*Warning: some of you might find this post awkward.
On a Monday while sitting on the back of a bakkie (truck), my friends and I began to talk about the ways in which we have heard a woman can ‘lose’ her virginity: riding a horse; riding a bicycle; regular spinning sessions at the gym; trying to get on the back of a bakkie; breathing too hard…
Ask any woman and she has a list of ways that she’s heard one’s virginity can be lost. Or maybe don’t ask and just take my word for it?
For the longest time I’ve had such a sense of pride in my virginity. By ‘pride’ I mean that I thought I was better than anyone who’d failed to guard their chastity belt with all diligence. You see, the message I’ve received is that in the world there are the ‘clean girls’ and the ‘dirty girls’. The clean girls go to church on Sunday, don’t show their boobs or butt and keep their garden locked tight. The bad girls, well, we know what the bad girls have done.
In the Christian community virginity is a big issue. And sometimes even big business! Books, DVDs, purity rings, promise cards – all about why people should stay virgins. And while most of the world is moving away from regarding virginity as valuable, it’s also big in some non- Christian communities too – for example, in many customary marriage traditions, when negotiations are taking place, the fact that the bride is a ‘maiden’ is taken into account. Virginity is valued. Virginity is even a form of currency.
For the single guys and girls who are virgins – what does being a virgin mean to you?
For those singles whose virginity is ‘lost’ – have you ever felt like a second class citizen when you’re in a singles seminar/ sermon/ church because you’re an ?
The gist of these questions is: has your virginity/ non-virginity become the lens through which you see yourself – as special, valuable, clean, undesirable OR common, damaged goods, dirty, sex bombish?
Have you ever stopped to consider what informs your views on virginity? I’ve wrestled a lot with this topic because it’s such an important issue! I even struggled to get this post finished for that reason.
Eventually, I’ve settled on two thoughts that will hopefully challenge your way of thinking about virginity. Here goes:
Virginity and purity are not the same thing.
I spent some time reading my Bible earlier today to try and find a reference of God saying that being a virgin means that you are pure. I couldn’t find any! Some of us are virgins because we just haven’t had the opportunity,not by choice! Others are technically virgins but have the dirtiest minds. True purity is an inward reality that manifests itself physically.
Virginity is not an end in itself.
The Bible contains chapters where God encourages His people to set themselves apart as a holy people, particularly in the area of sexuality at a time when the people around them were indulging in some licentious sexual behaviour. We often fix our eyes on the rules and we miss the point – God wasn’t just concerned with them not having sex however they wanted, whenever they wanted – their following these rules were meant to be an act of love towards God, a demonstration of their commitment and faithfulness to Him. Virginity until marriage for them spoke of the fact that they were a special creation, their bodies were made for intimacy and not just sex. Virginity had a deeper significance!
For readers who are still virgins and those who are not, I hope that you’ll come to a place of really examining your views on virginity and consider seeking God on it. I believe that we may have become obsessed with virginity, in the sense that we miss the fact that virginity is not just about the body but the heart too. I also believe that, in the church, we’ve made virginity a mark of privilege and proof of righteousness and missed the fact that Christ has become our righteousness. Before Christ came into the picture, you, dear virgin, were no more righteous than the guy standing next to you who has slept with more women than he can count. Or the guy who licks his lips like LL Cool J every time he sees you…
And when Christ comes into the picture, God sees you both the same – as blameless and pure as Jesus.
That makes me uncomfortable. So does the fact that I’ll one day have to hand in my V badge. But that’s for another post!
What are your thoughts?