It seems there have been a lot of articles, and news reports about teens and sex lately. Maybe it is just me, but it has seemed to be a common discussion lately. All of the discussion moved my thoughts towards the struggles of virgins interact with the world today. It’s a little awkward isn’t it? My wife and I having been watching the Amazing Race on Hulu. One of the seasons had a Christian couple that identified themselves as the long-term dating virgin couple. As we watched the season we were just stunned out how awkward their relationship was, and how awkward they were in interacting with everyone else. It was all just a little odd.
I think sometimes we can run the risk of putting too much pride in our sexual purity. That sounds risky to say, and part of me even feels it is wrong to say it, but I think that really drives my concern home even further. I feel sometimes we focus so much on sexual purity that we can miss the point of sexual purity. It almost becomes a bragging right. You may know someone like this. It is the person that constantly needs to remind everyone that they are a virgin. They constantly need to point to how well they have abstained from this temptation. It almost becomes a glorified attention grabber for them. It at least can feel that way can’t it?
Suddenly avoid risky situations becomes a need for keeping this badge of honor. We don’t hold hands or hug because we don’t want to have sex. Not wanting to have sex outside of marriage is a wonderful thing, but since when was it the only thing? My wife and I chose not to kiss until our wedding day. It’s not something we believe is a hard and fast rule. We don’t point to any Scripture to defend our reasoning. Our reasoning was made out of a more personal decision. It was an easily defined line, and we had serious reasons for why we chose to do it that way. We also didn’t tell everyone we met that we were not kissing until we got married.
It’s an awkward balance. You don’t want to hide from virginity in embarrassment, but it shouldn’t be your identifying mark either. One of my first jobs in High School was awkward as the Christian kid. My friend and I were probably some of the only virgins in the entire establishment. That never seemed to keep us back form being friendly in a social setting with everyone else though. My co-workers knew I was a Christian. The Christianity thing did not bother them much. It was when word got out that I was a virgin that shock resonated throughout the place.
The guys could not fathom the thought that I was a virgin. It was so foreign to them. Part of what made them surprised is that I did not act like the stereotype version. I was always respectful, but I was not always making a point to let them know how pure I was (Read “How much purer I was than them”). That’s the real problem with this whole purity obsession I think. We have somehow been convinced that we are supposed to use our purity to show the rest of the world how dirty it is. We can somehow get stuck defining our dating relationships solely based off of our abstinence.
We want to keep everyone else at arm’s length because we are just little cleaner than they are. Maybe if we could work harder at opening up to show how a dating relationship can be healthy, adventurous, and enjoyable without sex we would be more effective. Maybe if we stopped making the focus of dating not on what we are not doing, but rather what we are then we could make other people hunger for something a little better. A successful dating relationship does not just mean avoiding having sex. I grow concerned how many times we have made that the main thing. I have even gone through points where in my mind I have made that the main thing. Abstinence is important, but it is far from the only ingredient in the magical formula of a healthy dating relationship.
We don’t ignore the discussion of being a virgin, but based on my own experience I believe we could use some more effort at times pointing everything else out as well rather than just shining the spotlight on the abstienence.