Last year, a girl by the name of Natalie Dylan, decided to auction off her virginity to the highest bidder. She was met with a slew of both support and hatred. Recently in the United Kingdom, a 16-year-old just attempted the same transaction, in order to pay for school.
There used to be a time when being a virgin meant something. There was a time, when a woman’s chaste and pure nature was desirable, not only to men, but to the woman herself. There was also a time when men abstained from sex as well, choosing to wait until their wedding night.
How did we transition from the ideal of sexual purity to a poor girl, obviously broken, selling her body on eBay, giving away what should be cherished and protected for some cash? I want to know though, where have all the virgins gone? And if they are around why aren’t they speaking up? The concept of virginity is most often associated with a woman. It is through a woman’s lack of sexual experience that she gains honor and privilege in some cultures. Religious and social norms have also contributed to the virgin maiden as an ideal. Many of us think of the Virgin Mary, for instance, cloaked in innocence and purity.
In America, and much of the West however, the notion of virginity has become a joke. Young women will tease, and even harass, other women who have chosen to abstain from sex. Young men are even worse, embarrassing and shaming any man who has not sown his sexual oats. Often times, virgins in American culture have chosen to stay silent on the topic, never openly discussing their choice to pursue sexual purity for fear of ridicule.
As our culture has become more and more sexually charged, young people have become more desensitized to sex. As a result, they have of course, let go of the notion that virginity or sexual purity is something worth keeping.
We hear that being a virgin is uncool and lame. People who are virgins just can’t “get any.” Never mind the fact that many of them have chosen to not “get any.” In the face of virgins becoming less desirable (especially for men) there are shows like Gossip Girl telling young women to give it up, and fast, and then do it some more.
Christians, on the other hand, throw around the words “sexual purity” and assume that young people have a real grasp on the concept. Young Christians in high school and college sometimes think that purity means doing everything but. In the end, that leads to sexual immorality and many losing their virginity in the process.
Virgins once seen as an ideal and are now seen as old-fashioned. I was a product of this thinking. I lost my virginity very young. Many factors contributed to my decision, including the fact that sexual purity was never really discussed in my home.
Those practicing sexual purity are a silent minority, it seems. My hope however, is that those remaining abstinent would begin to speak up boldly and loudly on behalf of waiting. As someone who did not wait, I can testify to the need and purpose behind the Lord’s design of waiting until marriage.
Sexual Purity has many advantages, including spiritually, physically, and socially.(I will be discussing some of those advantages next Wednesday in Part 2 of The Virgin Revolution.) The world wants to tell young people that sexual freedom is liberating but God says “Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does. For sexual immorality is a sin against your own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18.
May the voice of the sexually pure rise up against the clamoring voice of the over-sexualized. May the Church lead the way is retelling the story as to why and how remaining pure is crucial and achievable. And may virgins everywhere begin to proclaim their decision yelling “You can wait and God will help you.” May there be a virgin revolution. I’ll make the t-shirts, reminiscent of a superheroes costume… with a big “V” on the front, to let everyone know that there is real power in waiting.
Why do you think the concept of virginity has become so tarnished? What were you told as a young person about sexual purity? Is being a virgin lame?
39 thoughts on “The Virgin Revolution”
I know this was posted a long time ago but a friend of mine just led me to your site yesterday! I have been sitting flicking through and this is a very interesting post. Virginity really is a taboo topic in a lot of places now and I personally find the term sexual purity very hard to understand. As a young christian it is extremely confusing, especially when your peers are doing things. It is hard to know where the limit is. There is so much temptation. I have just got out of a relationship and it has been really tough. He pressurised me a lot but I am proud to be a virgin and I can’t wait to share that experience with someone who i truly love and that God has selected especially for me :)
Why are you keep on blaming the church from being silent about preaching purity as worth pursuing? The question is, have you gone that often to the church to say so. We have many options and ways to find out and be educated with purity not just in the church. The bible is there, books are there and religious people whom we ask for enlightenment are available too to help us be enlightened and guided. It’s just a matter of willingness to find the way to learn.
I wasnt told enough – not about what purity means or why it’s worth keeping. The church was silent, more or less. It’s no wonder so few of us saw it as something worth pursuing.
Matt, sadly, I think your experience on the church being silent, more or less, is a common one. It’s as if the church think kids will absorb the desire to remain faithful through osmosis. Sex has to be talked about early and often. It also has to be painted as the cool, fun, exciting event that it is–in the context of marriage.
I’m still digesting this post, so I’m going to respond to your questions later. BUT, I do have to say that I waited until marriage to give someone my virginity, and I take not only great pride but joy in all that comes with that. It was worth any “negatives” I faced while fighting to remain abstinent.
I also have fun telling young girls (and guys) when I talk about this topic that I didn’t lose my virginity – I know right where it is. Then I point to my husband.
Theresa, I love that you have a story of virginity that you share freely and happily. That is the way it should be. My husband was a virgin when we were married. I was not. I have so many regrets. He has none.
I want nothing more than for my children to experience the same freedom and joy that my husband has in regards to sex. What a blessing. Thank you for sharing.
People at my job know that I practice abstinence, with the logical “side effect” of still being a virgin. In fact I make jokes about it when I can (while still taking it deadly serious of course). We’ve had a few discussions about it and I’ve already heard the “oh, but you’re missing out on so much!” and I think to myself, “As if I didn’t know… but there’s a reason why.”
Well said. You may “be missing out,” but really you are waiting for a reason–something so much more worthwhile.
Wasn’t there already a revolution a few years ago, when all the Disney Channel pop stars wore purity rings?
I gotta be honest with you, this is something I really struggle with. I mean, I’ve never done it, and my girl says she wants to wait until marriage, so there’s not a lot of temptation in that area. However, sometimes my eye starts wondering and I think, “Hmm, I wonder if I could get away with it with that girl over there.”
I know I’m supposed to gush on and on about how wonderful waiting for marriage is, but to be perfectly honest, sometimes purity really sucks!
I didn’t grow up in the church so my only real talk about abstinence came from my mom, who told me sex wasn’t something you did with just anyone, and that you had to wait until you were really in love. That lasted me until I turned 17.
From what I can remember sex was always just about “make sure you love the person” which looking back is extremely confusing, especially for a teenage girl. Nobody told me it was something worth holding on to until I was in a committed relationship (marriage). Nobody explained to me the pain that I would feel when that relationship ended. Nobody explained the bond it created- and in turn the bond that had to be broken.
I was the last of my friends to lose my virginity, both girls and guys. Most of the people I knew lost their virginity around 14 or 15 years old. Sex was just something you did with whoever you were dating.
To be honest, I don’t know why the concept of virginity has become so tarnished. I know more people who have been hurt by their sexual pasts than those who have been helped by having that experience so early.
What was I told as a young person about sexual purity? Nothing that I immediately recall in the home – the subject was hardly ever addressed, and if it was, that was because I asked something (and got very limited answers). As a young adult I once asked my mother why she had never discussed sex with me and my brother, to which she replied that she figured we already knew everything! My knowledge came primarily from books.
Growing up Southern Baptist, of course the church’s cultural message of pre-marital abstinence got through. But I also have to say that I never had any real temptations, since the few dates I’ve had involved no level of physical attraction to the “datee” whatsover.
I have wondered many times if virginity after a certain age has any market value even to Christians. I apologize for the crassness of that statement, but I think you will know what I mean.
I believe Christians still uphold virginity in older adults to a point, but so much emphasis is placed on youth that the older individuals are ignored. I think a larger point to be made is of the perception of those older adults who haven’t ever married. From my experience, it’s not entirely positive. I know I’m guilty of it, myself. Who wants to be that needy older, unmarried woman who floats around with no attachments? At some point its frowned upon to rely on your parents, and if you’re not married, what do you do? Adopting a bunch of cats isn’t the answer!
I’m in my late twenties, unmarried, and deal with the fear of that as a possible future. I’ve seen those unmarried women in their late 30s- early 40s who have rely on the church more than usual (from a lack of a husband and other supports) and become a burden for it. It’s sad, I think. At this point virginity isn’t the issue, exactly, but it feeds into this idea of these women (and men) as being naive and inexperienced, no matter what else they have done with their lives.
This post hits close to home. My parents and my church growing up both approached sex properly, teaching that it’s awesome within the context of marriage. I’m still holding strong at 23, and catching a lot of flak for it. I’m a professional cyclist, which means that I’m always traveling with my team, who become like family–but most don’t share my convictions. I’ve been the target of many gay jokes (“Chad, you never comment on women walking by, I have no idea what your type is. Do we need to look at guys for you?”). Even when they do legitimately try to find me a girl, I’m not interested because I don’t want to date someone who doesn’t share my convictions, who might cause me to stumble. So I come off as anti-social, or completely lacking in ‘game’. I’m often asked, “Don’t you want to marry someone who knows what she’s doing?” I won’t know what I’m doing, so why should she? It’s the ultimate challenge of delayed gratification–something that our culture can hardly comprehend–and I have to pray daily for the strength to stick with it.
Chad, I applaud you in your efforts and conviction about remaining pure and waiting until marriage. Especially as a 23 year old man, this decision cannot be understated. I will say though that it turns my stomach to hear that other men (and perhaps some women) think that you are gay or lack game because you have chosen to not sleep around.
Your future wife will be a blessed woman, no doubt.
P.S. My husband was a 23 year old virgin when we married. There are others out there. Be encouraged.
I’m South African. More specifically, an Afrikaans-speaking South African of European descent. Google it to get a flavour of our religious environment. Possibly quite closely related to that of many traditional American families. Our cultural psyche lead many to believe we are a chosen people like say, Israel. Together with braaiing (bbq) went Christianity, so pre-marital sex was bad news, as was extra-marital sex but it was a true shame to get caught having sex before the wedding day and in the circles I mainly move in (middle-class, Afrikaner, steady church attendence rates) people still won’t really talk too openly about having sex when not married. It has changed a lot though as people broke free from all forms of conservatism post – apartheid. Christianity became a cultural/state religion so when the church lost its authority people thought of all that it taught as wrong. I’d say we are now divided on this, your careless, trend-following folk would give themeselves over to pre-marital/relational sex while there is still a large number who waits. We can still fight for our youth and feed them with wholesome, spiritually inspired truth. Ok, that was a lot of random typing but yes. Oh, I’m 28 years old, male, and fully virgin.
I must add I once spoke to an Aussie one night out in town and he was checking out the girls in the one pub and I told him that many of these girls won’t give him sex as it’s still considered the norm/ right way to wait. He was quite stunned and asked if I was a virgin as well. After I told him my status he said: wow!, he’s not used to that but it’s a good thing. It’s better that way. Random stories from South Africa.
For me, growing up in church I honestly think I picked to be a virgin is because that was the right thing to do, and everyone around me was doing it. When I was in middle school in our youth group we hardly talked about it because it was such an uncomfortable topic. When i would be watching movies they would have those love/sex scene they all looked like they were in so much pain,like why they would physical hurt themselves, and I knew I didn’t want to do something so painful.(this is the thought i had when i was in middle/high school)
but all I knew is that when where my youth pastor would take us to events that were sharing about it, all they talked about was the pain they went through because they didn’t wait. So I automatically thought this is what I have to do to to obey jesus. So I did that I was lucky enough to be around friends in high school where they weren’t into drinking yet or having sex they just rather played pranks on each other…so it never became a problem. But now that I am older I don’t think it is lame, I think it as find a rare diamond because there aren’t many of us that still do have it. But to be honest if someone did ask me are you virgin I would tell them…but I feel like this topic is something that you just don’t stand on the top of the world declaring it…or maybe you do! But one thing is for sure I don’t think it is lame to have your virginity…it is certainly cool beans to have it!
Nicole, you’ve managed to wait for marriage against a culture and generation who would do otherwise. I’m glad you feel proud of your decision. You should! It is “cool beans”!
I’ve been reading your blog for a few months and have really enjoyed your articles. This one in particular struck out at me, because I am almost 29 and am still a virgin. I have held out for so long, but am increasingly discouraged because I feel rather naive and immature and yes even lame to my peers who have lost their virginity in the secular world and in the Christian world(in this realm, because I have not married and lost my virginity as a result) I also feel that I’m not fulfilled God’s calling as a woman because I am not married and yes I have heard the verse about being more free to do God’s work. However, I have read the verse that it is better to get married than to burn (and believe me I struggle with that!) It’s difficult to discuss these issues with people in my church especially since they’ve been married since their early 20s!
I just wanted to say that I appreciate your encouraging article on God’s views on this issue (rather than man’s!), which encourages me to keep holding out for a godly husband. (which will hopefully happen soon!)
Stephani, please be encouraged! As someone who didn’t wait for marriage, I can tell you that without a doubt, waiting is God’s design, His protection, and His reward. You said you feel naive or immature, as a result of waiting, but again let me encourage you. Sex does not make you mature. Having sex when you are suppose to makes you mature.
God is gonna bless you beyond measure Stephani, for your obedience and faithfulness to His Word.
This post made me pop over here because this is pretty much the subject of my new teen novel. I did not grow up a christian so the idea of sexual purity didn’t exist but in spite of my upbringing, I still chose to not have sex until my wedding night.
But I have a middle school-er now and I have to say that in my opinion, I think the idea of sexual purity isn’t working in faith circles because the idea of emotional purity is nonexistent. We don’t give away our bodies until we’ve given away our hearts, and we don’t give away our hearts until we have broken down emotional barriers that are meant to protect us. It’s a snowball rolling downhill and picking up speed.
My daughter tells me regularly about who is “dating” who. These kids are 11 and 12 years old. If that starts then, then it’s not so surprising that once their emotional boundaries have been breached, then their physical ones become that much harder to hold – if they even try at all. It’s a topic we have to talk about often…
my two cents…
Sarah, you bring up such an important point regarding this issue: emotional purity. As you mentioned, the current dating scene and culture teaches kids to give away their hearts (as well as their bodies) and then when that doesn’t work out, to move on to the next person. This cycles is then perpetuated in marriage and results in divorce after divorce.
It is wise to discuss this freely and often with our children. Your children are blessed to have a mother willing to do so.
I was raised to “save myself” in both body and emotion. I now realize the idea of “saving your heart” for just one person is so unrealistic, and in my case only caused more pain when it just wasn’t possible (despite all my best efforts).
I used to be very proud of my virgin status. It set me apart in high school, earning respect from my peers and ensuring that guys didn’t touch me (much to my surprise – I thought it would have the opposite effect). But in the years since I unconsciously allowed shame to creep in. I have seen so much media (news, movies, music, etc) that shames virgins and promotes promiscuity that I started hiding the fact that I’m a virgin, assuming that even in the Christian realm I would be viewed as “prudish” and even “prideful” for maintaining this status. But this summer God went on a rampage to revolutionize my heart. He erased all shame in this area, and others, showing me that being a virgin is something beautiful, valuable, and that it should be cherished. By His grace He preserved me. My shame could’ve led me down paths I never intended to tread.
Bekah, what an awesome and powerful testimony you shared here. I am so glad to know that God has re-shaped your thinking on the issue of virginity to one that understands the importance and value He places on it.
“By His grace He preserved me…” so beautiful and so worth it.
You guys have no idea how awesome it is for a girl to hear that you’re a virgin!
Honestly, with the culture the way it is right now, I don’t often hold my breath when it comes to meeting a guy who will also be a virgin. Hearing that they do exist, that they actually care about waiting and are willing to wait, is SO encouraging. Stay strong! At least for my part, I know I want a guy who is also a virgin so we can learn together and share that. I can only imagine it will bring us that much closer.
Kristin, Amen! I’m glad you shared this. Men do need to hear that to some women–Godly women–virginity is not seen as a weakness or a character flaw, but rather a prize and gift from the Lord.
Love this article Nicole. It seems to have struck a chord with a lot of people! I’m 22 and still a Big V, and proud of it. Okay, I don’t shout it from the rooftops but if someone asks me, I’ll tell them with my head held high. What it comes down to, for me, is that (1) God commands it, (2) I want to save myself as a gift for my husband and not go through the heartache of breaking up with someone after having been so intimate with them, and (3) even if God’s plan for me is singleness, I would seriously rather stay a virgin my whole life than sleep with one or more guys who are going to love me and leave me. It’s just not worth breaking those ‘soul ties’, and the Bible says it goes far deeper than physical and emotional – it’s spiritual too. Not something to be taken lightly, and so I stand proud in my virginity and firmly resolve to hold onto it until my wedding night.
Rachel, your wisdom and conviction in this area far surpasses that of the average 22 year old. No joke. I know, without a doubt, that when the time comes to be married, your husband and your marriage will be profoundly blessed in the area of sex due to your steadfastness and obedience to God’s Word.
I managed to wait it out until marriage… although I did get married shortly before I turned 22. ; ) I never really felt like a pariah for openly remaining a virgin until marriage. Granted, I didn’t really openly discuss it with random classmates. But I didn’t run from it or hide it if it did come up in conversation.
I don’t recall much conversation being said in my youth group…except the whole “remain pure” and “run from the appearance of evil” talks. I did get a LOT of information about sex from my mother, however. (I should maybe mention I became “born-again” at age 15 and began attending a church much different than the Lutheran church the rest of my family attended… occasionally). I think MORE information than I wanted, actually. She didn’t really push me to abstain, though I ended up going that way on my own account. In fact, I think she just assumed the opposite.
Well anyway, those are my thoughts. That & $5 will get you a Venti mocha at Starbucks. ; )
Brooke, I like the fact that your mom talked with you so much (maybe too much) about sex. I think the fact that she didn’t push you to abstain, but rather informed you, probably influenced you more away from sex than you might realize. I wish I had more sex conversations growing up. I think it would have made a difference for me.
This perhaps won’t be that popular to say, given the audience, but I’ll say it:
I found–working for years in the Christian music world…with radio–that virginity was “tarnished”, but not (in this case) by sex, but selling non-sex. Selling virginity. I mean it in the sense that Rebecca St. James, and a bunch of other artists that I can’t remember the names of, seemed to have one selling point: sex. Granted, it was their virginity, but if someone is selling themselves based on them not having sex, they’re still selling sex. The first conversation I have with you shouldn’t be, “Hi, my name is Frank, and I don’t have sex.”
Sex–having it, not having it, following the scriptures, listening to the Church’s teaching–all deserves discussion, awareness, and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. But I just can’t get behind “I’m a Virgin!” t-shirts and bumper stickers. I still see it as the over-sexualizaiton of our culture–even if it’s promoting virginity.
I the long run, I see it having more of an impact on the guy who tries not to masturbate, but spends all of his time thinking about not masturbating. His thoughts still are on masturbating, and there’s nothing productive really going on in his thought life. So thinking about virginity all the time seems to be counter-productive.
I’m of course not saying I’m against raising awareness, or having an open and frank discussion, but I don’t like the celebration of Virginity in such a grand scale.
Josh, I think you make a fair and valid point. It makes me think of the Virgin Mary, who, in part, is worshiped because of the fact that she is a virgin–not just because she was Jesus mother.
Although I would disagree with you that the guy who is only thinking of masturbation is different from the person who is preoccupied with their virginity. It’s not an apples to apples comparison. That being said, i think we agree that promoting virginity as a selling point is, as you said, counter-productive. All that to say, I do wish virgins spoke up more and let others know that waiting is possible. I also long to see virginity celebrated in the church in a healthy and balanced way, instead of downplayed or even ignored as much as it is today.
Greta thoughts. Thanks Josh!
The reason sexual purity has been tarnished is because of what is forced down our throat’s. Have you ever watched Grey’s Anatomy? They make pre-marital sex seem like it supposed to happen. This is just an example of why people are thinking it is okay to have sex all willie nillie. I was the same way until I gave my life to Jesus. Now I understand why there is so many different sexual diseases. I am assuming God put them here as a deterrent. I can only assuming because who can really understand what God has and is doing for us? We are in the last days and sin has become so normalized.
Hmmm…..I’ve been giving this post some thought. I have so many thoughts in my head about this topic and I haven’t come to my own personal conclusions yet, but I’ll try to explain what I can in the best way possible. Just because someone is a virgin does not mean that they have the right views or understanding of what it means to be a sexual human being. Just because you declare yourself a virgin does not make the physical and emotional desires and sexual feelings (which are very strong for some) go away. I feel that before you start taking about virginity, it seems like its better to speak first about sexuality (which you may have addressed already). As a single within the church, why has sexuality been limited to the “virgin” label and to “I’m so sorry you feel this way (me admitting that I desire to have sex), just try to do something to distract yourself”…almost like pity . There has got to be a healthy way to acknowledge my sexuality and the desires that come along with it within the boundaries that God has set. Side note, the word “purity”…I don’t know why I scrunch up my face when I hear it….
True. Being a virgin doesn’t necessarily mean a person is pure. They are not one in the same. I understand God’s design for sexuality and the benefits of it, and I have largely adhered to it, but yet there is still plenty of pull from the other side that is hard to ignore. I haven’t ever slept with a man or even done anything questionable, but my mind couldn’t be considered pure. To me, one’s thoughts should hold more value over what he or she has or has not done. I, too, have felt that pity over my virgin status- and I hate it. This is why I’ve largely stopped talking about it. I understand it supports this “revolution,” but, personally, I don’t want people talking about my [lack of] sex life. It’s too much of a personal matter.
I find it telling that you refer to your being a virgin as a “lack of a sex-life.” Please take no offense at this, but you should be proud, secure, even delighted that you have no sex-life. I would trade my sexual past filled with sin, heartache, pain, and ruin with your lack of a sex-life any day.
If you haven’t yet, I’d encourage you to read The Virgin Revolution Part 2 which talks about the reasons to what and if it’s worth it….
I have always wondered what I would say to encourage young girls to “save themselves” till marriage. I wondered if my perspective would even matter. When I was single, I didn’t feel like I had a voice to encourage anyone. Now that I am married, all I can say is this…
Sex is a beautiful experience with my husband. We both have pasts that we wish weren’t there. I wonder what difference it would have made if my husband was “the only one” for me or if I had been “the only one” for him. I can only wonder.
I know it is difficult to say no in a lot of circumstances. I know that religion has placed a lot of expectations on its followers to behave in certain ways… Or face hell as a consequence. I know that rules and regulations haven’t done much to encourage anyone to live a healthy and beneficial life.
I don’t know how I could pass those same expectations along to someone I cared about. I just know now what a beautiful life I have now with a husband who loves me for who I am. And I can do without the recurring memories of…. ( and I am sure he could as well.)
I am 18 and I am still a virgin. In fact, I have never even dated or kissed. Purity has ALWAYS been highly valued in my parents home, and I never even considered NOT waiting. I just pray to God that my man, whoever he may turn out to be, will love me now as passionately as I am daily loving him. I have a gift that I have saved for him and him alone, and I pray that God will give him the strength to love me the same way.