Abstaining From Premarital Sex

From steamy sex scenes in Hollywood rom-coms to hearing our friends’ stories about losing their virginity, sex is constantly reaffirmed and viewed as a key aspect of a relationship.

Some would even declare a relationship ‘unhealthy’, ‘weird’ or ‘lacking’ if there’s an absence of sexual intimacy.

“Every time a guy friend asks me if I’ve had sex with my girlfriend yet and I say no, they’ll say ‘wah shag lah bro’,” says Jake, 25.

But is it really that ‘shag’?

For these young Singaporeans in sexless relationships, they don’t seem to think so.

Building a stronger, lasting relationship through friendship

We often hear not to “move too fast” in a relationship or not to sleep with someone before the third date as it’s important to know the person you’re dating before getting physically intimate.

For Peter, 24, he advocates a sexless relationship to ‘slow things down’. “By not having sex, I feel like I can get to know the girl on a mentally ‘intimate’ level first.”

“If I’m unsure about her, I don’t want her to feel like she’s ‘given’ something to me and get emotionally attached too fast,” he adds.

This is not to say couples who engage in physical intimacy aren’t capable of developing a relationship which doesn’t revolve around sex. But by removing sex from the equation, it pushes the friendship aspect of a relationship to the forefront.

You know they want you for more than your body

Another benefit of “taking it slow”, says Lena, 22, is the ability to determine if the person you’re dating is in for the long haul.

“By explicitly telling guys I’m not into a relationship for the sex, I’ll know if they’re genuinely interested in me,” she adds.

Not having to second-guess if the person you’re dating only wants you for your body, can arguably help boost self-esteem.

Melody, 26, says, “I used to struggle with body image issues and based my self-esteem on how desirable men found me. That’s why I slept with many guys. But with my current partner, we don’t have sex because he took a vow of celibacy.”

“Ironically, I started to feel more loved as I stopped pegging my self-worth to an outward source. If someone loves me, they won’t just want to sleep with me.”

Also read:

9 Singaporean Girls Describe Losing Their Virginity

Pregnancy scares and health issues can strain a relationship

Undeniably, sex is meaningful because of the emotionally bond created between a couple. Between heterosexual couples, it is also significant because of the possibility to create life.

A broken condom or a late period can result in an unwanted pregnancy, pregnancy scare, or a contracted STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), causing strain on a relationship.

“Most of my friends who have sex do it because it feels good and they aren’t ready to become parents. But when shit hits the fan, they become completely stressed out,” says Amanda, 23.

Maintaining the integrity of personal affiliations and choices

In a less common case, Sean, 25, reveals he doesn’t want sex because he’s asexual.

“I think love doesn’t have to involve physical intimacy. I’ve seen friends who cling onto their relationships simply because the sex is good and that often gets messy,” says Sean.

But like Zack, 28, many Singaporean millennials who choose abstinence do so because of their religious upbringing.

“Not having premarital sex allows me to stay true to beliefs. It also helps me reconcile my identity as a sexual being and a Christian.”

Myra, 26, agrees that holding out on sex can help individuals understand its impact and the significance of the act. “I chose to do it after marriage because I wanted to associate physical intimacy with someone I truly care about.”

Your Relationship, Your Choice

Though the idea of a ‘healthy, normal relationship’ usually includes physical intimacy, it doesn’t necessarily mean the lack of it is ‘abnormal’.

As much as we move toward being non-judgemental of a person’s sexual activities, we should recognise those who choose not to engage in any sexual activity are exercising their choices as well.

This article was first published on 4 September 2017 and last updated on 23 March 2024.

Also read: 

Why Prizing My Virginity Is A Concept I Disagree With