I am a virgin, always have been, and will hopefully (cross my fingers and pray fervently!) not always remain so. When I was growing up, the sole purpose of my virginity was my religion – good Christian girls don’t have sex if they aren’t married was drummed into my head in church, school and home. Abstinence was the be all, end all of Christianity, and the very mark of a good girl. And being a good girl, and wanting Jesus to be proud of me (I have always been somewhat of a pleaser, you see) I have remained completely abstinent. In addition to all that, I could also self-righteously look down my nose at others who didn’t abstain.
Then I got out of Ghana and went to College in the States. In this liberal, wholly different environment, I began to think, research what others had to say, and came up with valid reasons why I believe what I believe. I am still a virgin now, but now I have many concrete reasons for it, and all of those reasons in the end find their way back to my faith.
I won’t hide that I am a virgin, but I don’t wear it on my shoulders like a bleeding heart either (at least I hope I don’t). And I have learned that a hymen really has nothing to do with whether or not one is a ‘good’ girl. After all, there are so many things you can do without breaking a hymen, and none of them are virginal. I have also learned that abstinence is NOT the sum of all things in my religion – there are far more important issues to worry about, like integrity, responsibility, world peace, and stuff like that.
I still believe very much in abstinence, but I also know now that a hymen is never the sum total of womanhood, it never was. I am a woman, whether or not I am a virgin. And I also don’t think that when God looks at me, he sees a vagina with a hymen – no. I am a person first and foremost, and His child too.
I have changed in many ways, albeit in many others I have also remained the same. While I am still the quite religious, quite conservative girl that I was at home, and am often scandalized by what I read on this blog, I know that important conversations must not be avoided because they are hard. I have gotten much better at understanding that not everyone agrees with me, and that it is okay that people choose differently from me. I am more confident in my sexuality now. My friends tell me that I still sound preachy (but then again, I always sound that way about the things I believe), but that I don’t sound condescending. So it looks as if I am making progress.
I am not saying abstinence is easy, it is not but refraining from sex is how I choose to express my sexuality. I am curious, do you practice abstinence because of your faith? Is it a challenge? Or are you a Christian who has sex and feels guilty (or not guilty) about the act? How do you deal with the contradiction?
Or what about those who choose not to abstain? When did you make your decision? Were there any triggers?