Christian athlete and sports reporter Tim Tebow has married his girlfriend, South African model and Miss Universe 2017 Leigh Nel-Peters. Tebow has been an exemplary Christian athlete for many years, and his lead-up to marriage is even more powerful than his sports career. Tebow had famously maintained his virginity until his marriage. Considering the athlete is 32 years old, this of course spurred some funny Twitter commentary.
The meme that was Tebow’s long-held virginity is significant because it cuts so far away from our cultural standards. A man with even half Tebow’s success and stature is expected to sow his royal oats in preparation for marriage. America’s hookup culture has revved into overdrive thanks to the instant gratification cell phones provide. We live in a sexual world of compartmentalization, especially on college campuses.
Although it hardly made sense when applied to sex, the word “casual” would be conservative in describing our present sexual culture. It’s gone from casual to downright random, taking many of its cues from pornography. Many online subcultures have arisen as a result to give men some direction in these trying times.
Perhaps Tebow’s path deserves exploration as well. Tebow’s journey prompts interesting questions on male virginity and one’s ability to channel sexual energy in a healthy way.
Is Tim Tebow’s Success Related to his Abstinence?
While Tebow is quite vocal about his Christianity, the source of his power may very well have been his abstinence. I became aware of Tebow in 2005 while scouring high school football recruiting websites for the best players in the nation. As a player myself, seeing the success of other young athletes served as a sense of motivation to get better. Tebow’s high school stats are downright Herculean, and he carried this into a legendary career as quarterback at the University of Florida. Yet there were always questions about whether Tebow’s skill set would transition to the NFL.
While Tebow won a playoff game in heroic fashion as an NFL quarterback, his pro career was a struggle. After one season as a starter for the Denver Broncos, he became a journeyman. Unable to compete for a starting job in the NFL, he quit football.
Tebow’s story is interesting because, despite his downfall at the highest level of play, he managed to be successful and remains a sort of cult figure. Tebow’s faith is a big part of his persona. His ritual of taking a knee in prayer to celebrate a touchdown swept the nation long before Colin Kaepernick hijacked the posture. Tebow managed all of this success without having sex.
Perhaps there is some correlation here. It is no coincidence that liberalism has produced a purview that tells us not to take religious texts literally. Its doctrines could not pervade our society if we were still to truly believe, say, the Bible or the Torah. Islamic cultures remain some of the few vestiges left that believe in the explicit version of an ancient religion. For most, the words on paper are to be subjectively interpreted in order to do whatever one pleases.
In our society where many Christians are nominal, or in name only, sex before marriage is the rule everybody breaks. Healthy sex in the modern world means using contraception to protect from STDs and unwanted pregnancy, not preserving it as precious for one dedicated life partner. A strict religious approach to sex would make casual sex the definition of unhealthy sex, though I believe humans know this intuitively, especially women. Tebow maintaining his virginity and taking his sexuality seriously as a man cuts particularly against the liberal narrative.
Abuse of Sexual Energy Weakens Young Men
An online community called NoFap steers young men away from pornography and masturbation. The belief is that this abuse of sexual energy weakens young men and prevents them from pursuing true actualization, sexual and otherwise. Against the backdrop of hookup culture this may seem silly, with some modern critics going so far as to call the movement misogynistic. This is just an attempt to employ liberal dogma. There is nothing wrong with men questioning society, and with practicing self-restraint.
The online group touched mainstream society with the popular hashtag #nonutnovember. While just a comedic meme for many, it also exposes the reality that many men are addicted to pornography and other means of pacifying their sexual desire absent an actual woman, including dating apps that use the motivation of meeting women to keep the attention of many men who will never meet any women. And for the few that do, the chance of finding a substantive relationship is almost nonexistent. These male, online groups, however, are just rehashing the wisdom of the ancients in a secular way.
For Tim Tebow, practicing the faith of the Christian God as close as possible to what is written in the Bible led him to the same conclusion as these men. The rising tide of men online challenging the sexual status quo is interesting. Men are starving for a sort of fulfillment they’ll never find in “casual” sex.