People are getting married at a later date. According to the data I looked at, the average age at first marriage in the US is around 30+ for males and 28+ for females. These averages have been going up slowly for several decades and are at an all-time high in the US.
One article identifies 4 reasons behind this phenomenon: 1) Women are more independent and career-driven than ever before. 2) Titles matter less and less (people who are practically married, but not legally). 3) Couples are choosing to live together pre-marriage. 4) Divorce rates are startling (people are more cautious).
I would add to that list the high cost of marriage and the fact that more people are going to college, which is generally not viewed as a good time to settle down.
If you are a Christian, then sleeping around, pornography, and other sexual outlets are not an option. (To say nothing of the numerous reasons why indulging them is not smart.) Libido varies dramatically, between men and women, and between members of the same sex. It also varies with age. Libido for most males peaks during teenage years, which is ironically when a man is least ready socially, emotionally, and financially to enter into a committed relationship.
In sum, libido is an extremely powerful force that needs to be intelligently managed for a period of time when no viable outlet is present. For most people, this period of time will last several years long.
A few things to keep in mind that may help you.
1. At its core, sex drive is an energy that motivates us to connect with other human beings.
As I talked about in I Was Made To Connect With Other People, having healthy relationships with family and friends can relieve bodily tension. Personally speaking, the times I feel the most isolated are the times I tend to experience the most sexual temptation. And the times I most the most connected with others are when I tend to experience the least sexual temptation.
2. You can still be in a relationship even if you are not ready to get married tomorrow.
When Christians pursue romantic relationships, they do so with something lifelong and lasting in mind. However, marital compatibility isn’t immediately obvious. You have to spend time getting to know the other person, and time getting to know yourself. While being in a relationship can increase sexual temptation, if boundaries aren’t maintained, in my experience it can also relieve it when they are. When you are being emotionally and mentally stimulated, especially by a member of the opposite sex, you may find that your desire for immediate sexual gratification is not as urgent.
3. Sexual transmutation is real.
Sexual transmutation is about redirecting sexual energy into other non-sexual pursuits. Many athletes, artists, inventors, and businesspeople have done this throughout history. I encourage you to read this article on sexual transmutation with references to celebrities like Steve Jobs, Kanye West, and Muhammad Ali. In the mean time, here is a famous quote by Napoleon Hill on sexual transmutation that aptly captures the main idea.
Sex desire is the most powerful of human desires. When driven by this desire, men develop keenness of imagination, courage, will-power, persistence, and creative ability unknown to them at other times. So strong and impelling is the desire for sexual contact that men freely run the risk of life and reputation to indulge it. When harnessed, and redirected along other lines, this motivating force maintains all of its attributes of keenness of imagination, courage, etc., which may be used as powerful creative forces in literature, art, or in any other profession or calling, including, of course, the accumulation of riches.Napoleon Hill in “think andg row rich”
For further reading, check out Finding Healthy Ways to Transmute Sexual Energy.
4. You aren’t alone.
There are monks and soldiers and men and women, holy and otherwise, who have gone long periods of time throughout history without a sexual release. I am not saying this is the ideal condition, nor am I saying that everybody is called to be a monk, by any means. But one of the principles I like to live by is, “If he can do it, I can do it, too.” It’s not as hard as it sounds we viewed in that light. Join yourself to like-minded people. And, remember, nothing bad happens when we don’t act on our sexual desires.
If you want to read more about semen retention + sexual transmutation, check out 100 Days of Retention (7 Fascinating Observations).
5. God is on your side.
For the eyes of the LORD run to and from throughout the whole earth, to give strong support to those whose heart is blameless toward him.2 Chronicles 16:9
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.1 Corinthians 10:13
For more, check out the complete archive of articles in integrity.