This is Why I Waited To Have Sex Until I Got Married

man's hands around woman's waist

I recently read this article on premarital abstinence. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s been going around the internet like wildfire. Articles like this are always of interest to me. Unfortunately, as usual, the pro-abstinence arguments are overstated and obtuse. But, unlike the stuff I usually find and read, this article was written by a douchebag.

My husband and I didn’t have sex before we married. No fooling around, no feeling up, no rounding the bases in any sort of way. It’s something I’ve mentioned on APW before, and I’ve even partially explained my rationale, but all of my many reasons can be boiled down into one idea. I chose to wait for sex because it was a way to protect myself from developing attachments to other people before my husband, while also saving something important to share with him alone. In those ways, I chose to wait because I thought it would help me love my husband better. The waiting in and of itself is inconsequential. But the motivation, the end result, these are the things that mattered. (And I say this realizing that the way those important-to-me things worked themselves into abstinence is very personal and unique to us. But isn’t that sort of the point?)

Saving sex til after I married wasn’t a one-time goal of “getting marriage right.” Though, it must be a really lovely idea to believe, because it sets such a nice, clear finish line. Make it til the wedding night without grabbing a boob? You get an A+ in marriage. I’m more than a little jealous of this guy because, in his mind, the hard work is done.

I’m not very jealous of his wife, though.

If the A is already earned, what else is there to do? I’d imagine nothing, like that high school senior who already accumulated all his credits and now just has study halls.

In my relationship, doing marriage the right way means setting my husband before myself in a healthy and loving way. It doesn’t go so far as to doormattishness and it’s certainly not one-sided. But it means that I need to knock it off in being so selfish all the time, which, let’s be honest, impacts a whole lot of what I do and say. Way more than just sex.

I imagine any other married folks here can attest that “doing marriage the right way” is a choice a person makes daily. Several times a day, in fact. And a lot of those times, I make the wrong choice. Many of them, I’m unloving and selfish to my partner. I pick fights that are better off left alone, I neglect my share of the chores and responsibilities, I roll eyes, I mutter sarcasms, I pick work over spending time together, I have sex for what’s in it for me rather than with the goal of showing him love, and I’m generally kind of a jerk.

Lucky thing for me (but unlucky for this dude’s poor wife) is that the job’s not over. I know I haven’t already passed or failed. Today, I made the mistake of being a selfish and unloving spouse. But, tomorrow, I can make a different choice.

Aside from all that, this guy does exactly what he accuses every other man of doing. By setting “to sex or not to sex” as a litmus test for a good marriage, sex is established as a competition. It’s a one-ups-manship. Breaths after he accuses guys of using sex to prove manhood, he brags about how his marriage is on the good side of this black and white, clear-cut definition of what makes a good marriage. It’s neither better nor worse but exactly the same. If you’re saying these guys who use sex to prove themselves are missing the point (which, yeah, they totally are), then you’re missing the point, too.

In the same way, he uses his wife as a prize and object. Check her out, fellas, she’s pure and virginal and all mine. He even uses the words “I win” in talking about her, if you really want to talk competition and objectifying. This is crass in the same way that it would be if he were sitting in a frat house, passing stories about the quality of her blow jobs. By making sex (or the lack thereof) the sum and substance of a great marriage, you make sex (or the lack thereof) the sum and substance of a great wife. You’re still boiling a woman down to her ladyparts and how she uses them.

The misogyny goes deeper from there, extending not just to his own wife, but to women everywhere. Classifying any and all women who have had sex before marriage as “floozies,” is problematic in a number of ways that I’m sure I need not explore here.

These interesting hypocrisies aside, the real point is that setting the wedding night as the standard for “getting marriage right” makes it a finish line instead of the starting point. And that’s what it really is. A wedding night, complete with virginal sex or not, is the start of the chance to love someone wholly, unconditionally, and selflessly. Keeping it in your pants until you’ve got a ring on it is all well and good, but that’s just the beginning.

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  • I read the Fox article and was so offended by that guy’s attitude. I knew I could count on APW to respond with way more thoughtfulness than I could ever muster. Excellent post and excellent thoughts on sex in committed relationships.

    • Lady

      In Terrible News, when I started reading that article, I thought, “OH shit. Did Ex write this??”

  • Once again, APW manages to wade into fraught territory and calmly remind us what’s actually important. Well done, Liz.

  • PA

    As usual, a great deal of food for thought. Thank you, Liz! I am, however, intending to view your response as a standalone article, because I suspect that reading the Fox article will make my blood pressure shoot through the roof…

    • Anon

      Agreed. I have no intention of reading it. I can’t imagine anything that would make me madder at this moment.

    • Alexandra

      It’s a good idea. I just read the article and well…. It’s not an “article”. It’s a smug idiot openly stating that he’s judging everyone else who didn’t do it his way, and proceeding to do just that. The only notable thing about it is that Fox News published it. Supposedly, the guy is a comedian, but in this case, I think he’s just butthurt about everyone who judged him for his choices and is attacking back.

    • carrie

      You ladies are smart. I am full of rage now. What. A. Douchbag. Thank you, Liz, for bringing it back to reality.

      • Taylor B

        I read it first, just to be “fairminded” when I next read Liz’s response. OOPS! Blood is boiling. And, no way this guy is a comedian. He’s just an a**. It’s funny, he writes exactly the way I always assume Fox News people are thinking about me.

        • Class of 1980

          FAUX News.

      • Mrs May

        Why did I just go read that drivel. What an unfunny essay indeed. This guy probably exclaims that he wins his favorite brand toothpaste, gloats over the superiority of his breakfast cereal, and insists on the utter perfection of his investment portfolio. Just what you need when you’re so perfect- a perfect wife. Gag me! For the rest of you, don’t read it. He’s a tool.

    • katiebgood

      Me neither. I’m getting married in four days, we are also waiting- I’m entering the clergy so it’s a rule, but we almost certainly would have anyway for a variety of reasons, including religious (though nothing like the way this author would phrase it), and from these reactions I know this article would have made me scream a lot.

  • Robin

    There’s an article from the opposite side of things that I really enjoyed — Jill Filopovic argues that a marriage with feminist values is a marriage that will most likely last (and happily!), and for most though not all of those unions, sex before marriage is a good thing.

    Her “point isn’t that everyone should have sex before marriage – people should determine for themselves when they are ready to have sex. For the vast majority of people, that’s going to be before they’re married. Making that choice isn’t a moral failing. On the contrary, it’s often a great, healthy, overwhelmingly positive choice. Whenever you choose to have sex, the cultural message that waiting until marriage is the best choice is simply wrong. And it’s wrong for almost everyone.”

    One line that really stood out to me: “In terms of happiness, sex is better than money, and having sex once a week instead of once a month is the “happiness equivalent” of an extra $50,000 a year. People with active sex lives live longer. Sex releases stress, boosts immunities, helps you sleep and is heart-healthy.” WHAT

    • Robin

      Not that this is a prescriptive sort of HAVE THE SEX, IT’S PROBABLY BEST article! I just thought it was another relevant perspective to the APW feminist community.

      (and the study that tries to value the happiness that sex can bring is just… interesting, to me, as a lady in the sciences.)

    • Ros

      Yes. This.

      My favorite quote from that article: “Most adult human beings naturally desire sex. And despite the rightwing emphasis on concepts like “purity”, having sex does not actually make you a dirty or “impure” person. On the contrary, sex is like most other pleasurable things in life – you can have sex in ways that are fulfilling, fun, good and generous, or you can have sex in ways that are harmful, bad and dangerous. Marriage is not, and has never been, a way to protect against the harmful, bad and dangerous potential of sex (just read the Bible if you want a few examples). Instead of fooling ourselves into thinking that waiting until marriage makes sex “good”, we should focus on how ethical, responsible sexual practices – taking precautions to protect the physical and mental health of yourself and your partner; having sex that is fully consensual and focused on mutual pleasure – are part of being an ethical, responsible human being.

      Sexual morality isn’t about how long you wait. It’s about how you treat yourself and the people you’re with.”

      Just… yes. You can do whatever you want (wait, not wait, have one partner, have 50 partners, whatever) but the ethics, integrity, and honesty of that decision have to do with the respect with which you treat yourself and your partners.

      It’s harder to make that an evaluative one-size-is-supposed-to-fit-all prescription, though.

    • Mrs May

      What indeed! That’s the best statistic I ever read!

    • Having sex before marriage turned out to be an enormously important and good decision that I made!

      I grew up in a conservative community where no sex before marriage was very heavily emphasized. And I believed that. I wanted to be pure and a good woman and all those things that they told me.

      I agree with the author of this post that that is the right choice for some people.

      What I didn’t realize at first for myself was that I actually had a lot of fear connected with sex. I used waiting until marriage as an excuse to not face those terrors. The first time I tried to have sex, it was terrifying and I wasn’t able to do it. How awful if that had been my wedding night!

      It took me six months of trying before I was able to have sex and years (and therapy) to enjoy it. I’m glad that I put in that effort and work before finding out that a new marriage had all that to deal with!

  • Laura

    Well said! There is no one “right way” to have a marriage. I understand why a lot of people choose to wait, but it shouldn’t be because of a “I win and that makes me better than you!” attitude.

  • One More Sara

    When the Fox guy said “I win!” all I could think about was Jasmine in Aladdin saying “I am not a prize to be won!!!”

    • Best reaction ever!

    • KB

      I just laughed, out loud, in my office at this. I agree, best reaction ever.

    • Brytani

      My thoughts exactly only followed by a swift spartan kick to the chest. Sigh, I need to go watch Death Proof.

  • Annika

    Good grief. My husband and I also waited til we got married, and that article was so offensive, for many of the reasons you state.

    • Kara

      Agreed (on both fronts).

      That said, I know/knew a LOT of people who seem to think like that guy – “there’s only one way to be married/start a marriage and it’s MINE.” [And not even “mine and my spouse’s”–just “mine.”] To make a gross generalization on a non-generalizable observed sample: when life eventually gets rolling, one of two things (generally) seem to happen: (1) they settle down and get less arrogant/more humble and realize that while their way was probably the best way for them, there’s a bigger world out there, or (2) they stay that way and many of their relationships are surface-y because they can’t handle being around people who don’t reinforce their worldview. Sometimes their marriages fall apart too because they can’t flex when life and it’s circumstances change. The former, I can more-or-less handle because, frankly, I was arrogant too at 24, and the latter just makes me sad (and not want to spend much time with them-).

      • Taylor B

        “…they can’t flex when life and its circumstances change.”
        Thank you for making this point – beneath my rage at the article, this is the part that worried me for this couple. There are so many layers to choosing to have a physical relationship before marriage, and navigating those layers and making sure we are each satisfied with our physical relationship has incredible, positive spillover into other areas of our relationship. I don’t believe that having sex before marriage is the only way to develop that problem-solving and communication, it just sounds like from his piece that those things don’t exist and he’s not even aware of the need for them.

  • Kara

    Oh, also, it makes me happy to see on APW that other people have waited until marriage too and are so much less…dogmatic…about their choice than a lot of people I was surrounded with when I was younger. Thanks Liz, and a lot of other people too!

  • Jess

    I like how that guy just ASSUMES that the hungover newlywed didn’t wait until marriage. In his mind any “moral” failing equals Slutty McPornstar. That guy could have very well been a virgin on his wedding night. My cousin was. He was SUPER nervous, and all his very wise 22 year old groomsmen said being a little drunk helped. Nerves, bad advice, and overly excited shot pouring uncles equals my virgin cousin puking on his virgin wife and crying in her lap all night. I think the fact that they made it through that night without one fight (and the following very painfully hungover flight to New Zealand from the US) is more of a testament to the strength of their marriage than their partner number going in.

    My fiance and I are FAR from the wait until you’re married crowd. Both of us have had many partners and have made some mistakes. Both of us have been engaged before and he’s been married before. Our wedding night will be special. Not because it’s our first time. But because we will fall asleep in each others arms (something we don’t normally get to do as we work different shifts) and do so for the first time as a publicly recognized team. We’ve been a team for a long time already but knowing on that night that the world has to recognize it from there on out, and that all of our families are 100% behind us will be special enough. The breaking of my hymen can not make that any more special.

    On another note, I really wonder what the article his wife would have written would sound like?

    • Liz

      “On another note, I really wonder what the article his wife would have written would sound like?”

      YEP. That’s what I’d like to know, also.

      • Class of 1980

        I’d like to know what the other couple at breakfast would have to say about the author’s take on their marriage. Especially since he states that they “knew” their wedding was different (inferior).

        • Class of 1980

          Actually, the other (inferior) newlyweds probably didn’t give him or his wife a second thought. Which is funny, considering the dramatic tone of his article.

          • Liz

            EPIPHANY, 1980. He had an epiphany about his own marriage because a woman said her husband had a headache.

          • Class of 1980

            Yeah … and it was blindingly stupid.

      • I’d love to know what his wife thinks about his attitude in the article.

      • meg

        Totally. I think what bothered me the most was that a GUY was writing about LADYPARTS. You want to write about this dude? Great. Why don’t you stick to talking about your penis, and possibly other penis’s, and stay away from my vagina… which I find you UNIQUELY unqualified to discuss.

        • Really? REALLY? Men aren’t allowed to talk about women’s sexual organs now? Censorship much? I’ll agree that they shouldn’t have the right to *decide* what I do with my lady parts in a legal or political sense, but they can *talk* about them all they want in the line of intelligent/intellectual discussion. Free Speech – it’s a value APW embraces, right?

          • meg

            Free speech includes the right to call people out on being offensive idiots. That’s what free speech IS. It’s not about people being able to say whatever they want without criticism.

            And no, I don’t think men should be making judgements in public forums about how I use my vagina. Luckily, I have the right to say that.

          • Irena

            Yeah, of course what he said was offensive and we can and should in turn point that out, but it’s kind of odd to imply that he shouldn’t be ALLOWED to speak on ladyparts at all, simply by virtue of being a man…

          • Lauren

            Censorship as it relates to the First Amendment only applies to government action. In other words, individuals can’t censor you/take away your 1st Amendment rights. Only the government can do that. An individual saying, “don’t say that” is just exercising their ability to disagree because they have no real power to stop you.

    • Jashshea

      Exactly to the last paragraph and super exactly to the usage of Slutty McPornstar. Made my morning.

    • KB

      I, too, loved that this guy assumed that the hungover groom wasn’t a virgin – is there a law out there that I’m not aware of, that virgins don’t drink? I am totally sure that there are a ton of people out there who are waiting AND are also planning on partying hard on their wedding day/night. Or at least planning on not actually doing it on their wedding night because they’re exhausted from, you know, throwing a wedding.

      • Class of 1980

        Don’t you know he is a mind reader with clairvoyant capabilities to boot?

        Here is a list of the things he KNEW about this couple:

        1) The only good time the other groom had, was from being drunk.

        2) He did not enjoy the company of his friends, much less with a clear conscience.

        3) He did not stare in awe at his beautiful new wife.

        4) His wife did not shoot him heart-racing looks from across the dance floor.

        5) The other couple did not see their wedding as a truly once-in-a-lifetime event. They saw it as a big party and just another hangover.

        6) The other couple KNOW their wedding was inferior to the douche’s wedding.

        7) No ones bride was as beautiful as his.

        Had enough? I know I have.

        • Copper

          on #5, I’d have to ask why that’s something to judge actually. If they saw it as just another party, then that could be the result of them already feeling married and already having done the emotional work of joining their lives, and not putting pressure on themselves to put all of that into one single event. Oh lordy, how DARE they!

          • Jen

            But clearly they only already felt married because they were having sex!! He knows this! :P

    • Also, if the other bride is sitting alone, how did they overhear her saying that nothing had changed? Was she talking to herself? This scene seems made up, so he could be condemning of people not doing marriage the “right” way.

      • marbella

        I wondered who she was talking to as well. But I have to suggest, he thinks they weren’t virgins not because of the hangover, but because she said ‘nothing has changed really’ – so he is assuming they didn’t just both have sex for the first time.
        What a douche this guy is. I feel sorry for his wife if this is his idea of comedy.

        • JessPeebs

          My Husband and I were virgins on our wedding night. The next morning I was surprised at how “the same” everything felt. Having sex did not change who I was as a person. Go figure.

          • meg

            It’s interesting like that, right? And interesting that we’re lead to believe that it will.

      • Cali

        I was wondering that same thing! That bizarre continuity error makes me think he just made the story up so that he could point fingers and let non-virgin brides know that their marriages are shams.

        Or maybe the other bride just really enjoys chatting to herself at the table in the morning.

    • Emily

      Among all the things that made me furiously, blue-in-the-face pissed about the article, the harsh judgements the author wrote about the other couple made me the angriest. YOU WERE NOT AT THEIR WEDDING. Frankly, I could hardly get up for breakfast the morning after my wedding, and went straight back to bed after, not because I had an alcohol-induced hangover, but because I was so emotionally and physically drained from the whirlwind day before, and everything leading up to it. I was tired.

      • True! Us too. I don’t think we got up to 2 pm or so, and it for sure wasn’t due to any hangovers. We were just wiped out exhausted.

    • My husband and I are also very far from the “wait” crowd, and a lot of our choices before we met one another were harmful and based in our low self-esteem. finding love and acceptance from him after so many ill-advised and emotionally harmful sexual experiences is one of the things that makes our relationship so special. I know he accepts me for who I am now, and who I was then and loves me no matter what – shame is completely absent.
      And then I read something like this Fox “article” and it just makes my insides twist up that this is a discourse that can reach the ears of women and men who struggle with their sexuality and self-esteem like we did. It’s just awful.

    • Sam

      ” The breaking of my hymen can not make that any more special.”
      This. So, very much.

  • Meg

    Interestingly, I just this weekend reread “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which takes a dystopian look at chastity/abstinence. If Margaret Atwood is to be believed, following in the footsteps of people like the asshole who wrote that article (am I allowed to say that?) is no good for anyone — women or men.

  • Sara B

    Wow. What a powerful response to an astoundingly offensive article.
    “A wedding night, complete with virginal sex or not, is the start of the chance to love someone wholly, unconditionally, and selflessly.” *THIS*

    • YES, this.

      The idea that virginity is THE ULTIMATE GIFT has always really bothered me, because a healthy sexual relationship can happen inside or outside of marriage, and an unhealthy, damaging, even abusive sexual relationship can happen inside or outside of marriage, too. And for young women growing up in conservative Christian “true love waits and if you don’t your marriage is doomed” circles, what happens if the choice is taken away from her? What kind of message does that attitude send to a young woman who is sexually assaulted – she is victimized once by her attacker and again and again and again by the “virginity or bust” attitude, potentially making her feel like SHE did something wrong.

      Interestingly, after my post yesterday, someone on FB shared it from the APW page and they were discussing how “this girl felt pressured to go through with the wedding because she had already given him too much.” I understand choosing to wait – my younger sister did and many of my friends have – but I don’t understand setting virginity as the holy grail of marital perfection.

      Liz, your article is a beautiful response to a really ugly and hateful approach to waiting. It’s always refreshing to see perspectives like yours.

      • Good reading on this topic: “The Purity Myth” by Jessica Valenti.

      • Copper

        I would definitely consider it a greater gift to be able to accept one’s partner, complete with whatever past they bring to the table, because the chance to be with them is worth accepting the bits of their history that you maybe prefer they’d done differently.

      • SomeOther Hilary

        Jacki: thank you for tackling the diffculties facing young women (and men, too!) who are inundated with the “virginity or bust” attitude after having had that choice taken away. This was something I struggled with at age 14. I felt as though whatever value I had to bring to the table for a lifelong partner was taken from me, and engaged in a lot of damaging behavior as a result of that perceived loss and devaluation. I wish I had had someone like Liz to talk to at that point in my life.

        Years of healing later, things are much sunnier. While I am not a “Waiter,” I have found a way of engaging my own sexuality and that of my partner in an open, honest, charitable, and generous way. And equally important: I am capable of accepting and even demanding that same open, honest, charitable and generous attitudes from my partner.

        Liz: Thank you.

  • Granola

    Ok, haven’t had a second to read Liz’s article yet (I know it will be lovely, unlike the piece of trash I just suffered through). But I wanted to comment about the arrogance of the false equivalency of “waiting to have sex” = perfect meaningful wedding and blissful contented life together with “don’t wait to have sex” = be a drunk loser at your wedding and for the rest of your life.

    • Class of 1980

      It is a false choice.

  • Moz

    In what world is that jerk a comedian? I wonder if he makes rape jokes to go with it.

    • Liz

      Haha, I joked with my husband that the most offensive part of the article was that he called himself a “comedian.”

      • Corrie

        I thought this exact same thing.

      • Right? And it concerns me that people might find anything this tool says amusing!

      • Moz

        The line that really made me go ‘ewwwww’ was the carrying of her over the threshold.

        Cue serious ewwwwing of the Summer Roberts variety.

      • meg

        Interestingly, I think MY husband was more offended by the article than I was.

        I mean, it’s a whole different game for us than for lots of APW-ers, I think, because we grew up in this culture. I used to get called a slut in High School, because I wouldn’t give any opinion on waiting to have sex till marriage. Just being unwilling to say that was the only right way got you called a slut, which was EXCELLENT, by the way. So this is a dude we totally know.

        • Shiri

          That hurts my heart.

        • Brytani

          I come from this background too and this guy writes exactly what my mother used to tell me. When she found out I didn’t wait until marriage, she treated me like absolute garbage. She told me I dressed like a slut (she didn’t like this one mini-skirt I had that was actually longer than all my shorts) and she didn’t want my partner coming over to the house anymore because, “we could go have sex in the back of a car for all she cared.” (Which, can we reclaim spontaneous backseat sex as a not necessarily trashy event? This may sound unlikely but I’ve had some romantic back seat sex that felt like that $50k raise someone mentioned earlier.)
          Fun fact, I was 20 at this point, engaged to my partner, we were both virgins until we got engaged, and we considered our union a very sacred and intimate thing that I felt no one had any business commenting on or even knowing about.
          That my own mother could feel so free in making me feel like a whore is a sign that something is seriously wrong with this narrative.

          • Breck

            My boyfriend and I indulged in some spontaneous backseat sex the same day we exchanged “I love you’s” for the first time, and I found it incredibly romantic and $50k raise-esque.

      • cartascartas

        I forwarded the article to my husband with this exact same comment.

  • Granola

    Ok, back after reading Liz’s article. I would very much like to send you a cookie. Thank you for 1. calling this guy a douchebag – because he is. 2. Explaining your choice in a way that helps me understand, even though it wasn’t the right path for me. and 3. Being a feminist (and NOT a douchebag) the whole time!

    Again and again I’m struck with gratitude for finding this lovely place on the Internet.

    Further discussion question: How should we publicly respond to stuff like this? My first instinct is “Yell and go hit someone.” But that seems counterproductive and also douche-bag-esque. However, reasonable head-shaking doesn’t seem loud enough. I want my righteous anger to tremble walls people. And also not die of a stress-induced heart attack. Suggestions?

    • Alexandra

      Honestly? The best reaction might simply be to completely ignore it. Don’t give him the satisfaction of a reaction at all. There was a post on the offbeat empire awhile ago about hate reads, and how even that gives them money and publicity.

      Although if I ever see people talk about that article, then I’m probably going to either post APW or just talk about how much of a douchebag the guy is.

      • meg

        Ignoring hate reads is a positive tool, for sure, and something both Ariel and I use often. In fact, on APW we only will post in response to an article if we really feel that we have something to new say, and that it’s a discussion worth having. (AKA, we’re not going to run posts about why some TV show about weddings is trash. Because we all know it’s trash, and there is nothing very interesting to discuss there.)

        The reason I don’t always find ignoring articles or issue like this to be helpful, is that these perspectives are very real, and very prevalent (and can hurt a lot of people). Because I grew up in this culture, I know it’s something that’s not going to go away, and it’s something I hence want to discuss.

        But more importantly for me, I think issues like this get polarized. Conservative misogynists wait! Feminists sleep with lots of people and judge people that wait! And when I see a polarized issue where I think there is room to wade into the middle and make all of us think (and Liz’s article made me realize new things about this issue), then I tend to want to wade in.

        In short, calling this guy a douchebag is TRUE (and possibly important ;), but not moving the conversation forward. And I think a more helpful thing to do is to figure out how to move the conversation forward, if it’s an issue we think is worth engaging on.

        • Alexandra

          That is also a very good point. In the end, I’m terrible at ignoring things when I have something to say. And really, I love that APW posted a very reasonable response to his post about why he was wrong. Including the important part about the fact that he’s a douchebag. Cause seriously.

          But lacking my own well-read, public blog, I’d rather not go try to spread this guy’s article amongst my own circle in a blaze of self-righteousness and help his wildfire keep burning. I suppose there’s a small chance that he’ll come to APW and see the very reasonable debate going on why he’s an idiot. It may or may not change his mindset. But unless the topic comes up in my own circle of friends… Well, he doesn’t need the publicity just so they have a reference for why I’m pissed, and I doubt he’s going to see some facebook argument on why he’s wrong.

          In the end, I think this was a great reaction for APW. But its harder for an individual to follow those steps without just helping the douchebag’s popularity.

          • meg

            Lets not kid ourselves. This guy is not going to be convinced he was wrong. The minute THAT is your goal, you fail. But if you can try to unravel some of the shaming arguments that hurt women, and also make the point that you can be a sane, reasonable, kind, (feminist), woman and still be pro-waiting, then hopefully you’ve done some good.

            Or at least un-done some damage.

        • This is why I <3 you Meg. Polarization doesn't help anyone – not Feminists, not Fundamentalists. Granted, the die-hards in both groups will not be remotely affected by discussion (I had enough lunch-time debates with my extremely religious Christian classmates in high school to know that all the arguments, research, statistics, and wisdom in the world will not change their minds).

          I'd just like to bring enlightenment to the point where we're not condemning other people's personal choices (as long as those choices don't take away our choices). It's his choice to be a douchebag, and he found a woman willing to marry that. I wish them much joy and happiness (which isn't to say I won't laugh myself silly if they divorce, after all that).

    • Shiri

      First of all, “I would very much like to send you a cookie” is awesome, and I agree.

      Secondly, I was struck by the same issue that Granola raises. I want everyone I know who may have read the Fox piece to read Liz’s response and I wish a news outlet that normally rebuts Fox’s, um, point of view, would run her response. Liz could be the Sandra Fluke of this issue.

      But really, how do we respond to something so deeply misogynist? I can only imagine the anger of those like Liz who waited but for whom this man does not speak. Being misrepresented this way on an issue so personal is horrifying.

      • As someone who is waiting, this article was quite horrifying because this is the exact opposite of what I want to be associated with. Waiting, not waiting, whatever else– nothing justifies throwing around these sorts of harmful, misogynist slurs. My FH and I are choosing not to wait because of our faith and beliefs. This same faith calls us to love unconditionally, to live with humility, and to seek the best of everyone around us. My only thought upon finishing the article was that he missed the point of everything- marriage, faith, life in general. Like Liz said, “doing marriage right” is about daily choice to love your partner. It is not something to be “won” on the wedding day. It’s not about keeping it in your pants. If I want to know how to “win” at marriage, an unkind, rude, misogynist man who crows about his superior self-control is the last person I’ll be looking to. I don’t think he can claim much knowledge on how to “do marriage right.”

        My grandparents, who have been married for nearly sixty years, know about doing marriage right. My parents, who have been married for twenty-three years and struggled through my mom’s incurable genetic disease together, know about doing marriage right. A successful marriage requires far, far more than the ability to control one’s penis.

        It’s hard to know how to combat this, but I think posts like Liz’s are the start. Get the other narrative out. Reclaim waiting. And I’m so glad that APW is here to help in this process.

  • Meghan

    Another promiscuous charlatan here! Many thanks to Liz for this awesome response piece. Excellent job pointing out the fact that his “I win” (::vomit::) attitude sets up the wedding day as a finish line, instead of a starting (or for many, somewhere-midway) point in a relationship that requires everyday dedication and decisions.

    Really “loved” the false dichotomy that Crowder sets up between wedding-as-a-meaningful event and wedding-as-a-party-because-you-aren’t-virgins-you-whores. Also, the false dichotomy of saving yourself for marriage or else not treating sex like a meaningful act of commitment. (Hi there, buddy! Didn’t wait for marriage AND my husband is the only man I’ve ever kissed, had sex with, lived with, etc. Gosh, I’m such a floozie!) It’s really disappointing to me that the internet creates a mouthpiece for articles like his. It offends my sense of logic.

    • Brytani

      “Also, the false dichotomy of saving yourself for marriage or else not treating sex like a meaningful act of commitment.”

      Thank you.

    • Cali

      Really “loved” the false dichotomy that Crowder sets up between wedding-as-a-meaningful event and wedding-as-a-party-because-you-aren’t-virgins-you-whores.

      EXACTLY. Since when can virgins not drink and party on their wedding night? And since when can non-virgins not have a meaningful, special event to celebrate their marriage? And–oh man, I’m about to get really crazy here–why can’t BOTH of those things happen at a wedding? I fully intend to have a meaningful, emotional event to mark this big life transition…AND I plan to have a badass party. They are not mutually exclusive.

      • My favorite False Dichotomy: Shacking up only makes women live-in harlots. Dude, my man was just as much of an unpaid-whore as I was (to coin a Dr. Laura phrase). He did just as much housework, paid for just as many groceries, and had just as much sex as I did. He was my live-in harlot. Granted, I just called him my boyfriend.

        Oh, and – We both still remember our wedding (both fun AND meaningful) and didn’t get hammered. We even, gasp!, remember our wedding night.

        Dare I say, we even take our vows seriously, though neither of us believe we made them “under God.” We made promises to each other, and that’s more than enough to make an agreement binding – and meaningful.

    • Yet another Meg

      “(Hi there, buddy! Didn’t wait for marriage AND my husband is the only man I’ve ever kissed, had sex with, lived with, etc. Gosh, I’m such a floozie!)”

      This is exactly it.

  • Lacey

    The author of that article has a bit of a superiority complex. But he did make one good point: I just don’t get it when people set themselves up for a marriage that “changes nothing”. People talk about how nothing changed, how they already feel married before the wedding, how it’s “just a piece of paper”. Honestly, that sounds awful to me. I always feel sad for them when my friends say things like that. My bf and I are waiting, and I am SO excited for us to be married, to move in together, and yes – to have sex. And one of the reasons we are waiting is because we WANT it to be different. Marriage is hard. All that oxytocin and vasopressin, the honeymoon as the first trip with ONE hotel room, all the novelty of creating a new home together, are our biological and cultural ways of helping a new couple get through the difficulties of a new marriage. Sex is a powerful binding force. We want to save that power for our new marriage.

    • Alexandra

      Why does it sound awful? That implies somehow that just being married is awful, which I hope you don’t think. I mean, it’d be kinda neat to think that this piece of paper will change everything, but for marriage to be “better” than what I have right now, I’d have to be doing something less right now than loving my fiance with all my heart, spending nights curled up with him in bed, and having sex when we want to have sex. And I don’t want to have to hold something back right now just so that a piece of paper can mean more to me.

      Perhaps the word marriage just has more significance to you than us. To my fiance, marriage isn’t a necessary part of “being together forever”. We could have done that without a proposal, without a wedding, without any of the normal trappings. His sister is doing just that with her partner, for the past 10 years with 2 kids between them. And for me, I want to be married, but I find it hard to assign value to the concept of marriage when I cut the religious factor out of it. Without a spiritual factor, it is a piece of paper and a different way to file taxes. Not much more.

      • It probably is how one defines marriage, and I think that perhaps feeling sad about people who “already feel married” and view the legal process as a mere sheet of paper is looking at it wrong.

        While my husband and I are religious and it was important to have the spiritual ceremony (as well as legal standing), my pastor said something that really stuck with me. Protestant marriage services aren’t a spiritual binding–the ceremony is not what makes the marriage–WE made the marriage already, between us, and the ceremony is a spiritual way to recognize it. Much like for couples for whom the “piece of paper” is a formality, Christian marriage is also a formality–the marriage has already been formed.

        Perhaps being able to celebrate the fact that one’s legally un-married friends have, in fact, cultivated a marriage would be a different and more meaningful way to look at it. I dunno. Just my thoughts.

        (all that said, while I don’t *feel* different at all after our wedding/formal marriage, I would still find it sad if there had been nothing to look forward to as far as a relationship milestone goes. *shrug*)

        • ColoradoLaurel

          Our Episcopalian Priest who performed the wedding said the same thing. He considered us to have already formed a marriage because we were living together and had been through some pretty hellish medical stuff together. We had already made the promise to each other.

          The thing that changed our relationship when we got married was we stood up in front of our communities and promised to love each other forever. It wasn’t just a piece of paper, it was the public action, as well as asking everyone there to support us and help us to live out our vows every day.

          Unrelated, the whole time while reading the euphemism-filled piece on Fox, I kept thinking about that line from Arrested Development, “The mere fact that you call it that means you’re not ready.”

          • Kara

            It wasn’t just a piece of paper, it was the public action, as well as asking everyone there to support us and help us to live out our vows every day.

            I think this was one of my favorite parts of our ceremony.

      • meg

        Maybe, though. Which is always my point on this issue. We can think “this is going to change everything” and be wrong. We can also think “this is just a piece of paper” and be wrong too. You might know what ends up being true for you after the wedding, you might know in five years.

        Life is like that. Which is awesome, I think.

        • Alexandra

          Maybe, it’s true. Being not married yet, it might feel different and I won’t know til it happens. But well, if it doesn’t feel different, I like to think it’s because I already feel married now, not because I didn’t wait til marriage to move in and have sex.

        • Parsley

          People keep asking us if we feel different now that we’re married, and in a day to day, way, no I don’t, and my wife has said that she doesn’t either. But there are some ways that we have changed, and that our marriage is different from our relationship prior to getting married. They just aren’t easy to capture and put into words. I suspect we don’t yet know all the ways we’ve changed already. I also suspect that our marriage will be different in 10, 20, 50 years than it is now. It’s like Liz was saying, the thing that makes the marriage isn’t the wedding, it’s an ongoing process of living into those promises.

    • We’ve discussed many times on APW how the wedding and being married can change a lot of things, even when we don’t expect it to. And it does not come down to having premarital sex or not. It includes sex, but it is bigger than sex, in my opinion, which is why people who have waited and people who have not waited can both experience the love and binding with each other and community that a wedding brings (and even all of the hormones you mention. Just because you have premarital sex doesn’t mean you don’t get to experience all of those good feelings. My goodness I hope not!)

      I think what you’re saying is different from what he is saying. The reasons you list for waiting are YOUR reasons and you have every right to do as you choose (thank goodness for having a choice, right?). His stance seems to say to me, “If you wait, it won’t be just a piece of paper.” And that is 100% wrong.

    • It sounds like you and your boyfriend have some great reasons for waiting until marriage. Personally, I also think there are great reasons on the other side as well. We didn’t wait for marriage but our marriage last Saturday wasn’t “just a piece of paper”; it was so so much more than signing that wedding license. It was us both getting a little choked up during our vows we wrote together (okay, he got choked up. I cried).

      I think it’s also important to remember that sex doesn’t CEASE to be a powerful binding force. I know the hormones in the beginning are really powerful but it continues to help you bond years later. (Thank god!)

      • Liz

        Last SATURDAY! Congratulations, Beth!

      • Claire


      • Brytani

        “I think it’s also important to remember that sex doesn’t CEASE to be a powerful binding force. I know the hormones in the beginning are really powerful but it continues to help you bond years later. (Thank god!)”

        This is one of those things I tell my friends who are entering serious relationships and considering having sex. I do believe that it’s a sacred act, whether or not you participate in a religion that says so or even believe in a deity who made it so. It just is because when you love someone, it’s binding and it’s a source of healing and renewal. I can feel a huge difference in my attitude toward my husband after sex and when we haven’t had sex in awhile. I get moody and start to scrutinize him too much then suddenly we’ll have a nice evening or morning together and I giggle just seeing him again.
        But it’s importance does not depend on the decision to become spouses. It just hangs on commitment, in my opinion, or the decision to not be committed.

    • Halle

      We’ve done everything together before our wedding, including a secret elopement. I can tell you that for us, it felt different immediately, and that was without anyone knowing. Everyone has different expectations for their relationship pre-marriage, and post-wedding. We have friends who had the big weddings and tell us in highly superior voices that “nothing changes,” but we know that is just their truth, not ours. Regardless of how close and committed we were (for seven years) before the legal ceremony, everything feels deeper and more content now.

    • Emily

      That is great that you chose this route. I am in full support of people who wait until marriage. But for some people, marriage comes earlier than the actual, formal act of getting married. I feel like I married my husband when we moved together from our small town in the Midwest to New York City together, nearly two years before our actual legal marriage this past June. We were in a place where we knew no one, hundreds of miles from our friends and families, so we had to make our own family. Our wedding was, more or less, just a piece of paper. It was the next step in binding us together. And that piece of paper means something to us. Although it is not everyone’s path, I consider ourselves lucky that a lot of the early marriage hard stuff is already long behind us–we already know how to live together and that living together totally works for us in a way that we have never experienced before with other roommates. We have a system in place for dividing up our responsibilities around the house, and how we divide up the finances. We chose to get married because it meant something to us, but it did not inherently change our relationship. That is more than enough for us. And my wedding day–and night, for that matter–was totally awesome.

    • meg

      While I totally get and respect you making the choices you’re making (and why), we didn’t wait, we already moved in together, and we’d traveling a ton together, and getting marriage changed a huge amount for us. The things marriage can change are pretty deep seated things, they are not just about novelty and biology. For us they were logistical, ethical, familial, cultural, and religious. That’s BIG STUFF right there.

      So yes, sex (can be) a powerful binding force, and it makes total sense to me to want to save that for new marriage. But couples who have already used sex as a powerful binding force (and sometimes just for fun entertainment, because it can be both over the course of a lifetime, or even a day), still have access to all the change marriage can offer.

      And some people don’t want marriage to change anything. Which is fine too.

      But the thing is, you might get what you want, and you might not, whether you want marriage to change everything or nothing. The sort of awesome thing about that moment is that you’re not in charge.

      (Also, I’ll debate people on marriage being hard. LIFE is hard. Marriage is not always hard.)

      • Shawna

        I would just like to agree that sex can be powerful and binding and can also just be entertaining. I’m married and would say that sex plays both roles in my marriage (and that’s great). The “just for fun” sex isn’t reserved for the “floozies” but is important for married people as well.

        Excellent point Meg!

      • For me, 2.5 years in? Marriage has always been the easy part. The rest of life can be (and has been) hard, but not the marriage part. I am ever so grateful for that.

        • meg

          Exactly exactly. Actually, 8 years into our relationship, I’d say that in general. In fact, our relationship tends to be the part that makes the rest bearable, when it’s too much.

          I don’t mean to say marriage can’t be hard, or isn’t hard in parts, or there is something wrong if and when it is hard. I’m just saying that I’m not sure I agree with the cultural meme that ‘marriage is hard.’ Life, yes. Marriage, not usually for me.

      • Gillian

        “LIFE is hard. Marriage is not always hard.”

        Have you written a post about this? Or could you? I would like to hear more thoughts on this idea.

    • Amy March

      See, waiting sounds awful to me. Way too much pressure on sex to change everything quickly. And I don’t want to be practicing on my honeymoon. But the great thing about marriage is that what I think sounds awful doesn’t matter to anyone but my partner. I think waiting would be awful for me, but it’s obviously great for some people. I think a beach wedding sounds like the worst (sand=disgusting) so I’m not having one.

    • Jo

      I completely respect that many (most?) people want something to change in their relationship when they get married. I get that you want that line in the sand that separates your marriage from any other relationship you’ve had, and I get that you want the excitement that comes from stepping into uncharted territory. For some people this means abstaining from sex, for others it means abstaining from living together, and for others it means things like abstaining from joining bank accounts or abstaining from attending family holidays together.

      But for me and my partner, we wanted the opposite. We believe that for us, our relationship is an ongoing evolution and that it will always be. We’ve had to make choices at various stages in our time together that tie us together tighter and tighter because of moving, career choices, family issues, etc. We like it this way. We like that we have become a permanent couple over time and not just in one moment. And so for us, we don’t want our wedding day to be “special” in that way. We want it to be “special” in the way that a birthday is a special day, a day when you feel good and remember all the good that surrounds you. Just like when people ask you if you “feel older” the day after your birthday and that seems like a silly question, that’s how we feel about getting married. Just b/c you don’t “feel older” doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy celebrating your birthday.
      Anyway, that’s how it is for me.

      • Louise

        The birthday comparison rings so true for me! The day after the wedding, I felt a lot of things (grateful, loved, exhausted), but I did not feel more committed to my husband… Because I already was committed, and so was he. And we keep committing every day. The wedding was a party to celebrate and be totally clear with our community about our commitment.

    • I have to ask… your friends who talk about being married before the wedding and the piece of paper… are they married? Because that’s the way I felt before I started marriage discussions. My wife and I are on the 6th year of our one night stand and moved in together after two years. My family treated us like we were married, since at that point, there was no local place for us to have a legal ceremony and we had a lease, joint checking and she was on my work’s health care, so for all intents and purposes. But the thing is, we got married two Mays ago, and IT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

      The day to day is the same. We still fight over who’s going to make dinner, watch bad TV, go to the gym, sing funny songs to our kitten and pay the bills. But somewhere in our 19 month engagement, we shifted from the ‘for now’ to the ‘long term.’ We went from being together to being a team. It’s an insidious change rather than the big shock of sex, cohabitation and building your marriage all at once, but it’s there. People kept asking after the wedding if it felt different as if they were expecting me to say no. And I did say no sometimes, when it felt that way. But now? It’s totally different.

    • little raccoon

      I don’t think it’s sad to feel married before being married at all. To paraphrase a line from a recent post (yesterday’s I think?) the wedding doesn’t make your vows true; they should be true before you even walk down the aisle.

    • I totally get and respect your decisions, but I have to disagree that the idea of “nothing changing” after marriage is sad. Whether things change after the marriage becomes official, and whether they should or not, is so individual that saying any one outcome is ideal isn’t quite fair.

      My husband and I eloped a month ago, and for us nothing has changed. Our relationship is exactly the same, just more awesome. (We had a long discussion on that last night, actually.) Some things are actually changing: the names on bank accounts, who has access to what information, names in general.

      The actual substance of our relationship and how we treat each other day to day? That’s not changed, and I wouldn’t have wanted it to change. In the eight months leading up to our wedding we went through unemployment, graduations, fruitless job searches, putting down my dog, losing his father, having to move back to our hometown due to family circumstances, two new jobs, giving up our home that we loved and a miscarriage. If we hadn’t already been a team and been already acting as a cohesive unit there was no way we would have gotten through that to get to the vows. And after a year where our lives had to revolve around lifting each other up and carrying each other’s sorrows and finding ways to work as a cohesive unit we felt like we had done a lot of the work of creating a marriage beforehand – those aspects of our relationship didn’t have any more room to change or grow at the point where we said our vows, and I don’t think for us there was any more room for change (even positive change) in our relationship at that point.

  • Jashshea

    Since I didn’t wait until marriage, I choose to be offended by his characterization of anyone who overindulges at their wedding as morally bankrupt.

    There are MANY reasons I’m morally bankrupt and my love of drink barely rates in the top 40, kind Sir.

    • Liz


      • KB

        Ok, along with the “I am not a prize to be won!!” this ALSO made my morning…

  • Dianne

    I just kept thinking as I read this “pathetic” piece of self-congratualtory crap (and did you note his repeated use of the word “pathetic”?) … “I wonder if he will write an article about how it feels to get divorced what it happens to him?”

  • Class of 1980

    I want to say something about the article, but … I can’t. I just can’t.

    Too much stupidity and false assumptions to tackle on this fine day.

    Thanks, Liz, for addressing it.

  • hampton

    I knew I shouldn’t have read the article but I did it anyway. And then my head exploded.

  • Erica

    Do I really need to point out the ridiculousness of proclaiming you have “won” at marriage and “done it right” mere HOURS after getting married? Get back to me in 10 years, 20 years, 50 years and then we’ll talk. That is, if you have learned to not be such a douche by then.

    • Isn’t humility an important skill in marriage? ;-)

    • AnotherErica

      Word. Also, in my (obviously vast and whorish) experience, guys who use phrases like “winning” and “doing it right” when talking about sex usually aren’t. (And I know he’s using those phrases to talk about marriage as a whole but, since he’s been married all of 10 seconds, it seems like he’s really mostly talking about the sex. And I also know it’s a cheap shot to point out that his virgin bride may not have had quite as much fun as he did, but he’s such an asshat that I just can’t resist.)

      • Taylor B

        He took quite a few cheap shots, you are welcome to take all of those he left himself open to :)
        Well done!

  • CarbonGirl

    I wanted to address not the Fox article but what you wrote, Liz. I loved how you stated marriage is a daily choice. That part really resonated with me as lately have been rather selfish and putting work before our relationship (well I have to since my dissertation is due in a month). But last night I made the choice not to work and instead we spent a great evening together. We had fun and I really felt our connection, which made me realize that simple choices like that one really do make and build a marriage.

    • Claire

      I also really love the focus on making the daily choice to strengthen your marriage. As I think of it, there isn’t one single “right” decision you can make that will make you “win” a happy marriage. It’s the cumulation of all the little, daily choices that build you up or wear you down.

      It reminds me of a line from our wedding song, The Winds by Danny Schmidt, that goes, “Do you take this man forever? I don’t know about forever, but I’ll take him every day.”

      • Jashshea

        Oh, SNIFFLES! What a great line. Something about love being utterly non-romcom romantic, just kicks me in the butt everything. The choosing everyday part gives me goose bumps.

    • When people talk about a marriage being work, this is often the sort of work I think it is. Not real work, but just an acknowledgment of priorities and making space for your partner to inhabit your world and for him/her to make space for you in theirs.

  • Class of 1980

    If you would like more proof what a douche this guy is, just look at his Twitter tweets.

    One of them was “Standing in Macy’s wondering what couples who live together first register for.”

    And another was a photo he posted of his wife sitting on the living room floor surrounded by unopened boxes from their registry. He wrote “Not even HALF – This is what you get when you do it the right way.”

    So now we can add GREED to the list of motivating factors of why you should wait? Whoa. Is he so sheltered that he doesn’t know couples who lived together get a bunch of gifts too?

    Meg, can we get an icon of eyes rolling?

    • Liz

      Oh, whew. Here I thought that marriage was all about sex.

      It’s about sex AND PRESENTS, guys.

      • “And the prize for marrying a virgin goes to….Oh, and, wait! Another prize for filling your house with hundreds of gifts! You WIN!”

        And that right there is what makes me realize why I disagree with this guy so much. I got married and I “won” a wonderful marriage. The End.

      • meg


        Sigh. Oh man.

      • Granola

        Wait wait wait! You’re not telling me that since I didn’t wait, that I have to give my presents BACK are you? I mean, since I did it wrong?! These generous friends and family must have been confused when they mailed these gifts.

      • Laura

        Hey I hope you’re not bashing the sex and presents I got for my wedding. They were bomb-tastic. Although I was so hungover I puked on some of my presents the next day and we didn’t have sex for about 3 days after the wedding because we were both tired and we had family in town.

        • MDBethann

          Wait, I puked the day after my wedding but it’s because I had a stomach bug. Does that mean I did my wedding wrong?? ;-)

    • Shiri


      I thought her virginity was the ultimate gift, why does he need more?

      • Liz


      • meg


        • Shiri

          Is it wrong that I bet this guy wouldn’t know the other meaning of that and it makes me happy that you used it in reference to him?

          • Airplane Rachel

            Oh my. Good one!

    • I’m trying to think of something more eloquent to say about this guy, but all I can think is: ewwwww.

      Also, I just moved in with my fiancé about 6 weeks before the wedding, so we didn’t exactly live together before the wedding, but we still had a tough time registering for stuff. Did these people not own plates or pots and pans before they got married?

      • DNA

        Exactly! My husband and I lived in different cities for years before we got married and owned two sets of almost everything. It’s too bad it would be totally gauche to give away our extra pots to friends who have registered for pots. :D

      • Cali

        So true! I feel like anyone who has lived on their own as an independent adult will probably own most of the stuff that traditionally goes on a registry. When we moved in together it was more of a merging of existing stuff than going out and buying new stuff… we both already had everything we needed to stock an apartment! A full, traditional registry really only makes sense for people who are moving out of family homes and into their first “adult” home together after marriage. Otherwise, I think you have to get a little creative (or just register for NICER versions of the stuff you already have, which is what we did on our Macy’s registry).

      • Class of 1980

        I KNOW! Unless this couple was living at home with their parents, then did they NOT own dishes and household stuff?

        And isn’t that the same as any living-together couple? You could even make a case that they needed the gifts LESS than the living together couples! They had TWO sets of everything!

        • Brittany

          So confused by that, too! My husband and I didn’t live together (we were in different states for school/work) and that just meant we had MORE stuff to go through when figuring out what we actually wanted on a registry. And multiple locations to go through that stuff at. I figure if you live together first, the registry stuff is probably a bit easier from a organizational standpoint, since it’s all in one place and stuff. And you might have even already purged duplicates, so have a better idea of what you might like or need. But I don’t know, some people just like to win? Though I do like my new, fully matching silverware and drink ware sets, and my 21 year old sister greatly enjoys the large (if mismatched) sets she inherited from my kitchen! :)

  • KB

    I love love LOVE this post because I definitely know at LEAST one person who waited until marriage and, oh wait, they got divorced. And it’s not that THAT was the problem with their marriage, obviously, but it does show that waiting doesn’t give you an “A+” or an automatic leg up in marriage and, you know why, because it’s not a game!! That’s what is so infuriating about both sides of the abstinence-before-marriage debate, that there’s somehow a right or wrong way to go about it and that if you screw it up, your marriage is “tainted.”

    • Interestingly, I know one couple that actually divorced because of sexual issues – they waited, got the Virgin Gold Star, and then physically could not consummate their marriage, and got divorced several years later (still with their Virgin Gold Stars).

    • I would say, in the circle of people I know, that there are more “waited” divorces than from the “hussies”. At least on one case, they were deeply incompatible but wanted to have sex, and that, as it turns out, totally wasn’t a good basis for a marriage.

      Nor was the relationship where she wanted to keep sleeping around and he didn’t, so I’ve seen it from the other side too.

      Probably a good lesson in all of those relationships about why communication is a good thing, before and after the wedding…

  • Allison

    You guys…I’m getting married on Saturday and I just read this guy’s article and learned I’M DOING IT WRONG. Just because I’m marrying the love of my life doesn’t matter. We live together already…we’ve even schtupped for heaven’s sake. Our marriage is meaningless! Sadly, we lost. Also, I just learned that I’m a harlot. I had no idea.

    Ohh wait…he’s just a douchebag.

    • Emily

      Silly floozy, marriage is for virgins!

      • Class of 1980

        Can we have a t-shirt that says “SILLY FLOOZY”?

  • Moe

    Oh dear sweet baby Jesus, I don’t even know where to begin to respond.

    I grew up in a fundamentalist conservative Christian church. I went to bible camp, sunday school and youth group. I took an oath of purity as a teenager and never drank or even danced for all of my younger years. I went on to graduate from bible college. If there is anyone who can talk about Christian values and scripture it’s me.

    I left the church in my early 30’s and I left in a big way. Lost my virginity etc… I ain’t gonna lie, I had a blast. At the end of my 30’s I was left jaded, cynical and doubtful that there was ever going to be a good man for me to marry.

    I found a great guy, we’ve been married a little over a month after eloping. We didn’t wait.

    I have no regrets about my upbringing and those conservative beliefs of my youth because they really did spare me from a world of hurt and trouble. When I finally did choose to have sex I was way more ready to handle the consequences than I ever would have been at say 16.

    However, one of the huge deceptions of that devout lifestyle is the idea that if you do A, B, C in that exact order and follow a predetermined set of rules that you will have a sucessful marriage, happy family, an ideal life. Life doesn’t work like that, and neither does true Christianity for that matter.

    • Jo

      Sounds like you could write an awesome post! I’d love to hear about your elopement!

  • 39bride

    Great post that deconstructs a good portion of what he wrote. I saw that column the day it came out and thought he was utterly obnoxious. But he shames more than just women. It wasn’t an attack on women. It was an attack on both genders who decide not to wait until marriage to have sex. He called men who had sex before marriage “mimbos.”

    But it was more than just sex (the headline skews it). He wrote about marriage as financial, physical, emotional and spiritual joining. I was hoping you would address that aspect of what he was talking about as well.

    Had my husband written something like that I’d be mortified, and probably furious. But as he points out in the column, as a semi-public figure (public in the political world) he suffered a great deal of derision, mocking and abuse because he was public about his decision to remain celibate, etc. I was big-time turned off by his obnoxious column, but I could sorta understand it because he had set out a difficult task for himself, suffered abuse for it, and reached his goal. He was reveling in an achievement that was huge, and the joy of having succeeded. As I saw one commenter on a blog say, “Was he obnoxious about it? Yup, but he’s a newlywed. He’s drunk on marital bliss.” I’d be very interested to see what he says in another 6-12 months–whether he’d be a bit embarrassed about what he spewed as he sat on a plane headed to his honeymoon.

    • Liz

      I think the very fact that he needs to use the word “mimbo” (ie, “male bimbo”) to describe men who have premarital sex underscores the misogyny behind the push for purity. We don’t even have words for guys who are sexually promiscuous. All of the derogatory terms are inherently female.

      Sure, he probably faced judgment. I know I did (and still do- people often surmise that I married young because I “couldn’t wait” etc). But to respond with gloating, competition and more judgment does nothing to show the positive aspects of premarital abstinence.

      • 39bride

        I agree totally agree that the gloating, competition, etc does not reflect well. It’ll never happen, but that’s why I would be so interested in his thoughts on what he wrote after he gets into the nitty-gritty of marriage.

        Maybe I’m more willing to cut him a small amount of slack (in other words, “Yeah, he’s being a total jerk/douche but he’s coming from a point of ignorance and of post-wedding high”) because I can see where he’s coming from. And at the same time I think he has valid things to say about ALL the ways that marriage binds two people together

        I wasn’t raised in the purity movement, but I came from a very conservative denomination and I thought I’d be a wedding-night virgin–not because I feared condemnation/sin, but because I agreed with the ideas I’d been taught about the way sex binds people together. I wasn’t a virgin when I met my husband and I regretted it because my one previous sexual partnership was born out of a great deal of self-loathing and despair. At the same time, looking back I see it as somewhat inevitable–I was in a very dark place and my partner and I somewhat comforted each other for the year we were together. So, I both regret it and don’t.

        But anyway, hubby and I didn’t have intercourse until after we were engaged. I just wasn’t ready, and he was an angel about it. We were physical in some ways and I soooo wanted to jump him, but I just wasn’t ready to cross the more-intimate physical lines, and I valued our relationship so much that I didn’t want to push myself physically like I had before and end up in the same emotionally-alienated place as before (I had shut down/withdrew). We talked about it a lot, and decided we would do it when it felt right. It “felt right” about three months before we were married.

        We also didn’t live together. In the month since we’ve been married, as we set up house I have been daily grateful we did it this way–more than words can express. It was EXACTLY right for us. We are learning about the ways we were naive, but we also are seeing the complications we have avoided by doing it this way. It’s definitely working for us.

        So, I can recognize the naivete and ignorance this guy is coming from. As I said in other comments, he’s hopped up on joy, excitement and the thrill of what he sees as “winning” against his natural desires. However, I have enough humility to recognize that people I greatly admire DID live together and went on to fantastic marriages. But I also STILL do not understand even remotely HOW they did it. Seeing first-hand how intimate (in physical, emotional, financial, practical ways) living together on daily basis is, I truly cannot comprehend how they made it work.

        So yeah, he’s ignorant, unsympathetic and unable to put himself in others’ shoes. In other words, a big fat jerk. But he’s also an awful lot like a lot of 20-somethings I went to college with who are trying to do the “right thing” (whatever they think that is) but are really, really clueless. There’s a reason 20-something men never interested me romantically, haha (yes, good 20-somethings are definitely out there; I just never had the opportunity to meet an unattached one).

        So, his idiocy IS indicative of wider cultural issues, but I think he’s more a product of it (in other words, has some learning/growing to do; marriage will teach him a lot along those lines), than an instigator.

        Or maybe I just like to be contrary… :P

        • margo

          I think you’re being too generous, 39Bride!

          Really, the thing is, this article wasn’t about him. There was a great deal of preening and self-congratulating, but he didn’t write it to share his experience. He wrote it to shame you for not making the same choices.

          “Do yours the right way. If you’re young and wondering whether you should wait, whether you should just give in, become a live-in harlot/mimbo and do it the world’s way.”

          Where he is coming from? That’s not love. That’s judgement.

          • meg

            Also, since when does the pre-marital high make you an asshole? I was probably nicer than I’ve ever been in my LIFE after my wedding. I wanted to hug the world. (Just saying…)

          • 39bride

            Well said, Meg. No, it’s not love. But it a guy who “took it” until he was fed up, and in the high of post-wedding decided he was the king of the hill and lost his inhibitions that would keep him from being a jerk. Post-marital high doesn’t make you an asshole (made me completely calm and mellowed-out), but if you’re an aggressive-type (which he obviously is) and feeling on top of the world you might be less restrained than you usually are. I mean, in the last 24 hours he’d married the girl of his dreams, had a rockin’ party during which he and dream girl were the center of attention and surely lauded for their behavior/values, and he had sex for the first time (with a woman who could be in a mainstream wedding or glamor mag). Rightly or wrongly, he’s saying to himself “I’m da man!!!!” Hence the ensuing stupidity…


            I suspect I don’t fit in very well here. I don’t think those who look at the world with a different set of values (even when I think those values are seriously skewed or outright wrong/bad/harmful) are 100% bad or motivated first and foremost by those values I disagree with. 99% of us are just trying to figure out what’s right; pride/misplaced-aggression is one of the things I see most-often cause us to trip up and reveal the worst in ourselves. He’s got pride and aggression in spades.

            He’s being a stupid jerk. Maybe he’s indicative of culture at large, but I don’t want to treat his silly column as a treatise on how life should be, even if he says it is.

            [In rereading I see I could leave the impression I’d be ok with his behavior and not call him on it. Not a chance. Just not taking it very seriously. If he were a friend (not likely, I suspect) I’d be telling him he made a fool of himself and was a total jerk. Heh. Had no problem telling my husband he was being a jerk last week, haha).]

        • Class of 1980

          You simply can’t get around the fact that he himself said he intended to be judgmental. He accomplished it too.

          I don’t think he’s too joyful; he’s just immature.

        • 39bride

          Nevermind. I see my latest sounded seriously passive-aggressive (“maybe I don’t fit…”). I am apparently quite inarticulate today. Feel free to ignore me. Seriously.

      • Maddie

        Is THAT what that word means? I thought it was an old-timey word for harlot (like, old timey-er than harlot). Like a sexual scallywag.


    • Lisa

      I agree, that by being a public figure he may have been judged or given grief for his decision. However, if his general personality is reflected in that piece, I’m willing to bet part of the grief and judgement he received were in direct response to how he presented his beliefs about waiting and getting married “right.”

      • Class of 1980

        If you look at his Twitter account, you’ll see lots of references to purposely pissing off liberal types.

        God forbid he’d want to have a meaningful discussion. He gains far more satisfaction from just pissing off people he disagrees with.

        That’s a measure of how he presents himself right there.

        • Chalk

          This is exactly what I was thinking. His article? op ed? essay? was directed at people who agree with him. What’s the point of approaching a conversation this way? It’s an immediate turn off to process the tone of his writing, and renders his story useless. In fact, all he does is drive the wedge between conservative/liberal/religious/middle of the road people deeper. This is that last thing we need in this country. So frustrating.

  • Amanda L.

    Clearly I was not one of those people for whom the wedding was a transcendent experience, as my APW Wedding Graduate post attests to:

    But what really offended me about this man’s post was how in one breath he patted himself on the back for holding up his Christian ideals by abstaining from sex until marriage, and on the other hand gleefully judged those people who don’t. As a Christian, his pure hypocrisy is offensive.

    Liz, I loved your response, and it’s posts like this that keep me coming back to APW even though I’m an old married hag :)

  • Kashia

    I think there is something wonderfully freeing about marriage when you are able to define it for yourselves. Whether it be religious or secular or someplace in between, whether you waited to have sex or not, whether it feels different afterwards or not… Living in the time and places we live means that each of us with our partners get to make those decisions. We get to define what is important for us in our marriages. And even with all of the pre-existing cultural noise about marriage, ultimately what goes on between two people in private belongs only to them. So really, if both spouses are happy and feel that their marriage is healthy and are working together to build the marriage that they want, there is NO WRONG WAY to do marriage. It’s not a contest, there is no prize other than a life well-spent with the person you love most.

    (and I would add that this can be true for couples who choose to never marry, or are not legally allowed to marry as well).

    • MDBethann

      I think there is a wrong way to do marriage (or any relationship, for that matter) – abusing, raping, and/or hurting/beating your partner is the wrong way to do marriage, friendship, or any relationship.

  • Julie

    Was I the only one scratching my head at why he complained about people making fun of his premarital abstinence? My fiance and I are waiting to have sex until we’re married, and although many of our friends don’t share the ideal, no one has ever given us a hard time about it. If you behave like a respectable person, people will respect your decisions. (Then again, we don’t parade around virginity like Mr. Crowder…)

    • Allison

      Yes, this exactly. I think people just don’t like him. I can’t imagine why…

    • Same here. My FH and I are waiting, and all of our friends have been very supportive of our decision. Again, we don’t make a huge deal out of it, and we also don’t run around trying to shame others with our supposed “moral superiority.” I think that may be his real problem.

    • Kathleen

      Very few people knew that my husband and I waited for marriage, but the ones that did – they didn’t make fun of us, per se, but we did get looked at a bit like we were animals in a zoo. It was something so weird and crazy they couldn’t wrap their heads around it. They didn’t mock us, but it’s kind of hard to say they respected our decisions.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      Your sex life is only a topic of discussion if you let it be. We’ve gotten flack for not living together before marriage, but the only discussions we’ve had with anyone about not having sex, which is a private thing, relate to health. I’ve made it explicit to one family member and one friend, both health care professionals, when asking for health advice. He’s also had to discuss it in that context. But with strangers? co-workers? most friends? It just doesn’t come up if you don’t encourage it. It hasn’t even come up with the 3 Priests we’ve had to meet with.

  • Chalk

    Well, I guess…congrats to him? wow. At least he failed to convince me that I’m nothing but a shacking up floozy who can’t define the “right” way to live my life.

    I just can’t take the Fox “judgement” seriously. Good response, Liz.

  • margo

    If no one knew, would you still make the same choice?

    Also, moral superiority is one strong drug.

    • meg

      Ha. In the case of this article, thats an interesting question.

      Growing up in this particular culture, there were people who cared way more about judging YOU for not waiting (In theory, right? Since most 8th graders are, in fact, waiting.) than about actually not having sex. And some of the people that were the loudest about it had sex the earliest. The truth was, they spent WAY MORE TIME thinking about sex than I ever did. And while moral superiority is fun, forbidden fruits are a dangerous game.

      • This is a really good point. It’s absolutely ironic that people who are strongly against things like pornography, gay sex or pre-marital sex, actually end up spending a lot of their time and energy thinking about the topic they supposedly hate so much.

        It seems like a way to obsess about something naughty (which, hey, let’s admit that most humans are interested in sex) but still feel good about yourself.

      • KH_Tas

        There’s an entire *genre* of 19th century literature devoted to detailed descriptions (with detailed pictures) of ‘evil’ forbidden sexual practices, with 3 pages about how bad the practices before getting into the descriptions.

        And then the practice of altering historical events to have them happen while people are nude, just for an excuse to have nudity in ‘historical’ paintings.

  • One of the things that bothered me about that article in addition to all the misogyny and crassness was the fact that he treated the wedding as the finish line. Which, of course, is the myth all APWers fight all the time. In a way, he’s bought into the WIC just as much as any bride has.

    I know we’ve talked about this before at APW, but I am so, so, so, so tired of people trying to make what should be a delicate point by shaming those who don’t agree.

  • Stephasaurus

    I wish I could “Exactly” your reponse to this article a million times. That dude’s a certified class A douchebag.

  • Thank you Liz (& APW) for being awesome.

  • The biggest problem I had with the original article was when he said, “At the same time, we overheard the table next to us discussing their very own wedding from the night prior,” and then later says, “‘Where’s the groom?’ my wife innocently… scratch that, naively asked.
    ‘Oh, he’s sleeping. There was no way he was coming out with me this morning!'”

    So, wait. Who’s the bride with if not her husband? Is she talking to herself?

    • little raccoon

      Oh man. Thanks for pointing that out. Somehow I missed that when I first read the article.

  • Emily

    Thank you, Liz, for responding to this awful article! I thought about writing a response for APW myself, but I was too mad and it probably would have been just a lot of nonsensical yelling. “HOW DARE YOU CALL ME A FLOOZY?! BLAHD BAGJBLDNLSDKNGLE$#&^%#%&$!***!!!!!!!!” (or something to that affect).

    I was totally, completely offended by this article. That someone could be so crass and big-headed as to insinuate that my entire wedding and marriage was WRONG because on my wedding night I had already had sex with my husband (and only my husband, ever), and that we had already taken the time to carefully build our household into a strong, stable one in the three years before our wedding, that I was nothing but a great big slut marrying a “mimbo”… well that just plain pissed me off. I am proud of the struggles my husband and I had before we got married. On our wedding day, we had nothing to worry about. We did not have “cold feet.” We knew that the vows we were saying were real, because we had already lived them. We knew that we could live together as a team. We knew that we loved to go to sleep in each other’s arms, and wake up next to each other every morning. And our wedding was totally awesome and happy because we did not have any of that stuff weighing on our minds, much less the pressure of having to have sex for the first time that night.

    Mr. Douchebag, I think I did marriage right. But I also think that there are a million different ways to do it right. Not just mine, and not just yours. Oh yeah, and my husband was way hotter than you on our wedding day so yeah, I WIN.

    • meg


    • KB

      One of my bridesmaids sent me the article. I’m strongly considering getting t-shirts made that say “Floozy” for the bride/groomsmaids and “Mimbo” for the groomsmen…

      • ColoradoLaurel

        Please do!

  • Alicia

    I see this as his way of needing to become famous. If you check out his IMDB, there’s nothing impressive there. He wanted people talking about him to get him out there and he succeeded.

  • Lisa

    Liz, thank you for that awesome response! One of the reasons I LOVE APW (and continue reading it more than year after my wedding) is that it discusses how marriage is a great deal more than just the wedding day and night, and involves a lifetime (if your lucky and work at it) of choices, struggles, and joyful moments with your partner (and so many other things).

  • amandanoel

    Argh! I am with Liz. If anything, this article perpetuates the myth that those of us who CHOOSE to wait to have sex until marriage do it to fulfill some misogynistic purity test, and that we are all as pretentious about the choice as this guy.

  • Jashshea

    I do want to say that I didn’t actually find myself that offended by the op-ed piece. I just found it sad that he felt he needed to “WIN” at spouse-finding and then WIN at not boning pre-wedding. Those aren’t sports- I do wish his personal faith granted him the understand that finding a good partner is a blessing, not a competition. And that being a good partner is the best way to own that commitment.

    That all being said – that’s a clown article, Bro.

    • I also found myself saddened by the article. Well, I was first angered, but then the afternotes left are just a sense of sadness. I grew up in conservative environments where the values promoted are conservative and traditional. As I’ve gotten older I’ve had the opportunity to get to know many people very unlike me who hold different worldviews than me. It’s been such a positive thing in my life to see the beauty in difference and the joy in finding points of connection between people who seem dissimilar at first glance. I’ve learned that the world is pretty big and there’s room enough for all of us…even the people we don’t agree with. Who knows? Maybe we might learn some important truths from those very people. One of the very things I love most about APW is this is space for us to come together, even though there is a great mix in the types of people who read this blog. But people share with each other in respect, and we learn from each other.

      It makes me so sad when I think about this guy and how this article’s tone would suggest a level of closed-off-ness from others who are different. Sounds like a pretty insular way to approach life and humanity…

  • I didn’t notice all the misogyny in the article that everyone else noticed. In my mind the wife probably would’ve been writing the same thing. Why must everyone assume that she does not hold the same beliefs?

    • meg

      I think she probably does hold the same beliefs. BUT. I’d hope she wouldn’t call other women harlots who hadn’t made the same choices (that might be just a hope… but I do find it way worse when men level the charge of slut than when women do). It’s when he started calling women names who didn’t make the same choices that we hit misogyny for me.

    • Liz

      Put delicately, I enjoyed my wedding night, still look back on it very fondly, and do not regret waiting. But virgin sex is often a different experience for women than it is for men.

      I have no doubt that this woman believes waiting for marriage is “the right way,” also, but I wonder how she would write about it. Would there be gloating about maintaining her “purity”? Would she compare her marriage to other couples, casting judgment on “floozies” and “harlots”? I’m not saying she wouldn’t. I’m just very interested to find out.

      • margo


        Also, women can be misogynists. They can buy into misogynistic culture and values. Misogyny isn’t the automatic hatred of every individual women, it’s about applying blanket judgements against women in whole or part based on their gender.

        So if she believes women who don’t wait until marriages are harlots. she holds a misogynistic belief. HER gender is irrelevant.

    • I’m not sure why the wife’s perspective is relevant in calling the article misogynistic. He referred to his wife as a prize that he’d won, he used words like “harlot” and “floozy” to refer to other women, and he generally believes that he is fully capable of judging the moral standing of other people (particularly women) based on their sexual activity. Isn’t that misogyny enough? I, too, am curious for the wife’s perspective, but see that as another issue altogether.

    • leone

      His wife went to my college and we have a number of mutual friends. While my college is a conservative religious school, and me and most of my friends kept sex for marriage, she was definitely on the very conservative end of the spectrum, and vocal in her classic-Fox News beliefs. My impression is that she’d be very happy with Mr. Crowder’s article and not at all opposed to his portrayal of her.

      Here’s a profile that ran several years ago:

  • DNA

    I’m totally with Liz, and articles like this are one of the reasons why I still read APW even though, like Amanda L., I’m also an old married hag. Her response to the article is right on, just like one of my other favorite responses to the article:

  • Lauren

    That author is a complete moron. For reference, DO NOT watch his YouTube videos or you WILL be needing to replace your computer screen from all the punching he invokes.

    P.S. Is he for real? It could all be a social experiment…

    • Liz

      I’ve guessed that maybe the article was written for the express purpose of riling people.

      • Class of 1980

        It was. He talks often on Twitter about the things he says just to make liberals angry.

  • Lauren

    So now I went down the Rabbit hole and actually looked at his twitter….and had to share this lovely picture of his wife’s ass in front of the oven while he toasts his beer.

    • meg

      Well, I suppose once you’ve waited, objectifying is ok? MAN.

      • Lauren

        Well he “won” her, so yes

    • Liz

      Dude, bro.

    • Class of 1980

      Are we sure he isn’t 14 years old?

  • Lauren

    I really just don’t know how to respond to this one. In part because I am sort of in the other camp — I honestly believe waiting for marriage is the wrong choice. I believe it in the same way that I believe not knowing your partner’s financial tendencies, or views on having children, would be a huge mistake. Some couples wait, sometimes for good reasons, but I still have the conviction that that is not the right choice.

    • Anonymous

      It’s totally fine for you to have your own opinion on the subject, and even more fine for you to do what’s best for you and your partner — but I think the entire point of Liz’s reponse to this article is that there is no “right” or “wrong” choice. It’s all about what works for each individual person (or couple).

  • I really respect Liz for reading an article, analyzing her reaction, then writing a really thoughtful post in which she respectfully critiqued the article. That’s what I believe APW is all about.

    What I don’t respect in the comments is the idea it’s ok to call someone names who we disagree with because that person called us names. It’s intellectual weak and quite frankly, a bit hypocritical, no? It’s fodder for stereotypes and distracts from the really strong and well put arguments in the post. “I imagine any other married folks here can attest that “doing marriage the right way” is a choice a person makes daily.” = super effective while “Douchebag!” = not so effective and weirdly reclaimed misogynistic reference.

    • Liz

      I don’t find it hypocritical. I think there are two dissections going on- a critique of his opinions and points, and then a critique of the way they were presented. Which was, well, like a douchebag. At least that’s how I felt when reading. Okay, fine, I can argue with this guys points logically. But as a separate point, on another level, he’s just sort of a jerk when he presents them.

    • meg

      Possibly true. However, my editorial standards to lean toward bluntness, for better or worse.

      Though yes! Weirdly reclaimed misogynistic reference. Still funny, however.

    • margo

      Calling an entire group of people “harlots” is not the equivalent of calling an individual a douchebag. He is on FOX NEWS telling EVERY WOMAN WHO HAD SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE that she is a slut who is wrong. Being after to express frustration or anger on a blog by calling someone a douchebag isn’t in the same ballpark. It may not be effective for you, but I think it is effective for some.

      I think he is getting exactly the amount of respect he granted, and I’m not sure it’s our job to show him any more intellectual rigor that he chose to engage in his argument.

      • meg

        I just love this comment, in general.

      • MDBethann

        Right, because he’s classifying all women who had sex before marriage when he knows nothing about them as individuals. But he has publicly laid bare his opinions and views, giving us insight into his thoughts and personalities, opening himself up, or rather, practically inviting, judgement. He set the tone for the discussion and his behavior is positively boorish. We have enough information about him to make a personality judgement. And yes, he was behaving like a boorish douchebag.

  • Gloria

    wow…the guy who wrote that article is the hugest douche ever. i wonder if his wife even knows about this article. you know, if he let her read it first before he published that tripe on the internet.

    and that he’s the total authority on being married when he’s not even comfortable saying ‘my wife’ yet.

    there is no ‘right’ way. there is only what’s right for you and your future spouse.

  • Copper

    A lot has been mentioned about this guy’s continual declarations of “I Win!” and I wanted to offer a perspective on this that came from an unexpected place this weekend: the football field.

    On Saturday I watched my team win, in a really sloppy way. The QB threw two interseptions, our best running back fumbled the ball, the defense bobbled balls that could’ve been interceptions, we settled for field goals when we could’ve had touchdowns… but when that buzzer sounded, we still won. The team got what they needed out of that game, they got more experience, practice against coaching/playing styles different than their own, and got the W that gets them closer to their end-of-season goals. As someone that tends to get hung up on the details of things and occasionally speaks in absolutes about crap nobody else cares about, I’ve vowed to think about how those guys must’ve felt through that game when I find myself setting up absolute goals for myself or for others. The expectation of total purity in order to win is like saying “oops, you threw an interception once, in that game against Auburn 3 years ago, therefor you are now ineligible for the draft.” And that’s not a realistic way to go through life.

    It seems like the guy who wrote that article could do with a bit of perspective in that area, because he’s set up so many standards for the “right” way to do things that it’s hard to imagine him being flexible enough to cope with marriage.

    • As someone who likes sports, I really appreciate this sports reference!!

  • Pingback: Sigh. | Wedding Invitation Exegesis()

  • Jen

    Usually, I am really not into opinion pieces. They always seem so polarizing and frankly, rude. I’m especially not into reading comments on opinion pieces. But as a rebuttal, this was aces, Liz. You patiently deconstructed his argument without attacking him personally. That takes class, and it was very refreshing to read. And many of these comments have been dead-on, as well. Very nice, ladies.
    A wedding (and a wedding night) does not constitute a marriage. It’s a day. A marriage is a life. It’s a promise, and a promise doesn’t end after 24 hours. The people who enter into such a promise are too multifaceted for there to be a right and a wrong way to do it–marriage itself is too complex for that to be the case. It’s unfortunate that Mr. Crowder had to resort to name-calling (and a very un-Christian-like unkindness) to articulate his point that he’s happy that he married his wife (which is, I hope, what he is trying to say, versus being happy with simply the WAY he married her, which is kind of the way it came off).
    Because marriage is a promise, I hope his works for him, just like I hope every marriage, every promise, works for the people who enter into it. I’m sorry he felt judged for making decisions that were right for himself and his wife. But then in turn judging others who are making their promise the way that works for them is really quite gauche.

  • Carrie

    Yup. Our marriage is totally empty and meaningless because we didn’t wait. We’re just selfishly using each other. Clearly, there is no purpose in marriage when it’s not “permission to get it on.” And since we didn’t wait for permission, then there’s no point in us bothering to get married, right? Non-virgins can’t truly love each other.

    Also we *gasp* drank alcohol at our wedding reception, so that means it was a wild bacchanalia and not a time when we were excited about just having gotten married and were enjoying celebrating together.

    Gosh, it’s like this guy was a fly on the wall! /sarcasm

  • LaLa

    There is no “right or wrong way” to sharing your life with another person. It takes me a lot to post a comment but i was so disappointed by that young man, i had to speak up. How sad to sit in judgment of so many people…

  • Lila

    So…I actually went and read the article.

    While I’m usually supportive of people living their values, I’m not okay with imposing those values on other people. I’m also not okay with slut-shaming. As I have told many people the proper thing to call a woman who has a lot of sex is her NAME. Duh!

    I have known some women who waited who were very happy with their decisions, and others who still wonder what it would have been like to bonk their ex-boyfriends. So I guess it can go either way.

    I expect this guy is just really defensive and angry. But he’s still being a bit of a dick.

  • Class of 1980

    What I want to know is why this douche and his new wife even felt the need to inform people about their sex plans in the first place!

    How does this even come up in conversation? Unfortunately, I know the answer. They just take it upon themselves to go around announcing it to people.

    I once worked with a young woman who did this. She seemed to think it was part of her Christian testimony to go around the office announcing she and her fiance weren’t going to have sex until after the wedding. After the wedding, she had to let us all know that on the wedding night, he practically ripped her nightgown off because of waiting so long. Sheesh.

    I thought it was vulgar.

  • Bebe

    Wow. I just… Wow. Liz, this tasteful and wonderful response is one of the reasons APW is now my favorite planning-the-wedding site. It’s not just the wedding day shiny, it’s every day after that.

    This is also articulated so much better than my response, which is effectively KEYBOARD SMASH! and sputtering. We’ve decided to wait (both virgins) and his snide, judgemental commentary still makes me want to tell him extremely rude things. We’re getting married almost two years to the day after we decided that being “just” friends wasn’t what we wanted, and we’re not having sex or moving in together beforehand, not even drinking at the wedding, all those things he condemns; that doesn’t make our relationship any more or less valid than the couple I’m friends with who have been together for five years, lived together for one, and have been known to wax lyrical on the topic of winery tours. (In fact, I suspect they may have an advantage in knowing that they can deal with interstate moves and car repair costs with aplomb.)

    I second (third? fifth? gazillionth?) the wondering about what his wife would say about this whole thing, including the wedding night.

    • Bebe

      (Yes, I’m replying to my own comment, but this occurred to me last night after posting.)

      Who were these people who mocked him? If they were strangers, their opinion doesn’t matter; if they were his friends, he needs better friends, one who support his reasonable decisions even if they wouldn’t make the same choice. Those same friends of mine with the winery tours and aplomb? One asked me, a few months after the boy and I started dating, “Have you guys had sex yet?” I told her that we hadn’t and that we were waiting, and her response was to say okay and ask me to carry something over to the table for her. Really shocked and appalled and mocking there, huh? The only thing any friend said to naysay me was that she personally wouldn’t recommend waiting because it would hurt and it would suck to have that happen on the wedding night, and I consider that more under “friendly advice” than naysaying.

  • Rosie

    I’ve just read the original article, the response here and the comments; I think the APW response to this article has been fantastic! I wanted to chime in on the idea that if you do have sex before marriage then that’s it, you’ve got it wrong, no second chances. The guy writing the article says he’s a christian and that’s not really a christian viewpoint. I didn’t have sex with anyone before my husband, but he did – and I’m ok with that! It doesn’t affect our physical relationship and it didn’t spoil our wedding night or make it less special. The article seems to suggest that either you both wait until your wedding night or you both do it with multiple partners: real life is often somewhere in between that.

    • MDBethann

      Right, because what if one partner was married before? Presumably sex was part of their first marriage (and some young people are widowed and may fall in love and get married again)

  • It’s such a sick (I just accidentally wrote “dick” – lawlz) society that we live in, that I can grow up in a town that shames sexuality in girls and women to a very damning level, but shames girls and women if they don’t “put out” or are “too pure” to “let their hair down.” It was such a confusing environment to come of age into, as sex is the cheese that makes pop culture go round… but God kills a kitten any time you masturbate!

    What I appreciated second most about this article was that Liz so very firmly pointed out is that, once again, the sin-hole is up for auction. The sexism in this article made me puke… and I only read the Jezebel version that someone posted much earlier in the comments. Has anyone ever read (or written!?) an article about how they bagged the most handsome man with his handsome johnson? Whether it’s the walk of shame from the sorority or the walk down the aisle in a pristine white church?

    Shit by any other names smells just like… shit.

    What is with this world, and people feeling entitled to comment on and dictate your ladybits?

    The best thing about this article is Liz sharing very honestly about the reasons that she and her husband waited… and I love her for it. Your writing is a very clear picture into a route of choice that many people write off as religious extremism. We waited to have sex until we got married for similar reasons, but YES, life exists after consummation of the marriage… and thank god for that!

  • Beth

    I just want to add, anyone notice he never says anything about her personality? Nothing about their compatibility? He talks about how she is the most beautiful woman in the world and how great the sex was. Gee, sounds to me like something a sex obsessed man would say about each of his “pathetic sexual conquests”. He treats their wedding night like a conquest. Like the APW article points out, basing your marriage on your wedding night isn’t any better just because you were abstinent up until then. Why doesn’t he talk about how abstinence has improved their relationship or challenged them to see commitment through or something… anything that makes it seem like a legitimate reason other than “because we’re Christian and it’s the right way” and then bashing non abstinent couples as harlots, floozies, and drunkards? I am more than happy to read a thoughtful, respectful article about abstinence as a personal CHOICE and will nod my way through it and respect that choice. It wasn’t the choice for me and I don’t see how it’s impacted my upcoming marriage in the slightest. We’re both extremely excited and ready to commit to each other. The wedding night doesn’t mean much to me because it’s not the heart of what our wedding is about and that’s just who we are. Oh, and our wedding is dry. So I guess I’m a sober floozie! Does that make it half the right way? :-p

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