My purity ring gave me the strength to take control of my sex life

Jan 12, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. ET
Image: Sergey Postonogov / EyeEm/Getty

I have a purity ring. I got it when I was nearly fifteen years old, accompanied by a lovely ceremony for which I wore a fluffy, beautiful white dress. After waltzing with my father and performing a dance as my talent, I, along with nine other girls, made a promise to not have sex until I was married.

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When I turned twenty, that promise was broken. I cried right after the deed was done, and my bewildered boyfriend had to console me. I felt like I had failed. That feeling continued, along with the pleasure from having sex, and I felt conflicted.

I liked sex, but I felt ashamed for having it. That feeling continued as I got older, but it eventually waned and evolved into an entirely different feeling: empowerment.

It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head. One day after “doing it” (Insert teenage girl giggle here), I thought, “Hot damn. I DID that,” and had an amazingly productive day afterwards. I got through my entire to-do list, enjoyed wonderful memories of the interlude from that morning, and there wasn’t any shame, just an afterglow.

Sex had become empowering. It was one thing to feel an energy boost, but an entirely different thing to feel as powerful as I did. After the years of looking at my ring and thinking, “My father would kill me if he knew the copious amounts of sex I just had with my boyfriend,” I grew to think of it as a reminder to not feel pressured to have sex (or not have sex).

The ring now says “It’s your decision.”

It is my decision whether or not I should have sex with whichever partner I choose. It is my decision whether or not I have sex at all. The choice is mine, and if the other party doesn’t like it, too damned bad. That outlook has helped me feel more open to exploring sex. There are so many ways to have it that I didn’t truly think of until my thoughts about sex in general changed.

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It just so happened that I came into this new way of feeling toward the end of the year, so in true new year's tradition, I made a goal list just for sex. First goal? Learn how to orgasm faster alone. I’m sure it will bring me a source of pride, in addition to not feeling so pent up.

The ring isn't all bad. It encouraged me to wait until I was older to have sex. By the time I had it, I was on birth control, understood the necessity of using protection, and was open enough to talk about it honestly with my doctor. I'm glad I waited until I was nearly 20. Having sex brought emotions that I know I wouldn't have been able to handle when I was 16 or 17 years old. It gave me time to be more responsible with my body, and my emotions.

I'm 25 years old, and it took me five years to feel this positive about sex and now that I do, I won't look back.

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Originally published on BlogHer