Monday, December 29, 2014

Virginity, Chastity, and Christianity

Recently, a good friend sent a link an article at thoughtcatalog called, "I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity, and I Wish I Hadn't."  [My Covenant Eyes filter won't allow me to view this link, so there may be other material on the site that is suggestive, objectionable, and/or problematic. Use discretion.]

This autobiographical article is about a young woman who had fully embraced her church's strong emphasis on the importance of virginity before marriage and then was woefully unprepared for the painful realities of sex within marriage. She tells her story which is fairly raw and angry and then concludes:
I'm now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality. If I could go back, I would not wait. I would have sex with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I wouldn't go to hell for it. We would have gotten married at a more appropriate age and I would have kept my sexuality to myself. Unfortunately, I can't go back but I can give you this message as a culmination of my experiences: If you want to wait to have sex until marriage make sure it's because you want to. It's your body; it belongs to you, not your church. Your sexuality is nobody's business but yours.
My friend, who is not convinced of biblical Christianity right now, wanted my take on it because he hadn't heard this perspective shared before and wanted to know what a pastor would make of it.

When I shared the contents of my response letter to my friend with my wife, she suggested that it was worth posting for others to read.


Dear [X],

Sorry it took so long to get back to you. Life has been very full recently.

Thanks for sending me this link and asking my opinion. It sparked a lot of thoughts for me and it took me a while to put them into a coherent form. Hope this is helpful to you.

My main feeling after reading “I Waited Until My Wedding...” was sadness.

First, I was sad because the author had such a painful experience. I feel bad for her that she experienced shame, pain, and confusion. I’m sorry to hear how difficult her first few years of marriage were.

Second, I was sad because her church had done such a poor job of teaching her the biblical truth about sexuality. Either she wasn’t listening very well or they had sold her a different story than the Bible tells. For example:

- She talks about a double standard for men than women. She got the idea that chastity was only for women and not men. Apparently, her church taught her this.

- She indicates that her church taught her that God was obligating Himself to give her a perfect life if she remained a virgin until marriage. Like it’s a contract that God signed and something is owed to her. That’s a very unbiblical notion of how God operates. Though she could expect blessing to come from her obedience, there is no promise in the Bible that it would take the “fairy tale” forms that she thought she had been promised. The Bible is messier, grittier, and truer than that.

- She seems to have been taught that sexual sin would have sent her to Hell in a way that other sins wouldn’t. Perhaps her church didn’t teach the wickedness of other sins. It also seems like they didn’t emphasize the gospel of grace which both forgives believers of sins and empowers them to say “No” to temptation.

- Nobody seems to have prepared her for how sex within marriage will actually be. It’s important to do that, but difficult, too. I try to do this to some degree in pre-marital counseling, but it’s hard to find good places to do it. I’m not going to teach on it very often with a mixed generation and mixed gender audience. But, at least her Mom should have been preparing her for that. [I have no idea why she waited so long for marriage, either. She doesn’t say how what she was taught plays into that decision.]

- The focus seems to have been on virginity not chastity. That’s a big mistake that her church apparently made. She should not have felt dirty when she got home because her virginity was gone. She should have felt some joy that her sexuality was being fulfilled in a God-honoring way. Our sexuality is a wonderful, God-designed reality embedded in a broken world. It seems like her teachers missed that balance almost completely.

Third, I was sad that the author had exchanged one set of lies for another. Instead of going to her Bible to see what God really says about sex, she has left God behind and embraced the religion of self. Having sex before marriage wouldn’t have solved her problems but would have created other ones including alienation from God, probable promiscuity, loss of specialness of their marriage bond, and selfishness in sex. For every one story like hers, I believe that there are thousands of testimonies of shame and regret for having forsaken biblical chastity and given up too much too soon.

It’s really sad to hear her say that her body belongs to herself. No, it doesn’t belong to the church of her youth. But her body is a stewardship from God for which she is accountable to Him some day. I’m happy that she’s currently happy in her relationship with her husband, but I have very little hope for it to remain that way if her focus is completely upon herself and her “needs.” And I’m very concerned with what she is teaching others now. I’m sad that she both doesn’t properly see what happened to her and that she has swung so far away from the truth.

That’s my two cents. Thanks for honoring me by asking.



Her site reveals her has a very confused young woman. She was also an English major. These are often hotbeds of radical, feminist, anti-theistic thought. This is reflected in her writing, I believe.

I saw one of your top ten books was about preparing your kids for college. Very wise. Colleges are hostile and antagonistic to Chriistianity.