A few years ago I read a poignant personal essay in Exponent II’s special issue, “Being Single in a Married Church.” The author, a single LDS woman, wrote candidly about the challenges of single life: the intrusive comments made by others, the indignities that sometimes came from “playing the field,” the uncertainty and loneliness that often crept into her heart. Her tone was not whiny or bitter, just honest about the “behind the scenes” difficulties of single life.
One of her points has remained in the forefront of my memory ever since I read the essay. She remarked how seldomly she was touched by others. As a single adult woman, she had nobody to hold her hand, or scratch her back, or stroke her hair. Her only relief came during occasional visits with her young nieces and nephews, who would climb on her lap and kiss her.
I’d often considered that single women practicing the law of chastity must forego a central aspect of their womanhood–their sexuality. But I had never before realized that they also must face limitations in a central aspect of their very humanity: being touched. My days are so full with physical closeness. I can only imagine how lonely it would be to have a shortage of hugs and kisses in my life.
Back in November, I received many wonderful responses to Part I of this post. Women spoke openly about the body-related consecration and sacrifice that comes with pregnancy and childbearing. This week I’d like to focus on the unique offerings made by single LDS women. I’d especially like to hear from single women themselves, so, those of you who are single, or who lived a single life longer than you wanted to, please share your perspectives! And the rest of you, please encourage your friends and family members who might have thoughts on this topic to read and comment on this post.
Tell us, what are the blessings and challenges of being a single LDS woman?
How is your need for physical closeness fulfilled–or is it?
What are the demands and rewards of living a chaste life?
What other body-related sacrifices must you make, and what benefits from these sacrifices do you enjoy now or look forward to?
As before, I might want to use your comments in the article I’m writing about women’s consecration of the body. Anonymous comments are welcome. Thank you for offering your insights.