The Virgin Revolution Part 2

Like a Virgin Part 2Today, is part 2 on the discussion of being a virgin, within the Christian community. Last week, I posed the question: Where are all the virgins? And why are they so silent?

The comments that followed were poignant and eye-opening. I had no idea that my seemingly simple question would lead to such an impassioned and emotional discussion.

Many of you who commented on part 1 of The Virgin Revolution, discussed the shame, embarrassment, and ridicule you have received for being a virgin from within the church. I was shocked.

Others of you commented that the concept of sex, and thus virginity, is so poorly taught within the church, that you are left feeling helpless, isolated, or worse, forgotten.

But while virginity costs much, the rewards are even greater. Today’s questions, however, ask: What are you waiting for? And is it worth it?

The Consequences are Real

Regardless of the spiritual implications, which are huge, we all know that there are physical and emotional consequences of sexual immorality. God’s design in saving sex until marriage is intended to protect us from such dangers. Here is a quick snap-shot from MisstheMess.com, of some of the risks that increase as people engage in sexual activity before saying “I do”:

82% of teens desire to have one marriage partner for life.

63 percent of teens who have had sexual intercourse said they wish they had waited.

87% of teens do not think it is embarrassing for teens to say that they are virgins.

Behavioral Risks Associated with Virginity/Non-virginity Males 12-16
Results: the risk for non-virginal boys was…
6 times higher for ever having used alcohol
Nearly 5 times higher for smoking marijuana
Nearly 7 times higher for dropping out
Nearly 4 times higher for getting arrested

Behavioral Risks Associated with Virginity/Non-virginity Girls 12-16
Results: the risk for non-virginal girls was…
6 times higher for ever having used alcohol
More than 10 times higher for smoking marijuana
Nearly 4 times higher for dropping out
9 times higher for getting arrested
6 times higher for having thoughts of suicide

If you have sex before you marry your are more likely to:

  1. Breakup before you marry
  2. Scare off someone who wants to marry a virgin
  3. Be less happy in your marriage
  4. Get a divorce
  5. Commit adultery after you marry
  6. Be fooled into marrying for the wrong reason
  7. Be less satisfied with your married sex life (including have less orgasms)
  8. Have guilty feelings that may increase your dissatisfaction within marriage
  9. Be deprived of the important bonding that sexual intimacy is intended to bring into marriage

As someone who had sex before marriage, I can attest to many of these facts. Past sexual sin, whether forgiven by the Lord or not, carries with it great weight and emotion. Much of that emotional baggage is not even “unpacked”, so to speak until you are married. Then and only then, can the Lord begin to bring about real healing and resolution.

So if you are waiting, what are you waiting for?

You are waiting for a marriage and a marriage bed free from all of the emotional damage and pain of past sexual sin. You are waiting for sexual freedom as God designed it. True intimacy. Connectedness. Physical love. Bonding. Commitment. And the continued overwhelming blessing that God will inevitable pour out on your marriage as a result of waiting until then. So keep waiting.

Between the intimate and emotionally-charged comments from part 1 of The Virgin Revolution, along with today’s long list of risks, I have realized that the church does not have a hold on this issue. Who is teaching about the true rewards of waiting and not just the consequences? Who is preaching patience and not just punishment?

Sexual purity is touted by the church, sure. Girls and guys wear purity rings and make pledges before their parents. Abstinence programs are taught, yadda, yadda, yadda. But what about the people in their 30’s, 40’s or older who are virgins? What about those who are divorced and seeking out how to maintain sexual purity once again? How has the church attempted to encourage, equip, and protect those individuals in their pursuit of sexual purity?

Purity goes far beyond sex.

Purity, as a whole, is all of the things we ingest (or don’t), the things we watch, the things we read, even the company we keep. How is the church doing on sending the “whole” message of purity home with kids? How are parents doing in this area? Are Christian parents expressing to their children that God desires a pure heart, not just a “pure body”?

The concept of  sexual purity is all too often forgotten, diluted, or distorted. There are thousands of reasons to wait until marriage, but really only one reason to not. I burn with jealousy for those who have chosen to wait, wishing that I had made the same choice. My prayer is that the church will awaken to the need to promote purity in all areas, not just our bodies, and that those who have maintained such purity will be greatly rewarded by the Lord.

Where do you see churches and/or parents failing in teaching about a pure heart? If you are waiting, what are you waiting for? And why? Did you not wait and suffer the consequences?

21 thoughts on “The Virgin Revolution Part 2”

  1. Thank you for writing so honestly on this Nicole, in both parts of this post. The church needs to do a far better job at promoting purity, and preaching about why that is God’s design for us, both before and after marriage. Personally, I grew up in the church and often heard “no sex before marriage” but nothing else. So at the age of 15 I messed up a couple of times. Not massively, but enough to impact me even now, at the age of 21. After that I began to hear more of how purity is a lifestyle and a mindset, not just refraining from full on sex. But even so, I’m finding myself quite affected by the world shouting that a 21-year-old virgin is an unattractive and undesirable failure… I know God tells me I’m not, but I’m finding it harder and harder to believe, the louder the world shouts.

  2. Nicole,

    As a female contemplating embarking on a relationship with a guy that has been very sexually adventurous in the past, I appreciate your wisdom in the areas of pre-marital sex.

    Lately I have been reading a great deal about the damage that pre-marital sex, pornography and masturbation can do (and is doing) to our society – especially within our churches. They are so obviously linked together and yet the church is not openly teaching about these topics. I pray that there are people in churches, like yourself, that are willing to challenge leadership into bringing light upon these struggles.

    I am a 26 year old virgin waiting for the man that the Lord has (if He has one at all) for me and eagerly anticipating exploring this area of our marriage! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Bec, I’m glad that you are thinking on these important issues. I will caution you too, though that just because someone has a sexual past, doesn’t necessarily mean that marriage with that person is going to be difficult.

      I have a sexual past. My husband did not. We have a great, and I mean great, marriage. We enjoy one another so much. However, we certainly have had to work through some of my past in the bedroom. It hasn’t been anything catastrophic, but there has been prayer and needed healing. I’m grateful that my God forgives. He saw me as a virgin even before I was married because I was forgiven and made anew in His sight.

      No doubt God will continue to direct you on these issues as you seek Him and wait for the man He has for you.

  3. i never tire of this conversation. i honestly appreciate every angle, and i’m like a sponge for everything i read on the topic, specifically from christian women who have not saved sex for marriage.

    i didn’t go exploring your archives (yet!!) so i don’t know if you’ve already done so, but i’d love to see you flesh out this statement:

    “…I can attest to many of these facts. Past sexual sin, whether forgiven by the Lord or not, carries with it great weight and emotion. Much of that emotional baggage is not even ‘unpacked’, so to speak until you are married. Then and only then, can the Lord begin to bring about real healing and resolution.”

    my once-wandering heart is now back on track, but not without consequence. i am not married quite yet, but i can see the ramifications as the day approaches and my heart simply aches some days. i’d love to know things you wish you’d known/done before getting married, specifically in regards to this statement.

    thank you, as always, for writing real and honest truth. i appreciate your heart so much. xxo.

    1. Rachel, I haven’t written specifically to the point you raise, but I did write an article recently for The Good Woman Project called Porn, Your Marriage, and Our Lackluster Sex Lives that addresses much of what you are asking. You might be interested in reading that.

      I think you’ll be encouraging reading it, to hear about how God has brought me great freedom from my past. As for what I wish I had done before marriage– I wish I had stayed a virgin. I wish I hadn’t let men bring me self-worth. I wish someone would have told me I could say “no.” But none of that really matters because I did it all. What does matter is that God rescued me from it and continues to do so.

      Thanks Rachel for asking and sharing…

  4. Hi Nicole! I’ve been doing some casual reading on virginity, sex, abstinence, all those kinds of stuff. I was raised in the Christian bubble (Christian school + church), and I’ve always had the impression that you save sex until marriage because it’s the right thing to do. Sex hasn’t been much discussed subject in my life, only the idea that there are consequences to everything, or ’emotional baggage’ as you say.

    After some reading (currently reading Sex God by Rob Bell), discussion with friends, and deep reflection, I’m coming to my own conclusion that there is so much worthwhile in delaying. Even though it seems as if the church, and parents in some cases, don’t give an adequate justification for abstinence (if they even dare to touch upon the topic), I think that when one comes to their own conclusions about staying pure, it becomes to them that much convicting. At least it has been for me.

    The idea that we’re to maintain purity in all areas, not just the body, but also the mind is extremely difficult. Humans are designed with a sexual drive, and therefore lust is natural. How do you deal with this? I think the question I’m getting at is, what are some tangible strategies that one could practice in their quest of purity?

    For me, saving oneself for marriage has romantic value. Also the challenge itself, which not many people live up to, is appealing. Being a guy who likes growth and challenge, the idea of abstinence as a way to test the virtue of patience is attractive.

    I don’t know, I’m still kind of young and impressionable(19). I just made the transfer from the Christian bubble into what could quite possibly one of the most liberal, yet prestigious University. To restate my question: what are some strategies, perspectives, ideas that I should consider in my attempt to stay abstinent?

  5. Nice follow up to your first part! I just had a open ended question for everyone though. I mentioned in the last part that I just turned 29 and I’m still a virgin. How do you deal with the frustration and temptation and the thought that maybe you’re saving yourself for nothing at all? After all, there’s no guarantee that I’ll get married and every year it seems like there’s fewer and fewer decent Christian men to date around my age…. I would like to hear other opinions on this struggle of mine.

  6. OK. I’m sort of hesitant to post this because at least a few of your readers know me, and this is really personal. However, I must say that as a woman who was a virgin at the age of 21 and marriage (I know, not real old, but it felt like forever at the time — going through high school and then university as a virgin), I was *SHOCKED* at so many of my friends, married and unmarried, who had had sex before marriage and were now having a hard time achieving orgasm and/or who were uninterested in sex. That whole faked orgasm thing?? I’ve never had to do that. Never had to, never wanted to. I’ve had numerous conversations with my (few) friends who were also virgins when married, and every single one of us have really healthy, active, fun sex lives with our husbands, and not one of us has any difficulty “achieving” orgasm at all, and I put “achieving” in quotes because it’s not actually work; it’s really easy. The only friends of mine (that I know about) who have problems in their married sex lives are the ones who were promiscuous. And, the more promiscuous before marriage seems to equal greater problems after marriage.

    1. Karen, thank you so much for sharing that. I know it is personal, but I think it’s an important message. God’s design promotes not just more sex in marriage, but more satisfying sex, which translates into more orgasms.

      I can attest to the same things you have seen in marriages–the more sex before marriage, the worst sex in marriage. The less sex before marriage (meaning no sex) the better sex within marriage. I love when God’s plan and design lines up with real world examples.

  7. Once again, Nicole, you hit a nerve for many people and are performing a valuable service by discussing an important topic that most of the church has done a poor job handling.

    One of the best resources in the church today for straight talk about sex is Josh McDowell. His website (www.josh.org) includes a page devoted to sex and relationships, full of free information in audio, video, and written form. He deals with abstinence, risks and consequences, sexual abuse, starting over after becoming sexually involved, and many other important aspects of our sexuality from a solid Christian perspective. He has written several books on the topic, including “Why Wait?” which addresses this question head-on at length.

    My own background reminds me of the story of a farmer and his wife who were out working in their field. One day, the farmer goes over to his wife while she is bent over and gives her a kick! “What’s that for?” asks the wife. “That’s for being a lousy lover,” replies her husband as he returns to his work.

    A few minutes later, the wife comes over and kicks her husband! “What’s that for?” asks the man. His wife replies, “That’s for knowing the difference!”

    Why wait? My wife might be a great lover or a lousy lover in an open competition, but I don’t know the difference. I don’t have thoughts in bed comparing her to anyone else. To me, she alone will always be the best. I don’t see anyone else’s face or think of another person’s name while I am enjoying intimacy with my wife. I don’t want anyone else. Exclusivity produces satisfaction.

    1. Jonathan, I have heard that story and like it. But, I wanna take that idea one step further. “Exclusivity produces satisfaction” — yes, but that’s almost an argument from silence. Know what I mean? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I do think there’s more to it than that. Having been married 17 years now, I think I have a growing understanding of God’s plan that a married couple isn’t just satisfied by their exclusivity, but that they grow together, increasing their intimacy in a way that they KNOW each other better, they know themselves better, they really become “great” lovers, together. I think that’s an amazing part of God’s intentional plan, and His design so that intimacy never becomes boring — there’s always something more to learn (and I don’t mean about technique, per se). And not that it’s necessarily about “learning”, either; that sounds dry. OK. Now I don’t think I’m making any sense. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t just love my husband because I don’t know any better or any other. I love him because we’ve built a history together, one where we’re still actively pursuing making that history that much better, and making each other great, to the point that — even with his faults and my flaws and our imperfections — I can’t *IMAGINE* being intimate with anyone else, and have no desire to, because of what we have created, together. IDK if that is something that is shared by other married couples, but I’m certain that that’s part of God’s plan, for me.

      1. When I (and I am not Jonathan) wrote that “exclusivity produces satisfaction,” it was addressed to those who are asking the question, “why wait?” By no means is exclusivity the sole producer of marital satisfaction! There are a host of factors involved in building unity and good communication and understanding and mutual sacrifice and service to one another which will combine to bring not only satisfaction but also great joy to a marriage.

        But these things are not even on the remote radar of those who are not yet even contemplating marriage, but considering extracting sex from its intended context and thinking that it will work the same way as it does for married couples. This will cause irreparable harm to those who seek the thrill apart from the commitment.

  8. I think you have some really great things to say. As an almost 27-year-old virgin, I love to see that I’m not the only one who still believes this. Most of my friends are non-believers, and they are continually perplexed by my decision to remain sexually pure until marriage. One of my guy friends is absolutely bewildered. He constantly asks me about the reasoning behind my decision and comes up with hypothetical situations in order to test my resolve. I always give him the same response:
    1.) I want to honor God with my lifestyle.
    2.) I want to honor my future husband. I don’t want ghosts of my former paramours haunting our marriage bed.
    3.) I want to honor my parents because they raised me with the belief that sexual intimacy should be reserved for marriage.
    4.) I want to honor my younger brothers and sisters. I can’t ask them to do something I am not willing to do.

    I think the church and parents are failing in several respects. First of all, the rate of divorce among Christians is just as high as the divorce rate among secular people. If marriage is viewed as such a transient and disposable thing, how can we convince young people to wait? If divorce is such a probable outcome, it seems unlikely that waiting to have sex will have any effect.

    Second of all, our culture is inundated with sexually explicit images. We can’t escape them. Even walking through a mall can transport one’s mind to the intimacy of the bedroom. My 9-year-old sister has friends who are allowed to view movies I am reluctant to watch because of sexual content. We are becomingly increasingly lax about what enters our children’s minds.

    Third of all, instead of encouraging open discussion about these things, I’ve seen so many Christian parents turn a deaf ear to the hormonal concerns of their children. I’m so blessed that my mother wanted me to be educated and informed, rather than trusting information overheard in the locker room. I have never felt uncomfortable asking my mother questions about sex, but I know that’s not the norm. Because my mother was so open with me, I have truly understood why waiting for sex until marriage is so incredibly important. Rather than stopping up her ears and turning up the music, my honest discussions with my mother strengthened our relationship and opened my eyes to the absolute significance of my commitment.

    Thank you for promoting this conversation, and I hope it makes a difference to all your readers.

    1. Hi,

      I’m a 26 year old boy and I’m still virgin. One month ago I’ve met a new girl and I like her. The problem is that I know she had a few boyfriends but I don’t know for sure if she’s still a virgin. I’m having a lot of bad thoughts :(. I can’t help myself not thinking of someone touching her. I get some weird “images” in my mind that I’m not proud of. I was thinking of asking her if she’s still a virgin but I think she will feel offended.

      What can I do? What if she’s not a virgin anymore? Is that enough to break a “future relationship” with her? Since I’m still virgin, wanting to meet someone that hasn’t lost her virginity either, would make me a bad person?

      I feel guilty to not wanting her just because she’s might not be a virgin.
      If she’s not a virgin and I accept that and I will keep dating her I think I will feel very miserable. I just can’t get those “images” out of my head :(.
      What should I do?

      (sorry for my bad English, it’s my second language).

  9. It is sad to me that the fall brought sex to lust and food to gluttony. But I am a firm believer that God can heal us of all our sexual past. I sexual since I was six years old in more ways then one. I was saved when I was eighteen and now almost twenty six. From salvation I have been freed from porn, sex, and for the most part anything of the like. God has the power to save and restore, restore is a bad word, to make new. Really not belittling anyone’s struggle, I am a person to and I have just as many as every other person.
    Thanks for all the honest posts from every person. It is great to see such an open dialogue.

  10. For those of you who wait…
    There ARE people in the world that will respect and value your choice to wait. I do. I am an 18 year old virgin, and I will remain as such until my wedding night. I am desperately praying that my man will love me enough BEFORE he has met me to wait. I mean, seriously, can you imagine how it would make me feel, trying to guess who else he is thinking of on our marriage bed? Take heart and know that there are people who are praying for you as you hold on to your God-given gift. For those of you who are waiting a second time, God bless you and help you as well. I do not live in a bubble. I am aware that my man may even now be falling. If that is what God has ordained, then I will learn to live with it. But that thought does not stop me passionately praying.

  11. I think part of the problem is the church in the America and the UK also to a degree (that’s my neck of the woods) tend discuss the virtue of chastity often as if it’s to be practised for the purpose of marriage alone. So if you are single, you are ‘waiting for your husband/wife’ and it’s often put as that is the purpose for it often with implied subtext that everything, including sex, will be great when you do do get married. This may or may not be the case at first so if there are problems it can leave people confused when reality can sometimes be not what they were expecting.

    But I think this is because a vital point is missed, chastity (before or during marriage) is important because of the resurrection of the dead. Because we will be resurrected when this current world and universe is transformed and liberated into the promised new heavens and new earth when Christ comes again at the end of this age we will be resurrected. And the new bodies though different like Jesus own, will also have some form of continuity (as well as discontinuity being different, transformed and immortal) with the bodies we have now. Therefore what we do with and in our bodies now matter. That is why Paul finishes 1 Corinthians 15 after having demonstrated to factions who had been denying that the bodily resurrection of the dead would happen (as ex-pagans they came from a background of beliefs that uniformly rejected the possibility of resurrection) both that Jesus had been raised and explaining the nature of the new resurrection bodies with the words ‘Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.’ (1 Corinthians 15:58 NIV).

    Why does he say this, rather then, relax since your future is secure? Because, since you will be bodily raised as as the Lord was, then you should get on working for God’s Kingdom because all that you do in the body is not wasted. It carried through into the future, into the furfilled Kingdom, when God through Christ completes His work and He is ‘all in all’ and His purposes are realised when Heaven and Earth, these two spheres of God’s good creation become truly united as He intends (the heavenly Jerusalem coming down to unite with the Earth in Revelation 20 and 21), and we’ve done for Him and His Kingdom will be taken up, transformed and made somehow part of that gloriously renewed and freed world. Every act of kindness, every act of charity and love, and that you did for the Lord with your body will be taken up, included and it’s beauty enhanced in ways we can’t imagine.

    And this includes sexual ethics, turning from using your body and mind in ways that are damaging and dehumanising and preventing the person from being the fully human being that God always desires them to be. Living by His Spirit (and indeed in His Spirit) in chastity isn’t some arbitrary set of rules, by rather it’s one way to anticipate and live in light of the resurrection life to come, and single or married begin living out with perhaps many broken steps (we are not perfect yet, not until that day ;) ) and be one way, single or married, to model and reflect that life to the rest of the world, and we live and work as the agents through which He works to bring his restorative love into this world.

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