Not just a physical thing.

16 and I asked for a purity ring. I held my hands in the air during worship songs and I was confident that I knew what sex was all about – and that I didn’t need any part of it until I swapped that purity ring for a wedding ring.

18 and my theory didn’t last long. I felt like a fraud, perhaps only wearing a ring because I was afraid of the repercussions I imagined from not wearing it. I call this a twisted form of my anxiety. Besides, he told her he’d never date a girl who wears a purity ring.

18 and I’ve made decisions that aren’t in line with a purity ring. Fallen for a grand cliché and tackled the aftermath of it.

19 and sex is something that happens in relationships – when you love each other – but also when you’re falling in love with each other.

20 and people say that sex can be just a physical thing and I half believe them but haven’t figured out why so many of us always feel so empty. We spend months trying to extract the meaning out of sex while simultaneously longing for connection and somehow we’ve ignored the absurdity. It’s just sex until they don’t text you back. It’s just sex until they don’t show up. It’s just sex until someone’s feelings get hurt.

21 and I’m starting to figure out why people feel so empty.

22 but I haven’t figured it out enough to change my mind completely.

23 and I found some exceptions to the rule. Realized that people use words like “exclusive” to lower the risks of commitment but still receive the reward. It feels better, in the moment.

23 and sex is a prerequisite to a relationship. Most of us have slept with somebody before deciding to date them. Let alone deciding to marry them. Most of us have taken off our clothes before talking about our families. I’m told you have to test the waters but it all sounds something like a trial run. Sounds like we’re swimming in the shallow end.

23 and sex is emotionally and physically exhausting.

24 and I don’t think we’ve given sex enough credit. I don’t think I always gave it enough credit.

24 and I haven’t waited until marriage but I’ve learned that there’s something to be said for waiting. That you have license to own a “dry spell” despite what your friends might say. That no, it’s not just a physical thing. I don’t ever want it to be just a physical thing.