In this day and age, a large chunk of society has embraced the fact that women can rule over their bodies and do whatever they want to do with it—just as it should be.
Apart from the freedom to engage in casual sex, this freedom also includes the decision to remain celibate until they get hitched. PhilSTAR L!FE talked to three women who opted for the latter—a decision on the opposite side of the spectrum that’s equally important to be regarded with understanding and respect.
Here’s what it’s like to wait until marriage to do it for the very first time:
Mariz Umali, 41, grew up with the “romantic” idea of giving herself completely to the one that God planned for her. Additionally, it had to be done within the bounds of the Sacrament of Matrimony.
Raised in a religious environment, she has been active in the church since she was seven, having studied in Catholic schools in elementary and high school. “At one point, I even dreamt of becoming a nun myself,” she said.
Eventually, she became a Marian devotee, which fortified her personal value about virginity. “Given this kind of exposure and background, it would be easy to understand that chastity and purity have been instilled early on in my life,” she shared. “It has been ingrained so deeply within me that virginity has been at the core of my being and at the top of my mind and heart even when I had boyfriends growing up.”
Her decision was faced with different reactions: from surprise and disbelief to mild disapproval. Some of her friends constantly asked her about it, which later on made her feel anxious, awkward, and “even troubled, because even if I say nothing has happened yet, they will just raise their eyebrows and laugh at me as if I’m lying.”
How did she deal with the naysayers? “Nonchalantly,” she said quickly. “Deadma! Desisyon ko ‘to. Walang pakialamanan. Walang basagan ng trip—in the same light that I respect whatever decision they make for themselves.”
She could only turn out grateful for sharing the same values with her circle of friends. “To be fair, there were more people who appreciated, respected, and admired my decision.”
It took her four long-term relationships before she realized she has found the one in Raffy Tima, who is also a GMA reporter. The waiting game turned out to be “one of the best decisions I have made in life,” she continued, clarifying that she has nothing against people who engage in casual sex. “I am not in a position to judge them. It’s their life and decision anyway.”
Bernadeth Manipon-Laxina, who tied the knot with Michael just last year, shared that staying pure has long been within her and her husband’s hearts. “It’s part of our longing to seek true love,” she mused. “Every girl dreamt of being loved fully and wholly, and I believe that it is not a question of why, but how—because it will not be easy.”
It took a lot of effort, prayers, and choices for her to stick to such commitment. “Yes, temptations were there especially since we love each other dearly,” she admitted. “All the raw emotions, feelings, happiness, and everything else played along and it wasn’t easy when we were alone.”
As a couple, they decided to come up with practical ways of refusing sex. “We would always go out, even on overnight stays, with friends and family. We also encouraged each other to do our own interests. For him, it was music. Mine was theater acting,” the 33-year-old mused, adding that devotions and prayers helped them stay on track.
Berna’s decision made her see the “true significance of sex—that it was made to be both procreative and unitive, that it’s more than just two bodies being together, that it’s our wedding vows made flesh.”
Amity Yap-Atienza, 30, isn’t exactly comfortable with using the term “pure” as “there are a lot of angles that would have to be considered if purity by its pure meaning were the result or basis of not being sexually active before marriage,” she explained.
Pointing out her upbringing as a huge factor in her decision, she declared that while the reasoning was highly patriarchal at first, it “eventually developed in a more personal vow that centered on myself, prioritized my comfort, and developed my identity more.”
Aside from avoiding places and situations where she “couldn’t control myself,” her decision to stay a virgin until marriage turned out well with the respect of her husband, who simply understood that no means no.
“I treat my decision as just one of my many okay-self-this-is-what-we-do things in my life,” she shared. “I would say, however, that I am happy with my discipline and I am thankful that my boyfriend for eight years before marriage waited for me and respected my decision not to be sexually active with him.”
Most importantly, it revealed so much about herself. “During our honeymoon, I realized that personally, sex is something I couldn’t do with anyone else. I realized how special it is that I couldn’t do with anyone else. I was happy that Bon is the first and last man that I’d share that experience with.”
For Amity, it’s about time for such decision to not be equated with subjecting women to patriarchy. “If we are comfortable with not being touched before marriage, then let us be. The decision to not be sexually active is for my own sanity, my own security, and to not serve as my partner’s trophy after the wedding ceremonies. We should stop thinking about that in this perspective,” she concluded.
Article thumbnails from the subjects' Instagram accounts