There is one thing that I have found to be rare in our hyper-sexualized society. There is a type of male or female that seems to be incompatible with a culture that produces such iconic gems as Magic Mike and Fifty Shades of Grey. Most in my generation, after entering into their roaring twenties, have probably forgotten that such a thing exists.
I’m talking about being a virgin.
Now, when I say virgin, I mean virgin. I am probably the absolute least experienced person when it comes to physical intimacy than most twentysomethings you’ve met. My sexual history is a list of things I haven’t done. I’ve never even kissed a man (much to my dismay). I’ve never gone on a real date or been in a relationship, let alone spent a night of passion with a man, trading desperate embraces and soft caresses. I’m inexperienced and innocent, though my sense of humor might indicate otherwise.
There was a time in my life when I was embarrassed by this. A 20+ year old virgin is a travesty this day in age. Something must be wrong with me, right? I mean, how unfortunate that I haven’t had the experience of sex, making love, and all the emotional intimacy that comes with it. How deprived am I that the only knowledge I have about the goings-on in the bedroom is from what I’ve read and the movies I’ve watched. (Not that kind of movie, my goodness.)
The worst part was thinking that being a virgin meant I was lacking. If a guy didn’t want to sleep with me, obviously I wasn’t woman enough. Being a virgin got twisted and tangled up in my self esteem. Being a virgin meant I wasn’t pretty enough, sexy enough, exciting enough. Being a virgin became every insecurity I had rolled into one. Being a virgin, instead of being a virtue, became something I hated, something I was ashamed of, something I resented. Being a virgin meant I was unwanted, unloved, and undesirable.
It’s hard when you live in a culture that bombards you with sex while maintaining a faith that places value in being chaste. It’s hard when society mixes embracing your sexuality with engaging in casual sex. It’s hard when the lines between being an empowered woman and being an experienced sexual being have been blurred. It’s hard when being a man and an assumed sexual Adonis leaves you feeling like you are missing a vital part of yourself.
Because the truth is that being a Christian isn’t enough to prevent us from having premarital sex anymore. Being a Christian hasn’t stopped me from wanting it or thinking about it. We sit in church on Sundays, nodding when the pastor goes on about sexual purity, trying to forget the hours we spent with lovers on the nights in between. We are told to wait for our spouse. We are told of the beauty of giving ourselves to our husband or wife on our wedding night.
Yet we live in a society that says we don’t need commitment or marriage to experience sexual satisfaction. The Church says that sex outside of marriage isn’t on the same level as sex between you and your spouse. But Hollywood says otherwise. Friends say otherwise. Even our bodies say otherwise. So why wait until our wedding night when we aren’t given a good reason? Actually, that isn’t fair. We are given a reason- the Bible says so. But when that is the reason for a lot of other rules we don’t really understand, we stop hearing it. It stops having meaning.
For an entire year, I threw out the rules. I took off my purity ring, because I thought the whole idea was ridiculous. I was tired of not doing something when I could see everyone else doing it and enjoying it. I was tired of going against the norm.
Nothing happened. And I honestly believe that a part of me didn’t want anything to happen. Emotionally, I couldn’t have handled a one-night stand or a meaningful sexual encounter. Because the truth is I didn’t want sex. I just didn’t want to be a virgin. I was surprised to realize there was a difference.
I didn’t want desperate kisses, multiple orgasms, and lingering touches. I didn’t want a soulful connection or lovemaking. I didn’t want a torrid affair.
What I wanted was reassurance of my femininity and attractiveness. What I wanted was affirmation that I was desired by men. What I wanted was the power to decide whether or not to be a virgin not because of a ring and a few Bible verses, but because it was my decision, only mine. What I wanted was the experience my friends had flaunted in front of me. What I wanted was the ability to say that I had finally done it.
What I wanted was selfish and reckless, which are two things sex should never be.
And I deserve better than to have sex just for the sake of having sex. The man I’d have been with deserves more than to be some meaningless fling, to be used for what I want. My future husband deserves more than for me to treat my virginity as a burden rather than a gift for him. I deserve more than to have sex just to gain the experience that comes with it. The act of sex, of making love, deserves to be treated with respect. It shouldn’t be an afterthought, something to cross off my checklist.
It should be anticipated, savored, enjoyed. Never regretted.
So for now I’ll wait. Not because it’s fun or easy, because it’s neither of those things. But I’ll wait because I’m not ready. I’ll wait because my femininity and sexuality aren’t defined by my sexual experience. I’ll wait because of love, because of my husband, because of my heart. I’ll wait because God has called me to.
I’ll wait because having sex shouldn’t be something we do to get it over with. It shouldn’t be something we engage in because everyone else is doing it. We shouldn’t use sex to makes us feel better about ourselves, because that disregards the person we are having sex with. It is self centered, and sex is always about two people, two hearts and two bodies.
I’m not going to tell you not to have sex before you’re married. That’s a personal choice you make. And I know that many of you may have already had sex in previous relationships, perhaps because you thought they were the one, or because, like me, you were tired of your virgin status. But I will say sex is a big deal. Sex means something. Sex changes you. And it won’t erase your insecurities or eliminate self doubt. Having sex isn’t going to solve the problems in a relationship. Usually it makes things more complicated.
So if you aren’t ready for the physical and emotional ramifications that come along with giving part of yourself to another person, I want you to know it’s okay to wait. You are allowed to wait.
And I choose to wait.
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