Don’t Believe the Hype: Keeping It 100 About Abstinence

Don’t Believe the Hype: Keeping It 100 About Abstinence

Let’s set aside our inhibitions and have a real conversation about sex, relationships, and abstinence.

Despite biblical teachings (1 Thessalonians 4:3), tons of people would argue that, in today’s society, it’s almost unrealistic to think that anyone would wait to have sex until marriage. The world we live in today tells us that abstinence is an antiquated practice or that no one in their right mind would marry someone without determining whether the sexual chemistry is there first. The list goes on and on, but luckily, some people out there still advocate for waiting until marriage to share something so intimate with their future spouse.

Before we really dive in, I would first like to point out that there is, in fact, a distinction between abstaining from sex and just not having sex. A person might not be sexually active for a variety of reasons. However, abstinence is defined as an intentional and deliberate action to refrain from sexual activity; it is making the decision to save all sexual acts until marriage.

In her book The Naked Truth: About Sex, Love and Relationships, abstinence advocate Lakita Garth says that “abstinence is the art of self-control, self-discipline and delayed gratification.” I get it. You’re probably thinking, Who wants to work that hard for something that is supposed to bring you pleasure? But Garth reminds her readers that there is, in fact, a wonderful reward in the end.

“The fact is, the happiest sex lives are found among those who wait until marriage to have sex,” Garth says. “Those who wait are richly rewarded.”

Waiting to have sex has so many benefits, but here are a few points to start:

Abstinence is more common than you think.

Studies show that only 3%, or 1 in 30 Americans, waited until marriage to have sex. Sure, this number sounds a bit disheartening, but if you stop to think about just how many people that is, it’s not too bad. In fact, that figure means that about 10 million people in America, as we speak, have abstained until marriage. And of course, these stats are even greater within religious groups.

Secondary virginity is a real thing.

Yes, secondary virginity is “a thing.” More and more singles have made the decision to rededicate their lives—and bodies—to God by abstaining from sex. Regardless of their past, they made the decision to start over and choose abstinence even though they initially made the decision to be sexually active in the past. It’s no secret that having sex before marriage has its own negative consequences, including unplanned pregnancy, higher chances of being a single parent, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), the list goes on and on.

In fact, studies show that 40 percent of children were born to unwed mothers, with nearly two-thirds of those mothers under the age of 30. Nine million new cases of STDs are reported among teens and young adults each year. And regardless of whether you have experienced these negative consequences, making the decision to be a secondary virgin means you can look forward to a future free from exposure to these previous hazards. After all, who has time to stress about an unplanned pregnancy or STDs?

The Wait” is so worth it.

Making the decision to be abstinent is so much deeper than the physical. It provides the opportunity for your relationship to become stronger mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It’s the beauty in sharing something so intimate with your spouse and the idea of knowing that you are both truly committed to one another.

Hollywood couple Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin wrote an entire book on the power of abstinence in The Wait. In addition to being more spiritually and emotionally grounded, the couple is open about how amazing sex can be with your partner after making the decision to abstain until marriage. “There is nothing wrong with sex and sexuality,” the couple says in a recent interview with Essence magazine. “God created both for the enjoyment of married couples.”

The intimacy that happens within one’s marriage is much greater knowing that sex is something that is only shared between you and your spouse. It’s definitely the icing on the cake.

Can you think of a better option?

Let’s face it, you might have already tried other options besides abstinence, and none of them have worked. Then again, you might be one of those people who made the decision to be abstinent from the very beginning and chose to stick with it until your wedding day. Meagan Good actually chose the former and initially opted to do it her way instead of God’s way. “God had let me make my mistakes,” she says. “Now it was time to do it [His] way.”

In a society of instant gratification, abstinence certainly doesn’t seem ideal for today’s couples, especially people who are seriously attracted to one another. However, I think we all can agree that waiting to have sex until marriage just might be the best decision of your life.

 

Did you catch Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday? Check out what they had to say about the benefits of abstinence below:

 

Is it unrealistic to expect people to wait to have sex before marriage? Share your thoughts below.

4 Tips on How to Land Your Next Job

4 Tips on How to Land Your Next Job

We get it. Being unemployed can be an extremely stressful experience, so here are a few tips to help you land your next job:

Attend Job Fairs

Job fairs are a great way to get in front of local employers who are hiring. And while you’re at it, be sure to bring several copies of your resume. There’s a good chance that some employers may conduct on-the-spot interviews.

Consult Within Your Circle

Your family and friends are sometimes great resources to help you find your next job. Ask around to see if anyone has heard of companies hiring in your area.

Connect with Local Headhunters

Did you know there are companies out there that will do all of the job hunting for you? There are several companies that are paid by employers to help find suitable candidates. All you have to do is contact them and they will take it from there.

Google It

I think we can all agree that Google has changed the entire process of job-hunting for the better. Try typing in key terms for your desired industry and an entire list of potential employers will automatically populate the search engine.

 

Download the FREE UMI Connection app for more employment tips and other ways to best use your talents for God’s work.

Writer Spotlight: Katara Patton

Writer Spotlight: Katara Patton

Katara ImageFor the next two weeks, we will be featuring some of the speakers and panelists of the upcoming UMI Christian Writers Conference that will be held on Friday, April 22-23. Up next is a brief Q&A with Author, Editor and Publisher Katara Patton who will be hosting a workshop on top writing tips. Find out more about Katara and her journey to become a successful writer below:

When did you discover that you had a passion for writing?

I loved writing as a child; I really liked my 8th grade grammar class and my teacher too. In that class, I won an essay contest and I got to read the essay on a local radio show program. My teacher was the most supportive. When I told her of an idea to publish a school newspaper, she helped me do it. I think we only had one issue, but I was bitten by the desire to write and publish then.

Do you prefer writing fiction or non-fiction?

I like writing non-fiction, however I’ve done a bit of fiction within work (like Sunday School curriculum) and it can be fun too.

What are you looking forward to most about the UMI Christian Writers Conference?

Seeing a lot of old writing friends and giving new faces information to help them break into writing for UMI as well as in other outlets.

With so many other genres and styles of writing, how did you make the decision to pursue a career in Christian writing and publishing?

I’ve always loved Sunday school and studying God’s word. When I realized that UMI was in the Chicagoland area, it seemed like a natural fit. While working on Christian material, I noticed my spiritual life growing by leaps and bounds. I actually get to read the Bible as part of “work” and have often found answers to apply to current personal situations–just by writing Christian material. My faith is so integral in my life, it would show up in any style of writing, but I’m thankful I get to call my work: Christian.

Do you have one piece of advice that you’d like to share with someone who is interested in pursuing a career in writing?

Write. Honestly, that’s it. Write whenever you have the opportunity. Don’t snub your nose at the outlet or the way you begin…if it is only a poem on the back of a church bulletin, it is an opportunity to use your gift. Any writing opportunity can lead to so many other opportunities to write. My first book series was “given” to me by a publisher because I had written anonymously (without credit) for several other authors. If I had only been looking to write books that I got to plaster my name over, I would have passed up those great opportunities and would not have been on the publisher’s mind.

 

For more information about the UMI Christian Writers Conference, including how to register, visit the website here.

 

 

The 31st Annual Stellar Awards: Old School v. New School

The 31st Annual Stellar Awards: Old School v. New School

Stellar Awards ImageFor more than 30 years, the Stellar Gospel Music Awards has captivated viewers everywhere, and this year was no different. The 31st annual awards show was full of comedy—thanks to co-hosts Rickey Smiley and Sherry Shepherd—legendary guest appearances, and of course, music, while honoring some of the greatest gospel artists in the world. And while the entire show was entertaining from start to finish, continue reading for some of the highlights during the greatest night in gospel music:

The Year of the Fellas

The men of gospel definitely showed up and showed out last night with everything from eccentric attire (yeah, we see you, Charles Jenkins) to memorable performances by Brian Courtney Wilson, William McDowell, and the legendary Brat Pack, including Donald Lawrence, Hezekiah Walker, and Ricky Dillard. The trio took the stage to honor the late O’Landa Draper, who received the Allstate James Cleveland Lifetime Achievement Award for performing hits such as “Gotta Feelin’” and “My Soul Doth Magnify the Lord.” But the brightest star of the night was Anthony Brown, who took home a record-breaking 10 Stellar Awards, including Song of the Year and Artist of the Year!

A Night of Living Legends

We literally don’t know where to start while recapping an evening filled with some of the biggest names in gospel music! In addition to special appearances by Shirley Caesar and Bobby Jones, artists including Karen Clark Sheard and Donnie McClurkin also graced us with performances. For the second year in a row, some of our favorite gospel legends were also honored for their contribution to the genre. They included Jonathan Slocumb, Yolanda Adams, Marvin Sapp, and Tramaine Hawkins. And as if all of that wasn’t enough, Mr. Kirk Franklin rounded out the evening’s line-up with a finale performance of his latest hit, “Wanna Be Happy.”

New Sound, New Generation

Although the awards show was filled with gospel veterans, the Stellar rookies were definitely effective in making their presence known. Not only did newcomer Casey J. perform her smash hit “Fill Me Up God,” but the songbird was nominated for an astounding 11 Stellars and walked away with the New Artist of the Year award for “The Truth,” which reached #1 on the Billboard Gospel Charts! And as if we hadn’t seen enough, Travis Greene rocked the stage during a candid and heartfelt performance for his Stellar Awards debut.

Visit the official website of the Stellar Gospel Music Awards for a complete list of last night’s winners.

 

What were some of your favorite moments from the 2016 Stellar Awards? Share them below.

 

Someone You Should Know: Claudette Colvin

Someone You Should Know: Claudette Colvin

claudette_colvinRosa Parks is affectionately known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement” after she refused to surrender her bus seat to a White passenger. But what some may not know is that there was another African American female who performed this same courageous act several months before Parks.

Her name is Claudette Colvin, and with thick glasses framing her small face, and roller set curls hanging on her forehead, a curious and awakened Claudette Colvin defied the law and—to many—logic. At only 15 years old, her disobedience was anything but sophomoric. In her time and geographical location, Blacks were harassed, beaten, and lynched without regard to age or sex. Despite grueling conditions of the Jim Crow South, on March 2, 1955, the young Claudette stood her ground on a Montgomery, Alabama bus and refused to give up her seat for a White passenger.

There were several reasons why Claudette’s valiant efforts were suppressed and not widely known. One of those reasons was that because of her age, Claudette was considered “unreliable” by leading civil rights groups. In addition to ageism, classism and colorism may have played a role as well: Claudette was from a working-class family, and according to her, that fact—as well as her dark complexion—made her an unpalatable choice to garner the sympathies of the masses, both Black and White. Claudette also had one other undesirable issue separating her from history books: a few months after her arrest, Claudette became pregnant. Thus, the upright Rosa Parks, who was considered “morally clean” by then NAACP leader E.D. Nixon, overshadowed the dark, poor, unwed pregnant teenager.

In 1956, Colvin was one of four plaintiffs in Browder v. Gayle, which ruled that Montgomery’s segregated bus system was unconstitutional.

 

Let’s talk about it. Can you think of other unsung, Black American heroes? Share their stories in the comments below.

 

Interested in learning more about other figures in black history? Read the courageous story of Cathay Williams here.