Tough luck, old virgins.

11 Mar

Having grown up in the church, I feel like there are two different virginity messages communicated to the unmarried.  Which message you get depends on which age group you fall into.

If you are a teenager, you are bombarded with True Love Waits-type messages.  Youth leaders stress HOW IMPORTANT it is to SAVE YOUR ~MOST PRECIOUS GIFT~ FOR YOUR FUTURE SPOUSE.  This is (I suppose for teenagers) the ULTIMATE ACT OF LOVE.  Even more than actually consummating a relationship as an act of love, the act of saving that consummation is the true mark of love.  The reason that it is SO IMPORTANT to save your Precious Gift That You Can Only Give Away ONCE — did you hear me?  ONCE!!  ONCE ONLY!!  THINK ABOUT THAT before you let some hormone-addled boy with only one thing on his mind separate you from your Calvins — is that many terrible things will befall you if you don’t.  You might get a Loathsome Disease.  (This scare tactic was very popular in the ’80s.)  You will Have Regrets (this can range from good, old-fashioned guilt to terrible lingering memories of someone other than your spouse to learned behaviors, desires, and expectations that your future spouse will not share, therefore paralyzing and ruining your marriage).  Last but not least, and actually not mentioned so often now that birth control, contraceptives, abortion, and lack of societal pressure to marry exist, you might get pregnant.  Bottom line?  TEEN SEX = BAD.  Don’t do it.  Don’t even think about doing it.  And don’t even think about doing it with someone who’s done it, much less actually do it with someone who’s done it, because I think we all know what that makes you, hmm?

However, if you are 20 or older, you hear almost zero admonitions to maintain your virginity (or to remain abstinent in the wake of divorce or being widowed).  It’s like the church either assumes adult singles are so negligible in number that it’s not worth devoting a message to sexual purity after high school, or it assumes that single adults already “know,” so there’s no point in repeating such a message.  I think this is a mistake.  Most single adults live on their own, or at least apart from their parents, and are financially independent.  They are steeped in a culture which expects and often encourages non-marital sex, and their own bodies have been biologically ready to go for at least a decade and oftentimes more.  Who is more likely to give in, a teenage girl armed with teenage fervor for serving the Lord and teenage idealism for the Perfect Romance, or a 29-year-old with her own apartment who finally has a man interested in her after longing for a relationship for the past 15 years?

In addition, if you are a single adult who has managed to remain a virgin, the church’s attitude about marrying another virgin pretty much amounts to “eh.”  All of the True Love Waits admonitions from high school go poof, and you’re stuck with, “Suck it up, you’re not entitled to marry a virgin just because you’re still a virgin, and I can’t even believe you would put virginity on a pedestal.  Who do you think you are?  We’re all sinners in need of redemption.  Hmmph.”  Most single adults in the church, especially those over the age of 30, understand that realistically, there’s a next-to-none chance of marrying a virgin, but it smarts when all your life you’ve heard “Virginity Matters A LOT” messages…only to discover that these messages have an expiration date.  All of the messages about how important it is to wait and to share the Greatest Intimacy Ever only with your spouse suddenly become, “Well, does he (or she) feel bad about it?  Really, REALLY bad about it?  Has this person been keeping their pants on since starting to feel bad about it?  Yeah?  Well, then shut up and settle.”

I’m still trying to reconcile these two messages.  I understand the spiritual and general societal reasons to promote virginity to the youth.  Teenagers are swimming in hormonal upheaval and don’t have the emotional or financial means to deal well with any fallout.  But what about adulthood makes virginity so less important?  Is it better coping mechanisms?  More pragmatism?  Or maybe the church is just quietly accepting that most single adults are no longer virgins and through silence is acknowledging that it would be ~awkward~ to talk about it and make those single adults feel bad about something they presumably have already repented of.

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18 Responses to “Tough luck, old virgins.”

  1. Double E July 13, 2010 at 2:13 pm #

    You hit the nail on the head in that post– it puts into words and sums up what I’ve seen for years. I’ve not seen a more observant post anywhere on this phenomenon.

    I always thought that this was a problem limited to the Orthodox Church considering that I know only one priest who considers virginity in women important prior to marriage.

    Speaking of women who are virgins, a friend of mine once stated, “That model has been discontinued due to lack of popular demand.”

  2. Steffen September 30, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Indeed. I say this as an adult who recently turned 30. Although I have finally found a woman who has been dealing with the same problem for as long as I have, and dating has been going quite well. Wish us well, folks. ^_^

    The Church seems to drop the volume about preaching purity after the teen years considerably.

  3. nothingbutthetruth October 3, 2010 at 11:02 am #

    This post is brilliant.

  4. Ronnie January 15, 2015 at 6:27 pm #

    This piece raises a question that’s been on my mind since,, week since I left the confines of the adolescent church.
    I am still an active member of my church community, I attend 48 Weekends out of the year and serve in ministry.

    However that being said, the church clearly doesn’t address this dilemma, and I think I know a reason.
    I predicated my post above with my active role too “soften” what I’m about to say.

    It’s a revenue issue, in that who has more disposable income than professional single young men and women.
    Sad huh!

  5. Samfredy December 3, 2015 at 10:35 am #

    Hi Aunt Haley, i appreciate your blog posts as they are very helpful to me as a single christitian man. I wonder if you have a recent post (2015) ? Any time i search for your posts all i get is 2010/2011. I live in Nigeria

  6. Samfredy December 3, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Hi Haley, i love your posts and even though i don’t agree with every thing you say, i still get a lot of insight into the female mind, which benefits me as a man in Nigeria. I wonder if you have any recent posts? The ones i’ve read to date are from 2010/2011. Thanks

  7. dasheththylittleonesagainstthestones January 31, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

    Haley was killed in automobile accident on Fourth of July weekend 2014.

  8. Phil46 and counting February 12, 2016 at 11:53 pm #

    Haley, I am so sad I never had the chance to meet you on this side of eternity. Thank you for giving me a flicker of hope in this soul crushing world.

    For your courageous heart and thoughtful words I stand and salute you Haley.

  9. Hermes February 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm #

    @dasheththylittleonesagainstthestones, seriously? How do you know this?

  10. Jason K. May 25, 2016 at 10:02 pm #

    @dasheththylittleonesagainstthestones, Hermes, and Phil46 and counting

    After spending way too much time on this as a lark, this report seems unlikely to be true. Road conditions were good on that day in the location she would have been expected be and I was unable to locate an accident report that matched that description. So unless dasheththylittleonesagainstthestones wants to cough up some real details (like city & name), I wouldn’t put too much faith in the veracity.

  11. Hermes May 28, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

    Jason K., are you saying you know Haley’s real-life identity? I emailed her on February 16th and have not received a reply.

  12. Jason K. May 28, 2016 at 7:33 pm #

    No, I do not know her real identity (though 50/50 odds I could find out if I really dug). If I knew that, I would probably be able to provide a concrete answer. I was able to infer her city, dash provided a date range, so I reviewed accident reports and obits for that date range and city. I didn’t come up with any good matches.

  13. thedeti May 31, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    Given what I’ve seen on this, the content of her last post, and Jason’s research, my best guess is that Haley has left the building, departed the manosphere, and never wants to be seen or heard from in these parts again. She’s moved on and is done with this little corner of the internet.

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