My parents gave me a purity ring on my 16th birthday.
I grew up Southern Baptist, sang in the choir and went to youth group. I’ve had a couple of serious relationships, but I’ve never had sex. I made a commitment to keep sex out of the equation until I get married, if I ever do marry. Yes, I do get turned on, I am a sexual human being just like everyone else out there, and sex is something I do want in my life.
Am I crazy? Repressed? Am I brainwashed with legalistic doctrine that I was force fed my whole life? Actually, no.
I’m a 22-year-old virgin who loves my pretty average life. I’m also a feminist, and I don’t pass judgment on anyone else’s way of life, so long as they aren’t harming anyone else. You must think I’m kidding, but it’s true. I’m not insane and I’m not deprived. It doesn’t really make a difference to me whether my friends are virgins or non-virgins, or if they do it multiple times a day, with a life partner, a friend, or someone they just met.
I acknowledge that everyone has their own beliefs and convictions regarding sex, and I don’t feel a need to pressure anyone to conform to my beliefs. So why should anyone think they have a right to judge me for choosing to remain abstinent?
The media would have you believe that Christians are all homophobic right wing radicals who bomb abortion clinics and spend their evenings organizing their binders full of women followed by a trolling frenzy on Internet forums and chat rooms, writing hateful nonsense supported by scriptures they’ve twisted to make their claims justifiable.
Granted, those Christians do exist. But if you believe that small segment of the Christian community defines all of us, you’re as much a bigot as the fire-breathing witch hunters and gay haters out there.
I was fortunate to grow up with parents who never forced religion, political opinions, sports, or anything on me. They taught me right from wrong, and told me the story of Salvation -- a story that no one can be forced into believing, no matter how hard someone tries. I chose to accept the story of my own faith and own accord.
Particularly when it came to the topic of sex, my parents wanted my siblings and I to know that we shouldn’t make any decisions based on fear, or a desire to please them or anyone else. They wanted us to make our own decisions, hopefully based on the God and Bible we shared (and still share) a common belief in.
God’s commandment to abstain from sex outside of marriage is not a commandment to make us suffer (though it can feel that way sometimes). It’s a law that comes from a place of love, as God is love, and He doesn’t command us to do anything out of spite or hatred.
Every sexual relationship, no matter how fleeting, gives of one’s soul. There are physical, emotional and spiritual consequences to sex outside of marriage that people rarely talk about. But I’ve never been so foolish as to believe that someone will go to Hell for having sex before or outside of marriage. Even though it’s commonly joked that Christians believe this, it’s not a concept that is found anywhere in the Bible.
I’m completely transparent on the topic. I don’t hold to antiquated Victorian ideals, believing that my virginity is some sort of holy grail. I don’t boast about it like it’s my badge of honor, nor am I embarrassed about it.
I fully acknowledge that I am human, and there is every chance that I might give in and neglect my promise. It’s not something I plan on, but I’m not so naive as people might think. I take the symbolism of my purity ring seriously, and I would be disappointed if I fell through on my promise, but I wouldn’t see it as the end of the world, and I wouldn’t feel ashamed of myself either.
God wouldn’t hate me. He’d love me just the same, and He would be there to comfort me. I would be remorseful, but never regretful. Actions are important, and they have consequences, but it’s the purity and state of one’s heart that matters above all else.
Sure, it significantly narrows my dating pool, but I’ve come to terms with it. I tend to be attracted to guys who are not Christians, and who have few to no boundaries sexually, and they can’t understand my reasons for abstaining. That’s OK. Sometimes I’m tempted to date them anyway, but I’ve been down the road before, and it’s not a fun one.
It’s a popular notion that people with different beliefs can compartmentalize their faith, one’s most defining characteristic, and have a successful relationship built on love. It’s a romantic view, but a foolishly idyllic one. A fish can’t fly, and a bird can’t swim. Neither can two unequally yoked people lead a fully rewarding and satisfying relationship. There will always be a part the other doesn’t quite understand. And not an insignificant part, like a love of music, sports, or politics, but the most defining part of a person, the heart of who they are.
So that leaves me with the Christian boys. Most of whom I find to be boring vanilla North Face-wearing bros with either a legalistic streak and a holier-than-thou chip on their shoulder, or an overdue “wild phase” in their mid-twenties consisting of casual sex, binge drinking, and pot smoking thanks to a truly repressed adolescence in the church.
So let’s face it. The odds of my dying a virgin are pretty good, but you know what? I’m OK with that. Because I’m secure in my sexuality. I’m happy with it, and I’m dedicated to upholding my promise to myself, to God, and to my parents, my mortal life guides.
I don’t feel like I’m underdeveloped, missing out, or late to the party in any way. Being a Christian virgin doesn’t mean I’m shy or a prude. Take a cruise through Song of Solomon and you might find yourself heating up a little bit. You might say, “Oooh this is dirty! I can’t believe this is in the Bible,” as this young couple lovingly talks about doing it outside, and how the king aches with desire for his bride, as he describes her breasts, her neck, her entire body.
Sex isn’t dirty. God created it and it’s hella good. I want to enjoy it in its right context, according to my beliefs. I’m not stopping you from living out your own beliefs or unbeliefs. Don’t judge me for mine.
Over and out,
The 22-year-old virgin