I’m 29 and a virgin.
No, I don’t have some incurable alien disease that causes people to shutter at the sight of me. No, I don’t have the sex drive of a grandma (unless it’s my grandma who had 11 kids). And, no, I’m not Tim Tebow’s girlfriend.
In my past I was a former model, volleyball player, and valedictorian who wanted to be an actress. God had better plans, though, and now I am a full-time traveling worship leader and speaker who wants to spread the message of God’s love around the world like an STD on a college campus (which means 1 in every 4 will get it). Ironic, huh?
In 8th grade I made the decision to wait ‘til marriage to have sex. Back then it used to be about saying “no” to sex. Now that I’m older and wiser (hopefully), it’s less about saying “no” to the consequences of pre-marital sex and more about saying “yes” to Heaven, my future husband, my future children, and the welfare of my body and soul.
Here are 3 big reasons I’m waiting until marriage to have sex.
1. I want to get to Heaven
Anyone who says a life of chastity is easy is either lying or has the libido of a rock. Why is it so difficult? Because our sexual desires are powerful. Without them, you and I would not be here. Our sexual desires are also good because God created them. Like any of the passions, though, they can either be used for holiness or sin, good or evil, Heaven or Hell. We can either be a master over our passions or be dominated by them. The root word of the word “disciple” is “discipline.” Someone once said, “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”
For me, Heaven is what I want most. I would give up anything to get to Heaven. I would give up having a husband, a family, my friends, my ministry, etc. Those are all good things! But as a disciple, while I may be called to sacrifice good things to get to Heaven, I am impelled to renounce a life of slavery to sin (“For freedom Christ set us free, so stand firm and do not submit again to the yoke of slavery” – Galatians 5:1). Does this mean if we sin we can’t get to Heaven? Nope! The Saints weren’t perfect, but they were persistent—every time they sinned, they got up and tried again, having the mercy and grace of the Sacraments as their strength. The Saints know that the everlasting joys of Heaven far outweigh the fleeting pleasures of this world. You can’t get to the ecstasy of Heaven without the agony of the cross. That’s why chastity is difficult. The desires in our body for sex, which are good, must be purified and disciplined. And most of us hate discipline (just look at all the people who want to lose weight and choose the quick-fix of surgery or popping pills rather than the time-consuming better option of eating healthy and exercising).
But if we want to get to Heaven, we must be pure and holy in our bodies. In fact, scripture tells us that those who are impure or immoral in their flesh will “not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:21), but that “blessed are those who are pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). That doesn’t mean that we deny that we have sexual desires and repress them. Nor does it mean that we indulge in our sexual desires like animals. Rather, we must acknowledge that our sexual desires are good, they are for a purpose, and they need to be purified by God’s grace. We must frequent the Sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist to give us strength, and we must be firm in making a commitment to holiness out of love for God with our whole “heart, mind, soul, and strength.” St. Paul encourages us on in this kind of holiness when he says,
“I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:1-2).
2. My future spouse and I deserve the best
Stop for a moment and picture your future spouse. What do you want him or her doing with their boyfriend or girlfriend right now? You’re probably getting all the sass of Bon Qui Qui and yelling at the computer, “Breaking up! That’s what I want them to be doing!” Why do we get so annoyed at the thought of our future spouse having sex with someone other than us? Because built within our very being, we know that we deserve 100% of our spouse, not just 50%. We don’t want the “left-overs.” So my question is to you: if you don’t want your future spouse doing that with their boyfriend or girlfriend, why is it okay for you to do that with your boyfriend or girlfriend?
Every time we are sexually active with someone who is not our spouse, we give him/her a piece of our body, heart, and soul. What we do with our bodies, we do with our souls. We are not bodies without souls (animals) or souls without bodies (angels). On the contrary, we are human beings who have a body and a soul. Thus, St. Paul says to the Corinthians,
“Do you not know that anyone who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For ‘the two,’ it says, ‘will become one flesh… Avoid immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the immoral person sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? … Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:16-20).
It might be a shock to our culture, but God created us male and female to give ourselves in sexual union with one person freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. In fact, these are the four vows we make when we get married. Inherently we know that we were made for a love that lasts forever, rather than a lust that lasts for a moment. That’s why it’s devastating when someone breaks up with us. And, to the extent that we gave that person our body, heart, or soul, the harder it is to get over the relationship or be healed from the wounds. Why do we feel so bonded to our ex? Because what we do with our body, we do with our soul. There is a chemical in our body called Oxytocin that is released during sexual activity. This chemical is like a glue that bonds two people for life. The more partners you have, the less “sticky” the glue. This is why the Catechism lists pornography, masturbation, adultery, and pre-marital sex as offenses against chastity (2331-2400). Pornography re-wires your brain to bond you to a computer screen, masturbation bonds you to a self-destructive behavior, and adultery and pre-marital sex bond you to someone who is not your spouse. I want to give my husband all of me. That means that I need to reclaim all the pieces of myself I have given away to others before my husband. Through frequent Confession and daily Mass, I have been allowing God to heal my body, heart, and soul so that on the day of my wedding I can say to my husband, “I give you all of me!”
3. It’s Logical
Even in 8th grade (when I heard my first chastity talk), it made perfect sense: if you’re not ready to have a baby, you’re not ready to have sex. It always boggles me when people get so mad that they’re pregnant, when they are participating in the ONE thing that makes babies. When someone gets pregnant, it’s not that something went wrong, but that something went right! God made sex for two purposes: for the procreation of children and for the bonding of spouses. If sex weren’t for procreation, then why would people use contraception? Just for funsies? Nope! In our selfishness, we want the pleasure of sex without the consequences. Besides the spiritual consequences of sex outside of marriage (it’s a grave sin) and the emotional consequences (it bonds us to someone), there are the physical consequences of a promiscuous lifestyle. Even when people promote “safe sex,” who is it safe for? Birth control pills don’t protect you from STDs. Condoms don’t fully protect you either. The fail rate for pregnancy is 12% for pills and 15% for condoms. The only “safe sex” is abstinence. People might say, “But if you don’t have sex, you’ll die!” Really? Well, I’m 29 and a virgin and I haven’t spontaneously combusted yet.
“So, that’s great Jackie that you are a virgin, but what about those of us who have already given ourselves away?” First, know that you are not “damaged goods” or “too far gone.” Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery and said, “Go and sin no more.” Thus, go to confession and be made new. We really believe as Catholic Christians that through God’s mercy and grace we are made “new creations.” Secondly, it is possible to reclaim your virginity and recommit yourself to a life of chastity. My fiancé’s life is a living testament to that. (Psssst: read his blog below).