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