Our last type of love is the Greek word Eros, which derives its origin from the mythical god Eros, the god of love. Eros is the sense of “being in love,” also including a physically passionate love. C.S. Lewis, in his book The Four Loves, speaks of the passion behind it: “Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious, but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.” In an ideal world, this is what romantic love should look like. Let’s take a look at an example of Eros from our author’s personal story:
It was the night before the first day of 7th grade, and I begged my mom to let me shave my legs. I had experimented with a razor before,, giving myself tiny spots of baldness on my shins, but never had I tried to shave my entire leg, for fear of “getting in trouble,” or having my Mom think I was trying to grow up too fast. For some weird reason, shaving your legs for the first time has an affect on a girl’s life. It’s a memorable moment, as if it resembles some sort of major milestone for stepping into the teenage world—or, it just makes you realize I’m-officially-in-the-awkward-stage-of-life. (Smile).
I must have really put on the charm (or whines), because for some reason, my Mom let me shave. Both legs. And although I thought I was savvy enough to get away without “the talk,” I was wrong. My mom came in my room before bed to tell me about boys, what they think, what they want and how to present myself around them. At that time, I knew what sex was, but I didn’t know what sex meant.
Flash forward. I am now nearly 29, and married to an amazing man who I never thought actually existed. When I met him, my life was loud, unorganized and a bit cloudy. I had no idea what I was doing, or where I was going, but I knew something had to change. Who knew that the decision I was about to make would so immediately alter my life’s pattern and direction?
That decision was to enter a serious adult relationship without sex. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I turned into Miss Patty Prude or anything; I have always been a very affectionate woman, but the decision to put our values first over our impulsive desires was something big. We were declaring complete celibacy.
Before I tell you how this decision changed my life, let me briefly tell you that yes, my friends thought I was crazy, yes it was challenging, but YES, it was totally worth it. My previous experience in relationships lead me to act on influence without fully recognizing the effect it would have on me in the future. Now I’m not judging Katy Perry or anything, I think she is a fine lady (I’ll be the first to admit that her beats are off the hook and I sing to her songs in my car) but her lyrics to Teenage Dream say, “Let’s go all the way tonight. No regrets, just love.”
Anyone who knows me, knows I love me some pop culture, but going “all the way” and having “no regrets” just didn’t feel right to me. I knew that to step into this new world of counter-cultural living, I had to develop strength, and learn how to lean on faith when things got hard.
The moment I made the choice to abstain from sex, I was instantly freed. I felt empowered, confident and light. I no longer had the anxiety or the doubts that come from constantly questioning what could be a real connection, real love. This man still wanted to be with me, regardless of my difficult-quirky-self. I knew he was in it for the long haul when he chose to honor our relationship through God by waiting until marriage.
People forget that sex is more than just a physical act. We tend to dismiss the significance of commitment, obedience and respect within any relationship.
Women may feel pressured to do what they may not want to because of social expectations. Maybe that magazine, that billboard, or the guy who sits next to you at work has influenced you to somehow sacrifice your own standards of who you want to be.
I know as a woman, I want to feel loved, valued and adored. But before we can accept the love we want to feel, we have to first and foremost, love ourselves. I know this has been said perhaps thousands of different times in thousands of different ways, but I cannot stress how much of this is actually true. Our bodies are made to be cherished, therefore giving it away without fully thinking about the aftermath can slowly have an effect on the way we view our significance later down the road.
Just like remembering the moment I first leaped into teenage-hood by shaving my legs, I urge you to take a moment to jump into womanhood, and remember that right now, in this moment you can give yourself the option of not having sex until marriage. It doesn’t matter what your sexual past is; that board can easily be swept clean. All you have to do is make the vow and stick to it. I understand that the choice to go without sex opposes the dominant values of our crazed society, but sex can be such a beautiful blessing when it unites two people in a sacred way, as in marriage.
I may not know if I am officially out the awkward stage just yet, but I’m pretty sure that the love and respect I have been given by family and friends has blossomed me into a woman who takes pride in the choices she’s made. I want women all over the world to encounter the blessings that I have been allowed to experience through my ability to set boundaries. Love yourself enough to be loved. Love yourself enough to be showered in high esteem, because, my friends, we are worth the wait.
Photo Credit: Michelle Kim Photography