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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Abstinent? That’s hot.

    Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Tim Glass
    Tim Glass / Arizona Daily Wildcat

    Kellie and Andy Jeffrey, both 22-year-old UA alumni, have known each other since their freshman year. They met through Navigators, a Christian ministry on campus. They began dating their junior year, and were married 11 months ago.

    For the year and a half that they dated, the Jeffreys did not go physically farther than kissing, and for much of that time, only on the cheek.

    “”I didn’t actually kiss her on the lips until I proposed to her,”” Andy Jeffrey said.

    While today’s campus culture seems steeped in casual sex, not all UA students take the decision to have sex lightly. Many carefully consider when, and if, to have sex.

    For young people who have decided to abstain from sex until marriage, the choice is often one they’ve been committed to for most of their lives.

    “”Since I figured out or was told what sex was, that was kind of the plan,”” said Ross Wilhelmi, a vocal music education senior.

    For Lauren Case, a civil engineering senior, waiting for marriage has always been the goal. She said it’s “”kind of hard to say”” how long she’s known she would choose abstinence before marriage. “”I guess forever,”” she added.

    Brittany Winter, an engineering senior who preferred not to use her real name to protect her privacy, considered abstinence as one of her possible paths growing up.

    “”I had never really said, ‘Oh, I’m definitely waiting ‘till marriage,'”” she said. “”I think it was, ‘Oh, I could wait, and I’m not going to rush it. If I don’t feel ready, I will wait.'””

    Parental influences also played a part in these young people’s decisions about abstinence, though their parents’ experiences varied.

    Wilhelmi’s parents had not slept with one another or anyone else before they were married. “”I had that example in my life and saw that it worked for them,”” he said.

    Andy Jeffrey, on the other hand, saw the damage a premarital sexual relationship had on his parents. They dated for 10 years before they were married, and had sex during that time.

    “”They told me how that was such a hard thing for them once they were married,”” Jeffrey said. “”It took awhile for sex to feel OK because before marriage, it was been riddled with all this guilt.””

    Winter and her parents have always talked frankly about sex.

    “”I knew my parents had had sex before they got married,”” she said. “”They didn’t really expect that I would wait. It was just, ‘be safe,’ basically. ‘Be smart about it.’ I always had that kind of openness.””

    Winter, who is currently in a serious relationship, chose to have sex with her boyfriend more than a year after they started dating.

    “”We definitely talked, before it happened, a lot about it,”” she said. “”At first, I definitely mentioned, ‘Well, I’m not sure if I’m going to wait ’till marriage. I might. But I’m not at the stage of being ready at all.'””

    Case is also in a long-term relationship, but she and her boyfriend are committed to waiting until marriage to have sex. They have set boundaries for their relationship to help keep those desires in check.

    “”We’re open when we feel like we’ve gone too far,”” she said.

    The Jeffreys had boundaries before they were married, as well.

    One of their chief rules was “”no dark, secluded places,”” Kellie Jeffrey said.

    They also avoided kissing, even after their engagement.

    “”We tried not to kiss the last month of the engagement because that can lead to so much more,”” Andy Jeffrey said.

    Though Wilhelmi isn’t currently involved with anyone, he remembers how complicated the physical components of a relationship can become.

    “”The more that I pursued a physical relationship, the more I wanted and the less satisfied I was,”” he said. “”That was a red flag for me.””

    He has also learned from others’ experiences with premarital sex.

    “”People (I know) who had waited all were completely satisfied,”” he said. “”Those who hadn’t waited seemed to have regrets that they had brought past baggage into their marriages.””

    Kellie Jeffrey said not having such past baggage has made their sex life better.

    “”(Waiting for marriage) makes sex so much more enjoyable,”” she said. “”We came as blank canvasses. ‘How can I please you? How can you please me?’ Not muddying it up with all these previous experiences.””

    “”Andy knows me,”” she added.

    They have enjoyed getting to know each other sexually, after spending so much time learning about each other in other ways.

    “”Waking up the day after we got married, I was just surprised that it felt so normal to be waking up next to him,”” Kellie Jeffrey said. “”We expected it to feel weird and funny, but it was wonderful.””

    Andy Jeffrey said even the process of getting “”good”” at sex was fun for a married couple.

    “”There was this enjoyable period where we could just laugh at our clumsiness,”” he said.

    Winter, too, is happy with her decision. While she and her boyfriend didn’t wait for marriage, she said she believes they have trust and respect for one another.

    “”I think it’s just about continuing to explore each other and get to know each other,”” she said. “”It’s this thing we now share.

    “”It’s just the two of us.””

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