I’m a virgin. An imperfect one.

I’ve made mistakes in my past and mistakes I still think about even now. I wasn’t always pure in my actions and I paid for them. Being a virgin is a choice for me. It’s a choice I’ve upheld since 17. I made a commitment. A vow to myself and my body that I wouldn’t give it away to any one unless I was married.

Yes, I’ve been in relationships and there was a lot of pressure in those relationships to ‘give in’. It wasn’t the reason we ended our relationship but it started a downward spiral that inevitably ended it. Something always told me to wait. And I’ve waited. The ride to here hasn’t been easy. Words like ‘prude’ and ‘uptight’ have been spread around over the course of my life. I remember brief conversations with men who I were interested in who told me I would never find a man because I wouldn’t ‘give it up.’

Words that engraved themselves in my memory, reminding me  this was a commitment I intended carrying and nothing any one said was going to change it.

Here I am 29, still a virgin, and everyday I am learning more about what I want, don’t want, and have more questions about sex and marriage than I have in my entire life. Being more intimate with God has helped guide me in understanding my body and it’s purpose. It’s a covenant between God and I that shouldn’t be broken.

So, how have I been able to do it? I’ve been asked how and why by people close to me and my response has always changed. And it’s because I’ve changedI’m changing now. God is making all things new everyday and the more I learn who I am, and what I want, I understand why I’m still a virgin.

For me I’ve applied the following in my life to stay pure until marriage:

Create REALISTIC and healthy boundaries in relationships.

In my last official relationship we didn’t have boundaries. He knew I was a virgin and wanted to stay one until marriage. However, because we did ‘other things’, his expectations grew and my commitment to remain a virgin was sending mixed signals. I take full responsibility for it and it taught me an important lesson. I made the decision after our relationship was over to create healthy boundaries early on so there is no confusion later. Healthy boundaries for me are: Understanding what makes me comfortable/uncomfortable and knowing what’s appropriate/inappropriate. I realize this can be different for everyone. So, let me clarify. Kissing is OKAY. Hugging and cuddling are OKAY. Being affectionate with each other is OKAY. These are acceptable for me because I’m naturally an affectionate person and have self-control.

So, what’s NOT okay?

That depends on you. Everyone is different. You know your body. You know what you want. So, I am not going to preach to you about what is acceptable and appropriate behavior for you. What I will ask though is: If God was in the room with you, would He approve of the behavior you and your significant other choose to entertain in outside the context of marriage?

Understand sex in the context of marriage.

Honestly, this has been a huge help for me to stay pure before marriage. Sex in the context of marriage is beautiful. Maybe it’s the girl in me, but the more I read and learn about sex, the more I want it, but I want it differently. I want it with my future husband. Right now I am reading “Sex God” by Rob Bell and it’s an amazing book that explores this topic. The sexual bond between a man and woman is central to what it means to be married. And it’s so much deeper than what our culture paints it. 

Respect your body.

Respect the person God made you to be. Our bodies are His and every piece is beautiful in its creation. It’s sacred. I haven’t always respected my body and I often look back on those moments when I didn’t and I’m disgusted. Sometimes I’m ashamed. My flesh has failed several times in my life and it’s a daily struggle. Lust has had a grip so tight over my life and body for as long as I can remember. But I know what I want and I’m not settling for less than that. Your body, our bodies, are temples where His spirit dwells and every day I remind myself to sow in the spirit, not the flesh.

“It’s easy to take off your clothes and have sex. People do it all the time. But opening up your soul to someone, letting them into your spirit and thoughts, fears, future, hopes, and dreams, that is being naked. This is why when people sleep together after they’ve just met, they’re raising the chances significantly that the relationship will not survive. Racing ahead of the progression always costs something. Too much too fast rarely endures.”

I want sex, I crave it, but I want sex with the man God has chosen for me. If that makes me a prude, so be it. I’m not in this world to please any one and neither are you. Each and everyone of you know your body and inevitably what you want. We have desires.  And it’s okay.  It’s normal.

God gave us our desires, but make sure your desire to pursue Him isn’t placed on the back burner for momentary pleasure. 

“Your strength is a beautiful thing. And when you live in it, when you carry yourself with the honor and dignity that are yours, it forces the men around you to relate to you on more than just a flesh level. You are worth dying for.

If you’re a virgin, what has been the hardest struggle for you?

If you’re married, how did your perspective about sex change after marriage?

photo credit: Nina Matthews Photography via photopin cc