Why Does Virginity Matter?

Does virginity really mean anything in our society any more? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I have been on Unbelievable’s Facebook page in a debate about Tim McGrew vs. Peter Boghossian and saw another thread asking what the big deal is about virginity. The poster stated that he was on a bit of a “sex kick” (This is also translated as being a healthy male). This was a thread that I decided I should certainly play a part in.

Now to be sure, virginity is not to be valued for the sake of virginity itself. If one chooses to have a celibate lifestyle, one should choose that not because they value celibacy, but they should choose it because they value something else and are giving up sex throughout their lives for the sake of that something else. Celibacy should not be seen as a means to itself. It is sacrificing a good for what one thinks is an even greater good. One should also not practice chastity (Chastity being waiting until marriage instead of abstaining your whole life) for the sake of chastity. One practices chastity for a greater good.

For some, virginity is not that big a deal. Sex is just another biological activity. In fact, these think that you should sleep with the person you’re dating before you get married to them. After all, you need to make sure that you are sexually compatible. As you can imagine, I reject this view entirely.

Quite amusing also was to read that virginity is a way to control women.

Yes. Because if men wanted to control women, the best way they would do it would be to make sure that men had to wait until they married a woman until they could have sex with her. Because, hey, we all know that we men are notorious about setting up barriers to keep us from having sex.

Of course, no one would deny that sex is a biological function. It does fill a necessary gap in enabling the human species to reproduce. It also serves other purposes. One obvious purpose that we tend to think of immediately is pleasure. There is nothing like the joy that comes from the unity of the male and the female together in this way. While we can say we disagree with the sexual morality that we see on TV shows and movies today, we certainly can understand the pleasure aspect of it. If sex was not a lot of fun, there would not be so much of a drive to do it.

Sex also serves another role. It serves to unify and solidify the love between a husband and a wife. Let’s face it. If it wasn’t for sex, men would quite likely not get married and the human species would die out. A woman costs time, money, and effort. What benefit would the guy get for that? Well in sex we have an answer. Now does this mean a woman’s only good is sex? No. It just means that this is the initial draw between a man and a woman.

This draw in fact is to build up the love. When the man unites with the woman in this way, then he is put in a position where he will desire to please the woman because she has done so much to please him. The relationship builds more and more that way. The woman will also in turn grow to trust and to love the man. That will in turn lead to more sex which will in turn lead to more sex and the cycle grows and grows.

The reason that we guard the sexuality of ourselves is not because sex is dirty or sinful. May it never be! I’m a married man. Does anyone really think I’m going to say sex is sinful? Heck no! But it is because sex is something sacred. It is on its own terms something more powerful than any nuclear weapon. It is something that you’d better handle with care because if you go wrong with sex, the ramifications are deadly.

Sex is also the way a woman determines what she’s worth. Generally in a relationship, the woman makes the decision about when sex will be, although the man sure does try to let her know when he wants it. (Hint for women: Always.) So what is a woman worth? Is she worth dinner and a movie? Is she worth a week? Is she worth a month? Is she worth half a year? Engagement? Or is she worth a lifetime commitment? I have written about this elsewhere.

Now someone might say “Well would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive.” No, but here’s the point. People are not cars. The car will not care if you don’t like it and take it back to the lot. The car will not have hurt feelings. The car will not call up all of its friends and ask why it is that it was not found pleasing in your sight. People are not machines and they do not behave like cars.

When I think back to when I proposed to my wife, I can just imagine the reaction had I made a similar suggestion with her. “Well, I’d like to spend the rest of my life with you, but let’s have sex first and then I also plan on having sex with other women. After all, I want to make sure you’re the best fit for me. If you end up passing the test, then you and I can go on with marriage plans.”

She would have rightly rejected my proposal then and there and her parents would definitely make sure I never crossed her path again.

Now someone could ask that if you have zero experience, doesn’t that make things difficult possibly? Do you want to go to the honeymoon without experience?

But we all have to start doing things without experience. The first time you drive a car, you do not have experience. When you go to college for the first time, you do not have experience. When you become a parent for the first time, you may have experience with babysitting, but you do not have experience in directly taking care of your own children.

And that’s one of the joys of waiting until marriage. You and your spouse learn together. Sure you’re going to make mistakes and not be the best right at the start and will get better and better over time. That’s okay. You laugh and learn about the mistakes that you make and learn more and more about what pleases you and what pleases the other person. (And yes, it is not selfish to know what pleases you. How else can your spouse best love you unless you know what it is that brings you the most joy?)

My wife is not a test object. She is not an object period. She is the woman I pledge my life and love to until death do us part. She is not just someone I go to when I want to have my pleasure and then disregard the rest of the time. The desire for sex is not just a desire for a pleasurable sensation, but a desire for spousal unity and to be open entirely with the woman that I love and to give and receive love without walls between us.

Naturally, men and women have different attitudes with sex. For men, sex is usually seen as a necessary aspect of the love. For the women, love is seen as a necessary aspect of the sex. This is not to say men are opposed to love in sex. We know love should be a part of it in marriage as well. Women also know that sex is a part of love in marriage. It is just in the ranking. A man cannot really imagine a time of great love and affection with him and his wife that does not have sex. A woman could much more easily.

All of this much more easily flows in marriage. In marriage, there is a system whereby sex can happen and happen without risk. There is to be no fear of rejection. No person is being tested. You are to know that when you wake up the next day, the other person will still be there.

In our culture, we have treated sex like a common good. Sex is not cheap. It comes at the price of the totality of a human being being given to another. That is not cheap. Sex is sacred because people are sacred. People are sacred because they are created in the image of God, the most sacred one of all. Our sexuality should reflect the nature of God in how we behave. God made us sexual beings and made us to enjoy that gift, but He made it to be enjoyed on the right terms and when those terms are followed, the gift will be the best of all.

So is virginity something worthwhile? Yes. The person who holds their virginity for someone is making a claim about themselves and for a Christian, they are making a claim about God. We have had this strange idea that God is separate from many of the things that we do in our lives. In reality, God has something to do with everything in our lives and I agree with Peter Kreeft. We need more and more a theology of sex.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

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4 Responses to “Why Does Virginity Matter?”

  1. labreuer Says:

    Ezekiel 16:49-50 is always a fun bit: getting causality right is very important. Second, some Dorothy Sayers, Whimsical Christian, essay “The Other Six Deadly Sins”:

    Thirdly, there are two main reasons for why people fall into the sin of luxuria. It may be through sheer exuberance of animal spirits, in which case a sharp application of the curb may be all that is needed to bring the body into subjection and remind it of its proper place in the scheme of man’s twofold nature. Or—and this commonly happens in periods of disillusionment like our own, when philosophies are bankrupt and life appears without hope—men and women may turn to lust in sheer boredom and discontent, trying to find in it some stimulus that is not provided by the drab discomfort of their mental and physical surroundings. When that is the case, stern rebukes and restrictions are worse than useless. It is as though one were to endeavor to cure anemia by bleeding; it only reduces further an already impoverished vitality. The mournful and medical aspect of twentieth-century pornography and promiscuity strongly suggests that we have reached one of these periods of spiritual depression where people go to bed because they have nothing better to do. In other words, the regrettable moral laxity of which respectable people complain may have its root cause not in luxuria at all, but in some other of the sins of society, and may automatically begin to cure itself when that root cause is removed. (158-9)

  2. Who Won The Feminist War? | Deeper Waters Says:

    […] been thinking more about my virginity post. There has been some reaction online, quite likely from people who didn’t really read it. […]

  3. kenneth Says:

    I am confused by your post. While there are pieces I agree with entirely…sex being a potential means for connection, etc. I wonder what your perception of women’s role in sex is? You said:
    “Sex is also the way a woman determines what she’s worth. Generally in a relationship, the woman makes the decision about when sex will be, although the man sure does try to let her know when he wants it. (Hint for women: Always.) So what is a woman worth? Is she worth dinner and a movie? Is she worth a week? Is she worth a month? Is she worth half a year? Engagement? Or is she worth a lifetime commitment?”

    As a woman, sex has nothing to do with what I decide my “worth” is. I enjoy sex, I believe, as much as any man. I don’t gauge my worth in terms of what a man is willing to trade for it. Are you perhaps thinking thinking that this is how a man decides what a woman is worth…a dinner, a date, a vacation, a lifetime commitment. I have long held that men actually put far more emphasis on sex than women, as they are completely cut out of all other stages of reproduction.

    I see no problem with waiting until marriage for sex, sex is a miniscule piece of a relationship (an important one, but a small one) but I think it’s misguided to assume that women and men feel differently about it. Sex is enjoyable, and biological, for both sexes and all genders.

    • apologianick Says:

      In the context of the writing, I’m saying that when dating, a woman determines her value by sex. If she thinks she’s worth everything, she’ll make a man give everything. If she thinks she’s worth dinner and a movie, she’ll give in after dinner and a movie. A woman should have the highest view of herself because she is in fact worth everything.

      And yes, I do contend men and women experience sex differently.

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