Nowadays, sex is everywhere, flashing on TV, steaming up movies, breaking through music and ruling social media. However, some millennials are choosing to just “say no” to sex.
Millennials born in the 1990s are having less sex than Generation X’ers born in the ‘60s. The General Social Study found that 15 percent of millennial adults have never “knocked the boots.”
The Signal spoke with three students in Atlanta who are not getting down and dirty because of reasons stemming from Christian values to not feeling sexual attraction.
Jaime Smith* is a 22-year-old virgin and has never wanted sex. The non-binary, gendered Georgia State student doesn’t get the hots for anyone, ever. Last year when they realized they’re asexual, or someone who doesn’t get attracted to people, it all clicked.
“Even when I have a really close bond with someone, I don’t want to have sex with them,” Smith, who identifies with “they” and “them” pronouns, said. “I would love to be around them a lot. I would love to hang out with them, talk with them a lot. But I don’t need sex.”
However, Smith does has a sex drive. They explained that this is similar to how straight people only want to get it on with the opposite sex. Smith just doesn’t want to do the nasty with anyone. On a scale from one to 10, Smith’s sex drive ranks as low as a two or three, because they’ve never orgasmed.
“I went out with a friend and bought a little bullet vibrator…but I don’t use it. I never feel the need to,” Smith said. “I just do not care.”
Even though Smith doesn’t feel the need for hanky panky, they’re capable of catching romantic feelings for any gender or sex. But Smith’s admiration turns from hot to cold when someone says they’re interested in them. This is a characteristic of a lithromantic person, which Smith identifies as.
“I absolutely do not need my feelings returned, because when someone returns my romantic feelings then my feelings disappear. They are gone,” Smith said. “And usually I am just a little disgusted by the person who does feel romantically for me. In the past I thought it was kind of a commitment thing, but it doesn’t make sense for me.”
These feelings have echoed in past relationships and left Smith feeling the sting of “buyer’s remorse”, after realizing that someone liked them back.
“I went in. I got someone, and I immediately regretted everything,” Smith said. “Later on I felt grossed out.”
Smith doesn’t see a future of getting married or having kids due to their sexuality. Their asexuality wasn’t a choice like it is to become celibate. It’s always been a part of them.
“I feel like I live on a different plane of existence than everyone else. I feel detached from the common goals of people. It’s really refreshing in mind, but also kind of troublesome that I keep having to repeat to my parents that I don’t want to be married. I don’t want to have kids,” Smith said.
Instead, Smith maintains queerplatonic relationships, which is when someone has strong affectionate feelings for another. Smith hugs and kisses queerplatonic friends on the cheek to show affection, but the pair knows those aren’t romantic gestures. The furthest they’ve gone physically is cuddling.
“If I see an attractive person, I think ‘oh they are pretty. Oh how nice,’” Smith said. “And that’s the extent of it. I don’t want to have sex after I see a pretty person.”
Waiting until marriage
On the other hand, some battle the temptation of sexual attraction daily while trying to wait until marriage for sex.
Nick Mason, 22 and a Georgia State student, became celibate about a year ago to strengthen his walk as a Christian. He made the decision to abstain during a sermon at Victory Church ATL, when he felt convicted because of his past decisions.
“Before I met God, I personally thought it was cool to have sex with whoever I wanted. And I thought I was the man for it,” Mason said. “But that’s contrary to what God’s word says. He told me to wait for my wife, and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Mason’s celibacy means no type of sex is allowed, and kissing is an act that would be determined acceptable amongst himself, his partner and God. He said being celibate “celebrates the woman so much more.”
“I am not a cold, unloving person. I am full of love and I’m ready to pour it all out into one person,” Mason said. “And I think one of that is waiting until marriage so I can prove to her like ‘I waited for you through all of this. Even when we were together we waited and now I can pour all of this love into you. And I don’t feel anything for anyone else. My eyes are only for you. My heart is only for you.’”
Last year Mason started the Man Cave chapter at Georgia State to create a student group focused on Christian fellowship among men. He said the club, spanning 90 members, serves as a support system. But Mason still fights temptation when walking around campus.
“There’s women that wear booty shorts and all kinds of stuff,” Mason said. “Once you look at that, you end up lusting over it. You end up thinking about it as you go to bed. When you wake up you’re thinking about sex, sex, sex, sex. I think it’s one of the hardest things, watching where your eyes go and where your heart goes too.”
Dating and abstaining
Sex is a gift that Julian Payne, a 22-year-old virgin, wants to give to his spouse to honor God. The Kennesaw State University student has never desired to give his body to someone he isn’t married to.
“I feel like when you get physical with someone else, it makes the relationship kind of hazy and kind of blurs the lines. So it’s hard to tell if you really love that person or not or if it’s just like you guys are intimate physically,” Payne said.
However, while dating his first and current girlfriend, there was a moment when Payne’s resolve wavered during a session of passionate kissing. Things got a little too hot, and he had to tell his date “goodbye” for the night.
“You can’t claim their body for yours, because it’s not. And same for you. Your body isn’t theirs, because there is no covenant,” Payne said.
Payne set boundaries on how he kisses his girlfriend. The pair also goes on dates in public places, and avoids going to each other’s private dorm rooms. He uses a test to determine how far is too far to go with his girlfriend.
“My test is if that person were to break up with me and like I guess five years later I was at their wedding, would I be able to look at their spouse with dignity or would I have to hang my head because of what we did?” Payne said. “I kind of treat my girlfriend like I’m dating someone else’s future wife.”
Outside looking in
The only time Smith feels discontented about their asexuality and lack of sex drive is when seeing sexual imagery or hearing people talk about their complicated love lives.
“If I ever do feel like it is frustrating, is when the sex is thrown in my face in the media. That’s the only time I think it’s frustrating,” Smith said. “Then I am frustrated with the people around me that are just like, they had sex.”
Mason prays and reads the Bible daily to help him maintain his celibacy. He’s also cut out sexual triggers from his life, such as looking at “booty models” and porn.
He advises someone who wants to become celibate to know the reason why they’re making that choice and to form a plan.
“If you are in the habit of casual sex with people, then it’s going to be harder to break that habit. But the longer you go without it, the more you realize that you don’t really need it,” Mason said. “Before it was like a need. I needed to breathe. I needed to eat. I need to have sex. Now, it’s like I need to breathe. I need to eat. And I need to have God in my life.”
Over time, Smith has come to terms with their asexuality and feels happy to know they are not alone.
“I felt so much relief and so happy that I found a word that described me, that to know there are other people who are out there that feel the same way I do,” Smith said. “I was valid. I existed. I feel very free about where I am.”
* A name in article has been changed to protect the identity of those in this story. The name used is an alias. Terminology
Asexual- free from sexual desires or sexuality
Lithrosexual- can be attracted to a person but not desire reciprocation *as defined by Urban Dictonary
Celibate- a person who abstains from sexual relations
Abstinence- restraint from any indulgence of appetite
Virgin- a person who has never had sexual intercourse. Definitions from Dictionary.com