by Abby Abstinence
I did not know that it wasn’t normal to be a virgin until my roommate last year informed me that I was the only person she had ever met who was saving themselves for marriage. I was definitely not in Texas anymore. What had been the norm in my church-going group of friends in high school now set me apart from nearly the whole Dartmouth student body. And everyone—the boys who asked me out, my new friends—had the same question: Why am I abstinent?
I would like to make it clear before I begin that these are my views and, obviously, are not for everyone. The goal of this piece is solely to explain why I do not have sex, not to change the minds of the readers. You do not have to be a virgin to be Christian. CS Lewis (who is a complete boss) argued in Mere Christianity that chastity is the least important of the virtues because violations are the most obvious. It is the less conspicuous ones—especially pride or malice—that are more poisonous because they can grow to take over our hearts without our realizing it. It is almost ridiculous how much I talk about sex at college. Four of my closest friends are Sexperts. The conversation just always seems to go there. My sexually active friends are some of the best people I know and I love them just as much my virgin friends back home.
Why am I a virgin? Not because sex is dirty or wrong or shameful. I’m a virgin because sex is AWESOME. I know I’m preaching to the choir when I write “sex is awesome” in the Sexperts newsletter, but it’s true. Even the Bible says so– one skimming of Song of Songs can teach you that. It is a lesser-known book of the Bible that is basically a bunch of steamy love poems hidden smack dab in the middle of the Old Testament. Adam and Eve, who had a perfect relationship with God before that apple incident, were “Naked and unashamed,” AKA getting it on all the time (see Genesis 2:25). God made sex, so he knows how good it is and definitely doesn’t hate it. It is the knowledge that sex is going to be so fun and exciting and special that makes me want to wait even more. Every time I recommit myself to not having sex with someone now, I am recommitting myself to my future husband.
Why am I a virgin? Because I like being a virgin. I find the ability to unapologetically say no to sex empowering. No matter how hot a guy may fancy himself to be, he cannot change my mind. I read recently that the word “virgin” originated in Greek mythology to describe goddesses who could resist the temptation of Dionysus, the god of wine and seduction. It was a label of power and strength. I don’t know if that internet article’s etymology was correct or not, but I definitely prefer to think of my chastity as a display of strength and not of meekness. I am an independent woman in control of her own body.
Why am I a virgin? Because we should seek to purely love one another. Pure intentions are important because God reveals his love for us through our love for each other— whether through family, friends, or lovers. A romantic relationship should begin because your partner makes you laugh and makes your stomach do that fun flippy thing and all that, but it should mature into the two of you trying to purely love one another without selfish motives. And after all, “love is not self-seeking,” according to 1 Corinthians 13 (the ultimate guide to defining any type of love). Sexual purity goes way beyond physical acts. It has to do with the way you approach the entire physical aspect of the relationship. Abstinence helps to ensure that partners are committed to sacrificing themselves for each other. I believe hooking up should not be a way of seeking pleasure for yourself; the goal of making love should not be for you to orgasm. It should be a way of showing your partner how much you care about them by making him or her feel good. It is an act of giving a part of you away to share. I dated a boy for two years and not having sex brought us closer together. We had to be honest and open with each other to make sure we were pursuing the right things.
Why am I a virgin? Because I am free not to have sex. It is a common misconception that becoming a Christian is basically signing up to follow a bunch of strict rules, but it is truly the opposite. The point is that sins have been paid for and we no longer have to worry about them. I can go out and play pong with a brother or go dance with someone at the hi-lighter party and not feel an obligation to hook-up with any one because I’m free from the social pressures to do so. I will also say that dating someone without sex as an option is also a freeing experience. You never have to worry about pregnancy, STI’s, or whether one partner wants to do it while the other wants to snuggle.
My bottom line is this: displays of affection are meant to be physical manifestations of emotions. Physical intimacy should mirror emotional intimacy. So go ahead, kiss your crush, spoon with your boyfriend. But I believe in saving the ultimate physical commitment for the ultimate personal commitment. Marriage is a ceremony to unite two souls, so it is then that their bodies should unite.