EDITOR’S NOTE: This post is Part 2 of 2 on the topic of Virginity and Sexuality – or at least my experience with it.
I sat in Freshman Biology my first semester of college, averting my eyes from the PowerPoint slides and picking my jaw up off the floor. I was stunned and horrified because
- I had just learned was sex was.
- It took me until I was 18 years old to learn this.*
Over the years, I’ve been so embarrassed by that second fact that I’ve just lied and told people I was “like 15 or 16” when I learned about the birds and the bees.
For years, I still somehow managed to remain mostly innocent, despite some of the not-so-innocent books I had to read in college. I fast-forwarded certain scenes in PG-13 movies, whispered the word “sex” the first few times I had to use it in a non-gender-related way, and refused to laugh at dirty jokes (mostly because I didn’t understand them).
I was proud of myself for being mature about the life drawing class offered at my school in Australia, and I learned to discuss sex and sexuality without making a total fool of myself.
I mean, I did the normal homeschooler thing and looked stuff up on urbandictionary.com. And I certainly didn’t shut people down when they told me about their honeymoons. But, for the most part, I was ignorant of most things sex-related.
At some point in my mid-twenties, though, I got tired of wondering, and I wanted to know what I was missing out on. I wanted to know what else had been kept from me.
So I stopped fast-forwarding those scenes in PG-13 movies. I watched an R movie here and there. I started understanding dirty jokes. And laughing at them.
But what I found was that it didn’t satisfy my curiosity – it made me more curious.
When I was 28, I got a smartphone and immediately downloaded the Kindle app. Then for my 29th birthday, I bought myself the newly-released Kindle Fire. With my e-reader, I entered a new phase in my life: my “smut romance novel” phase.
Yes, I am ashamed to admit it, but I got sucked in. I mean, most of the smut romance books were somewhere between free and $.99, and I was, well, curious. My Kindle was waaaaaaay better than urbandictionary.com when it came to figuring out stuff about…ahem…marital relations. Just the covers alone were highly educational, not to mention the contents.
My sin wasn’t satisfying. The more I knew, the more I wanted to know. The more I learned, the more I turned to sin in order to learn more. The more I read, the more I dwelt on the smut I was reading, thinking about it throughout the day and letting my imagination be filled with the sins of the characters in the books.
I justified that phase, which lasted a little over a year, all kinds of ways:
- “I’m still a virgin, so I’m still pure.”
- “I’m just reading them to make fun of them.”
- “The real sin here is that I’m condoning bad art.”
- “I asked God to satisfy these desires I have, so He provided smut romance novels instead of a husband.”
Lies, all of them. The Bible speaks highly of purity, with verses like:
- Matthew 5:8 – Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
- Titus 2:11-12 – For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.
More specifically, the Bible talks about sexual purity:
- Hebrews 13:4 – Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.
- I Corinthians 6:18 – Flee fornication [sexual immorality]. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.
The Bible goes on and on and on, regarding these topics. But the problem was, I would read verses like I Thess 4:3-5 and say “Well, I’m not sleeping around or compromising my physical virginity in any way, so it’s all good. I’m still pure because I haven’t given my body away.”
But deep down, I knew the truth; I wasn’t “fleeing” like I Cor. 6:18 and several other verses recommend. I was hunting for the line so I could walk right up to it and dare my feet to step over.
I knew that the Bible wasn’t telling me to be pure, simply in order to keep me from reading an entire genre. Through the Bible, God is actually looking out for me because slutty novels and other sexy resources available to virgins create unrealistic expectations and dangerous, unhealthy fantasies. (I feel like many, many books and blogs have been written about those unrealistic expectations, so I won’t unpack that here.)
The great thing, though, is that the Bible doesn’t just tell me what I can’t do. It also offers an alternative: Jesus. Jesus is better than any sin I commit while pursuing my own pleasure. This was hard to understand when I was in the middle of my sinful phase, because I would think, “Well, Jesus isn’t going to come down here and snuggle with me or make out with me in the back of a movie theater, so how can He possibly be enough?”
What I failed to consider was that Jesus knows what’s best for me. So somehow, singleness and virginity must be what’s best for me right now. There are days that I hate to admit that – days that I want to tell God there’s no way He understands my hormones or whatever – but on those days, I remind myself that:
- Jesus does know what it’s like to fight hormones in order to please God. (Hebrews 4:15)
- My singleness and virginity have shown me my need for Jesus more than anything else (except maybe my sister’s death).
- Because I’m single, I’ve learned to run to Jesus instead of to a man in times of emotional turmoil.
- Because I’m a virgin, I’ve learned to run to Jesus instead of to sin in times of hormonal turmoil.
And that’s not all. Jesus could have said, “All right, now you’ve learned how much I love you in this lifetime – by NOT allowing your hormones any satisfaction. Baha – sucker!” But He doesn’t. He promises me that in heaven, I will have pleasures forevermore – pleasures way beyond what sex can offer on this earth (Psalm 16:11).
It’s taken me a long, long time, but I’m finally thankful for my virginity. Not that I don’t have days when I tell God, “What are you THINKing? I just want a man to kiss me!” But even on those days, I’m thankful that God has never chosen to let me have sex (yet), because He uses that fact to drive me to Jesus and bring glory to Himself.
*Not all homeschoolers are as sheltered as I was, and even my younger siblings seem to have learned things just by thinking about them really hard. So please don’t let my story be the norm in your mind, if you don’t know any other homeschoolers.
One thought on “My Quasi-Purity”
Fasntasic, Charity. I love your honesty, and I love to hear how God has grown your faith. The whole “purity” movement was/is misleading; no one is pure–not one of us. Even those who are abstinent outside of marriage are not “pure” simply because they are sexually inactive. It’s Jesus who makes us pure in the Father’s eyes. I think for our generation, we relied on our own willpower to stay “pure,” thinking that sexual abstinence equated with purity, and it was just the wrong direction. I really appreciate your thoughts.