EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is Part 1 of 2 on the topic of Virginity and Sexuality – or at least my experience with it.
I am a virgin.
I am 31 years old.
I never would have guessed the crazy/awkward/unexpected conversations and situations this fact would get me into.
- Like the time a few months ago that I went for a check-up, and the doctor didn’t believe that I’ve never been sexually active, ever. He kept looking at me like, “Are you suuuuuure there isn’t something you want to tell me?”
- Or the time my host mom in Australia found out I was a Christian and immediately asked, “So I guess you’re a virgin, then?”
- Even my carpool buddy at work would get asked by coworkers, “So Charity…she’s never…you know…done it?”
Ummmm…no, I haven’t.
Only since I’ve moved to San Diego, have I really processed the idea that I’m rather unusual in the world. This processing has three facets.
I’m such a weirdo!
No matter how you spin it, the fact that I am still a virgin at 31 makes me in the minority of 31-year-olds. I’ve never made love to, made out with, or kissed a man. Never had a boyfriend, been on a second date, sat too close in a movie theater, or participated in inappropriate PDA.
Now, I know I’m not the ONLY one out there saving romance for someone special, and sex for marriage. I’m certainly not the ONLY 30-something with this conviction. But most first-world people my age are one or more of the following:
- Reclaimed virgins (meaning, they’ve had sex before but are now saving themselves for marriage)
It’s super easy to think that am better than you.
Because I’ve never done “it,” I also have never had an STD, unwanted pregnancy, unhappy marriage, or bad relationship. I’ve never had to consider the options for my unborn child, try to make a relationship work long-distance, or unpack my figurative baggage in pre-marital (or marriage) counseling.
I see my cousins and other acquaintances dealing with baby-mama drama, and I think, “Well, if you’d just not had sex with your girlfriend, you wouldn’t be dealing with this now.” Or I watch college friends go through divorce and think, “Well, if you guys hadn’t gotten pregnant to begin with, you wouldn’t be in this horrible place now.”
Pretty much, if everyone were as self-controlled as I, then we’d rid the world of STDs and eliminate 80% of the abortions in the United States, right?
This self-righteousness completely ignores the fact, of course, that I’ve never had a choice in the matter. It’s not like I’ve ever been offered sex and turned it down. And it’s only the grace of God that I was put in a family where my parents protected instead of molested me, and that I’ve never been raped or otherwise sexually compromised.
And of course, I’m better than no one – a sinner just like every other human ever born (except one); next week’s post will share how I’ve failed in remaining pure even while keeping my virginity in tact.
I am set apart from the world.
I’ve always known that if I made it past 27 (old maid age) unmarried, I’d be unusual. And I’ve always passionately believed that sex should be saved for marriage. The thing that I’ve only just now started realizing is how my virginity labels me as a Christian.
Besides the fact that I don’t cuss, my virginity is the biggest outward difference between me and my friends who don’t share my Christians beliefs.
The first time I realized that my virginity and my Christianity were linked was when I moved to Australia, and my host mom and I were bonding. She was asking about my school and family and stuff. When she realized I was a Christian, she said, “So you’re a virgin, then?”
I was a little taken aback. I think I said something like, “Duh, I’m not married.” And she responded with something like, “Not so duh.”
More recently, my coworker was trying to get me to relax my conviction on pre/extra-marital sex by telling me that if I’m still a virgin at 35, I should “just find a cute guy and do it, because by then you’ll totally be wondering what it’s like.” (Ptch. Like I don’t already wonder.)
I get advice like this from people ALL the time. Like I’m somehow incomplete because I haven’t partaken in this particular universal human experience.
***Side note: I recently read this article saying that in choosing a life of celibacy, unmarried Christians choose a life of demonstrative allegiance to Christ. (Well, I suppose it’s that or a life of social ineptitude, and I do so try to be socially adept.) I certainly resonated with it, especially the part about Australians inquiring about one’s sex life, and I highly recommend it.***
I’ll admit, sometimes I get bogged down in any one of those three thoughts: my weirdness, my supposed greatness, or my virginity as an expression of my Christianity.
Unfortunately, no single one of those thoughts encompasses the whole of what Jesus taught about my body and what I’m supposed to do with it.
Jesus lived a life that was much different than the people’s around Him: He (the oldest son) left home to be a transient preacher instead of take over Joseph’s carpentry business (Matthew 13:55); He claimed to be the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64); He willingly died on the cross to save His enemies from their sins (Romans 5:8-10). He was freakishly weird at times, I’m sure, and yet He was perfect by God’s standards (I Peter 2:22).
Jesus was better than you. And me. And everyone else who has ever lived (Hebrews 4:15). But He didn’t rub it in people’s faces. While He did tell people to be like Him (Matthew 5:48), He didn’t stop at that. He got down on the ground to wash their feet (John 13:1-17), and then went to His death so that His better-ness would clothe His enemies in righteousness (II Cor 5:21).
Jesus showed that a life of singleness can be so much more rewarding than the world – or even the church – would have me believe.*
In never making His virginity an issue or topic of discussion, He essentially made it a non-issue. He had much, much bigger issues to take care of – things like living to preach the Word of God (John 12:49), dying to save His people from their sins (Romans 4:25), and rising from the dead to provide hope for a better future for us (John 14:1-3).
Jesus shows me that the best way to live and die is to glorify God – with all of life, not just my sex life (or supreme lack of it).
And so, instead of hiding the fact that I’ve never been kissed, I think from now on, I’ll use that fact to point people to Jesus – the Creator of my body and determiner of my circumstances; the One who can take even the thing I like least about my life and use it to bring the most glory to God.
*I’m sure Jesus wouldn’t have sinned even if He had chosen to marry; but He chose singleness, and I find that supremely encouraging some days.