by Abby Abstinence
As unexpected as it may seem, the recent debate surrounding both the Orchid Project has saddened me as a Christian virgin. Many of the comments I have read made the project sound like it seeks to turn the campus into an over-sexualized den of sin. The way I see it, the project seeks to do just the opposite: it seeks to raise awareness of the female anatomy to protect against dangerous situations and create a more open dialogue about sexual issues on campus. Whether you engage in sexual acts or not, it is important to be able to have an honest conversation about sex.
When it comes to dating relationships, it is obviously especially important to be able to be able to discuss sexual things. First, I am a firm believer in that if you are not comfortable discussing a sexual act with your partner, than you should not be doing that act with that person. Second, if you choose not to have sex, it is important to be open and honest about how you feel about each physical step taken so you can adequately set boundaries. An open dialogue about your physical relationship makes it more comfortable for both of you and therefore something that can build your relationship up rather than add pressure to it. Even if you only kiss your significant other, it still adds a lot to your relationship if you can look into his or her eyes and tell them that you enjoy sharing that experience with him or her.
I am very upfront with people about the fact that I am a virgin, so they are often taken aback at my subsequent frankness in discussing sex. I also find that people are much more receptive to listening why I choose not to have sex when I can have a real conversation about it with them. Abstinence does not require ignorance. Just because you do not practice a certain religion does not mean you do not learn about it to better understand the world around you and to understand why you believe what you believe. Understanding why people have sex at college has made me reason through exactly why I am waiting for marriage, which in turn has made me more able to communicate my reasons to others. I understand my friends more fully because I am willing to discuss their sexualities with them. I feel that I am a safe resource for them to come to when they have had a bad experience or just need a neutral second opinion. I am willing to bet that every person on campus knows what their own butt looks like. I am also willing to bet that every man on campus knows what his penis looks like. How could a woman looking at her vagina be so questionable? We should not have to go through life ashamed of any part of our bodies. I definitely do not mean that we should all run around naked and constantly discuss our vaginas, but I think that simply denying that they exist could be just as foolish. A vagina is a body part just like any other but is treated differently because society tells us it is ugly and shameful. The fact of the matter is that every woman has a vagina and should not be criticized for knowing what it looks like. Furthermore, looking at that part of your body does not require that you take any more steps in sexual self-discovery. Just because you are comfortable talking about certain things does not mean you have to talk about them all the time, or even often. It is important, however, to realize that at a certain times it is necessary to be able to talk about sex. Whether it is when you enter into your first relationship or when a friend has a bad experience, sexual events happen in everyone’s life, even if you are not having sex.