I’m still saving sex for marriage

We will skip chat today. But send letters with questions.

Meredith,

I just turned 35 and I'm a straight man who is also a virgin. I'm relatively religious, and as a result have always believed in waiting to have sex until you are married. I can understand why different people have different opinions on sex before marriage, but I've always thought that at least for myself, that is what I would do.

As I've gotten older, though, I'm starting to doubt that and wonder if it's actually holding me back in my relationships. I'm never sure when and if to mention that I don't believe in sex before marriage. I'm also wondering if it will scare off potential mates, or maybe I should just bite the bullet and go for it, because it's not as if I'm not interested in having sex. I'm also very interested in getting married and having kids.

I've thought I'd try to meet people through church, but all the churches near me are full of senior citizens and married couples, not exactly fertile hunting grounds. So, the question is. If I decide to continue not having sex before marriage, at what point should I disclose this to a current partner? Or do you feel I'm sabotaging potential relationships/marriage by not agreeing to sex before marriage, and that I should just do it despite my doubts?

- Sick of Waiting


I can't tell you whether to start having sex before marriage. That's a very personal choice, and in your case, it's about faith. I mean, I believe there are many relationship benefits to having sex before marriage, but that doesn't matter. It doesn't sound like you want to change your rule. "Should I do it despite my doubts?” isn't an enthusiastic question.

You say you've tried church communities, but I have to wonder whether you could broaden the search. I also wonder whether you've told the married people within these churches that you're looking. People who share faith want to set each other up – and they often know just the right singles.

There are also dating sites that cater to people with specific beliefs. I do think it would be easier to find a partner if you narrowed the pool to people who will understand your priorities.

As for when to tell someone, I want to make it clear that you shouldn't make some sort of, "Here are my rules! We shall be wed!" announcement. Just explain that religion is a priority, and that you strongly believe in marriage. Your date will get a sense of what that might mean, and at that point, they can get to know you more - or not. Remember that the person sitting on the other side of the table has plenty to share, too.

– Meredith

Readers? Thoughts on how the letter writer should talk about sex and faith?