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I have a chastity ring. In my senior year of high-school, I made the decision to wait until I was married to have sex, and I wanted something permanent, or rather, physical, to remind myself of that every day that I wear it. Even though I don’t wear it all the time, the fact that it’s there, sitting on top of my microwave, reminds me that I made a commitment to myself a long time ago. And there have been a couple of times when the ring itself has stopped me from doing anything.

At the time, when I made this decision, I had different reasons for staying chaste. While my reasons haven’t changed, they’ve evolved over time. It used to be a simple thing – just about me staying a virgin until marriage because I was born and raised Muslim, and I wanted to follow my religion. During senior year, I went through a period where I somewhat renewed my faith, and in this way, I was honoring it. Before coming to college, and leaving home, I wanted to take a little bit of the choices that I made, so I got a ring, telling my mother that it was what I wanted for my graduation present. To this date, she doesn’t know that the ring that she bought me is actually what I call my chastity ring.

As I went to college, things changed. I met different types of people, and through that, I learned different perspectives. I didn’t go to a sex-positive high-school, and coming to university and meeting people that were sex-positive was a new thing for me. But it didn’t necessarily change my overall decision, instead, it gave me a different perspective on my decision.

For me, sex is the pinnacle of intimacy, and I don’t see myself being that intimate with someone anytime soon. It’s something rooted in love, and while I may love someone, I want that love to be something final. The only time I see both of those situations coinciding is when I’m older, and ready to get married to someone. In full disclosure, it’s not as if someone can’t have that intimacy now, or even earlier, it was just not in the stars for me in the past, and something that isn’t my priority right now. It’s something I can imagine happening later in my life, when I’m more settled with who I actually am, rather than who someone else is.

I used to be ashamed of telling people that I wanted to wait until marriage. I used to think that they would think that I wasn’t feminist enough. Honestly, it’s still hard to have that conversation with anyone that you’re dating – or the people that just assume because, well, you’re 22. But, a while ago I read a quote somewhere on sexual freedom. Sexual freedom encompasses many things – the freedom to have sex with whoever you want, and to not have sex at all.

It allows you to make a choice, and I made mine.

 

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Alizah Ali is a senior at BU. She's working on her biology-premed degree, which finds her often in the quietest parts of the library. She loves coffee and bunnies and running whenever the Boston weather lets her. She's a big advocate for mental health destigmatization and awareness. Follow her on instagram @lizza0419
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