The Value of Virginity

Samantha asked:
"...how do you deal with still being a virgin because you just don't want to sleep around? I'm 19 ... At 16, almost all of the girls have lost their virginity. Even my physician gave me a weird look ... [when] I told her I was still a virgin. My main problem is the reaction of people in my environment. Do you have any tips?"

I hate this this is even an issue, Samantha-- it just goes to show how screwed up this world has become, that the one person in a group that has self-restraint and good judgment feels strange and apologetic because they've actually maintained purity.

Here are some thoughts about the value of virginity (not by any means is this an all-encompassing list, but hopefully these thoughts will encourage you to hold your ground in this area):

(1)
While the world says that the sleep-around-single is the one "exercising his/her freedom", the virgin is the one who is truly free. Free from disease, which is a growing concern among singles today. Free from the emotional trauma that goes along with casual sex. And free to bestow the gift of purity and virginity upon their husband one day, as a precious gift, unspoiled and rare.

And this is something you can share with people who look at you crazy, by saying, "Look, I'm just trying to practice free love. Love free from shame, disease, guilt, emotional heartache, and self-loathing. Love that frees me to give a precious gift to the one who God created me to become one with."

(2)
Humans were created as both soul and body for a reason; these two elements of our personhood are meant to act in agreement with one another-- that is to say, we are not meant to believe things but not translate those beliefs into our behavior. Our behavior shows what's in our souls. In a new book I'm reading, Rebecca Jones writes:
"Sexual intimacy is so powerful that when women use it lightly, they plunge into a valley of shadow. Those shadows thicken, and women cannot escape, because the bodies they own, in which they sleep, eat, and live, are the very ones they have sullied. One way to ignore such guilt is to divide the body and soul. The body can do what it wants and the soul remains detached."
This is all too common. Sex is an activity that, when exercised outside of God's proper boundaries, divides body and soul. Rather than being an incredibly intimate experience, it becomes an incredibly isolating experience. Casual sex isolates us, not only from the ones with whom we are "intimate", but even from our very own soul. We end up trying to protect ourselves from further heartache by dividing the action from the emotional connection it was designed to cement. We trivialize it by describing it as an action to engage in for a little fun, rather than only enjoying it within the boundaries and for the purpose for which God created it, which brings me to my 3rd point...

(3)
GOD is the One Who created sex... we need to look to Him to know what it is for. A young adult looking to peers to find out what sex is for is like toddlers who look to other toddlers for clues about what's the best things to eat. They're going to place priority on candy, chips, and chocolate milk rather than on the more lasting things: protein that helps you grow muscles, vitamins that help you go strong, etc. In the same way that those toddlers need to look to their parents (who know better than they do what they need), we need to quit looking to a secular culture to tell us what sex is for, and instead look to our Father, Who, in the first mention of sex put it this way: "they shall become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Which brings me to point #4...

(4) ONENESS is the primary purpose of physical intimacy, which is why it hurts people so bad to sleep around. It's like pulling a woman's skin away from her bones, like pulling a head away from its body. There's no question: we become one with the person we are intimate with. That's the purpose. Is procreation a purpose? Yes. Is pleasure a purpose? Yes. But the primary purpose is oneness- to show an earthly example of the oneness Christ desires to have (and will have) with the Church. We can more perfectly understand the unity Christ desires to have with us when we look at a monogamous, committed, serving-one-another, loving-one-another marriage, and see the intimacy that happens there.

David Gardner, author of Sacred Sex, puts it this way:
"Sexual intercourse, by God's description, is the way of knowing and experiencing another human being in the most intimate way possible. This "knowing" is what melds two strangers into one. A wonderful example of this is a Dutch slang word for sex, naaien, which literally means 'sewing'. Two pieces of material are put on top of each other and then attached in a way that will 'keep them secure and fastened to each other long after the sewing is over and the weaver is gone.' This idea of being sewn together in sex is a useful image... husbands and wives don't dissolve together into one shapeless blob. However, they are intricately and intimately sewn together in such a way that man should 'not separate' them (Matthew 19:6). Oneness joins us permanently, ... [and] lasts beyond the immediate act of sexual intimacy."
(5) Finally, obedience to Christ (which means sexual purity--not only in action but in thought as well) is important, even if/when we're the last man or woman standing. Just like that sign-holding woman in the picture at the top of this article, even if we feel TOTALLY alone in a crowd of people going the opposite way, we are still to obey. The Bible says "obedience is better than sacrifice." Obeying, even when we don't feel like it and especially when we are tired and don't understand all the "whys", still is pleasing to our Father.

When I say "no playing in the street", I'm not trying to deny my children FUN. They might see a parade go by and say, "MOM- all those kids are playing in the street- dancing to music, waving to the crowd, eating candy, and they're having a really good time... why can't I play in the street?" That's when I have to explain to them that the time for THEM to be in the parade is not now- it may come in the future, but this is not the time. "Trust me," I'm saying. And it's true- their obedience (which will protect them from getting run over by a car or lost in a crowd) is important and pleasing to me, even if they don't understand all the reasons that I'm telling them not to play in the street.

BE ENCOURAGED and BE REBELLIOUS
Be encouraged, Samanatha-- and any other readers who are wondering about these things... I would encourage you to think of it this way: be a rebel. Rebel against the low expectations of culture, rebel against the easy way out, rebel against the "norms"-- and instead be a radical... a radical footsoldier in the army of the Most High God, a radical example of what Christ can do in the life of someone who obeys Him, and a radical person who swims against the stream of culture in pursuit of the source of Living Water.

1 Corinthians 10:12-13 says, "Let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it." Hang in there, Samantha, and look for your ways of escaping the stronghold of this generation- you'll be so glad you did!


(PSSSST!!!: If YOU have a question or issue that you've been
wondering about, CLICK HERE to leave your question.)

12 comments:

Mrs. Brigham said...

The advice you have offered to Samantha is excellent!

Samantha,

I made a True Love Waits pledge when I was thirteen years old and wound up breaking it when I was an older teen due to peer pressure and the want to feel "normal". I really regret conforming in such a way and am very thankful that I never had any life altering consequences from premarital sex, like a teen pregnancy or STD. Regardless of what the World says, premarital sex does not set you free or make your life normal. Participating in such reckless behavior winds up taking away your freedom and giving you much more to worry about.

As difficult as it may be, please do not allow your self to get discouraged. The choice you are making is such a beautiful one and worth far more than many of those who ridicule you will ever know.

You are certainly not alone in your feelings. My nineteen year old sister is also a virgin and has received grief for it as well. She knows several fellow students at her college who are also saving themselves for marriage and they have been able to band together and support each other through both the temptation and hurtful attitudes that exist. Is there any way you might be able to meet a group of like minded people? I know this has been a great blessing for my sister and might be one for you as well. :o)

Jess said...

That's really excellent, Mrs. B! Thanks for writing... having encouragement from others is such an important part of our faith!

I'd love to hear from other women on this issue.

Andrea said...

Great advice, JEss.

Samantha said...

Thanks for the encouraging words, first off all. Sometimes it's just the little push you need to keep you going.

Mrs. B.

I thankfully have a group of friends that, although they aren't all still virgins, respect my descision. So do my parents, who are a real support.

Samantha

P.s. just a small comment about the piece from David Gardner. The Dutch slang word he uses, although he translates it correctly, is probably the most denigrating word for sex in the Dutch vocabulary, mostly because of the way it is used. I'm Dutch, that's why I noticed. In the context of this text it isn't used in a bad way, but I thought you might want to know it, so you can decide whether or not to leave it on your blog.

Trina said...

Thanks for answering Samantha with such heart and conviction Jess. I'm only wishing that I would have heard and listened to someone as passionate and honest as you some 10 years ago. Keep speaking boldly!
Blessings,

Jess said...

Thanks for telling me that about the Dutch word, Samantha... I wonder if Mr. Gardner knew that. I visited your blog and knew you'd come from a Dutch background, so it actually crossed my mind that something like this very thing would happen... either that you would read it and say, "oh- that's not the right word for it", or, "it's not used like that." I hadn't considered that it might be a denigrating word.

I wonder: is it offensive to you, as someone who speaks Dutch? You are the one whose judgment I would yield to. Should I remove it or not? It was my intent to use it as an instructional and helpful illustration, but I would not want to offend. So-- let me ask you... as a Dutch person, what would you do?

Thanks for coming by and asking such a question - I'd never written about this before and it was fun!

Buffy said...

Yes I liked your post and I thought it summed up well all the reasons why so-called casual sex should be avoided.

One thought for Samantha, you should consider the posibility that some of the girls (and boys) that are saying they have had sex are lying. The pressure to 'fit in' is such that I suspect this is all to common.

I have read of surveys that have been done on teenage sex. When annonymity is used in collecting the data the percentage of virgins is much higher than when the teenagers are asked point blank!

Kim said...

I have been having a similar discussion with some friends lately, on why it is valuable to wait.

Some background - I have made mistakes in my past. But I am committed to not making any MORE mistakes. So I told someone, a good friend who is not a Christian, that as much as I wish I could have casual sex (from a worldly point of view), I can't. I am committed to the next person I kiss, etc., to be my husband.

So in discussing this with my friends, up came the, "But if you and the guy both know it is casual, can't that be okay?" I said, no, because my experience is that it is completely and totally emotional, and that it carries with you forever. Sex, Christian or not, is so physically intimate that it creates the deepest kind of intimacy between the two partners. You know each other's bodies, you've been together in the most intimate of moments. So to say that you can then be casual about that is a big fat lie. You're either lying to yourself (which I would imagine is common) or lying to the other person about your feelings for them. A friend even said to me, "sex is just another form of sharing love with someone." To which I said, "then it can't be casual, because you are loving on someone. And then if they don't love you back, someone gets hurt." It's just ugly.

That is just in a secular light. In light of being a Christian, it's even more intimate. Sex was God's gift for marriage (and I do believe he intended more people to marry, and sooner, than people do today), and to be with someone in that way is forging part of a marriage relationship without any of the other commitment. Which is why it stinks that so many 20/30/40 somethings aren't getting married, for whatever reasons, because there are many people for whom it would be "better to marry than to burn," and yet they are out there burning, and giving in to those desires.

Finally, biologically, sex was designed to further the species. So the old abstinence saying, "Unless you're ready to have kids, you're not ready to have sex," holds true. Barring fertility problems, you can ALWAYS get pregnant from having sex. It's a cheesy saying now, but it's true: the only safe sex is abstinence. Condoms break. People screw up how they take their birth control every day. I know a married couple, who was probably taking their bc perfectly (she's a nurse) and they got pregnant with fraternal twins - which means when she wasn't supposed to be ovulating at all, she popped out two eggs.

So when people question your decisions, tell them these things. It will be worth it in the end.

Jaime said...

very well-written post.

Anonymous said...

My daughter just went to the wedding altar, a 23 year old virgin and I am so thankful! Suprisingly, the most pressure and questions she has received about this decision has been from physicians!!

mrstlc

Anna S said...

Jess,

I almost cried when I read your post. I wish someone had told me that when I was a teenager.

But it's never too late, even if we made a bad choice once (even if society claims it was not a bad choice... we know in our hearts how much it hurts...). We can go against the flow and reclaim the gift of chastity!

God bless and thank you!

dcrmom said...

Jess, I love your response to this question. Samantha, if you're reading the comments, I can only second EVERYTHING Jess said. I waited until I was married. I am SO glad I did. I'm just contrary enough that I almost enjoyed going against the tide. Therefore, I love Jess's suggestion to "be a rebel".

I can tell you one thing. If you decide to give in and sleep with someone, you will probably regret it. But if you stand firm, you will NEVER regret it. I can PROMISE you that.

I exhort you to be strong! And good for you for making the commitment this far.