They Do Exist.

How Pride, Virginity & Abstinence Messed Up My Sex Life

Editor’s Note: This submission was written by Prisca, and good grief. She brings up something about virginity & abstinence that I’ve never heard talked about. Why are you waiting? Do you have the right view of sex? Are you having trouble ‘switching gears’ now that you’re married? I’d love if you left your thoughts in the comments below. Prisca blogs at PangsOfCreation. – Lauren

Prior to getting to married, I was an overzealous advocate of abstinence. This did not mean that I organized True Love Waits rallies, attended purity balls or brandished a purity ring (mine was placed in a ‘safe’ location in my room never to be seen again after my 13th birthday). But it did mean that I took the decision to save sex for marriage very seriously.

For one, I was determined to heed my mother’s early admonishments not to “make the same mistakes she did.” I would learn from the heartache of her unwanted pregnancy at 19. I would protect my heart and my body.

My commitment to chastity also became entrenched due to the highly sexualized nature of North American youth culture. It disturbed me to my deepest core that remaining a virgin past the age of 16 was deemed an unrealistic goal. So I took it upon myself to be the exception. I would show that it was possible to remain ‘pure.’ It is here that the seeds of pride were sown in the fertile ground of good intentions.

I embraced the image of myself as the radical abstinence practitioner until I became engaged at the age of 24. Up to this point, my pride had deluded me into thinking that I had a balanced, Godly view of sexuality. I assumed that because I had ‘fought the good fight’ to remain chaste, I would be able to seamlessly transition into a healthy sexual relationship with my husband.

However, as the wedding night approached, I found myself reluctant to have sex and growing ever resentful at the idea that I had to surrender 24 years of hard won virginity. I did not see sexual intercourse as a gift from God or a wonderful way to gain intimacy with my husband. Instead sex signified a loss. To me, it meant nothing more than deflowerment. The fact that I would even view my husband as a ‘deflowerer’ should have been the sign that something was seriously wrong about my attitude towards sex. But my pride did not allow me to challenge this viewpoint.

And so I spent a very disappointing honeymoon trying to have awesome sex but just feeling empty. I tried to be sexy (wear lingerie etc.) but it felt extremely hollow. I was going through the motions but not owning my sexuality. I knew that I was blocked inside somehow. I couldn’t recognize that it was my own pride that had twisted my commitment to chastity into chains that confined my married sexuality.

You see rather than let God shape my sexuality; I made it all about me. My dedication to chastity was egocentric – it centered on the steeling of my will, and the impressiveness of my ability to have a serious relationship without physical intercourse.

I loved the respect I got from being a virgin and I did not see how being a wife gave me any honor. As often goes with pride, the more I made my commitment to abstinence about me, the more I became distanced from the real me – a sexual being God created for pleasure. I did not want to be sexual and I divorced myself from that identity. I refused to make peace with my vagina (you just stay down there and do your thing –I’ll do mine) and I viewed Biblical examples of sexual pleasure as embarrassingly crass (“Breasts like ripe melons”?! Keep your mind out of the gutter Solomon!).

Ultimately, the squelching of my sexuality only led to heartache and frustration for me and my husband.

It can be very hard for a dedicated virgin to ‘switch gears’ into passionate married sexuality. If the transition is difficult for you, you are not alone. But God can heal you and help you realize that your chaste self is not that far removed from your sexual self. After all, chastity is meant to prepare you for intimacy, be it with God through bodily purity or with your husband through the physical act of sex. I would like to encourage others to embrace chastity but not to do so at the expense of their own God given sexuality.

It is possible to turn chastity, one’s virginity- into an idol. By prizing our own purity too highly, it is possible to hurt married sexuality.

Do not let abstinence become an idol in your life, like I did.


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36 Responses

  1. nicolette31

    Thanks for being the first person I have seen to be so honest…..so many times you do see virgins so looking down on the non-virgins. Thanks for exposing there can be pride on the v-side too.

    July 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    • pangsofcreation

      Thank you for your comment! I really appreciate it. Pride definitely takes all forms.

      July 25, 2011 at 6:05 pm

      • Alice vincent

        I’m 16 bt am very much aware of sex and so many of its attributes bt i feel virginity makes me feel comfortable with myself even though have been facing teenage pressure bt i knw it will just fade away just as the days goes my friend does nt even want to imagine lift without virginity i do any bt i knw premarital sex is bad bt this has been holdin me back in goin into relationships please i and my friend share this view point of men are after sex bt i knw i wont be ready in next 3yrs

        January 24, 2013 at 8:19 am

  2. Melissa

    (1 of 3) My struggle is so similar, yet very different at the same time.
    I did not grow up in a Christian home, and was not raised with the belief that I should wait. As a young girl I watched both my older sisters get into sexual relationships, and thought this was quite normal. I knew that I wanted to wait until I was "in love" but that was the only standard I had. I lost my virginity to my boyfriend at the age of 15. We dated all through high school (3 and a half years total!) Once we broke up, I met someone new, and had sex with him within a week. Waiting for love no longer seemed important, and more dangerously it became an unspoken goal of having sex. (I could write a book on this!) This pattern went on until I met my husband when I was 23. He was already following Jesus, and there was something about him that drew me to him – I stayed even after I found out that we would not have a sexual relationship (Oh, how my friends were surprised!!)

    July 25, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    • amit

      Yes, This is completely true , me and my wife have 13 year Relationship before marriage and we never had sex b4 marriage and feel strong heart and soul bond between us, That still last in between us now mine relationship is 23 year old, Sex is a pleasure and process to raise a child , or need . but love is always apart from sex demand.

      February 28, 2013 at 5:32 am

  3. Melissa

    (Looks like it took 4!) I have now been married for 6 weeks, and I am still having trouble navigating through the emotional and spiritual damage I have done to myself. It is difficult to talk to my husband because he becomes jealous when I talk about my past sexuality, but I don't know how to reconcile my thoughts on sex now until I deal with the past. We have a "healthy" sex life- we make love almost every day, and I do enjoy it- but in part I am doing it because I know it is important to him, and he needs it to feel intimate and close. Also because I know that if our sexual relationship falters, we are more exposed for attacks from the enemy.

    My chastity was an idol, but more than that it was a bandaid. It simply covered up the problem that I had with sex which is that I was searching for love. Now that I have found it (in both God and my husband) I am more confused than ever about sex
    .

    July 25, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    • pangsofcreation

      Thanks for your honesty Melissa. I will be praying that you find peace and healing on this issue.

      July 25, 2011 at 6:08 pm

    • Del

      Thanks for sharing your story Melissa, it is very similar to my own and I will be praying for you and ask you pray for me because I struggle with lots of pain over my sexual past also. I am trying to accept that I am a new creation in Christ though.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  4. reinafaith

    WOW! I never looked at it that way! I have been married for 21 years and i still struggle with this… Thank you for the eye opening view!

    July 25, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    • pangsofcreation

      Thank you so much for your comment! God had to humble me so much during this process of revelation. It is comforting to know others struggle with this as well. I pray that God continues to heal both of us :)

      July 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  5. Melissa

    (2 of 3) It took a while for me to own my abstinence, but once I did, I became a huge advocate. I had been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, and my sins had been forgiven and I wanted to honor that with my whole life- especially my body. I spoke freely and often to friends about chastity, and I urged other Christians to also practice abstinence. I absolutely developed a pride about it- feeling superior to those that I knew were not honoring God with their bodies.
    We got engaged, and spoke often about how great our sex life would be. My husband had also been saved as an adult and had also had previous sexual partners. We were both comfortable with the idea of sex – we talked about it in great detail at times – what we liked and how often we liked it. Somehow we were able to seperate the ideas of what we liked from how we knew it. (obviously this knowledge came from having had previous partners)

    July 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

  6. Melissa

    (3 of 3) A few months before the wedding I was asked to speak to girls in the youth group in my church about abstinence. I knew that God wanted me to be honest with them and share my story. What I didn't know was that writing (and speaking) all the ugly truths in my life would open up a lot of wounds. God had already forgiven me, but I had not forgiven myself. In an instant it changed- I became disgusted with my past self and the sexuality I had identified with. I was embarrassed and sad and damaged. And like a fool, I did not work through these feelings before my wedding.

    July 25, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  7. Julie

    I can completely relate to this post. Thank you for sharing!

    I'm no expert on sex, but I'm currently reading a book by an author named, Marla Taviano (http://www.marlataviano.com/), called "Is That Really All He Thinks About?" which is a great guide to enjoying sex more with you husband. She's also written an e-book for the husband's out there called "The Husband's Guide to Getting Lucky", which my husband just finished. Some of it is common sense yet good reminders, and some of it is really thought (and conversation) provoking. I'd highly recommend them!

    July 25, 2011 at 3:01 pm

  8. JRenee

    I think that accepting your sexuality as a virgin is an untouched topic within most Christian circles. I am quite passionate about this topic and that of desire. I like to call this "living in the tension", living with our God given desires, accepting and acknowledging your desires, without running from them or being consumed by them. Very tricky, but possible with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Waiting and submitting is difficult stuff, but brings us into a contest understanding of our dependance on him and our empowerment given by him. Thank you for bringing up this tough topic!

    July 25, 2011 at 3:13 pm

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  10. shannontierney

    Thank you Prisca!

    My husband and I just celebrated our 1st anniversary and this is something I struggle with all of the time. What began as feeling broken now has the tendency to hold guilt and shame for feeling so uncomfortable with this new piece of my/our life. Now that I'm on the other side of "I do" it makes sense that after years of closing off the sexual part of myself it would be difficult for me to instantly turn it on.

    Thanks for sharing!

    July 26, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    • pangsofcreation

      Hi Shannon! I felt really broken at the onset as well. I broke down in tears in the 'Sex Advice' section of a book store because I was so overwhelmed by the 'new' world of sexuality. I will be praying that we both can find complete healing. Thank you for your comment!

      July 26, 2011 at 4:51 pm

  11. EBernhardt

    It hurts to read this. I have been married over six years, and find myself feeling extremely jealous of women who love and own their sexuality, feeling like I'll never know that kind of freedom and joy and satisfaction, and, well…self worth! As painful as it is, thank you for writing this, as I think it opened up an area I need to ask Daddy to heal.

    July 28, 2011 at 9:34 am

  12. Thanks for sharing. I have a 12-yr-old that I am really trying to be proactive in our discussions on sexuality. I want her to know what a wonderful gift sex is for the married couple, and why it is such a blessing and a gift to save yourself for marraige. But I also want her to embrace feminine sexuality in its proper form as a young lady growing up. Our culture reduces it to such a genitally-oriented view, when it is so much more!

    July 29, 2011 at 8:07 am

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  15. Thank you for this fantastic post! I would encourage everyone in this comment chain to look into "Theology of the Body." It explains so thoroughly the great gift of our sexuality and how it actually foreshadows our (hopefully) eventual unity with God!

    August 10, 2011 at 7:09 pm

  16. Leslie

    Wow, Prisca, thank you as well. I thought I was alone in this. I am African American, unfortunately single and childless, and idolized my decision to remain chaste until marriage. I, too, wanted to prove that a young person can control their desires until they get married. So now at 37, I have been wrangling with feelings of guilt and shame about not liking sex and fear of sexual insecurity because I am not sexually active. It is embarrassing when my cousins who are in their 20s are more experienced than me. I don't know if I will ever transition into sexual acceptance and freedom. Pray for me please.

    August 30, 2011 at 12:25 am

    • pangsofcreation

      Hi Leslie! Prisca here. It encourages me to know that I am not alone in this as well. I will be praying for you. I still struggle with this but Christ is the great physician and I have faith that he will heal both of us. It is hard to be someone who struggles with their sexuality in a world where everyone else seems so in tune. Be proud that you respect your body as a temple of the Holy Spirit but remind yourself that sex within marriage will not defile you. God bless! Hugs

      September 8, 2011 at 4:58 am

  17. Dawn

    Wow, Leslie I am 34 and still very much a virgin. I too want to wait until marriage but have caused my virginity to turn into an Idol something I am still proud outwardly but ashamed inwardly because I know it is keeping me from finally moving into a loving relationship with a man. God I pray for delieverence from my view of my viriginty and view the woman you desire me to be. Thank you for this great post.

    September 7, 2011 at 8:43 am

    • pangsofcreation

      Hi Dawn! God bless you for having this realization now! If you can change your attitude towards Godly sex prior to marriage you will save yourself a world of problems. Here's to Christ restoring us!

      September 8, 2011 at 5:00 am

  18. Prisca, thank you for sharing this! This addresses a similar aspect to what a lady shared with me some years ago:

    "People are not taught, for the most part, that sexual intimacy is a powerful and sacred thing, and very beautiful and wonderful when used in the right context, but instead they are told their whole lives, "Sex is bad…sex is bad…sex is bad…sex is bad…" then they get married and it's suddenly okay. I know too many girls who have felt dirty after being with their husbands on their wedding nights because of how they've been taught their whole lives. That just isn't right."

    May God give us the biblical perspective of sex; something sacred, beautiful, and sensual in marriage!

    October 28, 2011 at 11:16 am

  19. Wow, I'm a bit late in reading this, but thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I have a very different background from you (non-Christian family, saved as an adult), but what you described is an attitude I have seen so much of while volunteering with church youth groups. In most of the times where adults have addressed sexuality with the teens, the message can be summed up basically as: 1) Don't do it 'til your married. 2) If you save yourself, you'll have awesome married sex [because it's assumed you will somehow become this uninhibited sex goddess on your wedding night...] 3) Don't watch p*rn [usually only the boys get this message, although the girls need it too...] 4) Dress modestly.

    I don't know what the answer is, but I do know that stories like yours need to be part of the discussion. If we don't address the spiritual side of WHY we pursue chastity, our reasons for abstaining may not hold up to the world's pressures, and the transition to married sexuality can be (as you said) very difficult.

    January 26, 2012 at 5:27 pm

  20. Michael

    Hello everyone.

    I'm 21 and I was in a similar situation. I can't even remember when I came to an idea of holding on to my virginity. My family and friends knew nothing about that idea cuz I was on the move all my life (school mostly) and nobody could get to know me too well so my guess is that nobody suspected anything… And I think that was also one of the reasons… Secrecy. Created my own ideals, played by my own rules, had my entire world well organized and disciplined and all that was wrapped in secrecy, jealously hiding my real life from everyone else and of course my was virginity in the center of that world. I said to myself: hey, you've managed to defeat a part of yourself that really serves you nothing except wasting your time by forcing you do create unnecessary relationships and now that you've defeated it, you can invest all your time in things that actually matter, like fulfilling your goals in life! Other than saving my time, I don't like the idea of being forced to do anything…
    So I felt very special cuz I knew no one else had the strength and discipline to build such system. It was my little victory… My system, my way of thinking, my ideals – something I created had triumphed over nature, over something that was presumably invincible.
    As time was passing I was enjoying it more and more, the feeling of pride was amazing, it felt like a fireball burning inside my chest, I thought I had reached a higher state of mind, I felt stronger than anyone, I felt that could successfully take on any life situation cuz I had no "holes" in my inner defenses. But I thought wrong… Cuz my "weaker" side was not so weak after all.
    Two years I've met a girl, something I had not planned at all of course and in blink of an eye all my world collapsed. I don't blame her of course, I blame myself for I was not strong enough.
    Now I have nothing. I've lost my precious virginity which used to be at the core of my inner self, I lost my ideals, my goals and everything I used to dream of seem to fade bit by bit every day and of top of all that, now I have a desire for sex that I can't control at all! Now no better than average animal! I'm a complete failure!

    You can talk all you want how pride is a sin, I don't care cuz nothing can replace that feeling of fire inside my chest and it was the best time of my life! I was balanced, I was focused and most of all I had the unlimited source of strength and now what do I have? I have nothing

    February 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm

  21. Christian Dating Games

    Wow this is quite an excellent article. Its amazing I was just thinking about this subject and have done some writing on it the past few days (http://tinyurl.com/7d3t4kg) on my personal blog (http://christiandatingames.wordpress.com/).

    I think this is a growing problem with the few girls who actually do remain pure until marriage. Because its such a hard fought battle, pride gets in the way and sex becomes dirty and evil. I heard the story of one guy who said he could count on one hand the number of times he and his wife (a virgin at marriage) had undressed together because she was so insecure about her sexuality. However, another story was more encouraging. The wife realizing the importance for sexual intimacy in marriage determined to get herself in the mood every single day for her husband rather than waiting for the romance and perfection that waiting often misleads girls into expecting. To her surprise he started getting her flowers, taking her out more, praising her beauty, all the romantic things she had dreamed of. I've seen so many young couples go into marriage in their late teens or early twenties expecting a fairy tale. Its not. Its messy. Its sexual. Its real life.

    Great blog overall by the way. I've just started reading but looks good so far!

    February 15, 2012 at 11:55 am

  22. sherrijinga

    What a wonderful post! So encouraging. God bless you and your work! I write Christian Romance with the main theme of purity. Your post addresses a side of purity rarely spoken of.
    Sherri http://www.sherriwilsonjohnson.com

    February 16, 2012 at 8:41 pm

  23. Sally-Jo

    Thank you for this article. I am engaged and this is something i am really worry about. My fiance has needed a lot of reassurance that i do fancy him and that there will be sex once we're married but after all the effort we're putting into resisting each other at the moment i've always thought it might take a while to switch gears and i'm worried he won't react well to this. My friend also had trouble after she got married, her husband still thinks she doesn't really fancy him because she made him wait until they were married. Thank you for writing on this subject, it's good to know we're not alone in this and i'm going to send my fiance in this direction if we do have any trouble.

    May 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm

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  25. anonymous

    Wow, I’m 18 turning 19 in October. I’m female and a virgin. I don’t feel ashamed of being a virgin but it sometimes embarrasses me when my friends and people (mainly boys) I’ve just met talk about their sexual experiences and I have nothing to share. I did not really decide to be a virgin, culture and religion and the fact that I am my parents only daughter. I feel as if most boys/guys are not worthy of taking my virginity. Sometimes I have sexual urges and I start thinking about other females as a way of curbing my sexual feelings because I feel having ‘sex’ with other girls won’t break my virginity as a Christian I know this is wrong but sometimes I can’t help it. I’m also an Princess and I’ve been told I’m going to get in an arranged marriage just like mother was so I do not want to disappoint my mother in case I’m in an arranged marriage and my husband finds out I’m not a virgin. I just want to be strong enough to fight of the sexual urges

    June 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

  26. Fatma

    Am so proud and honoured that until now,22 am a virgin.My family is religious and not only them but me also want to follow God’s path and do what he wants,Sex after marriage and I’ll wait till then.No matter how long it’ll take.Am not at pressure at all coz I cant give away my precious gift,the only thing that is mine belongs to me cheaply.Thats unbearable.Chastisy,modesty and self respect is what guide me.What people think about me doesnt affecte at all.People think am out of date and live old but I say am proud and clean and happy.

    August 25, 2013 at 6:34 pm

  27. Chris

    Practicing Christian since 1995, born again three years later. I was a teenaged boy then, so I spent the sexual prime of my life feeling guilty, ashamed and angry whenever I got "those feelings", because Christ said that that was the equivalent of sleeping with another person's spouse. I know that God didn't intend for us to be ashamed of our sexuality, but intentions don't negate outcomes.

    I have a profile on Christian Mingle, and I'm thinking that my best bet is to find a woman with low sex drive, because I'm darn near close to asexual at this point.

    December 29, 2013 at 3:51 pm

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