The V Word

“Are you a virgin?”

This question sent shivers up my spine as a friend asked me at a party when I was 15. I remember feeling awkward and shy as I mumbled a quick “yes” to my friend. My friend scoffed and was clearly disappointed by my “boring” answer so I automatically associated virginity with being boring. All my life, people defined a virgin as someone who hasn’t had sex and that people who “lost” their virginity were more fully alive and more desirable.

But is virginity just about what it is not? There HAS to be more. Virginity must be something more than rules, or what is lacking. I recently read a book called “The Body Reveals God” and the author, Katrina Zeno, writes that a virgin is “someone who is totally available for union.”

Totally available for union – let’s unpack that. This definition portrays virginity as a quality to protect, to pursue and increase than “lose” because let’s be honest, we all want intimacy and union. So it seems to me that virginity allows one to be fully alive and to be desirable because of the gift they possess- the capacity to behold intimacy is precious. We fight for union, we stake our life on this desire, we lose hours of sleep and we sacrifice tears, time and energy in order to feel something real.  If one is available for union, their body and their soul are completely open to being a mutual and sincere gift to the other. Being fully united to each other and being liberated to give with no fear or limits is what it means to make our body a total gift to another.

Virginity allows one to give without holding anything back – I want to give all of me (John Legend said it best!) Virginity is precious because it demonstrates a love that does not need to possess the other- it reflects the freedom of what Heaven will be like. As humans, we understand who we are both in our loneliness and in communion with another.  But we are broken, we naturally feel the need to take more than we give and our idea of sexuality functions the same way.

What’s in it for me? What do I get out of it? How far is too far?

I want to experience union and be totally available but I don’t want to sacrifice, to be vulnerable, or give at a cost to myself. I don’t want to allow someone into my mess – into the aching, dark, vulnerable corners of my soul. I have learned that we were never meant to lose ourselves in sex.  In the context of marriage, we actually find ourselves in total, complete union! We experience a foretaste of what intimacy with God will be like. Let that sink in.

We desire to be known and to encounter truth in love. Truth comes from the word  "alēthia" which translates to "hiding nothing". We want to be without masks, without pretence, and we want to be experienced and known as who we really are. We have to learn to be bare, vulnerable, and receptive to the One who knows and loves us. God sees you in your desire for love. He sees you in your loneliness. Come as you are, allow God to soothe your heart. His mercy is waiting for you. All you have to do is ask and be open to His love. 

For those women reading this post who cannot relate to the confusion that some women feel concerning their virginity, consider Jackie Francois’ insight:

“That’s why on my wedding night I didn’t “lose” my virginity. I freely chose to give myself—body, mind, heart, and soul—to my husband who promised to love me ‘til death do us part. I definitely didn’t feel shame or loss. I didn’t feel dirty or bad. I felt beautiful and holy and child-like. And my husband? You can bet that he did the same and felt the same. Even if virginity has been “lost” at some point in the past, it is still possible with Reconciliation and God’s grace to be able to, for the first time, give oneself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully.” Remember that your past doesn't define you. Your experience doesn't label you. You are firstly a daughter of God. Remember how precious you are. 

So let us focus on what virginity is – total, complete union. Virginity can be restored. Now that’s worth fighting for.