Questionable Motives for Virginity

The evangelical literature I read before I married made it very clear that there were dishonorable reasons for virginity.  I was very critical of my motives.  After I deconverted, I was also critical and worried I had unacceptable reasons.

Fear was dishonorable.  God knew it was because you were scared of hell so no bonus points.

Wanting peer acceptance was an inferior reason, and close to sin.

Actually being asexual was perfectly fine if you were a girl because female sexuality is supposed to be less.  Cue the misogyny against asexual boys.

Believing the lies that abstaining from sex was the best way to have a satisfying sex life later was fine, but ultimately selfish.

Love was reason you were supposed to give.  Love for your partner for not ‘degrading’ them with your sexual attraction.  And love for God, which was best exemplified by blind obedience to the rules attributed to him.

Looking back, I was influenced by all of these reasons and have felt bad about it. 
I was mad that I believed the lies, but I know being naive and trusting is not the same as being stupid. Its just a lack of critical thinking skills.

I really did curb my sexual appetites because I loved my fiance.  I thought he would feel truly loved by having his affection rejected, like I was looking out for him.  (ahaha)  We did get over the idea that physical attraction is degrading.  

I’m ok with, although sad about, the fear that kept me back.  STIs exist.  Unplanned pregnancies happen.  It is tricky to navigate consent and coercion.  I didn’t have the proper tools to deal with that which I am sad about.  But, I don’t regret not learning by making mistakes.

The reason I struggled with the most was social acceptance.  I really didn’t understand the value of doing something to be socially accepted.  (I will not wear clothes that aren’t comfortable, trends be damned.)  If anything, I valued doing things to rebel against social pressures.  I don’t know how much of my decisions were based on wanting to be an accepted member of my church, but that was the result, and I felt bad about that.

Looking back, social acceptance is important.  It is a valid reason.  Not everyone has the resources to live without it.  Social acceptance affects health, both physical and mental, and has long-term impacts.  I will always be inspired by the people who can live beyond this pressure to do what seems right, whether it be working against oppressive regimes or loving your imperfect body when society demands you feel shame.  Its ok.

In conclusion, there are many good reasons to not be sexually active. Its easy to say personal desire is the most acceptable reason, but I’m learning that it is ok to do things to fit in. Circumstance, fear, lack of accurate information, personal desire, and social acceptance are all valid.  It is the misinformation and prejudice that deserve scorn, not the people who are victims of it.  

 

And what image better to show acceptance of virginity than an able-bodied white girl in a white dress :)  Yes, I’m making fun of the conflation of ‘pure’ and ‘white’. 

dance

Appropriately, I found this photo on a blog that seems to promote virginity. beyond-rubies.com

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Ruth
    Apr 09, 2014 @ 00:38:45

    Personally, I think society would fair far better if we taught that losing our virginity wasn’t a shameful act. I think we’d be better off teaching both boys and girls the realities that exist such as unplanned pregnancies and, when either party has/had multiple partners(STD’s). Fear isn’t a terrible reason not to have sex and/or multiple sexual partners. But we need to teach that desire is not evil and what they can do to protect themselves. Young people also need to be taught what coercion is(a form of rape) and that only yes means yes, not “he/she didn’t say no so it’s okay to press on.”

    Reply

  2. prairienymph
    Apr 09, 2014 @ 01:16:52

    Yes! I agree with everything you just said :)
    Enthusiastic (ongoing) consent should be the bar for sexual intimacy, not just the absence of ‘no’.

    Reply

  3. tlethbridge
    Apr 12, 2014 @ 20:56:04

    Trying to find a balance on teaching the subject of sex to my kids is something I have struggled with since deconverting. There are some very real risks to engaging in sexual activity, particularly at a young age. Even before me deconverting, my wife and I were not big on the purity culture and sex ed at home included birth control/STI prevention as well as good reasons for waiting. My wife is a nurse and I work in law enforcement, neither of us were so far cut off from the real world that theoretical ideals were more important than practical information.

    On the flip side, I would not be happy if my high school freshman son became sexually active at his age. I would worry less about my college age daughter, but I would still worry. I guess I am conflicted in what I hope for my children and the realization that, if I had it to do over again as an ex-Christian, I would probably not be a virgin in my twenties.

    I don’t remember any angst over my reasons for “remaining pure” but there was a metric crap-ton of guilt on the subject of porn and masturbation that will be part of me until the day I die.

    Reply

  4. prairienymph
    Apr 13, 2014 @ 01:57:06

    Hey T.
    Sounds like you and your wife have a good handle on things.

    Oh do I hear you about guilt and porn and masturbation. I’ve even (hangs head in shame) done talks to my youth group about the dangers of them. :(

    I’ve changed my definition of what sex is since recognizing how purity culture is an extension of property rights. Right now I see sexual activity, including masturbation, as neutral. I worry more about teaching my kids about consent and coercion, for more than just physical touch, and about them having healthy relationships, sexual or not. My other worry is that I don’t want my kids to miss out from school, sports, friends, and hobbies and I don’t know how that would be possible with a serious boyfriend or girlfriend. What say those of you with older kids?

    Reply

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