I am not my Virginity.

Confession: I am a virgin. Actually, that’s not really a confession, so much as a statement of fact. I’ve never tried to hide it or put it on a pedestal as a virtue. I am a virgin in the way that I have brown eyes or size nine feet.

The real confession is that I hate that I’m a virgin. It’s nothing I am proud of, much like my brown eyes and size nine feet. It is merely a part of who I am, a piece of my story, something I can say when I want to make people uncomfortable. And oftentimes, my virginity makes me uncomfortable. I don’t know what to do with it or where to put it. I feel as if it’s a shirt I’ve outgrown, but continue to wear because I haven’t the heart to toss it away. My virginity has become a burden, and that leaves me embroiled in guilt and disappointment.

Especially because I know when people hear that I’m a virgin or see my purity ring, they expect certain things. They make assumptions about my innocence, my purity, my experience. They look at me and say, “This is a good Christian girl.” They shame me with their praise, by assuming I’m something I’m not. They become the mirror I look into, all my struggles with lust, sexual desire, sexual urges glaring back. I hear their words and I cringe.

Because what would they think if they knew I resented my virginity? How would they react if they knew I only wore my purity ring to please my parents? How much disgust would fill their eyes if they knew I would have had sex years ago if I’d been given the chance?

I couldn’t bear it. So I smile and hide behind the ring, ignoring the breaking of my heart.

Because the Church today places worth and value on virginity and sexual purity. In a society that sells sex, encourages sex, exudes sex, we are “special” for not giving in. We are the “good” ones. We have managed to hold onto something that apparently makes or breaks your salvation. As if sexual purity is the currency to heaven.

I am a good Christian because of my virginity.

So where does that leave the virgins in body, but not in mind? Where does that leave those who are virgins by circumstance, not necessarily by choice? Where does that leave those who have given away their virginity, or had it taken from them?

I am the mascot for a movement that does not belong to me, a movement of purity that has become a breeding ground for shame and worthlessness. My virginity is held up as an example, a beacon of light in the darkness of our sexualized culture.
To the wide-eyed, innocent Christian girls and boys, “This is what you should strive for.”
To those who are no longer virgins, “This is what you should have been.”

My story is mine no longer, taken away from me and made into something that serves man. My virginity has become someone else’s virtue. And my worth as a woman, my value as a Christian has been tied to my body, to my sexuality, to my ability to say no.

And I can see no God in my story. I seem to have lost Him, pushed Him aside in my embarrassment, my guilt, my shame. I don’t feel pure, and I can’t imagine God would approve of me. I’ve been tainted and don’t deserve to be near that which is perfect, which is good, which is divine. How could God look on me with anything but disappointment? I can’t control my thoughts; I deal with lust daily; I long to do things I know I should not, things I’m told are sinful. But that doesn’t stop the wanting.

And yet…
When did I decide I must be perfect? Sinless? When did my Christianity become a matter of my sexuality? When did my walk with God become a walk of shame?

I have condemned myself, forgetting there is no condemnation in Christ. I have denied myself solace from the only one who has the power to heal, or overcome, to redeem. My purity resides in Christ and His sanctification, not in my virginity.

You are more than your virginity, my soul whispers. You are more than your virginity.

In the scheme of my story, my virginity is merely a chapter, perhaps an excessively long footnote. Because while it is a part of me, it does not define me. My worth as a creation of God is not confined to my untouched body. It is not dependent on a shiny ring. It is not dependent on something that is not meant to last. Because, one day, my virginity will be gone.

But I will remain. My worth will remain. My value will remain. My love of life will remain. My writer’s soul will remain. My loving heart and critical mind will remain. My creative bent and love of words will remain. My strength will remain. My determination and resolve will remain.

That is who I am, truly, at my core. Those are things I would point to and say, “These make up the foundation of my being. These are the things that make me happy. These are my treasures, my blessings, the reason for every smile.”

And that is who God sees – the beautiful, intelligent, writer of a woman; His own creation. He doesn’t look at me and see my virginity. He looks at me, knowingly and with a smile, and sees the soul of His daughter. He sees someone worth loving.

He sees me, just me, and He revels in it.

Thank you for reading! And maybe (definitely) follow me on Twitter. I’m pretty entertaining.

22 thoughts on “I am not my Virginity.

  1. If I can take a tangent off of one line, I’ve long held that purity can only be given, not taken. I don’t consider the victim of rape to not be sexually pure, unless she (or he) has done something consensual since then.

    Virginity is important, as any other obedience to God is important. Failure in that area is a forgivable sin, just as any number of other sins are forgivable. I see a lot of Christians who want to forget one or the other of those two truths. Purity is a part of God’s standard, and you’re right to note that that includes mental purity. Most of us fall short on the latter (I know I certainly have). That’s where we can rejoice in the availability of God’s grace, request forgiveness, and then start again on trying to do right. People who forget the first part use God’s grace as an excuse to sin; people who forget the last part fail to extend God’s grace to others in the humble knowledge that they often fall themselves in that or other areas. We need to remember both.

    I had a classmate once ask me if I was a virgin, who knew that I knew that she was not. When I confirmed that I was, she kinda stunned me by her answer. “Stick with that; it’s not worth it.” My answer to her was that she couldn’t change her past, but she could choose her future. Too often those that have given up their virginity at some point fall into the trap of thinking that there’s no point to trying to be pure anymore because they’re dirty forever. Christ didn’t die for every since except loss of virginity; He died for every sin period. God’s in the cleaning business, and no stain is too great for Him to make you pure again.

    • I believe the Church as twisted the issue of purity into our discussions of sexuality. We talk about being pure in terms of sex rather than in terms of Christ. Those who are no longer virgins or those who are virgins but struggle with lust/sexual desire/pornography/masturbation and such aren’t “pure” in the Church’s most strict definition. But my purity, at its foundation, is something I find in Christ, not in my sexual history. His love and grace and mercy and forgiveness is purifying, regardless of my sexual struggle.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      Cassi

  2. Wow, great thoughts here.The purity discussion has seen a reassessment lately, and I think it’s very good. It seems like a lot of this stuff hasn’t been discussed since I went through the original TLW presentations back in youth group. Purity is something we assign only to sex, when, if it’s anything, it’s a holistic idea. And what does grace mean for us except that we are pure in the eyes of God. I agree wholeheartedly with you, virginity is a thing, a circumstance, but it cannot and should not define us. Lack of it certainly shouldn’t be used to define others. Thanks for writing this.

    • Thank you for reading! And I agree, the way we talk about purity in the Church needs to change. It’s become too black and white, and the Church needs to realize there are so many different facets to sexuality. Saying “no sex til marriage” doesn’t answer all the questions Christians have about sex nowadays. It’s a complex issue we’ve tried to oversimplify.

      Cassi

      • !: “…the way we talk about purity in the Church needs to change.”. Bravo Cassi. To question and reveal are critical steps for creativity and growth. Without displaying freedom of thought, for understanding and progress, what would life be? Examination of the ‘status quo’ is necessary-and good.

  3. I had an adopted son who was sexually molested in foster care. He loved youth group, but the purity lectures were so impractical and over-the-top that they were cruel. I know parents are scared to death their children are going to engage in pre-marital sex, but common sense and honesty should still prevail.

    • I’m sorry your son had to go through all of that. My heart goes out to him. And your story speaks to my main issue with purity discussions in the Church these days, and that is that they can leave us feeling more ashamed and embarrassed and worthless than anything else. We need to stop focusing on the “no sex til marriage” discussion and open it up to honest dialogue about sex and sexuality.
      Thank you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts!

      Cassi

  4. You are more than your virginity for sure..but that being said, keep it as long as you can…it will save you alot of heartache in the future when God brings along the one He intends you to get married to…

    • I would like to push back against this idea that somehow you won’t have relationship difficulties and heartbreak if you don’t have sex, it’s just one more excuse touted for why loving, committed persons should not have sex.

      For myself, I’ve found the relationships I’ve had sex in have had pain, but the equality and love shared have left me for the better rather than the worse as I have found in my dating relationships when I considered virginity as essential to my personhood.

      • “One more excuse touted for why loving committed persons should not have sex”

        I’m not offering any excuses to why loving committed persons shouldn’t have sex…the Bible already says that Christians shouldn’t….God says sex is for marriage…and I’m pretty sure He has a good reason for it..

      • Everyone has relationship difficulties and heartbreak, certainly. Married as well as not married. The reason for staying a virgin is quite simply down to that being God’s setup from Genesis onward.

        That said, there are certain difficulties you can avoid by waiting, such as reduced risk of STDs (it’s reduced rather than complete exemption due to non-sexual transmission methods of some, such as tainted blood that passed some instances of HIV). You also take away the tendency to compare the sexual performance of past and current partners. Of course, porn and steamy romance novels and television and movies and various other sources can also set up unrealistic expectations against which you may compare your spouse. Similarly, both past partners and the above sources can create appetites for particular types of or methods of sex that you spouse might not enjoy, potentially creating an unfulfilled desire that may lead to extra temptation.

        There is also truth to the idea that sex was designed to enhance emotional attachment, and when we make and break those connections repeatedly, we have a high chance of weakening them and our ability to commit to relationships. The effect is more pronounced in some people and more subdued in others, but it does exist. You also can’t undo the fact that this person has seen you naked and knows how you are and what you like in bed and you have no control over what they do with that knowledge. Granted, divorce can create the same situation, but the number of married couples that break up is much smaller than the number of dating couples that break up, so you’re at least limiting the quantity.

    • It’s easy to say “keep it as long as you can,” but the execution of that intention can be an intense battle (one I constantly struggle with). And I don’t believe that saying “staying a virgin will save you heartache in the future” answers the struggles that many Christians encounter with sexual desire and sexual urges in this moment. Yes, the Bible tells me to wait for my husband, but the struggle is still there. The shame is still there. And while I might not go and have sex just for the sake of satisfying my desires, the Church needs to work towards a better and more expansive way to approach the discussion of sex, virginity, and purity.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject! I appreciate hearing all sides to an issue.

      Cassi

      • I never said it was easy..,I agree with you, it is quite difficult to do..I think sexual desire and sexual urges are natural, but as long as the Church preaches law or that your behaviour has to meet a certain standard to keep your salvation or to get blessings etc. people will always pressure themselves to be perfect and “think pure thoughts at all times”…but when you consciously try to suppress something it gets worse …

        Teaching persons that your salvation isn’t earned by good behaviour and is solely based on what Christ did on the Cross makes for a more secure and less pressured believer, so that when the lust arises and Satan whispers in your ear that you’re a sinner or how can you be saved etc. you respond with Christ is my righteousness and the need to fight the lust to earn merits or points is over..it sounds simple but it works..when you stop striving to reach the standard, you actually reach it much more easily. A proper explanation of Grace is 90% of the answer

        The extra 10% came from me seeing some of the results of premarital sex..years ago two friends of mine got their girlfriends pregnant and abortions were had. One girl isn’t able to have kids as a result…both guys still keep track of how old their son/daughter would have been to this day..serious regrets..other things I’ve seen that I won’t bother to bore you with….but in my experience trouble always seems to be attached to premarital or extra marital sex in some form or fashion. I personally just came to the conclusion that it just wasn’t worth t..I’ve heard too many regret stories about it from people that I never imagined would be sorry about it…the media sells premarital sex as exciting, fulfilling and glamorous but they rarely show the ugly part of it…it made me fully realise that God really wasn’t keeping anything good from…this is just my experience however…

        .

  5. Thanks for your brave word Cassi. This virginity things is a rather useless idea. I can wear that label but I am as uncomfortable with it as you are. It is wrong to rank people’s value by what they have done, that would be the thing Jesus died to get rid of. Physical virginity doesn’t really mean much about a person not having accumulated sexual sin that will effect them if they get married.

    There is another lie in the mix that virginity perpetrates. That is the idea that married people aren’t as pure. In my humble opinion marriage seems to make a lot of people much more sexually healthy than they were as singles.

    I am all for this shift that seems to be happening in the conversation about chastity. The ideals that the church has taught for the past generation or so have produced a lot of shame and not very much holy living in the sexualities of so many.

    • Thank you so much for reading. I’m not sure I would go so far to say that virginity is a useless idea (part of my story is my virginity, and there is nothing useless in my story), but I believe we’ve made it into more than we should. We’ve idolized it, and that’s why it makes me uncomfortable. Because now it means something more than it should. I am a virgin, yes. It’s a fact. But I am not only a virgin. That’s not where my worth lies. And I won’t always be a virgin, so it shouldn’t be something I build up only to have it disappear in the future. And I completely agree that the way the Church has talked about the issue has led to a lot of shame. We need to move away from that.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject! I’m so glad people are talking about the issue.

      Cassi

    • I wonder what God would tell us about sex if He spoke to us at our time, in our society that allows a lot of things the Jewish one of the Bible would have considered madness. If we could have His word anew, without a precedent.
      I wouldn’t hold the confidence He would command the same in the fact He could have talked to us again and commanded us otherwise if He wanted. My reasons to live my sexual life as I did(n’t) are far deeper than that.

  6. This is also a concept that I struggle with. While I am a virgin physically, and am very glad that that is the case, I have been impure enough in mind and “by myself” that I do not feel like a virgin. I wonder sometimes if its worth having the title. There is a huge amount of guilt when I hear so-called purity talks and everyone around me seems to be on board, but they have no insight into the fact that they know someone (me) who hasn’t lived the stereotypical “good catholic girl” life.
    In my opinion, there needs to be more of an understanding that people are not always as they seem. I can honestly say that you wouldn’t know from looking at me or talking to me, that I’ve had a sexual addiction for 9 years. There is a great deal of hurt that can occur when people make assumptions about moral character and my past…
    Thank you for writing this and for starting to break down those stereotypes.

  7. I have not yet been to a House of God where they said that struggling with lustful thoughts makes you less righteous or unworthy of the love and grace of God.I know that if I met such an experience,I would not let it go unattended to.I think that while there is still room for improvement, the church has tried their best so far to address the issue of sex and sexuality.The church has always placed value on virginity and sexual purity because they believe that they(among many things) are things that please God.I can blame the church for making it seem like the yardstick for spirituality and righteousness but I cannot blame the church for not having all the answers to virginity and sexual purity issues.Because if we leave the church out, a person will still have to deal with virginity and sexual issues with the Holy Spirit as far as it is something that matters to God.The best thing would be for a person to experience God for him/herself so that they know and understand what is good and bad and not just be told, because when you are just told,then you would just be following rules and obeying laws without understanding.I am a virgin and I’m extremely proud that I am and I think that the one who isn’t should also be extremely proud of what he/she is as far as they are in Christ in whom we all are brides based not on sex(male or female), physical statuses or achievements of any kind.For there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.I suggest that if anyone has more information on new ways that the church can handle this,they should continue to share by all means and I’m sure it will be much appreciated.Bless you

  8. Pingback: impromptu sex week (a link list) | A Deeper Story

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s