“Phy you need to read this.”
I got that text from my friend while I was sipping coffee in a renovated cottage-turned-cafe. It contained a link.
“This writer did a purity pledge,” The texts continued. “And has rejected all of it. You need to read it, and some of the comments.”
So I did, and as tears welled in my eyes, I knew I’d have to do what I really don’t like doing: write a response post.
The article was entitled “It Happened to Me: I Waited Until My Wedding Night to Lose My Virginity and I Wish I Hadn’t”. I read it in its entirety. The more I read, the more heartbroken I felt for Samantha (the author) and the twisted experience she relayed in the post. But my sadness was overwhelmed with a sense of utter urgency.
A lot of young women will read that post: young women who have made purity pledges and are waiting for an excuse to walk away from them. Young women teetering on the brink of sexual and spiritual destruction. Young women wondering if it is even worth this waiting-for-marriage.
Waiting for marriage to lose my virginity was the best decision I ever made. At times it was difficult. I wanted to give up. Yet I’m going to battle for the other side because this waiting-for-marriage thing – it’s worth it, even when the choice is hard.
Sometimes it was an uphill battle against this culture we live in, but I was able to keep my commitment to sexual holiness. Here’s why:
1. My commitment to purity wasn’t to a church: it was to Christ Himself.
Samantha was either coerced or convinced into committing to a purity pledge in front of her entire church. This was the first mistake of her parents and her church at large.
We should not be committing to purity for the sake of a church. We should commit to purity for the sake of Christ. When we make spiritual commitments for mortal and material reasons, those commitments have no authoritative standard.
My commitment to purity was encouraged by my parents, but it was MY decision. I had to decide why I was committing to this. I had to decide whether or not to wear a purity ring. I had to decide who I was doing this for: myself, my parents, a man, or God?
I struggled with that decision. At times I DID take pride in my purity, but I soon realized my purity was not ‘my purity’. It’s God’s, and I’m doing it for Him or it’s not worth anything at all.
2. My spiritual identity, not my sexual identity, determined my life choices.
If we make life choices based on only one part of our being – mental, physical, sexual – when those variable entities are altered by time and circumstance, our choices will be worthless.
Saving my virginity was a spiritual decision. Because it was a spiritual decision that affected my sexuality (not a sexual decision that affected my spirit), my whole life fell into step with my spiritual worldview. I wanted to be pure because my spirit was in line with Jesus Christ, who is the essence of purity.
3. My commitment to purity was not because it’s ‘my body, my choice’.
In her article, Samantha told her boyfriend she committed to purity and he respected that decision because it was ‘her body, her choice’. But what about when you decide ‘your body’ wants to have sex? If it is your choice alone, there is no standard higher than your own autonomy.
I made a commitment to purity because I am God’s child, and my body and choices were aligned with His loving will. Because I answer to Someone greater than myself, Someone I trust knows sex and the way to use it, I used it the way He says to. I waited until marriage.
God was good for His promise, and it’s been great!
As a Christian woman, my body is NOT my own (1 Cor. 6:19-20). I have been bought with the blood of a Savior. Every sexually-demeaning choice I make I consequently demean the blood of the Son of God. So because I valued Jesus, I valued His standard for sex. And I waited.
4. My failure to act purely in relationships prior to marriage brought me great guilt and shame, but that guilt drove me to repentance and a change of lifestyle – not a change of God’s sexual standards.
While I did go to the altar a virgin, I made mistakes in my dating relationships. I had one relationship with a man who threatened to leave me if I didn’t alter my physical standards. Having never faced anything of this nature, I allowed myself to be manipulated and gave more than I had hoped to give. I have never felt so guilty and used.
I could have decided that the guilt came from a lack of sexual identity. I could have told myself what I did wasn’t actually wrong – that it was just me being silly and inexperienced. If I had believed those lies, stayed with that man and given more than I did, I may not have had the beautiful love story I do today.
The guilt could have driven me to justify sin and change God’s sexual standards, but instead the guilt drove me to repentance. Because I know I have an Advocate in heaven (Heb. 4:11), because I know I am God’s child whom He loves (Jn. 1:12), and because I know I can approach the throne of grace to ask forgiveness (1 Jn. 1:9) I brought my sin to God and was reconciled to Him. He saved me from destroying myself and my love story.
We do not get to determine God’s sexual standards. Should you be naked with each other before marriage? No. Should your boyfriend have his hands in your shirt? No. Should you be ‘making out’ on the couch but sitting in the pew the next morning without a qualm? No.
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to demean sexuality this way. We should make every effort to keep a high value on something that God values SO MUCH he requires marriage for participation in it.
5. My commitment to purity made sex an exciting part of marriage to which I looked forward with anticipation.
The environment in which Samantha was taught about sex is the chief contributor to her painful experience. Sex was taught as ‘bad’ until her wedding night, when you say some vows and sex is instantly ‘good’. My experience was far different.
Sex was a good thing before and after marriage; but I only participated in it AFTER my vows. Sex was never a ‘bad’ thing. My parents never whispered about it or acted as if it were taboo. I heard it preached about from the pulpit on occasions. I was taught about it in my youth group. The message was not, “Sex is bad! Stay away from it or you will be punished!” The message was, “Sex is wonderful, great, and God-designed – but it’s not time yet. Honor God and ensure the best sexual experience by waiting until marriage.”
So I looked forward to that experience. I knew it would be a learning curve. It wouldn’t be ‘Hollywood’ the first time or couple of times – that was true!
But sex was not evil: it was of high value. I was not taught to avoid sex out of guilt, but to protect it from being cheapened. And that’s how it was on my wedding night: an experience of the greatest value.
6. My wedding night was neither awkward nor guilt-ridden. I felt safe, loved, honored, and adored by my husband and my God.
Yes, it was physically uncomfortable. Yes, it was new. But contrary to the girl in the aforementioned article, I didn’t cry in the bathroom afterwards, and I didn’t feel dirty, guilty, or used. .
My sexual relationship with my husband remains a joy to me, not because we’re masters or we know it all; not because we get it perfect every time. It was and is a joy because we are progressing in a pure, God-blessed love. I have no memories of anyone but him. I have no insecurities based on comparison to the past.
I am secure in my relationship with a Lord who loves me regardless of how my husband loves me, and because my husband treats me the way God has commanded him (with tenderness and care) I am continually surrounded by security and love.
7. My virginity did not determine my salvation. It was a product of my love for God.
The writer of this article says, “If I had it over, I would have sex before marriage, and I wouldn’t go to hell for it.”
Correction: We don’t go to Hell for sex before marriage. We go to Hell for rejecting Jesus Christ, who gives us laws of holiness out of His incredible love.
My virginity was not the determination of my faith. It was a product of my faith. I didn’t even think about my virginity, in fact; for the most part, I simply lived life learning how to be a woman of God. My parents poured into me. My youth leaders discipled me. My love for God and my desire to be a woman who reflected His goodness was my motivator. I protected my virginity because I loved God: plain and simple.
8. My sexual identity is inseparably tied to my identity in Christ.
The author of the article says, “Your sexuality is nobody’s business but yours.” False. If you claim to be a Christian woman (and frankly, even if you don’t) your sexuality is God’s business because He designed you and He designed sex.
Sexual identity is front and center in this culture, which is actually quite demeaning since we are each so much more than a sexual object. But you, young woman: your identity is so much more than who you are sexually. God knows that. God wants to make you holistically the best person you can possibly be – not just the best person you can sexually become.
I was taught this principle. Because of it, my virginity was only a minor part of my Christian faith. Virginity, and waiting for marriage to give it up, was not a burden but an honor to me. It was as if God had bestowed on me a great gift to carry for however many years – a gift I would open when I reached ‘the finish line’. The more I ripped off the gift on the journey the less I’d have when I arrived.
And how, if I opened the gift too soon, would that be God’s fault?
The moments where I ceased to trust God’s goodwill and love for me were where I made my greatest mistakes. God’s design is for our glory and our protection, not a spoiling of the ‘real deal’.
Samantha says little girls want to believe in fairy tales, so I say: give them a fairy tale. Give them a God-ordained fairy tale, the beauty of a girl unbroken, unused, and unhurt. When Samantha moralizes sex before marriage, she recommends heartache, brokenness, promiscuity, and potential abuse.
She is saying self is greater than God; that God doesn’t know what He is doing. That when God designed sex, He had no clue where it would best be used.
Despite the fact she has never experienced a man using her, leaving her, taking her virginity and dumping her like a rag doll, her post suggests sex before marriage would have been the better choice.
Her words are those of a culture that thinks it knows sex better than God does, and girls will listen to her.
Don’t listen to her or any of the lies propagated by that post.
Let me tell you what true sexual freedom is: it is the freedom, on your wedding night, of knowing there is no longer any boundary. It is the freedom of knowing you are loved and protected. It is the freedom of pure, ecstatic appreciation of your beauty. It is the freedom of knowing the man in bed with you will not be gone in the morning.
God knows sex better than anyone else. His design is meant for love and protection. Follow that design, and it will be the best choice you ever make.
(NOTE: This is a response post, so I addressed the arguments used by the author of the original post linked above. I am not able to go into the details of variable situations, such as second marriages, instances of rape, or women who lost their virginity and have since come back to Christ. Please read this understanding that many women get married without being virgins but have accepted Christ’s forgiveness for past sins and are living in His grace as renewed people. These women are as pure as if they had never sinned (my post Does God Forgive Sexual Sin? talks about this, as well as my post Virginity Is Not God’s Goal).