By Mandy Dobbelmann
This post is reprinted with permission from Mandy's blog Forte E Bello.
I am a twenty nine year old virgin. I live in LA, which hi-lights that fact about ten fold. I live in a city where sex-appeal is everything, sexual addiction prevails and where your sexual history is directly correlated with your identity. I live in a city that is the porn capital of the world and that teaches the rest of culture through the influence of Hollywood and the media that sex is easy, uncomplicated and nothing more than a human appetite. Since I’ve moved to LA, the most common reaction I get from friends and coworkers when they find out I’m a virgin is a blank stare followed by an abrupt, “Why?” I realize most people assume there must be something wrong with anyone who is still a virgin past the age of twenty. It’s the type of thing they’ll interview you on Oprah for (The Thirty Year Old Virgin) or make a comedy about (The Forty Year Old Virgin). It’s the type of thing people hide in shame over and vehemently deny in the face of peer pressure. But that’s ridiculously sad to me. It’s sad because in the process of living out lives of promiscuity we’ve dumbed down sex and praised sexual expression over real love and commitment. In the same breath we shame those who value the importance of waiting and view sex as a life covenant between one man and one woman.
Sex is Valuable
This is how I see it. Sex is valuable. I’m a virgin, not because I’m scared of sex or insecure in my sexuality. I’m a virgin, not because I’m sheltered or mentally askew. I’m a virgin because I know who I am as a woman made in the image of God. I’m a virgin because I refuse to become “one flesh” (Mark 10:8) with a man who has not made a life commitment to me. I’m a virgin because I am a passionate proponent of keeping the sanctity, beauty and value in sex.
What do we do with things we value? We treasure and protect them. The value of something isn’t simply determined by a price tag. It’s determined by how much we’re willing to sacrifice for it. The more we’re willing to sacrifice and the harder we’re willing to fight, the more valuable it becomes to us. I want to acknowledge here that this in no way is meant to suggest a lack of value in the individual. Me being a virgin in no way makes me more valuable than the person who has had many partners. Instead, it is meant to suggest the value in sex itself as one of the most powerful acts known to mankind. I recognize that at any moment I could go out to a bar, get drunk, go home with a guy and lose my virginity in an instant. I recognize that at any moment I could sell my body or images of my body for a profit. I recognize that even in a committed dating relationship I could give my body away to my boyfriend. But to me that’s not using sex and my sexuality/sex appeal in a way that is honoring to me, God, the men I date and men in general.
Sex is Complicated
Our culture tries to un-complicate sex by advocating to, “do it often and with multiple partners.” We try to un-complicate sex by dumbing it down to a mere appetite. Even if it were a mere appetite then a good majority of our culture could be classified as sexually obese. Let’s face it. Sex is complicated. It is the driving force of many people’s lives. And they will loose all human reason to indulge in it for a fleeting second. Sex is powerful. It has the power to bind together or tear apart. It has the power to heal or destroy. It has the power to build up or tear down. It has the power to give or to take. It has the power to mar or to make beautiful.
Scripture speaks of sex as the joining of two people into one flesh. Our culture is accustomed to joining together, then tearing apart, joining together then tearing apart and we wonder why so many people are left feeling broken, abandoned and lonely. In our pursuit of un-complicating sex we’ve achieved the exact opposite. We’re left with millions of broken marriages. Millions of heartaches. Millions addicted to pornography. Millions in sex-slavery globally. Millions lonely, abandoned and abused.
The Original Design
Our original design was not to have multiple partners, experiment in whatever way we like and indulge our sexual desires. Our original design was to be united in a covenant relationships with another human being for life (Hebrews 13:4). Sex was designed to be the consummation of that covenant. Sex was designed to be an act of self-giving instead of self-taking. Sex was designed to bind. Sex was designed to heal. Sex was designed to lift up, not tear down. Sex was designed to be a symbol of true life giving love. Sex was designed to be one of the most beautiful things known to man kind, but we have taken it and thrown it in the dirt. We have taken it and used it for our own gain. We have taken it and turned it into abuse and slavery. We have taken it and stripped it of its value and its worth.
I don’t mean for this article to be painful for those of you who are broken and hurting from a sexual past whether it be sexual abuse or consenting sexual relationships. My hope is that this article instead of being a reminder of past pain, would bring hope and healing. And that you would realize your value and the value of your sexuality. That you would know that all things can be made new and that that is Christ’s desire for you and your sexuality.
I also want to acknowledge that if you don’t share my Christian faith this will all sound ludicrous and perhaps even offensive to you. I recognize this is completely countercultural. This isn’t meant to point the finger at you, question your love for the significant other you’re sleeping with and tell you you’re not valuable. That’s the last thing I want to do! We have a conflict of a different foundational belief system. I’m speaking to those who share my faith and also to those who don’t who have taken sex to an extreme of abusing it and using others. And I’m asking if we can recognize the beauty and sanctity in sex once again. If we can start, one person at a time and declare freedom in each of our lives from the ways that we have distorted its beauty and sanctity. I’m asking if we can see it for what it is and treat it as such.
I’m asking if we can make sex complicated again, one person at a time.