As a single (only 26) female Mormon, I think I could relate to this woman because I'm not living the cookie-cutter life with my soon to graduate from law school husband and our second adorable, bouncy baby on the way; instead, I'm living the dissenter's life in a city with my own job, food, car, and whatever else was listed. I too get annoyed that the only thing my relatives care about my life is whether or not there is a man in it. Over Christmas when I answered my aunt's questions about the man I was dating, she responded, "See, that is the reason you needed to go to San Francisco." "Yes," I thought, "if I wasn't dating anyone, than my job/location choices would be completely fruitless regardless of how living here has changed me as a person and the other experiences I am gaining." I hate it. I too, from time to time, feel as if I am not seen as a person but as a social status.
However, although beautifully written, I also felt sorry for her. I felt sorry that for whatever reason she has felt stunted and isolated in her community because she has been denied a sexual relationship (not being married). I thought, how could this woman feel independent and free and yet so tied down to sex and how it defines her?
I feel, sometimes, that in our church we treat the topic of human sexuality as taboo (okay, maybe not sometimes--more like all the time). Like, if we ignore it, than it doesn't exist--at least until you are married. It's an uncomfortable topic. Why can't we open up and admit we are all human? It doesn't mean that we are dirty minded.
I remember as a Mia Maid listening to a chastity lesson, and my advisor, with a nervous twitching lip and eyes that were on anything but us girls, explained, along with the preserving sex until marriage, we should also not pet or neck. At fourteen I thought, "what the heck is necking and petting?" I had visions of a couple vigorously rubbing their necks together. "Weird," I thought, "but, okay, I won't do that." And because the atmosphere was so awkward, I didn't ask the teacher to elaborate. It's taboos like this that I wonder about. If I ever become a young women's leader, I'll make sure to give it to my girls straight instead of using euphemisms and dated language, "You are going to want to touch each other . . . under your underwear! Don't do it."
For me, I think more than just saying, "It's a commandment; I will wait." I've had to honestly come to grips with my own body and my emotional needs. Yes, it would be nice and I could finally find out what it is I am missing, but I also know that there is no way that I would want that level of intimacy with someone who could walk away from me in the morning. In my heart, I know that would leave me psychologically torn and broken. I would need someone who I knew would be there tomorrow morning and the morning after that before I could let him get that close to me.
And then what has made us think that when we get married and finally get to jump in bed, all our sorrows will melt away and life will be bliss and a bed of roses (literally)? What happens if I get married, and we find out that we are not sexually compatible (oh, but if I followed all the rules, the Lord won't let that happen to me!)? Hopefully we've spent enough time together before the wedding night to establish a deep friendship . . . I don't know. I don't think I have an answer for that.
Although I feel sorry for her view that no sex has denied her her rite of passage (if this were true, we'd have a lot of 14 year old adults running around out there), I can't help but think that this is many of our view. But, shh, we are not allowed to talk about it.
I would be interested to hear what others think. And if this is an awkward post, it's only that way because we've made it.