Being a virgin in 2011 is not easy. Quite the contrary. It has been very difficult to maintain this status, harder still to defend it. For a while I was surprised by the reactions of those I finally told. Most were riddled with skepticism or surprise, others closer to disbelief and even the occasional mild disgust. 

My most entertaining listeners have been men, reacting in what I now know to be a very limited number of predictable ways.  “Really?! No, you mean you’re abstinent now, you’ve claimed ‘spiritual’ virginity. Right?”  Then there’s my favorite, of course, the narrowing of the eyes which tells me they’ve had a sudden need rise up from the depths of their bellies to conquer the ‘V card’. 

We all know what hot words “virginity” and “abstinence” are, but are they also completely inappropriate to utter in the context of relationships? The only time I know that most people ever use these words is when referring to Mary (mother of Jesus) or nuns. Does that mean they are dying?  Are they becoming extinc ideas that no longer hold virtue but rather are thought of as prude and outdated?

It is incredibly discouraging to know that the only place that not only tolerates abstinent women or intact (gasp) virgins, but embraces them is the church. Sometimes even there, these women are few and far between.  Everyone knows that the congregation of a church is composed of imperfect people,  comprised of the same exact group of people who may not necessarily attend services every week or have any desire to please God. 

But will this continue to just be the accepted norm?  Are there any nice, normal, socially-acceptable women who might stand up and say, “you know what? I’m a virgin and, no it wasn’t easy, but here I am”? The truth is, being a virgin doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me, or that I’m fat, ugly, undesirable, and therefore a virgin by default. It also doesn’t mean that I’ll have horrible sex when I get married because “I didn’t get to practice.” 

I don’t even need to go to that extreme. There are few women over the age of twenty two who are in my boat, including all of those women who have declared a desire to stop sleeping with their significant other. Women who choose to be abstinent until marriage, regardless of decisions they’ve made in the past.  Truthfully, the undesirable and inexperienced are all reasons (or risks) I’ve been warned about from various uneducated sources, and have the potential to cause concern.

I’d like to put my two cents into the sex conversation since my point of view remains to be a side that is in many ways untold, save for in hushed tones in little girls Bible studies.  I must admit I am hesitant to so boldly address the issue, and for those of you who know me, I don’t usually broadcast that I’m waiting to have sex because of its inevitable mixed reviews, though I’m starting to feel that I should. 

Often, young people who are trying to actively pursue a relationship with God will compartmentalize this aspect of their lives to alleviate any guilt that may come with sleeping with their significant other.  There are many excuses as to why premarital sex could be allowed by God.  Honestly, in the grand of scheme of things that are wrong with the world, including natural disasters/wars/the economy (of course the list could go on), this challenge pales in comparison, but I think it is more important than we as a society realize. 

Pornography has taken a terrible toll on families, and statistics say our marriage will more then likely end in divorce.  “Paris, are you saying that you think sex is related to these two issues?” Yes.  I know that my waiting is going to bless my marriage.  I also know women who live their lives with God every day who aren’t virgin’s, though they are essentially doing the same, committing to not have sex until they’re married, choosing to stop their behavior instead of simply continuing on their, “we’ll it’s gone now, so I might as well” path. (I have heard from various sources that this is substantially more difficult to do then my way, so to these women, I salute you.)

However trying this lifestyle will be, I know it will be worth it in the end. When I get married, no man will ever be able to look my husband in the eye and say “oh well you may have married her, but I’ve already had what you have.”  In a time when marriages are more likely to fail then succeed, I feel this is one thing I can do to help increase the chances of beginning our life together on a firm foundation.  To give him the gift I can only give once will be a great gift, indeed.