Email Questions… Virginity is a pile of horse manure?

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It’s been a long time since I’ve sat down and really sifted through various emails from readers and fellow bloggers to answer some questions publicly, so sorry for the delay!  We’ve just been b-u-s-y, and that’s been good!  Lot’s of things going on that just take a lot of mental energy, and little time for finishing up posts in draft (or the topic has gotten stale… so some things that seemed a good idea get skipped).

One of the hardest questions I’ve received (for me to answer anyway) was about Lori Alexander’s post regarding men preferring to marry women who hadn’t had sex, had no tattoos, and no debt (especially college debt).

I liked her post, it echoed a few of mine where I touched on the same subjects of virginity and tattoos.  I did think about posting my thoughts agreeing with her, however coming on the heels of her extremely popular post, it just didn’t seem right at the time – coming from someone who met all those things myself when we married.  It would have been hard to write something like that without sounding like it was coming from a place of superiority, in other words.

Concerning Lori’s post, yes, I believe many men probably do prefer the ideal maybe theoretically, but the issue seems so complicated with how so many men choose to marry the exact opposite these days, it’s confusing to me.  What they are thinking, I’m not sure, but I do know that it’s still the norm for men to not necessarily value women who meet those 3 criteria, and seem to be very happy to marry outside them.  It’s very possible to me that marrying a woman who is a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free just isn’t important to them at all, because the opposite is so acceptable in our culture.

Many men hold those personal preferences and feelings deep inside, though, so perhaps her post is correct in that most men really do desire a woman with those traits, but due to our hedonistic culture that promotes having no morals and values, they settle for what they can get.  With us in our marriage, my husband has told me more than a few times in these 12 years that he knew I was different, and cherished me because I was innocent in those things.

I did read several articles bouncing off of Lori’s initial post, where different Christian female authors completely degraded the value of being a virgin.

To me that was beyond awful, and it made me think of my daughter and how these are the women writing the books that will be in Christian circles for years to come.  So the next generation of daughters will be growing up with Christian female leadership literally teaching them their virginity on their wedding night is nothing but a pile of horse manure.  This fact was so devastating to realize and to try to come to terms with, that our religious or Christian culture has fallen so far away from biblical truth, that this is what our leadership is espousing.  A lot of my staying silent was just trying to take in all that, and accept that this is where maybe the majority of Christians seem to stand.

From Christian author and blogger, Sheila Gregorie

“is it a good idea to wait until you’re married to have sex? Yes, it is. It’s certainly what God wants, but I believe He wants that for our good, not because He’s just making a rule.

That being said, 

virginity is not the be all and end all.

And, in fact, ultimately virginity means nothing.

It’s just a pile of horse manure.”

What a condemning (and self-damning) comment.

So as I was reading the responses and attitudes of the Christians I’m at least aware of, it took me aback to see how just pointing out those truths enrages women to the point of disgracing themselves in making anti-biblical public statements as Sheila and others have done.

So…  I think I stayed silent because I knew I had met all the criteria of being a virgin, tattoo-less, and debt-free, and it just felt so strange seeing all the different responses (both the positive and negative) and comparing them with what we experienced in our marriage.

Yes, me being debt-free when I married was a definite plus for my husband.  Having no tattoos was a visible symbol to him of my being so young when we married, and sheltered in a sense from corruption.  It also revealed to him my growing up with lovingly protective and honorable parents who prevented me from getting one, even after I was an adult.

But by far, my being a virgin for my husband was probably the single most crucial thing to our married life and how it impacted us for the good.  There’s even been recent studies showing how important a wife’s virginity (or low partner count) is for the health and happiness of her future marriage!  This is not to say that non-virgins can’t receive grace and forgiveness from Christ or go on to have good marriages and sex lives with their husbands.  But it is just undeniable how much better it was that I didn’t have a sexual history of encounters that loomed over us as we became one flesh and started a vibrant, unencumbered sex life.  I knew this right away when we started having sex, and knew that it was good that I didn’t have prior experiences affecting me differently.  Coming to the marriage bed with a clean slate paved the way for only good, positive and loving experiences, in other words.  And it felt so freeing.  It was intense sex without any guilt.

Out of the 3 preferences Lori listed, it seemed strange to me that the most important one was the most reviled in even our *Christian* culture!

Virginity used to be something so treasured and valued.  It was a beautiful gift a woman gave to her husband, and not only a gift, but as Sigma Frame recently pointed out (that I was not aware of in this manner), was an actual blood covenant that God designed to bind two people together in a deeply supernatural way.  No wonder how it’s proven over and over again in studies that women who marry as virgins tend to have happier marriages, or be much less likely to cheat on their husbands.  In my opinion, it’s becasue the bond is sooooo strong, and that coupled with the love, attraction, and sense of building a life together helps you survive later hard times, but that’s just my opinion.

In biblical times, virginity on the wedding night, as Lori’s post encouraged, was so treasured that the couple would purposefully consummate their marriage on white sheets so that they could take them out to show the family the next day.

A young bride’s purity and innocence sexually was celebrated and something that gave her honor – honor in her marriage privately, but also honor in their community publicly because she kept something sacred for her husband and for God.

Ironically, we live in a society that actively shames virgins (especially males), and instead of our Christian brothers and sisters coming to the defense of virginity and purity, we see their real thoughts on the issue.  That “ultimately virginity means nothing… it’s just a pile of horse manure.”  What a long way we’ve come from what was biblically lived out, honored, and celebrated.

Hopefully this kind of answers the reader’s question.  I’m not sure why I stayed silent except that I felt to say something when I actively met all 3 criteria would be viewed as looking down on the women who didn’t.  At the same time, the values should be defended and upheld when anyone (but especially Christian leaders) call our values “horse manure,” which is why I’m saying something now.

The next most interesting question was “What do you think of women being in ministries?

I’ll answer that another time since this post has gotten fairly long, but it is a very good and relevant question for our times.

Thank you for reading!  I’m curious to know what readers or other bloggers think about this issue… do men actually value women with those three traits as better options for a wife?  How does one explain the prevalence of married couples who didn’t meet (especially) the virginity preference?

 

 

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21 thoughts on “Email Questions… Virginity is a pile of horse manure?

  1. I think the prevalence of non-virginal marriages, is because people just don’t want to wait. They see more value in the immediate gratification, than in what effects it may have on long term pair bonding.

    In the case of my Ex, my worry was less about her not being a virgin, and more about who she had been involved with prior to me. If I had been smart, I would have taken her choice as a big clue as to her long term suitability as a spouse, and not have married her.

    I settled, and in the long run it didn’t work.

  2. I’m not religious, so feel free to take this for whatever it’s worth. I don’t think the concept of feminine virginity is completely garbage, but I do think it has been overrated throughout history.

    The idea of being a virgin is meant to indicate purity, right?

    Well, to me, purity is more about what’s in the heart rather than what one has done with their body.

    When I was 20, I briefly dated a guy who called himself a Christian. He talk about how he was waiting for marriage, which I found admirable until he later talked about all of the other things he had done. Threesomes, experimenting with men, but none with penis and vagina penetration. However, he had done just about everything but. He had a dirty mind and quite a history with many women, yet he still felt he could call himself a virgin, pure….which I just found bizarre.

    It made me question the lines in which we consider virginity. And what we consider purity. I have found that the lines are very blurry, even among Christians.

    I read Lori Alexander’s post, and I tried to comment but I had forgotten that she had banned me some time ago for not being a “Godly woman” on her page. Oh well.

    The issue I take with many of her posts is that her expectations of women in this type of regard are high but does she think the same way about men? What about his sexual past? His tattoos? His debt?

    The funny thing about women who DO qualify under those criteria is that they also are going to want a man who qualifies as well. A debt free, tattoo-less virgin isn’t going to want a guy who has many notches, many tattoos, and tons of debt. Nor should she. However, I rarely see this mentioned.

    Yes, many men take what they can get. Because in part, it’s all they themselves can afford. Lori likes to spin sexual dynamics as if it’s only women who aren’t making the cut when it comes to men’s qualifications, but there’s another side to that as well.

  3. Thanks Snapper. Your post was perfect! You really explained the verses well.

    *Side note, there was an article that explained the blood covenant very well, that I couldn’t find when writing this, but part of my explanation came from that article that really should have been linked or quoted. If anyone is researching the “blood covenant” part of virginity and finds good articles, feel free to add them underneath and if I find the one I read previously, it would be good to add it in.

  4. I always like your opinions, Ash, because they’re interesting and tend to point out the flaws in the logic.

    Yes, you’re right that it’s supposed to represent purity, and what matters most is purity of the heart (because the heart is the wellspring of a person’s life Proverbs 4:23). But the impossible thing to separate from that is the fact that having multiple partners so young *does* do something to diminish a part of that woman’s innocence or purity in sex. Even prostitutes have to go through a “hardening” of themselves (of their heart) to be able to do what they do. The whole of that verse Proverbs 4:23 says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” A huge part of guarding one’s heart, is not binding oneself to men and then tearing yourself away.

    You’re right that purity of the heart is really what matters, and the reason why Lori doesn’t talk about men’s purity issues is because she’s a woman and it’s just not her audience (same with me). That instruction to other men, should really come from men in their family or mentors, maybe Christian leaders who they trust. Men are different, though, they seem to have a much easier time separating themselves from sex (guarding their heart so to speak). They seem to be able to use women and have it not affect them in such noticeable ways. Are they still sinning? Yes, definitely, and it’s not “pure,” but sex and the heart can be a lot more separated for them it seems.

    On whether or not virgin women would care if their future husbands were virgins… it just doesn’t work that way. Possibly there are some that do, but the majority of women I’ve known who met those criteria really didn’t care. My own husband was definitely not a virgin… he admitted to me early on all his “flaws” and sins because he wanted to be honest with me, and he had played women (used them) for sex – even though he was Catholic, his family didn’t have any morals or values concerning sex. He also had tons and tons of college debt at the time that I married him, that his parents had signed him up for. And he loves getting tattoos (has plans to get a few more in the next few years).

    It’s a double standard to be sure, but one that kind of makes sense when you look at how it affects them in the longrun. I should also point out that even when he admitted all his sins or addictions and such to me at the very beginning, literally right after we’d been dating only a couple of weeks! It still didn’t make me view him as “bad” really. I had known him for a year at that point and knew he had a good heart… that he was trustworthy, that he was kind-hearted, and I really really looked up to him. It’s complicated, but women just seem to care more about other things than if a man is “jaded” or “sinful.”

  5. Something else I just thought of regarding the heart issue. Having a pure heart, is extremely hard for us humans because we’re naturally inclined to sin even in our thought life. It’s so hard lol! It’s more like a continual asking God to renew a pure heart in oneself, and confessing sins and trying to grow in developing fruits of the Spirit and such.

    Psalm 51 is a good example of renewing a pure heart…

    “Surely You desire integrity in the inner self (heart),
    and You teach me wisdom deep within.
    Purify me with hyssop and I will be clean;
    wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
    Let me hear joy and gladness;
    let the bones You have crushed rejoice.
    Turn Your face away from my sins
    and blot out all my guilt.

    God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. …
    Restore the joy of Your salvation to me,
    and give me a willing spirit.
    Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways,
    and sinners will return to You.”

  6. Your point on whether or not Christian women *should* value men who are virgin and tattooless and debt-free – yes, they should, especially if those men have a strong faith.

    It is a really complicated issue with how much the Christian church has feminized men, though, churches have become almost like a beta-factory that is creating men women are not attracted to (because they show traits that are unattractive across the board). I think the lack of strong, confident fathers doesn’t help obviously, and so these boys grow into men who don’t even know what they should do to be attractive to their Christian women counterparts. Not all are like that of course, I met my husband in a Christian organization because he was trying to take his faith more seriously the year before he met me (which I should explain this is why I didn’t see him using women – that happened before I met him). But it makes sense to explain that the things I was attracted to him for, confidence, masculine tendencies, humor and teasing me, weren’t the “typical” things you’d find in church groups sadly 😦 .

  7. He really did “game me” in a “light” form of that word (obviously spilling your guts to a girl only 2 weeks in was NOT game lol, but he’d kind of already won me over well before that). Game, teasing girls in a playful manner, or having amused mastery and such, is not something “acceptable” for young Christian men… it’s kind of beaten out of them in their boyhood – which is soooo bad. They’re told to be a certain way and not do certain things (game techniques), and that women will LOVE them becasue of that. When the find it was all untrue – that’s their red pill awakening. 😦

  8. Certain things spoken by Paul, and Acts 15, make it clear that the Law was given to the Children of Israel only. The Law was not given to the Gentiles, nor were they expected to be bound by it.

    Stephanie, the larger part of the discussion of “what creates a marriage” upthread, and in the links you’ve given, are taken from the Law given to the Children of Israel – a thing that is not binding on the Gentiles. I draw your attention in particular to verses 7 – 11 of Acts 15, link given below.

    I have no interest here in debating whether Gentiles are under the Law or not. I’m just curious if you or Sigma or Snapper can put together an argument for what creates a Biblical marriage without any reference at all to the Law. Take this as a friendly rhetorical question, because I am genuinely curious. Folks like Ash and others understand that Acts 15, in discussing whether to impose the Law on the Gentile Christians, says – no – “We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved. … God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.” [these phrases are in reverse order from what is presented in Acts 15].

    Acts 15

    I believe that God does not join one who accepts God’s claim on their life with one who rejects God’s claim on their life. And while Scripture says that God’s purpose for marriage is Godly seed (children), we agree that believers are older and who have both lost their spouses (for example), and who vow to each other and to God, do create an actual marriage – even tho they will not be giving God any Godly seed (children), and there will likely be no blood spilled when they consumate the marriage.

    Point: I think we are on shakey ground when we try to say that, unless all of these “ts” are crossed and “Is” are dotted, it is not a real marriage.

    The original point made was “guys tend to prefer A, B, and C in girls they want to take for wife”. And the response in many instances was “unless these “ts” are crossed and “Is” are dotted, it’s not a real marriage. Huh?? Two different subjects. But, that aside, I’ve noticed most (if not everyone) who goes to the “unless … its not a real marriage” go back to quoting the requirements stated in the Law of Moses. Gentiles are not bound by all of that. So what are some other things that can be said about what creates a marriage that exclude what is said in the Law of Moses? Again, a rhetorical question – just meant to stimulate thinking.

  9. I agree with you – I think all of these traits are desirable in theory by most Christian men. However, I think the “virginity culture” has almost taken some of these voews to an extreme, to the point where so many women think of sex (even within marriage) as something gross. For example – my husband and I are friends with a married couple, who are very very devout Christians. They are actually my daughter’s godparents, we think very highly of them. They we’re both virgins before marriage. The husband in that couple has confided in my husband multiple times that their sex life is great, when it happens. His wife was so afraid of the pain of losing her virginity that she didn’t actually let him have sex until several days after they got married. He also feels like she finds excuses to avoid sex – for example, having extended cosleeping with their kids, even though he has repeatedly expressed the desire not to.

    Another anecdote comes from my own marriage. My husband was married before, and he and his first wife kept their virginity until they were (at least very close to) marriage. Their relationship was, unfortunately, frought with sexual tension as well. She rarely wanted sex, and she shamed him for a lot of his kinkier (in reality not that kinky) interests. Even to the point where she called my mother-in-law and complained to her about some of the things he wanted to do. Honestly I cant think of anything more emasculating than that…. When he and I started dating I had a very low partner count, and there were still some “firsts” that I hadn’t doesn’t with anyone except for him.

    I realize these are extreme examples, and I do not know how typical it is, but it seems to play into a lot of the stereotypes about Christian marriages being sex-less that a lot of people have. I don’t think that means that there is a problem with virginity (it certainly isn’t horse manure!) But i do think the way it is currently approached in the Christian Church has some unwelcome secondary consequences.

  10. Hi Richard, I talked with my husband a little about your comment, he may comment later on in the next few days if he has time, but there are a lot of different points you bring in, which makes it hard to respond easily.

    The most important point maybe to show is that this post, as well as Lori’s post, and I believe many of the others you are referencing, they aren’t dealing with a person’s (in this case, woman’s) ability to be saved. Obviously, you don’t have to be a virgin (or following Old Testament law to the “t”) to receive salvation. No one was ever talking about salvation here, although it is strange to me that it seems the “go-to” defense of people who didn’t like Lori’s post.

    When you bring in Acts 15, when Paul, Peter, and Barnabas were trying to teach the Pharisees that the Gentiles didn’t need to be circumcised anymore to be saved, it just doesn’t apply to the original intent of the post – value of unmarried women staying virgins. And bringing in Acts 15 doesn’t make sense with the commands to be chaste that are also in the New Testament. If you’re Christian and take your faith seriously, you will be trying to obey God’s word, keep pure toward your intended (Cor. 7), and it has nothing to do with your already received salvation.

    *Edit to add, I know I’m not answering this:
    “I’m just curious if you or Sigma or Snapper can put together an argument for what creates a Biblical marriage without any reference at all to the Law.”
    I don’t mind the other authors answering, but I don’t see the value in trying to define a biblical marriage without using parts of the Old Testament. Of course we’re not under the Letter of the Law for our judgment and salvation anymore, however, like Snapper pointed out in his post, many of those instructions still hold value today and if implemented into society, would fix many problems, As far as this part:
    Point: I think we are on shakey ground when we try to say that, unless all of these “ts” are crossed and “Is” are dotted, it is not a real marriage
    I must have missed where either of them pointed out whether or not marriages are “real.” Snapper elaborated on a variety of circumstances including widows and such, and even people who cohabitate have created a type of biblical “common law marriage” according to Deut. 22:16.

  11. @Proprioceptivethreads, yes, I’ve seen that. To me that is on the woman’s mother for not teaching her how wonderful sex is and how to enjoy it in a marriage (and how *important* it is in marriage). It’s also a BIG sign the woman’s mother probably has a negative and incorrect view of sex. So it’s coming from a dysfunctional marriage of the woman’s parents usually, which is why she never sees or is told/taught that it’s good. Growing up with a mother who loves the idea of purity but hates sex isn’t going to be helpful. It’s like the proverbial “Glass Virgin,” a woman who is SO PURE she’ll never even have sex with her husband. It comes from the Catholic teaching that Mary the Mother of God, never actually had sex with Joseph, but remained a virgin her entire life. Very twisted sexual theology, causes a lot of problems in Catholic marriages.

    You can’t teach a daughter purity without also teaching them about sex. How it’s supposed to be wild and fun and guilt-free with abandon. That’s one of the things that I know helped me stay pure sexually,knowing that boundary was protecting me, but also our future sex life (from negative experiences or just experiences I shouldn’t have had).

    I’ve never heard it to be that stereotypical though, for virgins to have sexless marriages. It’s usually the opposite (promiscuous women are the most likely to hate sex), and statistically, as in at least this study (and I know there are others, too I’ve seen) it reveals those marriages where the wife was a virgin are much happier and tend to have much better sex lives. I know a few couples where this applies 🙂

    We’ve only personally seen one marriage where the virgin wife had a very poor view of sex going in, and again, I don’t believe it was ever due to her being a virgin, but rather her never understanding what and how sex was supposed to be like in a good, healthy marriage.

  12. Matthew 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”

    so the question is … how and when does God join a man and woman together and make them ‘one flesh.’ is it when vows are spoken? or with sex? if with sex, then which time?

    i believe it’s when a woman looses her virginity. when a man takes a woman’s virginity through piv sex, God does something supernatural and makes the two one flesh.

    i do not believe God only does this with two believers as that is not stipulated. the bible does say do not be unequally yoked … and i believe this is why – b/c God knows that it is through intercourse with a virgin woman that two become one flesh – and therefore are yoked together.

  13. SheepDog and I talked about that earlier today. It is strange to me how hard it is to have a pure heart, even when one is Christian.

    The guy I dated before SheepDog was REALLY religious… a Youth Pastor (intern so volunteering tons of hours it seemed) and looked really good on paper, but WOW was he not pure in heart. In talking together, I told SheepDog how he, even with his past, was just such a good good man! It was something I could just tell somehow, and I know that probably doesn’t make sense with him choosing to use women before he met me.

    Even through all these years 12 1/2 of being together, his character has always been solid. He always values what is right, not that he never makes mistakes and such, but it is incredible knowing him this long and seeing how good his character is. Even when we were dating it was the main thing that made me love him so much and trust him enough to marry him.

  14. Our first Christmas together, I gave him this “heart of gold” Willow Tree figure:

    He gave me this one, which ironically looks a lot like how I looked at age 5

  15. ahhh, i love those figurines.

    God loves a pure heart. it is a constant challenge, and really, we need His help to enable us to remain pure of heart, but it is from the heart that all of life flows.

  16. Richard Acts 15:19-21;28-29 list the certain Old Testament Laws of Moses that were determined to be still upheld. Yes putting your faith in Jesus is what saves us, but even Jesus says multiple times “Go and sin no more.” These traits are desirable and need to be taught. Yes it needs to be said sex in marriage ias a good thing.

    Stephanie I did not have a tattoo when we got married. And are you showing off your collection of willow tree.

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