Earlier this week, I wrote in a post for A Deeper Story that the probability of marrying a virgin is low, but that this should not lead anyone to despair. I talked about three myths perpetuated by the Virginity or Purity culture about the supposed benefits of abstinence and the supposed consequences of premarital sex. This is a very difficult topic to address without piling shame on either those who remain virgins or on those who are not (for whatever reason).
While I tried my best to respond in the comments, and even modified my post to try to make things more clear, some people still felt shamed by the post. I regret that deeply and want to try to clarify a few things. As I said at the end of the post, I am planning to write about sexuality several more times this month, but I think it important to respond here right now.
In no particular order, I offer these thoughts on virginity:
Choosing to abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage is
fine not shameful.
I know that this is a difficult road to walk. We are sexual beings, and especially in our culture, indulging our sexuality is touted as the norm. If you know that for your own emotional, mental, physical, and/or spiritual health that you need to save sexual intimacy for marriage, I fully support you. If you choose to abstain from certain things but not others, I fully support you. If you need to masturbate to, in the case of a man, avoid wet dreams, or in the case of a woman, to manage your sex drive and learn how your body works, I fully support you. No shame here. None.
Choosing not to abstain from sexual intercourse before marriage is
fine not shameful.
As I wrote above, we are sexual beings. We desire the pleasure and connection of sexual relationships. When we love someone, we want to demonstrate it in real and tangible ways, and physical acts of kissing, touching, and intercourse is very much a part of that. I encourage you to be wise in who you choose to interact with in this way. Many people use sex to manipulate and abuse their partner – watch out for this. Take the necessary steps to prevent pregnancy if you are not prepared to make the commitment to raise a child (yes, I realize that we are never fully prepared, but I think you know what I mean).
Your decision to abstain or not to abstain does not necessarily have any connection to the health of your future marriage.
Your decision to abstain or not to abstain does not necessarily have any connection to the health of your future sex life.
Marriage takes hard work. Learning to make love to your partner in a way that is mutually pleasurable and fulfilling takes hard work. Each person is unique, and each couple is unique, and those dynamics are far more important than the sexual histories of the individuals. Sure, one’s sexual experience (whether it’s minimal, abusive, or extensive) can play a role. But it doesn’t have to play a negative role, and it doesn’t necessarily play a positive role either.
I have much more to say (obviously, since this is a monthlong series). This topic is nuanced and deep and broad, and people much smarter and more immersed in it than I have barely scratched the surface. These are my opinions, and while I think they are valid, I appreciate thoughtful pushback. I also reserve the right to change my opinions at any time.
P.S. A Deeper Story provided a fantastic list of posts on sex today. If you want to read more perspectives, I highly recommend checking it out.