crazy for still being a virgin. After enough peer pressure, I decided to sleep with the next guy that gave me attention. While I waited for three dates to lose my virginity, I immediately knew in my heart that I had made a huge mistake. The “three-date rule” was created to allow women to engage in sexual activity without being branded a slut. But looking back, my heart was still healing. I did not know this new boy well enough to be sleeping with him. I just wanted to feed my ego. If I proved I was still desirable, my ex was stupid for dropping me for the 1st girl willing to sleep with him.

It’s a common saying that the best way to get over someone is to get under someone new. But with my personal dating history, it is clearly false. While it’s acceptable to quickly jump back onto the dating apps, my most successful relationship was after giving myself time to heal my heart. I took time to reflect on my past mistakes & get to know my next partner, before being intimate with them.

Swipe Culture

All of the men I meet on dating apps are only single first dates so far. My friends still judge me & label me as a prude. I never kissed a stranger or had a one-night stand, but I have zero regrets about it. I am 34 years old & still single. I’m proud to say that I’ve never settled for love. I’m not lonely, & I haven’t gotten pregnant by someone I don’t see a real future with. If I wanted it, I could have a comfortable life as a trophy wife to a rich man with my own kids already. But I’m waiting for the right man because I intend to only have one husband. Divorce is not, nor will it ever be, an option for me because, to me, love is all or nothing.

Lesson Learned

Due to my very high standards, I went 10 years without openly calling anyone that I dated my boyfriend. When I finally met a man I saw true potential with, I still didn’t refer to him as my boyfriend until several months after we started dating. When we met, we actually spent an entire weekend together, getting to know each other as friends. He asked me out on our first official date about a month later. And ironically, we did sleep together on our first date. But the foundation we already created as friends made me have no regrets about it. I learned so much about him during our first date. And I oddly knew more about his character & who he was in less than a month than I did with any other man I’ve dated. That says a lot considering that my longest relationship was on & off for 6 years.

Here’s how I knew I was right to trust him with my body the night of our first date:

He asks for consent.

While he went in for the first kiss with full force, he still asked if what he was doing was ok. No one else I dated has ever asked me for consent before trying to be physically intimate with me.

He always makes me feel comfortable & safe.

The way he looks at me & my body always made me feel so beautiful & cherished. He always approaches me slowly, touches me carefully, & asks questions to make sure that I’m ok. Your partner should ask or tell you what they want to do before actually doing it.

He never pressures me into doing more than I wanted to do.

We never needed to “spice things up” in the bedroom. In the times he feels he’s pushing my intimate boundaries, he checks in with me afterward. He was always open to learning what I liked & disliked for the future. It’s the way I trust him so much that no matter how we want to explore in the bedroom, I know in my heart he always cares & protects me.

While relationships are usually more passionate in the beginning, I’m pleasantly surprised that our spark never fizzles out. In fact, this past summer, we reached a different level of physical intimacy. We could sip water when we got thirsty, stop to get a snack, crack jokes about things that happened earlier that day, laugh hysterically, bring up any off-topic conversations, & still never miss a beat. It was a different level of intimacy that I didn’t even know existed. And I’ve never achieved it with anyone else since.

He told me his secrets, allowed me to move through my emotions, & never tried to control my reactions.

While we dated, he told me a lot of his secrets. He even told me ones that had the potential to really upset me & give me an opportunity to walk away from him for good. While some may say I’m naive & stupid, I always respect honesty. I love the way he remorsefully reassures me that he’s ok with however I react & decide to do next.

Looking to the Future

I still have close friends & family that are encouraging me to date more to get over my ex & “get under” someone new. But I’m being deliberately thoughtful about dating. I am also currently celibate. I’m proud of myself for taking the past 6 months to heal my heart & love myself first. I am truly happier having taken sex off the table. I’m not rushing to get into another relationship. I’m taking my time to ensure that I really know & get good vibes from the men that I’m connecting with. I already get hundreds of dating app matches & DMs on my social media accounts each week. I’m worth so much more than cheesy pickup lines & corny compliments about my body, eyes, & smile.

I LOVE HARD. I give myself to my partner fully when I truly fall in love. That’s probably why the majority of my exes still lurk me on social media. Whenever I’m newly single, it’s not long before the boys from my past come out of the woodwork, hoping for another shot. Even if I’ve already deleted their phone numbers or unfollowed them on my personal social media accounts. But this time around, I’m trusting my instincts when it comes to love because I deserve only the best. Society claims that we should live without regrets. But if I could go back in time & stop myself from being intimate with the wrong people, I’d do it in a heartbeat. While I can’t get my virginity back, waiting to give myself to the right man is the next best thing. My body is & will always be sacred. It is a privilege to achieve any level of intimacy with me. Because not just anyone deserves to worship at my temple.

XO Denise