Monday, June 10, 2013

Trending: Virgin Shaming

Warning: This blog post is about to get personal, so buckle in or exit as fast as you can.

My husband and I waited to have sex until our wedding night.
For the record, not because we were prudes, afraid of going to hell, were ashamed of our bodies, or were afraid of getting pregnant.
Want to know why? This pretty much sums it up.

While this isn't something I normally advertise because a)it's not really anybody's business and b)it's kind of awkward, I've witnessed a trend and I think it's time to talk about virgin shaming.

When I tell people we waited they want to know two things:
1. Was it hard for you to wait?
The answer is yes.
2. Was it worth the wait?
Ultimately, yes.
  • I have zero regrets.
  • I love that neither of us have sexual "baggage."
  • I love that we both feel confident that our relationship was/is strong apart from the physical side of things, but now that we're married we can celebrate our love and, sparing any details, it's wonderful.
  • I love that sexual history and possibly guilt wasn't a part of my decision to marry JL and vice versa.  
  • (Not saying that anyone is "ruined" by sex, but it DOES bond a couple together and can cloud otherwise sound decision making. In other words, we both feel confident that we married each other for our more enduring qualities and sex is a great bonus/a healthy part of our relationship, but not what it is based on.)

I know when I tell people that JL and I waited, I'm 99% sure they suddenly see us like this. Not the case, people.

Before we got married I felt that there was life outside of sex to be explored and celebrated. Now that we are married, I still feel the same way. 
While sex is a beautiful extension and expression of our love, sex has its place. Sex is sex, just like eating is eating. Both can be fulfilling, satisfying, and (let's just say it) lots of fun, but aren't worth the glorification and unhealthy obsession so many in our culture (modern secular AND Christian sub-culture) place on it. 

But here's the deal:

Much like many (usually) Christians shame those who have sex outside of marriage, I'm growing tired of seeing virgins being treated like freaks of nature for making a decision about their own bodies. Granted, I know that many of the jokes are at the expense of those who are seemingly so unattractive no one wants to sleep with them, but even in that case I still don't understand why the level shaming our culture doles out is involved. There are currently major ad campaigns are being rolled out to reduce the stigmas towards HIV/AIDS and unplanned pregnancies (ads which I think are important), but why is it that virginity is becoming more and more stigmatized?

Thanks, TLC for this, by the way. 
I love that THIS is what you feel best represents virginity in all of America:
I think this was supposed to be non-sexual affection...

If I had seen this when I was 15, it may have changed my mind about this sex before marriage business for fear of turning out like this. Again, not the case, people.

As I sit in on conversation after conversation and watch shows like Virgin Diaries and the 40 Year Old Virgin, I'm struck by our culture's evident desire to expose the non-sexually active "freaks," implying that there is something wrong with a person who hasn't had their first sexual experience. This simply isn't the case. Sex no more validates your humanity and worth than speaking multiple languages would--it may enrich your life in some ways, but you aren't any less of a person without it.
Maybe you don't think saving sex for marriage is important/realistic/possible. That's fine. I have no interest in being the morality police and I hope this blog post doesn't leave anyone feeling attacked or judged. By writing about this, I'm merely hoping to offer depth, perspective and my personal experience to the conversation.

All I want to know is, in a world that is pushing us all not to define a person by their sexual actions, why aren't virgins being given the same treatment?

What about you, reader?
What do you think about this?

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