I decided to share this post in the light of this recent post. I believe that if a mature single wants to practice abstinence from sex, it is important to make it a personal decision. Be sure it's not because you're scared of sex, or you feel pressured by society or some particular people to suppress your emotions. Stop looking for passages or verses in the bible to back you up. Don't depend on your pastor to prop you up because God forbid, he/she could be the one you'll be getting down with the next day. Pastors aren't angels or saints.
Part of knowing yourself as a mature single is knowing where you personally stand with sex. Let your reason and unbiased thinking guide you to make a personal decision. That decision could be to abstain completely, and that is fine. That decision could also be kiss, cuddle, or even have sex, and that is OK too. Yes, I mean it. Sex can be beautiful, and it is a natural part of life.
I think the biggest guilt trip for singles isn't that they have sex, but that they think they have failed someone else - Parents, Friends, Society, Culture, etc... rarely themselves. I think this misses the mark because the most important person here is you. There is nothing to be afraid of and you're not dirty if you engage in planned, protected and most important, loving sex, as long as it is what you choose to do. Sex is not taboo, and it is imperative as a adult to root out that mindset.
I've said it here before that I think young women over 25, who have graduated from University should own their sexuality. These are women, mature enough to take care of themselves, who have jobs, and who are independent and emotionally in a place to deal with sex. I am by no means promoting promiscuity but I do support a young lady's choice to express her love for a man with whom she has a serious and exclusive, dedicated relationship.
I'm not underestimating the emotional, physical, or spiritual impact of sex. However, with maturity comes responsibility. As you learn to deal with colleagues, road rage and vehicle licensing, learn also who you are when it comes to sex. I believe getting the issue out of the way helps a woman build the confidence required to navigate mature relationships with men, including Future Husband (FH) without sounding like she wants to engage in a trade by barter - my hymen for a gold ring - going, going, gone! And to be clear, no one SHOULD HAVE TO kiss, cuddle, or have sex with anyone if they don't want to.
Examine yourself, bearing in mind that sex is something to be enjoyed, and not a duty to your husband, parents, inlaws, pastors or country. Your body belongs to you and you don't have to grin and bear sex, you have to own it. Quit the victim/martyr mentality and take charge. A lot of us grow up fearing sex, either due to false education from parents, or religious indoctrination. Well, you're an adult now. Before it is too late, FACE YOUR FEARS AND CONQUER THEM.
There are various ways to negotiate sex, and you need to have the conversation as early as is necessary - like when starting a friendship, or when your romantic relationship is being defined. During this heart-to-heart with your partner, you can both agree to abstain, compromise on a limit (first base, second, third, etc), or decide to go the whole way.
Choosing one or the other does not make you a saint or a slut, as long as it is your personal decision. If you ever feel forced or coerced at any stage, BEWARE. Remember too, to take care of yourself, and discuss the following with your exclusive partner - health and safety, birth control, your likes and dislikes, etc.
It is great if you can maintain virginity to marriage, but do not come ignorant, or with low self esteem or worse, misplaced virtuous pride. What is more likely to lead to discord in marriage isn't a lady's virginity or otherwise, but the emotional and physical relationship she is able to build with her husband after the wedding/honeymoon is done and forgotten.
And again, it boils down to is communication. What are your communication skills? What do you talk about with people you date? Can you agree to disagree with maturity?
Sex is one of the biggest issues between couples. It can be your strongest bond, or it can be your weakest link. It matters little how good or bad someone is in bed - these things are relative anyway - more important is that a couple can agree on the when, how, why, if and where to do it. And like in most marital issues, it is better if you can start the conversation before the marriage.
Some people prefer to wait for the pastor to moderate premarital counselling for them, that is also OK. However, if you're private and independent, you may wish to avoid the chances of your topic being used for next church sermon. I believe that being able to handle issues without a third-party builds trust and respect between a couple, both before and after marriage. So do talk about sex, have sex if you want to, just take it for what it is, a natural, physical expression of desire and love between two consenting adults.
There are of course no hard and fast rules about relationships, this is simply a personal opinion.