Posts Tagged ‘virginity’

A Response to Samantha Pugsley

November 7, 2014

Is it a bad idea to wait until your wedding night? Let’s dive into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I had an article brought to my attention a couple of days ago by a Samantha Pugsley who said she waited until her wedding night for sex and regretted it.

For some of us reading the article, it was hard to tell if it was serious or not. However, for all intents and purposes, I am going to be treating it like it really is a serious article and be telling where I think Samantha went wrong and why it is that the path she has chosen today is still the incorrect one.

“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship. As well as abstaining from sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions that are known to lead to sexual arousal.”

To which I say to an extent, good luck with that. Not saying that about the desire to make a commitment to God and keep yourself sexually pure. That’s all well and good. Yet there were extremes here. Avoid pornography. Yes. That’s not an extreme. Avoid any sexual thoughts or anything leading to sexual arousal?

Good luck with that one.

Certainly speaking for men, if we were to avoid everything that would arouse us, we’d probably have to hole up and be hermits and even then, I am sure we could find something. Sex is something inescapable in our culture, and it’s not just in a culture like ours that’s rather loose with sexual morality. Sex is just everywhere no matter where you go.

You see, wherever you go, you’ll find people. Those people, believe it or not, are sexual beings. Whether they’re virgins or not, they’re all either male or female. Why are all of them living and breathing today? Because at one point in time, a man and a woman came together in sexual union and that person that you see is the result of that union.

And avoid sexual thoughts? That’s too much of a legalism for anyone. You are going to think sexually. It’s not necessarily a wrong thing. How you deal with it could be, but you are made to think sexually. When you are dating someone also, you will be thinking sexually. You’ll be thinking about when you can finally get to see all that that person has to give you and enjoy the gift of intimacy with them. That’s normal.

So right at the start, Pugsley has taken an extreme stance and one that I don’t think any Christian should take. It’s part of the idea too many Christians have that sex is something dirty. Of course, in the same breath that they’re told that it’s dirty, they’re also told that they should save it for someone they love.

Pugsley goes on to tell about how she made her oath at ten, not even knowing what sex is, which tells me we need to do a better job with teaching our youth about sexuality early on. No. I’m not saying teach your 3 year-old about the birds and the bees. I am saying teach them some about how their body works and how they should respect it as well as the bodies of others.

The church taught me that sex was for married people. Extramarital sex was sinful and dirty and I would go to Hell if I did it. I learned that as a girl, I had a responsibility to my future husband to remain pure for him. It was entirely possible that my future husband wouldn’t remain pure for me, because he didn’t have that same responsibility, according to the Bible. And of course, because I was a Christian, I would forgive him for his past transgressions and fully give myself to him, body and soul.

Now naturally, I agree with the first part that sex is for married people. I have a number of friends who are single and who I think plan to marry some day and I do look forward to when they can experience this gift. Yet I wonder what kind of church it is that teaches you will go to hell for sex outside of marriage but that seems to apply only if you’re a female. Men have to stay pure also. Of course, there should be forgiveness if one person messed up before marriage, but both men and women should seek to keep themselves pure.

Also, sex outside of marriage is not the unforgivable sin. Making it a lifestyle does indicate that you are not a Christian, per 1 Cor. 6, but there are couples who have made mistakes and some of them are happily married today after finding the grace in Christ that they need for what they have done.

Once I got married, it would be my duty to fulfill my husband’s sexual needs. I was told over and over again, so many times I lost count, that if I remained pure, my marriage would be blessed by God and if I didn’t that it would fall apart and end in tragic divorce.

It is certainly true that a wife is to meet her husband’s needs. 1 Cor. 7:1-5 makes this abundantly clear. What Pugsley was apparently not taught was the reverse. The husband is also supposed to meet the needs of the wife. Paul is certainly talking about sexual needs here, although he would certainly include other needs a husband was to provide. In fact, the only reason for withholding was to devote yourself to prayer mutually and then come together quickly due to lack of self-control. This is a good word of wisdom to too many women in marriages who might be tempted to use sex as a weapon. If your husband doesn’t do what you want, then punish him by withholding sex! Sex is supposed to be an act of love. You are never to use it as a weapon. The same goes for husbands. If your wife is someone who really really wants a lot of sex (And if this is you, I can’t help but think that I agree with Mark Gungor when he said “On behalf of all men, I want to say ‘We hate you.’ “)  then you don’t use sex as a weapon on her either. The marriage bed is to be a place of peace and safety. It is not to be a weapon.

For more than a decade, I wore my virginity like a badge of honor. My church encouraged me to do so, saying my testimony would inspire other young girls to follow suit. If the topic ever came up in conversation, I was happy to let people know that I had taken a pledge of purity.

Believe it or not, this is problematic. It is good to be a virgin, but you are not a virgin for the sake of virginity. I have written on virginity elsewhere. As a married man, I am obviously no longer a virgin. I am pleased to no longer be one. But at the same time, I do think it is honorable if you are a virgin while unmarried because you want to save yourself for marriage. If you plan to never marry, then you must take lifelong celibacy and do so for a good that you consider to be greater.

What I would want to ask Pugsley is if she was seeing virginity as an end in itself. Virginity is not a goal. Virginity is a pathway to a goal. That goal is ultimately holiness. If you plan to marry, it is for saving yourself for marriage so you can enjoy sexual union with your spouse. If it is not your plan to marry, then it is for something greater, such as devotion to the Kingdom of God as in 1 Cor. 7.

It became my entire identity by the time I hit my teen years. When I met my then boyfriend-now husband, I told him right away that I was saving myself for marriage and he was fine with that because it was my body, my choice and he loved me.

Once again, I see the extreme. Virginity is not meant to be your identity. Christ is meant to be your identity. Still, I must say the man she was dating at least had the right idea. He respected her choice. I have also written on this elsewhere. Women need to realize they set the bar for how much they are worth as a woman and anyone who sets the price lower is your enemy essentially. They are cheapening not just themselves, but you and all other women.

We were together for six years before we got married. Any time we did anything remotely sexual, guilt overwhelmed me. I wondered where the line was because I was terrified to cross it. Was he allowed to touch my breasts? Could we look at each other naked? I didn’t know what was considered sexual enough to condemn my future marriage and send me straight to Hell.

At the start, I’m wondering why a six year wait. Some people like to wait for an education to be finished or to start a career, but if you’re someone who is burning, and it sure seems like they were, go ahead and get married. As readers of this blog know, my wife and I met and married in less than a year. We knew where we were going and we knew it quick. I have even been told that my roommate told a mutual friend when I got home from the first visit to meet Allie that they needed to start getting set to book a wedding chapel.

As for what would send you straight to Hell and condemn your future marriage, nothing. God can forgive and repair all things in your marriage. He can repair any damage that you do beforehand. You have to submit and that can be painful and it is a process if it is done, but it is still doable. I use the list of the 12 steps of intimacy and encourage dating couples to not go beyond #8. We never did.

An unhealthy mixture of pride, fear, and guilt helped me keep my pledge until we got married. In the weeks before our wedding, I often got congratulated on keeping my virginity for so long. The comments ranged from curious (how in the world did you manage?) to downright disgusting (I bet you’re going to have one busy wedding night!). I let them place me on the pedestal as their virginal, perfect-Christian-girl mascot.

Pugsley is certainly right that it was an unhealthy mixture. If virginity was all about her, she had a problem. I do wonder about the idea she has of downright disgusting remarks. What is disgusting about hearing you’ll have a busy wedding night?

When my wife and I got married, we had several members of TheologyWeb, where I debated and still do debate, come to our wedding. I understand that after the wedding, they all got together for a little mini-convention. I have often wondered what was said at that convention, but considering they were there for our wedding and there were guys present at the table, and some of them were married, I am sure some jokes about sex were flying around.

I would expect nothing less.

Sex is not a topic we should be hesitant to speak about. The fact that we are is a problem. It’s all God’s idea. It’s His beautiful creation and if you take the Bible seriously, you must admit that God has an awful lot to say in there about sex! He even has one whole book devoted to sex! Now I know we could say “It’s a beautiful allegory about God and Israel or Christ and the church.” Yeah yeah yeah. Let’s just say that upfront it’s a poem about sex and why not? God celebrates it. So should we!

Now of course, some comments can be crude and many of us know when they are, but not all of them are. We usually know when we have crossed that line. I remember years ago being in an AOL chat room where one lady said she was signing off because her husband was going to bed and was motioning that he’d like her to come up with him with a bunch of “ooooooooooooh”s following. Yeah. We all knew what was going on. It wasn’t crude. It was a knowing delight in fact.

I also have a good friend who I used to regularly tease her when she’d talk about having plans with her husband one time and she’d just say to me “Go and watch your Smallville DVDs.” In other words, get your mind elsewhere. It was a joke for us that we always liked to do. Now that I’m married, if she says something to me, I’ll say “Go watch your Babylon Five DVDs.”

In fact, we should be talking about sex regularly, not just in the humorous sense, but in the accountability sense. On Facebook, for instance, I have a group for Christian men to help us learn how to be better husbands to our wives and prepare those who aren’t married to learn how to better husbands in the future. We need to hold each other accountable sexually.

As we move on, Pugsley tells us some about her wedding night. There is nothing really explicit here, but then we get this.

Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I didn’t yet comprehend. They didn’t tell me that I’d be on my honeymoon, crying again, because sex felt dirty and wrong and sinful even though I was married and it was supposed to be okay now.

For a woman, I am given to understand this is certainly true. The first time will be difficult. This is one area we need to clear up. In some ways, Hollywood has the right message. Hollywood wants to show us sex as fun and glamorous and exciting. They’re right! We can complain that sex is all Hollywood seems to think about, but they’re just reflecting us. It’s on our minds constantly.

Unfortunately, Hollywood doesn’t pain other realities as well. I agree with Kevin Leman in his book Sheet Music that your first time is not likely to send you to the moon and back. That’s okay. You’re just getting started. The first time will be awkward, but then so will the first time you try to play a violin or ride a bicycle or do public speaking. You’re not likely to be an expert on the first time. You’re doing something you’ve never done before with no experience beforehand and add in that you and your spouse are both going to be really excited but also really nervous.

What can be done about this? First off, I cannot stress enough that women should be getting an examination from their gynecologist beforehand, preferably a few months beforehand, and be doing anything the doctor recommends. We men generally have things different. We don’t have the pain aspect, but I encourage men to find a man you can trust and talk with them before the wedding. I had a friend who helped me prepare regularly months before the wedding and at least one other man came to my apartment personally when it was just me there to talk with me about sex and what I could expect. I also find it helpful if this isn’t a close family member because that’s awkward, or even a future family member, such as your future father-in-law. I have in fact offered myself to men I know who are about to get married to be someone who will talk to them frankly from my experience.

And especially for men, take your time. Move as slowly as you can. You’ve waited for this and there’s no time limit. It’s a beautiful moment so do all you can to really make it last. Do you want to take a time like this and just get it over with as soon as you can, or do you want to take it and make it a pleasant memory?

And for both of you, try to get in a good meal beforehand together. It can be tempting to go straight from the wedding to the hotel. Try to get something to eat first. If you have to, just order a pizza somewhere and have it delivered so that you can have a good meal together. You might even want to consider getting a couple of protein bars.

Finally, get a good Christian guide. I already mentioned Sheet Music but there are others out there you can use such as Intended for Pleasure and A Celebration of Sex for Newlyweds. Be prepared for what you are doing. Listen to trusted mentors who have been there before you.

Now to get back to Pugsley, Pugsley writes about how she suddenly felt dirty, and this is a direct response to what had happened. She had treated sex as something dirty and that lightswitch cannot be flipped on and off instantly. You handle it right and you have no problem however flipping that switch. I always held sex was beautiful and when I got married and knew that I could to this freely now, that switch was extremely easy to flip.

Before we get to the next part, let’s look also at the point that I said Hollywood has right. The problem is Hollywood has the wrong context. The church meanwhile gives the right context, a marital relationship. They just often give the wrong message. That’s the one that sex is dirty. We need to outdo the passion we see in Hollywood and do so in the right context of Christian marriage.

When we got home, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Everyone knew my virginity was gone. My parents, my church, my friends, my co-workers. They all knew I was soiled and tarnished. I wasn’t special anymore. My virginity had become such an essential part of my personality that I didn’t know who I was without it.

And this again is part of the problem. I had no problem coming home after our wedding and yeah, everyone knew what we were doing. So what? I expect them to know. I expect them to know that things are different now. I have a wife and I’m going to enjoy the company and joy that she provides me, and that includes sexually.

Pugsley apparently put virginity before holiness. I suspect she did not really have a full idea of sexuality from a Christian worldview which is a problem in our church. We usually give only negatives about sex to our youth. I remember being at a Silver Ring Thing service where the pastor said if you have sex before you marry, it will be for selfish reasons.

Okay. That’s fine.

Then he went on.

“Think about what you will say to your future spouse one day. Think about the shame and guilt you will feel. What if you get pregnant? What if you get an STD?”

Those could be real, but all the while I was thinking “Hmmm. Sounds to me like those are pretty selfish reasons as well.”

In fact, the more he went on, I found myself getting bored.

If you can talk about sex and leave a college guy getting bored, you are doing something wrong.

One of my friends on Facebook once said the problem in our culture is we think too much about sex. That’s not the problem. The problem is the opposite in fact! We don’t think enough about sex! We dream about it. We fantasize about it. We joke about it. We even just do it! We just don’t think about it. As a Christian, I find thinking about sex and seeing it as a revelation of God makes me hold it in awe even more.

It didn’t get better. I avoided undressing in front of my husband. I tried not to kiss him too often or too amorously so I wouldn’t lead him on. I dreaded bedtime. Maybe he’d want to have sex.

When he did, I obliged. I wanted nothing more than to make him happy because I loved him so much and because I’d been taught it was my duty to fulfill his needs. But I hated sex. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I wanted to like it, because it wasn’t fair. I had done everything right. I took the pledge and stayed true to it. Where was the blessed marriage I was promised?

Pugsley’s story is really common actually. If you treat sex as dirty, you will also tend to view yourself as dirty. Pugsley also is getting only one side of duty here. She is not an object just for sexual pleasure and unfortunately, that can happen even in marriage. A husband can too easily treat his wife as just an object and this is something all married men need to watch for.

I let it go on this way for almost two years before I broke down. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I told my husband everything. My feminist husband was horrified that I’d let him touch me when I didn’t want him to. He made me promise I’d never do anything I didn’t want to do ever again. We stopped having sex. He encouraged me to see a therapist and I did. It was the first step on a long journey to healing.

Let me say this. Kudos to this man! This man I think did exactly what was right! When he saw a problem, he told his wife to get the counseling she needed and in fact made it clear she did not ever need to be forced to give sex. For any husband who is in this situation, I cannot recommend enough Dawn Jones’s book. For a wife loving a man with the same struggle, there is a book by Cecil Murphey for you.

I don’t go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn’t define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it’s because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I’m required to fulfill his desires.

Unfortunately, there are too many that will fit into this category. Imagine that you’re a nominal Christian and you go to church regularly, but you don’t really get into it. Then you discover sex and it seems like sex contradicts your Christianity. Are you going to be willing to give up sex for Christianity?

If you have a nominal Christianity, you’re fooling yourself if you think so. Pugsley unfortunately has the right idea to an extent. Sex can be because she wants to and she has a need to fulfill and she does so as an act of love. Of course, I think there are times a wife can go along with her husband even if she’s not feeling it then. Halfway through, that feeling could change.

Pugsley should realize many of us are devout Christians and have no trouble reconciling our Christianity with sex. I don’t even like to say that because there’s really nothing to reconcile! Sex is again God’s idea. It is His creation and the reason why it’s a totally awesome time is that He created it to be one!

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.

I find this quite a puzzle. After all, why would men invent a story that says they are to wait until marriage to sleep with a woman? How is that controlling female sexuality? If anything, the teaching controls male sexuality since this is something that men tend to struggle with a lot more than women do.

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.

And as one on the other end, I am very happy I waited. I am thrilled to know that Allie and I go through life only knowing each other as sexual lovers. We know that we alone have exclusive rights to each other and that will be the case until death does us part.

Unfortunately, Pugsley’s article really doesn’t present a full Christian view, and I suspect it’s because she only had the veneer of one. You do not find Scripture cited or see what role God plays in your relationship or see what the impact of the life of Christ is to have on your relationship.

Pugsley is a reminder to us that we need to do better in teaching about sexuality to the youth of the church today. Let’s try to do that.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Debunking 9 Truly Evil Things Right-Wing Christians Do Part 2

July 21, 2014

What else does my wife have to say about the claims of right-wing Christians? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

For today, I am going to continue the series that my own wife has written. Enjoy:

I am continuing with debunking the arguments from the article from this page: http://www.alternet.org/belief/9-truly-evil-things-right-wing-christians-do?page=0%2C0 This is a pretty short section, so I’ll just go ahead a post what they said:

“The U.S. government just spent a decade and a billion dollars on failed abstinence-only education programs concocted by Bible believers who live in some delusional world where prohibition works and virginity is next to godliness. Thanks to their influence, straight-faced educators tell teens that a girl who has had sex is a licked lollipop. Instead of medically accurate information and thoughtful conversation about intimacy and childbearing, teens get promise rings and slut shame. The result? Here in the U.S., more than one in four girls gets pregnant before she turns 20, often with heartbreaking multigenerational consequences for women, children and whole communities. More than half of girls who give birth during high school drop out, permanently. Only two percent ever graduate college.”

In high school, I actually did a project once where my partner and I did a sort of debate on whether teaching “safe sex” was a better choice than teacher abstinence. I defended the side of abstinence, but I did do research on the side of “safe sex as well. If you want to see the video (it’s an old video) here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr6aZF7R3ts The reason I put quotations around “safe sex” is because to me, there is no such thing as safe sex. Even if you use contraceptives, it doesn’t always prevent unwanted pregnancies, nor does it prevent STD’s. You also deal with the emotional pain of when you break up. Sex is truly something sacred. Today we treat it so casually. We treat it as if it were the same thing as a hug or a kiss – like it were as casual as a greeting. If it’s something so casual, why do we want it so much? I’ve heard sitcoms say things like “We’ll just have meaningless sex!” We’ll laugh about it but we treat it like it is meaningless, and if it’s so meaningless, why do we want it so much? Why is the sex industry one of the top money making industries in the world? Sex is important. Now, why should we wait until we’re married? Don’t we deal with some of the same issues? People get divorced, so you still deal with the heartache of a break-up. You can still get unwanted pregnancies. It’s still possible to get some STD’s. After all, some STD’s you can get just by touching another person’s skin! I’m sure you took health class, the most common ways to get an STD are unprotected sex, multiple sex partners, and sexual activity at a young age. But if you can have these problems even if you wait until you get married, why wait? What’s the point when you can just go out and have fun now? Honestly, as much as I wanted to wait, sometimes I asked myself the same question. There were many times I came close to losing my virginity before getting married to multiple guys, and when I think back, I’m so glad I didn’t – they all turned out to be real losers! It was really hard to wait, really, I know. I made some mistakes I still regret to this day. But then when I got married, I was so glad I waited until the wedding night because I got to share that moment with the man who truly did love me and I knew he wasn’t going to leave me no matter my flaws were. It didn’t matter how heavy I was. It didn’t matter how many rolls I had or my zits or scars (physically and emotionally), it didn’t matter about my past, he was going to stick with me and still love me. Sex is sacred. God created sex to be sacred. He created it to be enjoyed, but he also created it to be very special. Read the book in the Bible “Song of Songs,” also known as “Song of Solomon.” It’s got some pretty raunchy stuff in there! It’s the king at the time, Solomon, and his lover. But, it’s also a metaphor. See, Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom, and we are his bride. He loves us so passionately and so deeply, that while sex connects a man and a woman, it also represents how we are connected with Christ. We are supposed to love our spouses as Christ loves the Church! Sex is sacred, and when we use it for any other use, it loses its sacredness. It becomes trash. It becomes an idol. Sex is meant to please the other person, not necessarily ourselves. We are to please the other person and the other person is to please us. It’s an act of giving. But we use sex as a means of getting what we want often. That’s why we look at pornography. That’s why children are sold as sex slaves. That’s why there’s prostitution. Because we are looking for our own benefits instead of the other persons. You’re only looking for receiving pleasure. Or if you’re producing/selling the product, your only interest is making money off it. You don’t care who it hurts. It’s what you get out of it. So many marriages end today because a spouse gets involved with pornography. The article talks about high percentages of teen pregnancies and an even higher percentage of them dropping out of school. If they knew how sacred sex was and that it’s worth saving until marriage, there would be less teen pregnancies. If they were encouraged to wait, they would wait. The article talks about heartbreaking consequences for teeage girls who get pregnant. There are consequences for every action we make. Some are good, some are bad. That’s how life is. Teenagers are not ready to deal with pregnancies. I’ve always wanted to be a mother, but there’s no way as a teenager I would’ve ever been ready to be a mother! Teenagers are too dramatic, too emotional, and too lazy. Now some teenagers do actually work hard, but even they are not ready to be parents. How can they be ready for parenthood if they haven’t even reached adulthood yet? Of course there’s always the option of putting the baby up for adoption. But even that is difficult. I’ve heard many stories of even teenagers regretting putting their babies up for adoption. I know if I ever had a baby, I couldn’t put it up for adoption. I would NEVER recommend abortions! In the last note I discussed the issue on child sacrifices. The article accuses the Bible of promoting child sacrifices (which if you read my previous note, it doesn’t), but if anything promotes child sacrifices it’s today with abortions! We get abortions because of convenience. “We don’t want a baby” or “We’re not ready for a baby” or “We have enough kids, we don’t want another one!” It’s all convenience. People yell “Women’s Rights! It’s the woman’s right to her body!” Doesn’t the baby have any rights to their body? You are sacrificing an infant to the god of convenience! We are having more child sacrifices than any other time in history! It’s sickening! The Bible records child sacrifices that went on, but God never wanted it to happen! But I’ve already talked on that subject. Anyway, I hope this has been helpful. The next note will be on:

3. Demeaning and subjugating women is evil.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Who Won The Feminist War?

June 3, 2014

When women started fighting for liberation, who won the war in the end? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

I’ve been thinking more about my virginity post. There has been some reaction online, quite likely from people who didn’t really read it. Consider for instance, James Lindsay (Who by the way has refused to have a debate on TheologyWeb with me on the topic of if Jesus rose from the dead.) who wrote on his twitter feed (And I’m Apologianick on Twitter if you want to follow me) that

“The whackjob apologist talking to me now wants us all to know why #virginity matters. Cracked. #ModestIsHottest
https://deeperwaters.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/why-does-virginity-matter/ …” See the tweet yourself here.

To which you can find him saying that I say

“According to the apologist, it’s for something even greater and grander, infinitely important magic morals because God hates sex.”

Because God hates sex…

Yep. Because I, as a married man, want to give the idea out that God hates sex.

Because, you know, as soon as you say sex is something sacred, that’s automatically a laughable idea.

And keep in mind, the Christians are supposed to be the ones that have the low view of sex.

What strikes me as most ironic in all these discussions is how many women go along with this idea. So many women want to say that there’s nothing sacred at all about sex. I have been told that it’s just an appetite like anything else. It’s a natural desire like anything else.

Of course it’s an appetite.

Of course it’s a natural desire.

But it does not follow that it is like anything else.

You see, our culture is a culture that is big on equality. We like things to be equal and we don’t like people to be treated differently. So when we see men and women being treated differently, we can often think that there is an equality going on. The mistaken notion is to think that if men and women are not equal in everything, then they are not equal in worth.

This would be like saying two breeds of dogs are not equally dogs or two breeds of cats are not equally cats. Differences does not always mean a lack of equality when it comes to worth and nature. Differences are instead something that celebrate the great diversities. Do you want a big dog to be a guardian? Great! Get a German Shepherd or Pit Bull or a dog like that. Do you want a small one to be a companion? Great! Get a beagle or a chihuahua or something like that. There are all kinds for all people.

Now here comes a shocker to many people today.

Men and women are different.

No really. They are!

And this goes beyond just our bodies. Sure, we have different genitalia, but we differ in so many ways. The way my own wife thinks is so foreign to me. I do not understand it so many times. The way her emotions work is something that makes no sense to me. Learning to communicate with a spouse is sometimes like learning a foreign language and some of that you don’t learn until you enter into the marital covenant.

Now here’s the other part of that. Men and women are different, and that’s a good thing!

We could see these as opposing differences, and in some cases they are, but we could also see them as complementary differences. When the two work together, they are capable of doing something that neither one of them could do on their own. The greatest example of this of course is sexual intimacy. When the man and the woman come together, they can have a joy and a passion that neither one of them would have attained alone.

And oh yeah, they can also make a new human life.

But women had this idea that they were not on the same playing field as men. The largest area was in that of sex. After all, a woman can get pregnant, something a man cannot do, and she can bring a new life into the world.

But this process takes about nine months and in that time she’s not as available to the world and after that time, well she might actually want to do something bizarre like, oh, I don’t know, bond with the baby.

How can you be a career woman in that?

And if you don’t want that, how is it you can have sex without consequences in such a society?

Enter abortion into the picture. Now if all else fails and you get pregnant, no big deal! Just go and have a little routine operation so that that little intrusion won’t be a problem.

The baby is a human life? Well nonsense. That’s just a fetus after all! It’s not a life! Never mind that we know of nothing else that it could be. As far as we know, if all things are equal, these things actually do turn out to be human beings in the end, but hey, details. Who needs them?

Yet consider this. What if being able to give birth is something that makes a woman distinct from a man, which it could very well be since after all, only women give birth. If a woman instead ends up killing a baby in her womb, isn’t she in fact doing the exact opposite of her role as a mother? Isn’t she rather being an anti-mother?

If giving birth is something radically feminine, killing a birth is radically anti-feminine.

So now we move on and we get more and more of a divorce culture especially with no-fault divorce. Now men and women could split easily without having a real issue. It can just be on a whim. Of course, this meant in the long run a man had to make no real commitment to a woman whatsoever. That commitment could come apart at most any moment and for any reason and if that is the case, well it’s not much of a commitment is it.

Today then, we live in a culture of shacking up. After all, we want to make sure our commitment does not become one of those so let’s live together first! Let’s see how well we work out! This will naturally mean trying each other out sexually.

Because there’s no harm in treating another person like a car you take for a test spin as we all know.

We all have heard the old saying of why should someone buy a cow if they can get the milk for free? Why is a man going to be driven to make a commitment to a woman if she’s willing to give the man what he wants most at no cost? Well it might cost something sometimes. Maybe it costs dinner or a movie or something of that sort. But after that, hey. Go ahead. That’s the price and you’ve paid the price for the totality of having a woman’s whole being given to you. Enjoy. Aren’t you glad you didn’t have to pay something such as your entire life?

In our culture today then, women are often seen as simply eye candy. The sexuality of a woman is even more emphasized than it has been. The moment of victory in a sitcom, movie, TV drama, etc. is when the man and the woman have sex, which frankly doesn’t cost that much. The marriage doesn’t mean as much. Not as much changes because, hey, they were already having sex and most often living together beforehand.

So the women had their movement to make sure they were treated equally. Who won it?

The men did.

Sorry ladies, but if you went by this model, you lost.

You see, now a man has even more reason to treat a woman like an object. After all, sex is just something you do together. It might as well be the same as playing tennis together or watching a movie or belonging to a book club. You do all those things just to have some fellowship. Well now you have sex for the same reason. It’s just what you do together. No real commitment is involved. The man doesn’t have to treat the woman like a woman. He just has to be willing to give what he’s got.

Which surprisingly, isn’t much of a sacrifice for a man. A man doesn’t have to have much to motivate him to have sex. All a woman needs to pretty much do is go up to a man and say “Would you like to have sex?” and the man is willing and ready to go.

In the past, a man would usually have to fight and prove himself the man to earn the right to the woman. That woman was a treasure and she was treating herself like one. She was the one who set the price and if she set it high, well the man would reach and go as high as he could because what he wanted was worth it. If it was not worth it, then the woman could move on and find a man who would treat her the way she was worth.

But now since sex is no big deal and it’s just something common, well what a shock that marriage is no big deal either. Just get a divorce. What’s the big deal? Just change the nature of marriage. What’s the big deal? Marriage after all is all about making the people involved in it happy. If you split up, you split up and you’ll do better next time. There’s no incentive to stay in because hey, a guy can find a woman willing to have sex very quickly. Just go down to your local bar. They’re there.

If sex is no big deal and marriage is no big deal, it’s not a shock that human life is no big deal, and abortion already has shown us that. Men and women are simply sexual beings like animals. Now of course we are sexual beings, but the word simply does not belong. Our sex does in many ways define us but it is not the sole purpose we serve. A woman can be fully woman and be a nun for instance. As some have said rightfully, she even has a sex life. Everything she does, SHE does. SHE does it as a woman. Her vows keep her from having sexual intercourse. They can never stop her from being a woman.

So what happened? Well our society went from one where women did not want to be treated like objects to where women are eye candy in all the media and men don’t have to make any real commitment to have sex and can get out of a relationship at any time.

Sounds like the men won.

After all, if a man is using a woman just for sex, he’s sure not respecting her. If he was a respectful man, he’d go for a woman who has a high price. He’d go for a woman where he actually has to be a real man. A woman who does not challenge him and make him earn her love is not going to be a woman who will challenge him to be a man. A woman who gives in too easily will not only lower herself as a woman, but she will lower the man.

So while we could say both lost in the long run, the men still get the better part of the deal because they got all the perks that they wanted and the woman were nice enough to remove all the costs to them.

Let’s go back and see if we can change this.

Start with this. Sex is good. (Amen and amen) God does not hate sex. God loves sex. God created it. (To which all we men can give abundant praise someday when we stand before the throne.) Just really think about that. Sex is God’s idea! Everything that you love about sex if you’re a married person is something that God created. He designed the body and the system that builds up that pleasure and intimacy.

When we say we value virginity then, we don’t mean we value virginity for the sake of virginity. Giving up sex for a time is not an end in itself. It is a means. It is a means to a higher end. If you give it up also, note that you are saying that it is something you perceive as a good. After all, if you ever sacrifice something, for it to be a worthwhile sacrifice, it has to be something you view as a good. You don’t sacrifice your freedom to go swimming at your local sewage treatment plant. You want to avoid that. You don’t sacrifice your freedom to eat bugs off of your living room floor. You don’t want to do that. If you instead do something like sacrificing time spent at the pool or sacrificing pizza or some other food, now that is a real sacrifice.

So whenever a Christian or anyone else gives up sex for some time for something else, they are saying that that something else is a good worth sacrificing for and to show how much it is worth sacrificing, they will sacrifice something that is extremely valuable. For those who are able to sacrifice sex in this lifetime, well more power to you. If you can keep it, you have indeed made a real sacrifice. At the same time of course, that does not make you more spiritual or more Christian than anyone else. After all, some of us do have to marry and Paul said there were some of us who would burn if we did not marry. Yeah. He knew how strong that drive was.

So what happens if we treat sex as something sacred? It’s no longer a common good and a woman becomes once again a prize to be won. She becomes the princess that the knight must go and fight for. If he proves himself to be a man, well he can have access to the garden of the princess. If he does not, well good-bye, because there will certainly come along another knight who will earn the hand of the princess. (In fact, to this day, I still call my wife my Princess. Check my phone sometime and you’ll see she is not listed by name but listed as Princess.)

What happens then? Well marriage becomes sacred again. A guy has proved himself a man and the woman treats him like a man. The best way she does this is by giving herself to him and trusting him and knowing that there is no one else. The man does not take advantage of this. Instead, he works everyday to make sure she knows how much he appreciates this and how delighted he is to be her men. Note this women. A real man will always strive to be a real man for you.

Then after this, life becomes sacred as well. Life becomes something beautiful because humans are not cheap. They are immensely valuable. The medievals said that one human being is worth more than the entire universe. They were right. Had there been just a universe, there would have been no need for the death of Christ. Enter in one human being in need and there’s a purpose to the plan of redemption.

The ultimate change of this lies with the women. It lies in them realizing that in many ways, they should be treated as equal, but they should also celebrate their differences from men. They should learn to realize that they are not cheap. They come with a price and that price can be as high as they want it to be. Worried about finding a real man? A real man will earn you. If a man is not willing to pay the price for you, then he is not a man. Period.

Another essential part of this is that this is what we have to start teaching in churches. Our churches do not talk about sex enough, which is problematic since everyone in the world talks about it constantly. Like many men, when I often see another woman, I look away or my eyes glaze over. Recently I was walking at a mall when I saw another woman. To avoid the temptation to lust, I instead look to my right. What do I see? The display for the local Victoria’s Secret. Yep. It’s everywhere. A man will be tempted with lust relentlessly. Even if a man doesn’t watch TV shows and movies, if he is just out going grocery shopping, he will be tempted with lust.

And we somehow think that 2 or 3 sermons a year will be all it takes to help a man in this area?

Our young teenagers are being constantly tempted. Many of them in high school have friends who are already sexually active and the question they’re being asked is “Why not you?” When a Christian boy and girl are on a date together and they’re alone on a couch at a parents’ house, do we really think a few verses from Paul is going to be enough to stop them?

Look at it this way. Many of us know the Bible verses about dealing with temptation and about other aspects like not worrying and how to avoid careless spending and how we should love our neighbor as ourselves.

If that’s all it took for us to do those things, we would all be a whole lot better, but it’s not.

Yet when it comes to the most powerful natural appetite that a man and woman has, we somehow think those few verses that we have will be enough to overpower them.

If you think it will be, you are a naive fool.

This also starts in the home. Parents need to model a healthy sexuality. Of course, I’m not saying invite the children to the bedroom. That would be stupid and destroy the sanctity of the bedroom. I’m saying the parents need to live before the children a life that shows a loving marital commitment. The parents should never make the children the focus of the marriage. The wife’s focus is the husband and the husband’s is the wife. Make the children the focus and you will have a marriage fall apart. This of course does not mean the children are unimportant. They are immensely important, but they do not take first place.

The children need to see that Mom and Dad have a loving relationship. They need to see their parents kiss. They need to know that their parents are going out on dates. The husband needs to show his sons the right way to treat a woman and show his daughters how it is that a good man will treat her. The wife needs to show her daughters the right way to respond to a man and show her sons how it is that they should treat a lady.

When it comes to single people, if they want to be single, let them be. Don’t treat them like an aberration. If we do that, then we get them into the mindset of “You’re not having sex? What’s wrong with you?!” If they are fine with that life, then let them be fine with it. They are not less as Christians or less as men and women. If they are wanting to get married, then by all means help them. Teach them the advice you have on dating and marriage. (In preparation for my marriage, I spent time with many men asking them questions and getting advice. Today, I try to offer the same kind of advice to men who are preparing to marry. If you’re on Facebook also and you’re a Christian man marrying or planning to marry or hoping to someday marry, I also have a Facebook group dedicated to helping you learn how to be that kind of man.)

In fact, that advice just given works for men and women who are married. Get together with people of your own sex who are married and talk about the issues that you face in marriage and what’s the best way to overcome them, because marriage takes work. If you’re a married couple, get together with other married couples who want to build up their own marriages and learn what you can from them.

In the end, men and women will be different.

But that’s okay. We were supposed to be.

But we will also all treat each other with a bit more respect and value.

Who will win that battle?

The men will.

But so will the women as well.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Does Virginity Matter?

May 28, 2014

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