Kevin Hampton was in his late 20s and could be described by most women and some men as tall, dark, and handsome. He wasn’t very athletic, but you couldn’t tell because of his broad shoulders and solid core. He had that “v” shaped frame that some men would kill for and last “No- shave November,” he finally achieved growing a full beard without the patches of thin hairs that drove him crazy as a teen. Kevin wasn’t a pretty boy, but on Friday nights he knew which jeans to put on with his fresh Jordans and a white t-shirt. And if he really wanted to get lucky, he’d skip using the Axe and go straight for the Hugo Boss. Hugo hadn’t failed him yet. With this setup, he was sure to get the attention of a real woman. She’d tell him he smelled good and he’d say she had good taste and follow it up with some small detail about her appearance that she suspected no one noticed. In the past, it was something like a tattoo on her side that you could only notice after an hour or so of watching her dance. At first glance, it looked like a shadow, but if you waited for her to move again you’d see it was a symbol or script. Maybe it was the word “peace” in Chinese. Whatever he chose to say it would work. It always worked.
Kevin was a ladies man. He was a “lady’s man” until recently. He felt stagnant in his relationship of sixteen months and decided it was best to call it off. He felt bad. The sex was good, but for some reason, it wasn’t enough. Maybe he was tripping. Shorty was bad! She practically came with the label “issa snack.” But he wanted more. He needed more. Honestly, it was probably because he listened to one too many Drake songs while scrolling through “#baegoals” posts on Instagram. Yeah, fellas do it too. He had all these thoughts about his grandparents’ relationship and fussed at his youngest sister about always choosing “bad boys.” Kevin had been around the block and had a few sexual experiences that could’ve gone viral if recorded, but that wasn’t real to him. He wanted that Barack and Michelle Obama kind of situation. Only one thing stood in the way of that…him.
He put so much pressure on being the man who can satisfy a woman that he forgot who he was as a man. He felt more comfortable with his ex when the lights were off than at breakfast the next morning. After a few failed attempts at having a conversation, he gave up. Most days he’d avoid conversation by talking about how much he hated soggy cocoa puffs. This would buy him time to finish his cereal and make up another reason why he had to hurry up and get going. Thank God they hadn’t moved in together. What would he do then? Yeah, Kevin was just in another space. His confidence was fluctuating, but he didn’t need reassurance, he needed authenticity. He desperately wanted someone he could talk to while he ate his cocoa puffs and hear how she understood soggy cereal chronicles. Or change the conversation to something she enjoyed. The disconnect wasn’t because she was “stupid” or he wasn’t interested in knowing more about her, they just hadn’t agreed to invest in each other in ways other than sexually. Kevin felt like his next relationship would have to be different. But he didn’t know how.
I was talking to a male friend who was explaining his journey to becoming his best self and his decision to refrain from sexual activity. He wasn’t becoming a monk or anything, he just realized that sex was leading his relationships while other areas, like intellectual stimulation, were getting lost in translation. I smiled, happy to know that another man would be embarking on a journey that would lead him to become a better man and potentially offer his partner everything she would need. Don’t get me wrong, abstaining from sex doesn’t trigger a transformation into your best self. You don’t get a cape or a “born-again virgin” power. What you do get is an opportunity to learn more about yourself.
It’s kind of like the senses. With all your senses working properly you know you have a backup for functioning. If I can’t hear what’s coming, I can always look. Now, what happens when I can’t look? I’ll try to rely on touching what’s around me. I might even ask someone. When you put sex in a carefully wrapped box for temporary holding you allow yourself to embark on a journey of using other elements of who you are to discover yourself and communicate with your partner. Tammy Franklin and Carrington Nakwaash recently did an interview where they both discussed their personal lives and relationships. I won’t go into detail, but I will say that many people are realizing the difference abstinence makes in relationships. If sex is the only way you feel you can communicate with your partner, you might want to try setting some boundaries for your intimacy. For example, using what Tammy calls a “stop sign.” The stop sign indicates your intimate encounter is entering a sex zone and you need to walk away. Or you could avoid the possibility of the sex zone altogether by engaging in various adventures and activities that keep you and your partner on the go like Carrington suggests.
Get creative! And don’t think that women are the one’s leading the struggle. Holla at ya boy, Dozie Ezema who also did an interview and discussed his journey dating. Dozie is a virgin and NFL player out here trying to meet his future wife. Listening to him share his story was a breath of fresh air. It’s been a while since JimDre Westbrook gave us a gift on his birthday and shared he was a 30-year-old virgin. There’s a boldness that is boiling within the Christian community and it’s seasoned with a desire for authenticity and not performance. We are real people with real challenges and experiences and the more we show our vulnerabilities the more we see lives being changed. Sex isn’t bad. But using sex as a sole means for communicating will leave you dissatisfied. Devon Franklin and Meagan Good wrote an entire book about their journey and the pleasure waiting brought into their marriage. You may not be a virgin once you get married and that’s okay. You may be a virgin when you get married and that’s okay too. Your virginity status isn’t as important as how you share your mind, body, and soul with your partner. You can always learn how to effectively satisfy your partner and like Tammy Franklin said, “do it and do it well.”