My name is Kate. I’m 32 years old. I’ve never had sex.

14 09 2016

kate.jpg

My name is Kate. I’m 32 years old. I’ve never had sex.

When I was young, I always imagined I would be married by 25 and have a brood of kids. Jesus said in the Gospel of Matthew to “make disciples,” and I thought it would be cool to take that verse literally and have 12 kids. I wanted enough kids to fill a baseball team, a hockey bench and a big house full of love.

That obviously didn’t happen. Or it hasn’t happened yet. But I love my life. I spent last weekend learning how to scull on the Potomac River. I have good friends, a great family, hobbies and one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.
Do I feel a void because I’m not married and I don’t have children yet? Sure. Do I wish I were having sex? Of course.
But I believe that I’m living a fuller, better life because of my commitment to sexual integrity. I spend all day, every day doing the things that I want to do, because I’m not wasting my time worrying about waking up next to a stranger, contracting a sexually transmitted infection or missing a period.

The truth is, I am able to live the feminist dream because I’m not stressing over the things that sex outside of marriage often brings. And I’m not alone.

The sex lives of millennials
A recent study in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior showed that young people — specifically millennials – are now more than twice as likely to be sexually inactive than the previous generation. Although there are many possible causes for this shift, it’s quite reasonable to believe that this generation doesn’t want the stresses that sex outside of marriage brings — unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, to name a few.
Maybe they realize that a condom doesn’t protect the heart, and that true love is something worth waiting for and fighting for.

Celibacy and chastity, as I have come to understand as a Catholic, are virtues that are practiced with a purpose. Chastity isn’t simply the restraining of one’s desires, nor is it something you just practice before marriage and then disregard after the wedding. Chastity is a lifestyle, centered on freedom and love, that challenges all people to love themselves and to love others in the most perfect way possible.

As a teenager, I read Joshua Harris’s book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye.” I was enthralled by the view of purity that Harris proposed and decided I would save every act of affection, including kissing, until my wedding day.
Then when this interpretation of chastity was challenged in a “Christian Marriage” course I took in college, I began to understand that chastity goes much deeper than a long list of do’s and don’ts. I started researching the topic in more depth. The result was my college thesis, “Chastity in the Modern World and the Fulfillment of Chastity Within the Catholic Church.”

My thesis was based on the book “Love and Responsibility” by Karol Wojtyla, who would later become Saint John Paul II. In this book, Wojtyla explained that every human being is a sexual being, but that we’re also rational — which means we don’t have to be mastered by our physical desires.

In the case of the single person, chastity does mean not having sex before marriage, but it also means striving toward the perfection of love. We must all aim to love ourselves and to love others in the most perfect way possible — this is chastity in its fullness.

Virtues, including chastity, must be practiced like a new sport or skill. I didn’t just decide to be a master rower and naturally row down the Potomac. I took an intense sculling course and then spent hours upon hours practicing on the water — and I’m still only in the beginner stages. There wasn’t a single Olympian who simply showed up in Rio and won gold. Like sports, virtue takes practice, failure and perseverance.

With chastity, there are days you will struggle and fail. Some days, it will seem simply impossible. But you must always remain faithful and persevere, especially in the difficult moments.

As a Christian, I believe that all things are possible with God, and that has been the bedrock of my journey with chastity. I’ve also surrounded myself with good friends who support me and my beliefs, which has made my journey easier.

While I didn’t get my early marriage or my 12 kids or my big house with a white picket fence, my commitment to sexual integrity has allowed me the freedom to live the life that I want. I am living the life that feminists throughout history fought for.

Through the virtue of chastity — true freedom and the perfection of love — I am living the feminist dream.

Kate Bryan is a writer in Washington, D.C., who has worked for conservative and anti-abortion organizations. Follow her on Twitter @katembryan.





What I Didn’t Know About Having Sex by Tori

30 08 2016

What I didn't know about having sex

I want to make him happy. 

I enjoy it too.

I love him.

I’m just having fun.

My friends will think I’m weird if I stop.

I have said each of these and more. For years, I believed that the only thing I could offer a guy was my body. That somehow I wasn’t pretty enough, smart enough or fun enough for him to love me for me. Maybe I didn’t know how to have a normal conversation with men? I laid awake in bed and felt it down in my core: a deep longing in my heart. The voice of my heart was screaming to be held. I’ve been held before, quite often actually, for many years, but never in the way that I’d truly desired.

Night after night in a dazed state of drunken confusion, I’d laid in bed with a man whom I knew I didn’t like, let alone love, wondering the next morning how I got there or what I even did. Or maybe I did remember. That was worse. It was never right; the casual nature of it all, how common it was to share that intimate moment with a stranger. It was never right. There was always something that didn’t feel okay. How did I get to this point? The girl at 13 who started to be physical with her boyfriends was now tossing herself at a different guy each weekend. For what? I was having fun right?

I could have never guessed years later I would be seething in pain from the loss that accompanied giving away a part of my heart each time I succumbed to having sex. Each time I allowed him to come over past 10pm even though I knew where it would lead. And I know that many women continue to do it, with someone who isn’t their husband, and I get it. I really do. I get the need to be cherished, desired, held and mostly, to be loved. To hear someone tell you the things your heart longs for. Yet, it was not until 3 years after I stopped having sex that I realized the way my heart really felt; bruised, crushed & angry. Really angry.

Angry with men and I had no idea why. No one told me that sleeping with that guy from the bar would leave me feeling more empty than I thought possible. No one told me that it would make me feel more unworthy and more alone. No one told me that with each one-night stand, my heart was building up walls that would keep everyone out. That allowing men access to my body would make it seemingly impossible to receive a hug, hear someone tell me I’m beautiful, or let myself be loved. I stopped having sex and you have the freedom to stop as well.

In college, thanks to God’s intervention, I realized that the lie I was living needed to end. That despite what the world was telling me, I could stop having sex. I could save it for its proper context and I could regain the part of me that is so precious. My heart could remain with God until He asks me to give it away. Meeting God in the depths of my heart and hearing His voice was for me the start of the battle to change.

The battle to claim a new life in Christ and to shed away the masks of false identity. And it was scary, really scary. Would I find someone who would love me for me? I was graced with the presence of many influential women at the time who continue to show me that living with dignity and strength comes from my knowledge of who my Father is, and who I am: His daughter. I learned that while on His cross, the Lord saw all those lonely nights I lay in bed wondering if this is as good as it gets. He bore the pain of my wounds and today allows me to live in the freedom, which He has promised. The wounds that sometimes still feel open and raw I have slowly and gently placed into the Hands of Him who speaks the truth of my goodness to my heart. He is my Father and yours, First let Him in and He will do the rest.

In addition, if you want to know why condoms cannot stop you from getting pregnant click here>>>

Story Courtesy of focusoncampus.org





10 Lessons about Condoms You Need before Losing Your Virginity By: CARLA M.

3 02 2016

 

Why I chose to wait

Some girls believe it is safe to have sex if the guy is using a condom. They think it will keep them from getting pregnant or catching sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, genital warts or Herpes.  If you are one of such girls, do you know the whole story? Do you know that the claim that condom is safe and can protect you from getting pregnant or being infected with sexually transmitted diseases like HIV is FALSE?

When doctors work on someone with HIV, they put on two pairs of gloves, a full gown over their clothes, a mask and goggles. Even then, they don’t feel completely “safe”. How then do you think having sex with a guy, exchanging bodily fluids, sweat, saliva and a whole lot of other stuff, that a thin slip of condom will protect you? Here are 10 hard facts about condoms you need to ponder before using it

  1. Every latex condom has intrinsic holes of about 5 microns diameter–these holes enable it to stretch when pulled on. The HIV virus is about 0.1 microns and can pass through condoms like a house cat passes through a garage door. Never mind when they say that condoms are, “waterproof”. The human skin is also waterproof. Does it mean our skin has no pores? We’d all die if our skin didn’t have sweat pores. The skin is waterproof and helps to conserve the water content of the body, but also allows sweat through the pores when we are hot.
  1. During manufacture, some condoms get inflicted with defective holes of 50 microns in as much as 2.5 percent of each batch passed.
  1. While putting on condoms, finger nails and rings can snag it and make it leak without the knowledge of the user
  1. During sex, 13% of the time, condoms bust or break in action. 21% of the times, condoms slip down or off the penis, spilling all the sperm.
  2. Condoms break during sex because of the five sets of stress acting on it, expanding the holes, and weakening its membrane. These five sets of stress are:
  • Uniform lateral stress from stretching
  • Pressure stress perpendicular to the lateral stress
  • Twisting and angular stress
  • Frictions stress from rubbing
  • Stress  from mixture of bodily fluids and lubricant of the condom and repeated, simultaneous application of mechanical stress
  1. Most guys don’t even use condoms.

A guy explained why he did not use condoms with his girl: “well, I had to convince and convince, and when she finally said yes, I could not risk going outside to buy condoms since she might change her mind before I came back”

“Surveys and other researches have been conducted to find out how often and how well condoms are used. The results vary from study to study. Findings, however, generally suggest that:

  • Only about a half of sexually active guys report using a condom the last time they had sex.
  • When given a basic list of procedures for correct condom use, less than half of sexually active guys report they use condoms correctly.
  • The more sexually experienced people are (in terms of the number of lifetime partners), the less likely they are to use condoms consistently.
  • In a study of couples who knew their partner was HIV positive, only about half used condoms consistently.
  1. Study shows that “latex breaks down in heat, yet condoms are transported in trucks that get so hot you can fry an egg!” They are also kept in glove compartments of cars, or inside wallets
  1. Many women whose husbands use only the condoms as their means of preventing conception become pregnant within 12 months (pregnancy is possible only on a few days in the month when the woman is fertile), whereas HIV infection is possible every time an infected person has sex and the human sperm is 500 times bigger that the HIV virus. Note also that women catch HIV 5 times faster than men.
  1. Thus, it is safe to conclude that condoms provide less protection than most people think. The U.S. surgeon general, “when you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years. If anyone has been exposed to HIV… It’s been nice knowing you!”

And lastly, neither do condoms provide protection for the heart, mind and emotions. Maybe waiting for that special lifetime partner is worth the investment – it’s certainly safer.

Source: Family Planning Perspective

 

 

 





10 Benefits of Remaining a Virgin till Marriage by Nancy Hanna

31 01 2016

wedding romance

With so many sex movies and sexual images all around, girls are under pressure from their boyfriends to have sex. They can no longer wait till marriage. Are you pressed to have sex before you marry?  Here are 10 benefits of waiting till you marry to have sex.

  1. Sex is a powerful force that can destroy if not used properly. Like atomic power, sex is the most powerful creative force given to man. When atomic power is used correctly it can create boundless energy; when it is used in the wrong way it destroys life. Sex is the same kind of powerful force. Sex is a gift from God to give us the greatest pleasure, to help in creating a deep companionship with one’s spouse and for procreation of the next generation. But if you play with this powerful force outside the bounds of marriage, it destroys you and those close to you.
  2. Sexual activity for young people arrests their psychological, social and academic development. Studies show that when young people engage in premarital sex, their academic performance declines and their social relationships with family and friends deteriorate. This is because adolescents are too immature to deal with the explosive sex drive and it tends to dominate their life.
  3. The majority of women cannot enjoy sex outside of the bonds of marriage. The development of a fulfilling sex life needs the security and peace of the marriage bond. Premarital sex usually takes place sneaking around in hidden places dealing with the fear of being caught, the fear of pregnancy and feelings of guilt. All these (worrisome) factors undermine pleasure in premarital sex, most especially for women.
  4. Virginity is to be given to the most important person in your life, the person you committed yourself to stay with forever in marriage. Your virginity is the most precious thing you have to give to your spouse. Once you lose it, nothing in the world can bring it back. Don’t lose something so precious in a thoughtless way.
  5. Those who engage in premarital sex run a high risk of contracting one of the many venereal diseases rampant today, as well as losing their fertility. Not just AIDS, but other common disfiguring diseases like herpes have no cure.
  6. Some venereal diseases have no symptoms and many couples discover many years later that they became infertile because of these diseases. Infertility experts estimate that 80% of today’s infertility is due to venereal diseases contracted before they married.
  7. The best and only method that guarantees 100% against AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases is to wait for marriage to have sex and maintain fidelity in your marriage.
  8. Premarital sex breaks the 10 Commandments given by God. The 10 Commandments are given to man by God to make man happy. They are not outdated and they are not restrictive. If we follow these laws, we can create happy and prosperous lives. If we don’t follow them, we will pay a heavy price in divorce, disease, abortions, illegitimate children and loneliness. Modern men make a big mistake when they think that they can break these eternal laws and not suffer consequences.
  1. Premarital sex runs the risk of conceiving illegitimate children. Numerous scientific studies show that the children of single mothers suffer psychologically and are less successful socially and academically than children from intact families. Above all, children need both their father and their mother. It is wrong to risk having children who will never have their father’s love, protection and care.
  2. If you date and you don’t have sex, you can forget about that relationship when you stop dating. But if you have sex with those you date and then break up, the nature of sexual involvement creates strong, often unpleasant memories for your whole life. Every relationship you break up where you had intimate relations is like a mini-divorce. The psychological difficulties of these mini-divorces does damage to your character. Later, when you are married and go to bed with your beloved spouse, these unpleasant memories will accompany you.

True love waits. If a boy or girl truly loves you, they will want the best for you. They will not want you to suffer fear of disease, unwanted pregnancy and the psychological difficulties of premarital sex. They will want to experience love with you only in the very best place of all – the love nest of marriage.

 





Why 12- and 13-year-old girls Lose their Virginity by Jennifer Moses

11 05 2015

teens loose viniginity because of dress

What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular? And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause?

In the pale-turquoise ladies’ room, they congregate in front of the mirror, re-applying mascara and lip gloss, brushing their hair, straightening panty hose and gossiping: This one is “skanky,” that one is “really cute,” and so forth. Dressed in minidresses, perilously high heels, and glittery, dangling earrings, their eyes heavily shadowed in black-pearl and jade, they look like a flock of tropical birds. A few minutes later, they return to the dance floor, where they shake everything they’ve got under the party lights.

But for the most part, there isn’t all that much to shake. This particular group of party-goers consists of 12- and 13-year-old girls. Along with their male counterparts, they are celebrating the bat mitzvah of a classmate in a cushy East Coast suburb.

Today’s teen and preteen girls are bombarded with images and products that tout the benefits of sexual attraction. But must we as parents, give in to their desire to “dress like everyone else?” asks author Jennifer Moses. She talks with WSJ’s Kelsey Hubbard.

In a few years, their attention will turn to the annual ritual of shopping for a prom dress, and by then their fashion tastes will have advanced still more. Having done this now for two years with my own daughter, I continue to be amazed by the plunging necklines, built-in push-up bras, spangles, feathers, slits and peek-a-boos. And try finding a pair of sufficiently “prommish” shoes designed with less than a 2-inch heel.

All of which brings me to a question: Why do so many of us not only permit our teenage daughters to dress like this—like prostitutes, if we’re being honest with ourselves—but pay for them to do it with our AmEx cards?

I posed this question to a friend whose teenage daughter goes to an all-girls private school in New York. “It isn’t that different from when we were kids,” she said. “The girls in the sexy clothes are the fast girls. They’ll have Facebook pictures of themselves opening a bottle of Champagne, like Paris Hilton. And sometimes the moms and dads are out there contributing to it, shopping with them, throwing them parties at clubs. It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Look how hot my daughter is.'” But why? “I think it’s a bonding thing,” she said. “It starts with the mommy-daughter manicure and goes on from there.”

I have a different theory. It has to do with how conflicted my own generation of women is about our own past, when many of us behaved in ways that we now regret. A woman I know, with two mature daughters, said, “If I could do it again, I wouldn’t even have slept with my own husband before marriage. Sex is the most powerful thing there is, and our generation, what did we know?”

We are the first moms in history to have grown up with widely available birth control, the first who didn’t have to worry about getting knocked up. We were also the first not only to be free of old-fashioned fears about our reputations but actually pressured by our peers and the wider culture to find our true womanhood in the bedroom. Not all of us are former good-time girls now drowning in regret—I know women of my generation who waited until marriage—but that’s certainly the norm among my peers.

So here we are, the feminist and postfeminist and postpill generation. We somehow survived our own teen and college years (except for those who didn’t), and now, with the exception of some Mormons, evangelicals and Orthodox Jews, scads of us don’t know how to teach our own sons and daughters not to give away their bodies so readily. We’re embarrassed, and we don’t want to be, God forbid, hypocrites.

Still, in my own circle of girlfriends, the desire to push back is strong. I don’t know one of them who doesn’t have feelings of lingering discomfort regarding her own sexual past. And not one woman I’ve ever asked about the subject has said that she wishes she’d “experimented” more.

As for the girls themselves, if you ask them why they dress the way they do, they’ll say (roughly) the same things I said to my mother: “What’s the big deal?” “But it’s the style.” “Could you be any more out of it?” What teenage girl doesn’t want to be attractive, sought-after and popular?

And what mom doesn’t want to help that cause? In my own case, when I see my daughter in drop-dead gorgeous mode, I experience something akin to a thrill—especially since I myself am somewhat past the age to turn heads.

In recent years, of course, promiscuity has hit new heights (it always does!), with “sexting” among preteens, “hooking up” among teens and college students, and a constant stream of semi-pornography from just about every media outlet. Varied sexual experiences—the more the better—are the current social norm.

I wouldn’t want us to return to the age of the corset or even of the double standard, because a double standard that lets the promiscuous male off the hook while condemning his female counterpart is both stupid and destructive. If you’re the campus mattress, chances are that you need therapy more than you need condemnation.

But it’s easy for parents to slip into denial. We wouldn’t dream of dropping our daughters off at college and saying: “Study hard and floss every night, honey—and for heaven’s sake, get laid!” But that’s essentially what we’re saying by allowing them to dress the way they do while they’re still living under our own roofs.

—Jennifer Moses is the author of “Bagels and Grits: A Jew on the Bayou” and “Food and Whine: Confessions of a New Millennium Mom.”





16 Lessons I learnt After Losing My Virginity at 16 By Anna Kemarch

15 09 2013

 16 Lessons I learnt After Lossing My Virginity at 16 By Anna Kemarch

“I am sixteen and have already lost my virginity. I truly regret that my first time was with a guy that I didn’t care that much about. Since that first night he expects sex on every date. When I don’t feel like it, we end up in an argument. I don’t think this guy is in love with me, and I know deep down that I am not in love with him either. This makes me feel cheap. I realize now that this is a very big step in a girl’s life. After you have done it, things are never the same. It changes everything.” Since then I have been involved with other guys and I have learnt a few of lessons. Here are a some:

1. Many teenage girls sleep with guys because they are trying to find love, to find self-worth. But the catch is that the more guys they sleep with, the less self-worth they had.

2. Many girls think that if they really care about guys, sex will bring them closer together. Indeed, sex creates a bond. However, 80 percent of the time, the physical intimacy of first sexual relationship won’t last more than six months.

3. Couples who want what is best for their relationship or future marriage will have the patience to wait.

4. Most of the time, when a girl gives away her virginity, she assumes the relationship will last forever.But study of more than 10,000 women shows that when a girl loses her virginity at that age at 14, she’ll probably have about thirteen more lifetime sexual partners.

5. Teen sex frequently causes tension within families because of the dishonesty that usually accompanies the hidden intimacies. Relationships with friends are often strained, and when things turn sour, the gossip and social problems often become unbearable.

6. Everyone talks about how hard it is to say no to sex, but no one tells you how hard it is when you say yes.

7. It is dangerous for a teenage girl to be sexually active. Because a teenage girl’s reproductive system is still immature, she is very susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases

8. In fact, early sexual activity is the number one risk factor for cervical cancer, and the second is multiple sexual partners. A girl’s body, like her heart, is not designed to handle multiple sexual partners.

9.While a girl might plan on sleeping with only one guy, she could be exposing herself to the STDs of hundreds of people through a single act of intercourse. Here’s how: Scientists studied the sexual activity of a public high school of about one thousand students. About half (573) of the students had been sexually active, and most of them had only been with one partner. However, when the scientists tracked the web of sexual activity among the students, it was discovered that more than half of the sexually active teens—without knowing it—were linked together in a network of 288 partners within the school! So if a girl slept with a guy from this school, theoretically she could be in bed with one-fourth of the entire student body.

10.The emotional side effects of premarital sex are also damaging to a young woman. One of the most common consequences of teenage sexual activity is depression. Girls who are sexually active are more than three times as likely to be depressed as girls who are abstinent. In fact, the condition has become so predictable that the American Journal of Preventive Medicine recommends to doctors: “[Girls who are engaging in] sexual intercourse should be screened for depression, and provided with anticipatory guidance about the mental health risks of these behaviors.”Even if a girl experiments with sex once, research shows an increased risk of depression. Also, consider the fact that the rate of suicide attempts for sexually active girls (aged twelve to sixteen) is six times higher than the rate for virgins. Tragically, these girls do not realize the purity, hope, and forgiveness that they can find in Christ.

11. Unfortunately, many young women search for meaning only in relationships with guys, instead of with God. It is not uncommon for a girl to have sex in order to make a guy like her more or to encourage him to stay with her. She may compromise her standards because she is afraid of never being loved. Once he leaves her, though, an emotional divorce takes place. A person’s heart is not made to be that close to a person and then separated.

12. Since teenage sexual relationships rarely last, the girl’s sense of self-worth is often damaged. She may conclude that if she looked better, he would have stayed longer. This mentality can lead to harmful practices, such as eating disorders. Or the disappointment she feels may drive her into a state of self-hatred. Some young women even begin to hurt their own bodies in an attempt to numb the emotional pain. Such practices never solve the problems, though. If she wants to be loved, she needs to begin by loving herself.

13. In her heart, a girl who has been used knows it. However, she may immediately jump into another sexual relationship to escape the hurt. If she tries to boost her self-esteem by giving guys what they want, then her self-worth often ends up depending upon those kinds of relationships. Her development as a woman is stunted because without chastity she does not know how to express affection, appreciation, or attraction for a guy without implying something sexual. She may even conclude that a guy does not love her unless he makes sexual advances toward her. She knows that sex exists without intimacy, but she may forget that intimacy can exist without sex. A girl on this track usually feels accepted initially, but that acceptance lasts only as long as the physical pleasure.

14. Such a lifestyle will also take its toll on her ability to bond. Here’s why: Sharing the gift of sex is like putting a piece of tape on another person’s arm. The first bond is strong, and it hurts to remove it. Shift the tape to another person’s arm, and the bond will still work, but it will be easier to remove. Each time this is done, part of each person remains with the tape. Soon it is easy to remove because the residue from the various arms interferes with the tape’s ability to stick.

15. The same is true in relationships, because neurologists have discovered that previous sexual experiences can interfere with one’s ability to bond with future partners. This does not mean that if a person is not a virgin on the wedding night, he or she will be unable to bond with a spouse. It simply means that when we follow God’s plan, we have the most abundant life possible. But when we turn from his designs and break his commandments, often we are the ones who feel broken afterward.

16 Spiritual. Sin cuts us off from God, and this is the most serious consequence of premarital sex. After going too far, many of us know all too well the cloud of guilt that weighs on our hearts. The solution is not to kill our conscience but to follow it to freedom. It is calling us, not condemning us. Provided we repent, God will be there to welcome us home and let us start over (see John 8 and Luke 15).

What this all means is that our bodies, our hearts, our relationships, and our souls are not made for premarital sex. We are made for enduring love

Article adapted from Chastity.com





Why I Am Still A Virgin at 22 By Sarah E. Hinlicky

10 09 2013

I Am Still A Virgin at 22: Here are My Reasons  By Sarah E. Hinlicky

Okay, I’ll admit it: I am twenty-two years old and still a virgin. Not for lack of opportunity, my vanity hastens to add. Had I ever felt unduly burdened by my unfashionable innocence, I could have found someone to attend to the problem. But I never did. Our mainstream culture tells me that some oppressive force must be the cause of my late-in-life virginity, maybe an inordinate fear of men or God or getting caught. Perhaps it’s right, since I can pinpoint a number of influences that have persuaded me to remain a virgin. My mother taught me that self-respect requires self-control, and my father taught me to demand the same from men. I’m enough of a country bumpkin to suspect that contraceptives might not be enough to prevent an unwanted pregnancy or disease, and I think that abortion is killing a baby. I buy into all that Christian doctrine of law and promise, which means that the stuffy old commandments are still binding on my conscience. And I’m even naive enough to believe in permanent, exclusive, divinely ordained love between a man and a woman, a love so valuable that it motivates me to keep my legs tightly crossed in the most tempting of situations.

In spite of all this, I still think of myself as something of a feminist, since virginity has the result of creating respect for and upholding the value of the woman so inclined. But I have discovered that the reigning feminism of today has little use for it. There was a time when I was foolish enough to look for literature among women’s publications that might offer support in my very personal decision. (It’s all about choice, after all, isn’t it?) The dearth of information on virginity might lead one to believe that it’s a taboo subject. However, I was fortunate enough to discover a short article on it in that revered tome of feminism, Our Bodies, Ourselves. The most recent edition of the book has a more positive attitude than the edition before it, in that it acknowledges virginity as a legitimate choice and not just a by-product of patriarchy. Still, in less than a page, it presumes to cover the whole range of emotion and experience involved in virginity, which, it seems, consists simply in the notion that a woman should wait until she’s really ready to express her sexuality. That’s all there is to say about it. Apparently, sexual expression takes place only in and after the act of genital intercourse. Anything subtler—like a feminine love of cooking or tendency to cry at the movies or unsuppressable maternal instinct or cultivation of a wardrobe that will turn heads or even a passionate good-night kiss—is deemed an inadequate demonstration of sexual identity. The unspoken message of Our Bodies, Ourselves is clear enough: as long as a woman is a virgin, she remains completely asexual.

Surprisingly, this attitude has infiltrated the thinking of many women my age, who should still be new enough in the web of lies called adulthood to know better. One of my most vivid college memories is of a conversation with a good friend about my (to her) bizarre aberration of virginity. She and another pal had been delving into the gruesome specifics of their past sexual encounters. Finally, after some time, my friend suddenly exclaimed to me, “How do you do it?”

A little taken aback, I said, “Do what?”

“You know,” she answered, a little reluctant, perhaps, to use the big bad V-word. “You still haven’t . . . slept with anybody. How do you do it? Don’t you want to?”

The question intrigued me, because it was so utterly beside the point. Of course I want to—what a strange question!—but mere wanting is hardly a proper guide for moral conduct. I assured my concerned friend that my libido was still in proper working order, but then I had to come up with a good reason why I had been paying attention to my inhibitions for all these years. I offered the usual reasons—emotional and physical health, religious convictions, “saving myself” till marriage—but nothing convinced her until I said, “I guess I don’t know what I’m missing.” She was satisfied with that and ended the conversation.

In one sense, sure, I don’t know what I’m missing. And it is common enough among those who do know what they’re missing to go to great lengths to insure that they don’t miss it for very long. In another sense, though, I could list a lot of things that I do know I’m missing: hurt, betrayal, anxiety, self-deception, fear, suspicion, anger, confusion, and the horror of having been used. And those are only emotional aspects; there is also disease, unwanted pregnancy, and abortion. As if to prove my case from the other side, my friend suffered a traumatic betrayal within a month or two of our conversation. It turned out that the man involved would gladly sleep with her, but refused to have a “real relationship”—a sad reality she discovered only after the fact.

According to received feminist wisdom, sexuality is to be understood through the twin concepts of power and choice. It’s not a matter of anything so banally biological as producing children, or even the more elevated notion of creating intimacy and trust. Sometimes it seems like sex isn’t even supposed to be fun. The purpose of female sexuality is to assert power over hapless men, for control, revenge, self-centered pleasure, or forcing a commitment. A woman who declines to express herself in sexual activity, then, has fallen prey to a male-dominated society that wishes to prevent women from becoming powerful. By contrast, it is said, a woman who does become sexually active discovers her power over men and exercises it, supposedly to her personal enhancement.

This is an absurd lie. That kind of gender-war sexuality results only in pyrrhic victories. It’s a set-up for disaster, especially for women. Men aren’t the ones who get pregnant. And who ever heard of a man purchasing a glossy magazine to learn the secret of snagging a wife? Sacrifice and the relinquishing of power are natural to women—ask any mom—and they are also the secret of feminine appeal. The pretense that aggression and power-mongering are the only options for female sexual success has opened the door to predatory men. The imbalance of power becomes greater than ever in a culture of easy access.

Against this system of mutual exploitation stands the more compelling alternative of virginity. It escapes the ruthless cycle of winning and losing because it refuses to play the game. The promiscuous of both sexes will take their cheap shots at one another, disguising infidelity and selfishness as freedom and independence, and blaming the aftermath on one another. But no one can claim control over a virgin. Virginity is not a matter of asserting power in order to manipulate. It is a refusal to exploit or be exploited. That is real, and responsible, power.

But there is more to it than mere escape. There is an undeniable appeal in virginity, something that eludes the resentful feminist’s contemptuous label of “prude.” A virgin woman is an unattainable object of desire, and it is precisely her unattainability that increases her desirability. Feminism has told a lie in defense of its own promiscuity, namely, that there is no sexual power to be found in virginity. On the contrary, virgin sexuality has extraordinary and unusual power. There’s no second-guessing a virgin’s motives: her strength comes from a source beyond her transitory whims. It is sexuality dedicated to hope, to the future, to marital love, to children, and to God. Her virginity is, at the same time, a statement of her mature independence from men. It allows a woman to become a whole person in her own right, without needing a man either to revolt against or to complete what she lacks. It is very simple, really: no matter how wonderful, charming, handsome, intelligent, thoughtful, rich, or persuasive he is, he simply cannot have her. A virgin is perfectly unpossessable. Of course, there have been some women who have attempted to claim this independence from men by turning in on themselves and opting for lesbian sexuality instead. But this is just another, perhaps deeper, rejection of their femaleness. The sexes rightly define themselves in their otherness. Lesbianism squelches the design of otherness by drowning womanhood in a sea of sameness, and in the process loses any concept of what makes the female feminine. Virginity upholds simply and honestly that which is valuable in and unique to women.

The corollary of power is choice. Again, the feminist assumes that sexually powerful women will be able to choose their own fates. And again, it is a lie. No one can engage in extramarital sex and then control it. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the moral nightmare of our society’s breakdown since the sexual revolution. Some time ago I saw on TV the introduction of the groundbreaking new “female condom.” A spokeswoman at a press conference celebrating its grand opening declared joyously the new freedom that it gave to women. ?Now women have more bargaining power,” she said. “If a man says that he refuses to wear a condom, the woman can counter, fine, I will!” I was dumbstruck by her enthusiasm for the dynamics of the new situation. Why on earth would two people harboring so much animosity towards each other contemplate a sexual encounter? What an appealing choice they have been given the freedom to make!

The dark reality, of course, is that it is not free choice at all when women must convince men to love them and must convince themselves that they are more than just “used goods.” There are so many young women I have known for whom freely chosen sexual activity means a brief moment of pleasure—if that—followed by the unchosen side effects of paralyzing uncertainty, anger at the man involved, and finally a deep self-hatred that is impenetrable by feminist analysis. So-called sexual freedom is really just proclaiming oneself to be available for free, and therefore without value. To “choose” such freedom is tantamount to saying that one is worth nothing.

Admittedly, there are some who say that sex isn’t anything nearly so serious or important, but just another recreational activity not substantially different from ping-pong. I don’t believe it for a second. I learned most meaningfully from another woman the destructive force of sexuality out of control when I myself was under considerable pressure to cave in to a man’s sexual demands. I discussed the prospect with this friend, and after some time she finally said to me, “Don’t do it. So far in life you’ve made all the right choices and I’ve made all the wrong ones. I care enough about you that I don’t want to see you end up like me.” Naturally, that made up my mind. Sex does matter; it matters a lot; and I can only hope that those who deny it will wake up to their error before they damage themselves even more.

It is appalling that feminism has propagated lies so destructive to women. It has created the illusion that there is no room for self-discovery outside of sexual behavior. Not only is this a grotesque lie, but it is also an utterly boring one. Aside from its implied dismissal of all the world’s many riches outside the sexual domain, this false concept has placed stultifying limitations on the range of human relationships. We’re told that friendships between men and women are just a cover until they leap into the sack together. While romance is a natural and commendable expression of love between women and men, it is simply not the only option. And in our sexually competitive climate, even romantic love barely deserves the title. Virginity among those seeking marital love would go far to improve the latter’s solidity and permanence, creating an atmosphere of honesty and discovery before the equally necessary and longed-for consummation. Where feminism sees freedom from men by placing body parts at their disposal in a bizarre game of self-deception, virginity recognizes the equally vulnerable though often overlooked state of men’s own hearts and seeks a way to love them for real.

It is puzzling and disturbing to me that regnant feminism has never acknowledged the empowering value of virginity. I tend to think that much of the feminist agenda is more invested in the culture of groundless autonomy and sexual Darwinism than it is in genuinely uplifting women. Of course, virginity is a battle against sexual temptation, and popular culture always opts for the easy way out instead of the character-building struggle. The result is superficial women formed by meaningless choices, worthy of stereotype, rather than laudable women of character, worthy of respect.

Perhaps virginity seems a bit cold, even haughty and heartless. But virginity hardly has exclusive claim on those defects, if it has any claim at all. Promiscuity offers a significantly worse fate. I have a very dear friend who, sadly, is more worldly-wise than I am. By libertine feminist standards she ought to be proud of her conquests and ready for more, but frequently she isn’t. The most telling insight about the shambles of her heart came to me once in a phone conversation when we were speculating about our futures. Generally they are filled with exotic travel and adventure and PhDs. This time, however, they were not. She admitted to me that what she really wanted was to be living on a farm in rural Connecticut, raising a horde of children and embroidering tea towels. It is a lovely dream, defiantly unambitious and domestic. But her short, failed sexual relationships haven’t taken her any closer to her dream and have left her little hope that she’ll ever attain it. I must be honest here: virginity hasn’t landed me on a farm in rural Connecticut, either. Sexual innocence is not a guarantee against heartbreak. But there is a crucial difference: I haven’t lost a part of myself to someone who has subsequently spurned it, rejected it, and perhaps never cared for it at all.

I sincerely hope that virginity will not be a lifetime project for me. Quite the contrary, my subversive commitment to virginity serves as preparation for another commitment, for loving one man completely and exclusively. Admittedly, there is a minor frustration in my love: I haven’t met the man yet (at least, not to my knowledge). But hope, which does not disappoint, sustains me.

Sarah E. Hinlicky, a writer living in New York City, is an Editorial Assistant at First Things.

 








%d bloggers like this: