They Do Exist.

The Church Needs A Different View Of Sex & Singleness

Editor’s Note: In May 2010, Leigh Kramer intentionally uprooted her life in the Chicago suburbs by moving to Nashville in an effort to live more dependently on God. She writes about life in the South, what God has been teaching her, and her ongoing quest for the perfect fried pickle. She is currently writing her first novel. You can follow her adventures on Twitter and her blog LeighKramer.com. – Lauren

I wish I was the kind of person that could get laid.

It’s been one of those weeks. I’m overloaded with emotions about several situations and I’m in need of release. And let’s be honest: exercise or a good cry is not going to cut it.

I rarely talk about sex in such stark terms. In fact, any discussion of sex, for me, is purely hypothetical.

You see, I am a rare breed. Some might even say an endangered species. I’m a 31-year-old virgin.

Rest easy. I’m not dating anyone right now, nor am I going to bed with the next guy I encounter. I’m committed to seeing my virginity through to marriage or death. Whichever comes first.

I can’t say I’m happy to be a virgin. I mean, I’m happy that I’ve been obedient, but trust me that there was a period in my life when it was more God’s protection than my will alone.

I’m not ashamed of my virgin status, but I don’t broadcast either. Most people assume that I have had sex because that is true of most women in their 30′s. Abstinence, chastity, whatever you want to call it, is no longer the norm.

I honestly never thought I’d still be single at this point in my life. I can’t help but wonder if I would have made the same choices had I known what lay ahead.

Does that shock you? It shocks me a little. We live in an age where premarital sex is accepted and often expected. It’s difficult to be countercultural when it comes to sex. There are even churches that don’t take a hard line on the matter.

Grace and forgiveness are extended to those who had premarital sex – and rightly so. Secondary virginity is an option. On the other hand, I’ve had friends that purposely had sex knowing they’d ask for forgiveness later.

Then there’s me. I love finding other ‘older’ virgins. Solidarity and all that. But also because I want to know why they waited and continue to wait. What do they do on the hard days?

Because hard days, or weeks, happen. Sex is best reserved for marriage but it’s hard being the odd woman out. I fervently hope I’ll be able to experience sex in the context of marriage someday. Now is the time to do the work of being faithful so that when I am in a relationship, regardless of my boyfriend’s sexual history, I will not falter.

I’m not alone in this. The church must start having a different conversation about sex and singleness. Here are a few suggestions of what I’d like to see.

1. Explore the framework of chastity.
Telling people to save sex for marriage is not enough when marriage isn’t a guarantee. Chastity is a way of life, looking at our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It’s not solely focused on the physical act of sex. We need to get away from “how far is too far” and move toward respecting ourselves (and our partners) as men and women made in the image of Christ.

2. Recognize that singles are sexual beings too.
What does this look like within the context of church? How can you be someone who is sexual without acting out sexually? For me, it’s appreciating who I am as a woman. I don’t need a man to affirm my femaleness, though it’s nice when it happens! I’m mostly comfortable with my body, but more importantly, I’m comfortable with who God created me to be.

3. Don’t teach that sex is a reward.
First, it’s not the best way to motivate someone toward obedience. This might also explain why many Christians marry young, only to divorce later. Marriage is about more than sex. Second, what message does that send to those who are obedient but don’t receive the ‘reward’? Have I somehow been a bad virgin? I don’t worship a God who would punish people in this way.

4. Don’t elevate marriage over singleness (or vice-versa).
The amount of people who are single, divorced, or widowed is roughly equal to those who are married in most congregations. Yet sermons tend to be directed toward those who are married and parenting. This leaves a good portion of the congregation feeling left out – and these are the unattached who continue to go to church. Many simply choose not to go anymore. We all have much to learn from each other, no matter what our stage of life.

5. Recognize that those practicing abstinence don’t have super-human self-control.
I’m not a better Christian because I’m still a virgin. I do have moments of weakness and that’s when I need accountability and support more than ever. We need people to speak into our lives – and not just about our attitude toward sex. Married folks, please support the single people in your life. Let them be a part of your family gatherings but also schedule one-on-one time as well. Single folks, identify the people in the trenches with you and continue to build those relationships. Having support in place now means you’re more likely to be ready when temptation hits.

What else would you add to this list?


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108 Responses

  1. I am about to turn 32 and I'm in the same boat. I appreciate your really honest wonder about "If I had known what was ahead…", I think the same thing every day. Thank goodness I don't know what's ahead. It's hard enough to trust for today sometimes.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:20 am

    • I completely agree with you, Jana! I'm glad I didn't know what was ahead- and also that I still don't know what the future holds. Praying for both of us during this time.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

  2. leigh, i love that you wrote this piece. i wanted to say ballsy–but there should be a better/female equivalent, right? we should get on that…

    i appreciate reading this having just read an article at relevant yesterday that seemed largely to say "oh well, single christians are just gonna do it like everyone else." i felt like the lone virgin in high school and again in college, and i have so much respect for christians who don't marry young and still maintain sexual purity. your faithfulness does matter.

    have you read rob bell's sex god? what you said about us all being sexual beings–whether we're having sex or not–is so true, and he unpacks that in way i'd never considered but really resonated with.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:55 am

    • Oh, Suzannah, your words mean so much to me! (And yes, there should be a better equivalent for ballsy! Hee hee.) It is frustrating that we're "expected" to be obedient in the area of chastity and yet the church assumes we aren't or just doesn't give us the tools to do so.

      I did read Bell's book last year and found it to be very helpful. Love you, friend!

      September 27, 2011 at 9:53 am

      • Great post Leigh! And yes we do need a female equivalent to ballsy! :)

        September 27, 2011 at 11:55 am

        • moonchild11

          Leigh, you've got ovaries for saying this!

          September 27, 2011 at 3:54 pm

          • Hahaha! Indeed I do. :)

            September 27, 2011 at 4:18 pm

  3. Leigh, I love this. After the initial "True Love Waits" campaign, people tend to quit talking about what it means to have a lifestyle of abstinence.

    I'm a "northern" expat in the South as well. Let's get people talking! :)

    September 27, 2011 at 12:57 am

    • Yay for northern expats! I hope that good discussion begins to emerge about abstinence today but also in the coming months. As people continue to delay marriage until they're older, I have a feeling this topic will become even more relevant.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:54 am

  4. Tracy

    I’m 37 and still a virgin. You’re not alone. ;)

    September 27, 2011 at 1:01 am

    • Solidarity, sister. Thanks for speaking up.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

      • Mitch

        I am 38 and virgin too.

        August 20, 2013 at 5:55 am

  5. Amber

    32 and still a virgin! It is hard some days!! Thank you for being honest and open!!

    September 27, 2011 at 1:29 am

    • Glad to hear I'm not alone in this. Thanks, Amber!

      September 27, 2011 at 9:55 am

  6. So good!!! Thanks for sharing! #4 & #5… took the words right out of my mouth!

    September 27, 2011 at 1:31 am

    • Oh, awesome, Hannah! Love hearing that others have the same thoughts. Thank you.

      September 27, 2011 at 9:56 am

  7. Tracy

    I have felt all you wrote. To answer your question….His grace….and I really really love Jesus….to the core of my heart I love Him and somehow I cling cling cling to the deep seeded truth that He is good…and He does not…is not withholding good. I recently started down the road of me taking control of this area…. it led me to complete misery. I believe it’s a healthy fear that keeps me clinging to Him. I respect Him…I just love Him. If I fail in this area..there is grace….but I fall now at His feet and I beg Him on my good days to please please protect me from my flesh…from my pride….from my selfishness…for years on my good days I have prayed for Him to always send friend’s…community…my family to catch me in my sin. There are so many lies we can listen to and dwell on…having one or two people that I can go to and bare my soul… that just love me…encourage me in this current single mission where He has me….they remind that marriage isnt the ultimate…but God uses it…just as He is using my singleness…they speak the hard words that I don’t always want to hear. I know prayer..honest prayer is huge….He knows my heart the times I’ve been so angry at Him …and just how I needed Him to heal me so that I would seek Him…see Him as better…. I am sure….very sure there are many prayers that have gone up on my behalf….so He gets all the glory. No matter what….stand or fall….it is our beautiful King…our great God who created us and knows us intimately who deserves and gets all the glory. Ultimately.. He is after our hearts…..our whole hearts ….He is a fierce lover who stops at nothing to have our hearts….and He tears down our idols whatever they may be to get deeper into us. There will always be parts of my heart that haven’t heard the gospel yet…..that want to run from Him….but we do have a Lover who pursues us…and understands us….we just have to believe it.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:53 am

    • "There will always be parts of my heart that haven't heard the gospel yet…..that want to run from Him….but we do have a Lover who pursues us…and understands us….we just have to believe it."

      Powerful words. Thank you so much for sharing your heart, Tracy. I'm glad that you have a few people to whom you can bare your soul- it makes such a big difference. Maybe we can have a little online support group, too. :)

      September 27, 2011 at 9:58 am

      • Tracy

        Thank you Leigh! You’re so kind To respond to each comment. Yes…I am thankful and in church that does a pretty good job now. They held a singles conference not so long ago and one topic was contentment. The speaker was actually a married guy my age…but it was so great because he took the time to read back through his journals from his single days and the theme from then to now..even in his married life was discontentment. It was such a huge challenge he gave. I definitely have hard days….and even see a bit of a struggle with food most recently that was unexpectant due to my heart. Thank goodness I am getting a free treadmill this weekend! I just know it’s about relinquishing my will…my desires…and what I thought my life would look like and giving it to Him…focusing on what I do have and the freedoms in Christ as a single…..and focusing on others through service helps it not to be all about me. It is a kind of grief though especially as I get older and still desire to be a Mom. ;) I still know that God knows what is best and lately in our Women’s study…we have been learning about bring salt and light to the world….so in lightf of God’s kingdom….the many lost that don’t know Him….the fact that there is no marriage in heaven….I continue forward…at times running and at times it’s a step at a time….but all the while continually saying back to God…not my will but your will…and if we’re going to do this…if this is what you’ve called me to for today…then please please give me the strength to do it well.. and make You look good God. Let’s do this! ;) That was the place he brought me to after all my anger and my about to punt it fit was over. He is a gracious and good Lover of our souls. Even on my hard hard days when I like you would love to get laid also!! Lol ;)
        I love your point about pastors teaching more sermons including singles…I love my church and my pastor is well known….but I still sometimes want to scream…address me…just add the word “singles” after you have listed out married husbands, wives, parents. Just add one example for me. Just take it one more demographic over…cause I sit here every Sunday and I’m listening waiting for what I can change and apply. Of course God’s word applies…but it’s so nice to feel you are acknowledged in this “community” as the churches so want to push us towards. Just acknowledge us. :) Also…I have found it’s hard on my relationship with my family sometimes. My Mom was carrying me at 19 yrs old…she has no clue how to relate to me and my two younger siblings are happily married. So it is so very important to have someone who can just check on your heart who can empathize but not let you wallow in this place that God has graciously given to us. Such a balance and lots of grace needed. :) I still think the key is taking our eyes off us and fixing them on Jesus. It’s not easy….but He’s the only One who can truly understand because He knows the end….He knows where He is leading us. Very Very Much agreed that I am thankful I didn’t know where He was leading me…He gives us grace just when we need it and reveals only the things we can handle….He’s that good. :) Thank you so much for sharing! Let me know
        where to find this support group online! ;) Blessings! :)

        September 29, 2011 at 1:40 am

        • Tracy

          Sorry for the typos…iPhone :) Thanks for reading all the way down to this…always a bit long..but my heart. :)

          September 29, 2011 at 1:49 am

        • Being acknowledged in your community- that's it exactly. We could probably all share stories of the times we've been excluded, consciously or unconsciously, by our communities.

          The family aspect is a good one to mention as well. Our generation is getting married much later than our parents did for a variety of reasons. My mom was 20 when she married my dad. When she was my age, she had an 11 yo (me!) and 9 yo. That is crazy! My parents do their best to understand but I find I have to continually educate about the differences between married and single life. Whether it's how much work I had to do- by myself- to move out of state or how I don't stop at rest stops when I'm driving- things they'd never considered because they've always had each other to share the load or maintain travel safety. My mom was not too keen on my word choice in this post, even though I've had similarly frank discussions with her in the past. But regardless, they love me and only want God's best for me.

          Focusing on Jesus, instead of ourselves…yes, that's the only way. Thank God for His grace.

          September 29, 2011 at 9:59 am

    • Hannah-Pia

      Beautifully said…I hope that I can build a relationship like you have with Jesus…I started out after many attempts over the years, failed attempts of course…but your true love is all I see in this passage, it's beautiful and sweet, and nothing could please God more than your heart, you seeking Him, how you love him… Thank you for encouraging me and showing me what that looks like. I know it's all a work in progress, but thank you.
      Hannah

      September 28, 2011 at 11:21 pm

      • Keep seeking Him, Hannah. Faith is not always a linear process but I keep coming back to God through it all. We're all works in progress. I hope and pray that you will encounter God in a brand new way as you seek Him.

        September 29, 2011 at 10:01 am

    • Beth

      Love this Tracy! As I read your words, it felt as though you were saying what was written on my heart. Thank you for putting in words what I feel so often. Feels good to not be alone in this!

      October 11, 2011 at 11:34 pm

  8. Have you read Real Sex: The Naked Truth about Chastity by Lauren Winner? She takes a really scholastic and personal and Biblical approach {really she does all 3!} at so much of what you've mentioned here. Very well written, Leigh.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:37 am

    • You know, I read that book ages ago and I don't think I properly appreciated it. Perhaps I'll give it another go. Thank you, Keri!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:48 pm

  9. Leigh,

    I love your honesty and bravery to be real. I totally agree with you and it starts with what we teach kids about sex and purity. I spoke on purity last year and will again this year to our pre-teen ministry at my church. I did not use the word sex as some kids still haven't had "the talk" at that age. What I did say was that our bodies are a treasure. This treasure is not our own, but on loan. We either get to give it to the person we marry or we get to give it to God. The thing is we don't want to be throwing our treasure around to just anyone and come to our marriages or to God with empty treasure boxes. I did mention that there is grace when we make mistakes, but that we want to protect the treasure. It is something that we all need to hear…married or not. Our treasure is not our own…Guard it well. Praying that God gives you manna to make it through the difficult days.

    September 27, 2011 at 10:40 am

  10. Leigh- dear,

    Thank you for writing this post! Thank you for putting into words the things that I could not in the day. I adore you and I am so proud of you for being counter-culture when society says it would be easier to just give in.

    xo

    September 27, 2011 at 10:57 am

  11. kimberlyreishus

    great thoughts here! your words and take on sex, singleness and chastity are refreshing, for someone who has thought a lot about these things and continues to!

    September 27, 2011 at 11:41 am

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Kimberly! I'm heartened by the feedback and discussion occurring.

      September 27, 2011 at 12:50 pm

  12. BGW

    Loved your post. Also, I am a man – hope that's okay. :) I'm currently writing a book on pornography (and why it's utterly without any value of any kind) and in talking about how to fight the demons of temptation, I inevitably keep coming back to these questions. You're bang on. If the church wants to deal with issues like this it needs to answer these questions. I wanted to add a thought on chastity – the church needs to screw its thinking around – I think it would be better to say that we are all born chaste and if we marry, it is a choice to leave the path of chastity. The idea that we're all born to marry, with our partner out there, divinely chosen and waiting patiently isn't always helpful. Sure, most people will want to marry and many will, but it's not a given and sometimes it can take a long time. Hope the conversation keeps going.

    September 27, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    • It's great to hear from a man! We can all learn from one another, after all. I'd like to offer a little push back if I may. I don't agree that we leave the path of chastity if we marry. Chastity is really a lifestyle, looking at the whole person so a change in marital status should not change the way you practice a chaste life. It doesn't mean withholding affection or sex. A book that helpfully explores chastity- really helped reframe some of my own thoughts on the matter- is Singled Out by Colon and Fields.

      As far as the rest of your comment, I completely agree. Treating marriage as a foregone conclusion is not helpful in matters of abstinence, sex, and singleness. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

      September 27, 2011 at 12:54 pm

      • BGW

        Touche – you're absolutely right. I used chastity but was thinking of celibacy. So to correct my last comment – I think we're all born celibate and we choose to become otherwise.

        I think chastity as you're describing it is typically a catholic teaching – if it is I think it should be recaptured by all! I'll definitely check out the book.

        September 27, 2011 at 1:20 pm

        • Ah, yes. Celibacy. That makes more sense! I do believe chastity is rooted in Catholicism, which makes sense. Even though chastity certainly applies to all of us, this could be why the Protestant church hasn't necessarily adopted the teaching. One thing Singled Out addressed is the way the Catholic church elevates singleness (nuns and priests) whereas the Protestant church elevates marriage and families. Interesting, no?

          September 27, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    • Hey BGW – It's Lauren here. :) I'd love to talk to you about your book and get some of your thoughts on pornography. Shoot me an email: goodwomenproject[at]gmail.com!

      September 27, 2011 at 8:24 pm

  13. This is a great post! I completely agree with you, the church does need to change it's discussion of sex. Some churches still finding themselves putting a stigma on sex – making the entire act itself shameful. This was partially the environment I was raised in. And, you are also right, teaching that it is a reward is also problematic for those that may never get married but are dedicated to chastity.

    I am only 23 and a virgin, but considering the sex-crazed bay area culture that surrounds me, I feel alone here. Though, I know I'm not.

    Thanks so much for sharing your encouragement and insight. I think it's time some of us stepped up to shape the way the church discusses sex.

    Thanks again.

    September 27, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    • Thank you, Candice! You've raised an important issue: the stigma of sex. There are numerous marriages affected by that unsound teaching. We need to have a right view of ourselves and of sex, no matter where we are in life.

      You are definitely not alone! Thank you for being part of this discussion and for hopefully shaping the church's future response to sex.

      September 27, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  14. I can see all the married people blushing at the thought of a single lady talking this way. By the way, I nearly choked on my cracker when I read the first line. I'm in your boat too, with all these other wonderful people. I appreciate your openness and agree wholeheartedly that the church needs an overhaul in the way it talks about sex (oh my goodness, I just wrote "sex" in a blog comment – is that permissible for a Christian single gal???). Oh I could wax eloquently about this too. Maybe I'll write my own post about it. In reference to number 4, I really dislike it when people treat me like I'm a nobody that hasn't learned anything in life because I'm not married. It's true, I don't know what it's like to be married. However, it's not like marriage is an upgrade. It's an exchange.
    Every day's definitely not a cakewalk, and being a 31-year-old virgin definitely has it's challenges. Like you, I'm thankful though that I didn't know I'd be in this place now because who knows what I would've done. Thanks, Leigh, for a great post! We need to interact more!

    September 27, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    • Your comment cracked me up, Kim! If you only knew how anxious I was when I wrote that first line. I wanted to delete it and then I thought: no, it's true. That's how I feel. Then even today, I've been nervous about how it would be received. Would people say I'm a bad Christian because I'm talking about sex? And the answer is no. The response today has affirmed that we're not alone in feeling this way and that the church needs to adapt to these changing times.

      It is frustrating to be overlooked because we're not in the same circumstances. I had to fight this quite often when I worked in hospice. Just because I wasn't married, a parent, or over the age of 50 didn't mean I didn't have much to offer my patients. Most of them realized this within 5 minutes of talking to me. It's sad that not everyone realizes the importance of learning from one another.

      Please write your own post in response! I would love to hear more of your thoughts. And yes, we should definitely interact more.

      September 27, 2011 at 3:39 pm

      • We need to speak more boldly, as you have done here. And by "we" I mean Christians. Thanks for having the guts to take the risk. It was worth it. Even if someone ends up disliking your transparency, look how many people were encouraged by it!

        September 27, 2011 at 9:00 pm

        • Mitch

          Let us say that every single Christian faces many challenges than any married women. I recently was put in a situation where I almost gave up all my values to a man I thought was good. He was such a charmer. There were signs and I did not take heed. I was thinking we are of the same age and he might be looking for marriage. I was giving my heart and almost the whole of my body. We have reached to the point where I almost break the vows. I know I have gone beyond what is expected of me as per the vow I have made to God. I was short but even then God made ways to protect me. I ended up saying no to the guy where distance between him and me was less than an inch or cm even. I was at the peak of things but when I was there, I was reminded, do you treat this guy more than God to gave away all your values? I said no to him. I did it even if my body have wanted it. Later on, I found out that the guy was dating other women and actively joins dating website and even made in contact in the one I made when I know about it. Later, he dated another gal which he admitted to me and he said that the woman he is in a relationship is just for a short term base as the woman is on a tourist visa in the country we are at and will never be back. I can hear the voice from deep within. See, this is the reason why I never wanted you to get in relationship with this guy. He is not the one for you. That very moment, I felt that the amounts of pain of losing that man was gone because I know God protected me from harm. It is not easy being single and plus the rest will take our singleness as a weakness and we are a likely prey. i do not know what the future holds, I trust God have something good in store and know what perfectly is for me.

          August 20, 2013 at 6:06 am

    • Amanda

      "it's not like marriage is an upgrade. It's an exchange."
      That's a great way of thinking about it! :)

      October 14, 2011 at 9:24 pm

  15. awefullymade

    Wow. More to comment later… But, this is an amazing post.

    September 27, 2011 at 2:23 pm

  16. junice

    yes. to all of this. great thoughts and words, friend.

    September 27, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    • Thank you, Junice! One more thing to add to our Great Coffee Discussion when I'm home next.

      September 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

  17. #4 is ridiculously important.

    Fantastic thoughts Leigh. We MUST address singleness better in the church. We just must.

    September 27, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    • Thank you, Alise! I hope the conversation starting here leads to a greater discussion within the Church at large.

      September 27, 2011 at 3:41 pm

  18. Robin Vestal

    There are real advantages to being single and they are seldom addressed in the church. As a single person trying to follow Jesus as best as you can a move, a ministry a decision about your life is yours. Lets say you want to invite someone down on their luck to stay with you…it's your choice..want to do a mission trip…your decision, give away some money…it's your budget…it's between you and God. Married…your spouse's needs, wants and desires have to be taken into account and it they aren't on board with something you are feeling called to do it's a big issue. How to stay faithful and loving to your spouse and to God? Our committed relationships are exercises in how to love faithfully but it's not easy for sure. The sex issues don't go away in marriage either any glance at an advice column will teach you that. There are advantages and disadvantages of both situations. I think it's high time that the church celebrates and supports being single as much as they do being married.

    September 27, 2011 at 3:45 pm

    • Agreed. Thanks for adding to the discussion!

      September 27, 2011 at 4:19 pm

  19. Nice post.
    I agree completely. I was reading somewhere recently how alot of christian young adults are getting married just so they can have sex. I find that very sad. The church really does need to rethink how they teach this topic.

    September 27, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    • That is very sad and sobering. I wonder what we personally can do to change that statistic/tendency.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:45 pm

  20. Thanks for your honesty Leigh. This is a post that we really need.

    So here's what I learned while I was single. There's this verse, I forget the reference, where Paul talks about guys not having sex with prostitutes because they become one with each other. That has always struck me as a pretty mystical view of sex. It's like two people become one for a moment and then are torn apart and there's all of this pain and emptiness that follows. So while I was dating, God began to teach me that even intimate physical contact that doesn't quite go all the way can be part of that mystical union, even if it's not quite the same as s-e-x.

    I don't know if that makes sense. It just seems that there's a lot more going on than we're aware of when we are physically intimate with another person. I'm not ruling out a couple kissing or whatever. They just need to take those steps recognizing that they're starting to become one. They're initiating a powerful emotional and perhaps spiritual connection. I could be out in left field here, but this all made sense to me while I was dating my wife and it was part of why I entered our relationship with what I would now term "excessive caution." But that's another story…

    September 27, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    • Thank you, Ed! That means so much. Your point makes total sense. And that's why there's a problem with the whole "how far is too far" mindset. We need to move away from that mentality to one of respect for our brothers and sisters in Christ. What's right for one couple might not be right for another, which is where legalism gets us into trouble. I love that you entered your relationship with caution, excessive though it may have been. We should all take such care with one another!

      September 27, 2011 at 6:47 pm

  21. Girlfriend. I wanna give you a hug and buy you a coffee and sit and pick your brain for a few hours. Unfortunately, we're at kind of opposite ends of the South. But still. Maybe someday.

    This post resonates with me in a crazy awesome way. Just like several other ladies here have, I wanna thank you for articulating what was behind all the cognitive dissonance I was feeling about the church's teachings (well, okay, mostly non-teachings) on sex.

    September 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    • Well, Allie, you just might be my new favorite person! If you're ever in Nashville, please let me know and we'll be sure to take over a coffee shop for a few hours. Hope you won't be a stranger in the meantime.

      Cognitive dissonance- that's it exactly. I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling there has to be a better way.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm

  22. Annie

    This is an awesome post. Your bold honesty is amazing.

    Keep writing this kind of stuff, my friend. :)

    September 27, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    • Thank you, Annie! I appreciate your encouragement so much.

      September 27, 2011 at 6:50 pm

  23. Great word. I am now married 2.5 years but I’m 32. I spent a lot more time single, waiting and wondering, and I remember feeling just like this very regularly. I “made it” to the altar, but there was definitely a lot more of God’s protection and grace than will power for me too. This post is dead on and I hope this message gets out more. I have seen some of these shifts at times, but the tide needs to turn more. Thanks for being real, Leigh! God bless and encourage you as you keep encouraging His people!

    September 27, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    • Thanks, April! I definitely don't want to view virginity and sex the way I was raised (more the church's message than anything my parents said.) If I do meet Mr. Right, I don't want it to be a race to the altar. It seems like important details could be lost in the process, as well as the opportunity to practice self-control together. Not that it would be easy but the church does us a disservice when it delivers the same old messages of yore.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:51 pm

  24. simplysweet

    This is soo refreshing, it's been so frustrating to be in a group of christian girls and be the only virgin. No offense to them, I understand things happen and previous lifestyles But it's rough to feel like i'm completely on my own being the only one who hasn't had sex and the accountability thing just doesn't seem to be the same b/c of their experience and continually activeness. Thanks for the post.

    September 28, 2011 at 12:52 am

    • I'm glad you found this refreshing! I totally get where you're coming from. It's tough to be the lone ranger, no matter what the reasons our friends may have. I personally feel so encouraged by the discussion going on here, knowing that I'm not alone in this and there are others trying to live this out.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

  25. I started to feel alone in my virginity back at the tender age of 20. Eight years later, I continue to feel alone there. It truly makes me happy to hear that there are others in the same boat. I am a practicing Mormon, and I believe firmly in abstinence before marriage. It is always refreshing to hear others say the same thing.

    September 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    • I learned abstinence wasn't the norm while I was in college. I wasn't sheltered by any means prior but most of my friends were virgins so it wasn't a big deal. College was eye-opening and in some respects, I find it miraculous that my rebellion didn't include the loss of my virginity. Totally God. While I've had friends that waited to have sex until they were married, now that most of my friends are married, it's hard to find other single Christian friends that believe the same. I definitely appreciate the ones that do, both real life and in the blog world.

      September 28, 2011 at 1:56 pm

  26. Lucie

    "Telling people to save sex for marriage is not enough when marriage isn’t a guarantee." This may be one of the most important things you wrote. If only more people realized this – being a 51-year-old virgin myself, this resonates with me most strongly. Talk about feeling like the last of an extinct breed…and wondering, if you'll please pardon my frankness, if you really "get any extra Brownie points" for arriving in heaven a virgin.

    September 28, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    • I've totally wondered about the Brownie points, Lucie! At the same time, I'm no angel so I remember I need just as much grace as the next person. What has helped you maintain your virginity? It seems like we all agree that the messages the church sends about sex aren't helpful after a certain age. But what would we like the church to say instead?

      September 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    • Saving ourselves for marriage is not a guarantee of happiness, but it does honor God, and saves us from a lot of unnecessary emotional, physical, and sexual baggage that comes as a result of disobeying Him.

      October 13, 2011 at 3:38 pm

  27. Wow. I felt like you were taking many of the words right out of my mouth. I've got almost 16 years on you, and I'm in the same boat as you. Thanks for writing this. I really appreciated points 3-5 at the end. My pastor (who didn't marry till he was into his 30's) tries to address the whole congregation. For the most part, he does a good job. However, I'd still like to see and hear your points addressed.

    September 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Sheryl. I'm so glad that your pastor is aware of the variety of people in his congregation. That is huge and definitely something more pastors need to put into practice.

      September 28, 2011 at 6:53 pm

  28. So well said, friend. Thanks for giving me fresh perspective on a topic that desperately needs it.

    September 28, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    • Thanks, friend. Glad to hear it lent you fresh perspective.

      September 29, 2011 at 9:37 am

  29. hayden

    Wow. Hmmm, no, nope. Sorry, I can't really get behind this. You all seem, from my perspective to be missing out on a huge part of interpersonal life, by making this a priority. It's not that I think everyone should go around frivolously sleeping with strangers to validate themselves, but at the same time, by waiting this long, and building up this event so much in your mind, it seems to me that it almost becomes a handicap. You can't get out of the door and go live your life because the elephant in the room has become too big to get by. Also, these days, I would definitely have to say that a healthy sexual union between two people in a committed and healthy relationship can hardly be frowned upon. After all, to paraphrase Leigh, I wouldn't want to worship a god who condemned something that is a positive part of life.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:15 am

    • I appreciate the feedback, Hayden. I'm not sure that I am missing out on a huge part of interpersonal life. My married friends certainly enjoy having sex with their spouses but they'd all say that sex is not the biggest part of their relationship- it's an aspect. Yes, arguments can be made that it's OK to have sex so long as you're in a committed relationship but I still view marriage as the ultimate sign of commitment. To me, this is not a handicap or an elephant in the room. Is it difficult to remain a virgin? Sure. But does it define my life or hold me back? Absolutely not. If a man takes issue with my decision to be obedient to God in this area of my life, then he's not the right man for me. I realize that this is a changing discussion in some Christian circles but so far, I don't agree with the theology behind it. Would you mind sharing how you came to your conclusion?

      September 29, 2011 at 9:50 am

  30. LMitch

    What a great post! And there is another area in the christian area where celibate people face the same kind of attitudes–divorce.

    I was a virgin when I married after college and I have been faithful to that lifestyle for more than twelve years since I went through a divorce. The idea that "everyone is doing it," seems even more compounded when you have been previously married and therefore aren't technically trying to hold onto your virginity but are desiring to live a life of purity. The attitude seems to be, "well, you aren't a virgin, anyway…nobody expects you to revert back to that now."

    I understand where you are coming from. There are days when I long to embrace the "it doesn't matter anyway," viewpoint as a christian divorced woman. Waiting is never easy.

    September 29, 2011 at 11:12 am

    • Thank you for lending your perspective! The divorced and widowed certainly have other considerations when it comes to celibacy. I applaud you for staying faithful. Waiting, no matter what we're waiting for, isn't easy but I've never been happy with the results when I've tried forced my timeline on a situation.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:30 pm

  31. Scout

    I am with Hayden on this issue as well. As a firm and dedicated believer in God and an un-married non-virgin I do not think that sex within a committed relationship is grounds for my God to judge me. Though I am quite the liberal christian I know there are many who are like me on this topic. The reason that it was taught to save sex for marriage was because many moons ago this tradition was necessary due to the lack of contraceptives. Your likelihood of becoming pregnant was much much higher and we can all agree that if expecting a child it is better for everyone if there is a stable family life. Now that we have discovered ways to prevent pregnancy for those who are not prepared for motherhood marriage is not quite as necessary. Especially for those women like myself who never intend on getting pregnant. I am a christian who loves progress and who thinks it is highly important to religion to question every tradition we have. For example, in this day and age we look at religions that do not let women drive or read as being harsh. However, I also look at Christians who hold back from things because they interpret the bible a certain way as also being harsh (though much less so). It is sad to think that traditions of this nature, that were created to stabilize society, are still in effect when it is clearly outdated. Humans are sexual, and it is enjoyable. I think that the church needs to start talking about how this is okay and not something to feel bad about. Not only that but I have been in a committed relationship for over 2 years and an active sex life makes everyday awesome. It has been an important part of our relationship to grow closer. Though we are not married we have a domestic partnership and have no future plans of getting married since the only benefit would be a small financial one. It is frustrating to see women miss out on a really spectacular (dare I say…orgasmic) part of life because religion suggests this. I sometimes wonder if it is less religion and more being self-conscious or afraid. I am also frustrated that my fellow christian friends look down on me for partaking in something they automatically deem immoral because something told them to.

    September 29, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    • Thanks for adding your thoughts, Scout. I know you're not the only unmarried Christian that has chosen this path. I agree that it is important for the church to progress and that we examine traditions. If we were to sit down, I suspect we'd have similar thoughts on many issues. I respectfully disagree that sex falls into this category. I can't speak to everyone but my heart has stayed protected by not introducing sex into relationships. I want the commitment of marriage before experiencing that particular intimacy. I'm sorry that you feel your friends look down on you for your choice. I may not always agree with my friends but I hope I never come across as judgmental. Perhaps that could lead to some good discussion between you all.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:37 pm

      • Scout, abstaining from sex outside of marriage is not a church "tradition." It is a command from God, designed for our protection and good.

        October 10, 2011 at 6:41 pm

  32. Jen

    I'll be 35 in a month and I am in the same boat!!! Leigh's list was awesome and I think it's critical that the church start responding to these items, especially #2 and #3!!!

    September 29, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    • Thanks, Jen! Glad to hear you liked the list. I hope this will lead to some change, whether it starts with us or spreads to pastors themselves. Planning on writing a follow up post to this for next week so stay tuned!

      September 29, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  33. This is really good, Leigh. I love the points you make here. The church often buys into the life that we are all guaranteed “that special someone,” and it is a future reward for abstinence, but you’re right, this kind of thinking only jades us later on when we’re still alone and wonder what we’re doing wrong.

    You’re awesome! Brave and honest post and I learned from it, thank you :)

    September 29, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    • I'm glad to hear you learned from it, Stephanie. That was my hope in writing it, that we could all learn from one another and that it would hopefully result in good discussion.

      September 29, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  34. Pingback: A Small(ish) Rant about the Church, Relationships, and Sex « Gray Hair and Acne

  35. leigh.

    this is amazing.

    i'm loving the conversation going on here, too.

    i just deleted what is to become part of a post that has been made clear i need to write, and soon. so i'll save that for that.

    as to what you're saying here, i couldn't agree with you more. i've had similar thoughts but never the words for what you've said here. every church should get a hold of this message. it's so important.

    i'd add that the whole 'soul ties' message tends to be a vague one. maybe it was just me, but it never connected to me when i was young. it was more…i don't know…in high school, it was more confusing than helpful. (confusing's not the right word, but i can't think of a better one right now.)

    love this post, my friend.

    love you.

    xo

    September 30, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    • Thanks, friend. I look forward to reading your post! Yes, the "soul ties" message can be difficult to grasp when you're a teen…or even when you're older. Teens often feel they're the exception to every rule anyway so I don't think that message has as much of an impact as the church would like to believe.

      October 2, 2011 at 12:55 pm

  36. Pingback: Last Week’s Reading: on Female Popes, Anarchists, and Writers. « New Ways Forward

  37. Ahmazing post! I wish someone had talked to me when I was younger. I was only told not to get pregnant. Now I work with teen girls at my church and surprisingly, my mantra with them is everything that you just stated. I love your #2! I think if we all realized how much God loves us–we would be comfortable being ourselves–not constantly trying to conform to others!

    October 4, 2011 at 10:49 am

  38. KS(male)

    I read this article and want to comment: please think about what you're doing because it's throwing some people off. So you're a virgin at 31 (which is a miracle in western society, regardless the date I've come to find), and you're not eagerly seeking the same? I mean come on, you waited this long and you want someone that doesn't even care about themselves or their bodies and didn't wait a single moment before diving in head first with as many as he pleased? My grandmother did the same as you are doing, and then married a non-virgin Christian man and ended up divorced a few years later and I've found that to be a typical scenario; so in other words the writer of this comment you're basically conveying that you struggle with self-respect as much as 'them' by even being remotely interested in those that engaged in such practices. I think this is what your Bible means when it says not to be 'equally yoked with non-believers' (or something along those lines).

    October 6, 2011 at 5:15 am

    • I'm a little confused by your response, KS, as I'm not sure what part of the article you're referring to. However, I will try to address what I think you're trying to say. I would love it if I fell in love with a man that was also a virgin. That would be the ideal. On the other hand, I feel it would be disingenuous of me to hold a man's sexual history against him if he was not a virgin. Does he regret that decision? Has he asked for God's forgiveness? Is he committed to celibacy now? The answers to those questions would determine whether or not we could have a future together. There's a difference between marrying a Christian man who has made mistakes and marrying a nonChristian man. And in any scenario, it's important to extend grace to one another.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:21 pm

  39. Thank you for sharing this! As a 42-year-old single man, I can readily identify (www.gregdonner.org/thoughts/thoughts6.html).

    October 10, 2011 at 6:35 pm

  40. Thanks for writing this! I saw your link to it on another blog you posted a comment on. All very good points that you make and as a fellow virgin who also feels it has been a lot of God's protection on her life appreciate the honesty and openness in this post. :)

    October 11, 2011 at 5:20 pm

  41. RKG

    I am 24, male and official V-card carrying member. What Bonhoeffer did, said and done had an impact on my life regarding this subject. For those who know of Bonhoeffer, he was basically one of the finest guys you'll meet. He was conservative theologian (tough in Germany during Hitler's regime), accomplished pianist, got two doctorates by 26 if I remember correctly, kids loved him (from his recent biography by Eric Metaxas), funny, and on and on… basically, he would be a chic magnet. Yet he died single. I thought, well, if there is any guy who deserves to be in blissful marriage, it would be him. He did long for wife and family yet it was unfulfilled. We are not dogs and marriage/sex isn't intended to be a treat for being good. At least, that's what I think but I am open to correction.

    Bonhoeffer said, "being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing God's will: the essence of chastity is not suppression of lust, but the total orientation of one's life towards a goal. Without such a goal chastity is bound to become ridiculous. Chastity is the sine qua non of lucidity and concentration." (Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxes)

    Leigh, may I suggest, "Exercise and cold shower isn't going to cut it" for the second line?

    January 9, 2012 at 10:27 am

  42. Pingback: all things leigh. « beauty for ashes

  43. Joshua

    I am a male. I am 27. I'm still a virgin and I'm happy. What?!?!?! It's possible. Really enjoyed this article and it couldn't come at a better time. My younger friend lost his virginity the other day and I haven't known exactly what to say to him. It's different for guys. I feel like there's more pressure or it's easy to just get to a point in your life where you think "why not?". I initially told him more along the lines of what he wanted to hear vs. how I really felt about it which, to be honest, is that he sold out and gave up. He's one of those southern church of christ boys who declare themselves to be held to a higher moral standard. I'm at a loss. I have such respect for everyone on this page and the others out there who enjoy this life for something other than sex and I know when I get married, despite my wife's past, I will be proud that I have waited.

    March 14, 2012 at 1:09 am

  44. evelyn

    Hey, dealing with the sex drive…hmmmm…
    One thing you need to acknowledge is that God created you as a sexual being and he actually delights in your sexuality. its a beautiful part of us….When he created us, his creation was complete. every bit of you is a beautiful aspect of his creation and he delights in it.
    Your sex drive is a result of being a sexual being– and its ok,. i am 31 this year and oh yes i have struggled with my sex drive. i remember a time i was so overwhelmed..i was so curious about this sex thing, so everything inside me hungered and wanted to know and experience sex. it was an insatiable desire, i would go looking for every kind of movie to see what is this sex thing about..really…, i would surf the net and sometimes watch some pornography..just to quench that desire but nay…
    so when i realised that my sexuality isnt my enemy its a good thing..i went back to my creator and anumber of truths were unveiled to me.Iam fearfully and wonderfully made and i could trust God with everything i was feeling inside of me.. i bluntly told him Lord i want to have sex but i cant,..i do have the right setting for it..i am not married so already..that's a boundary for me..
    i chose to surrender to Him knowing that i am beautiful and he fully understands my body and how it functions….i realised that in feeding my soul with all this stuff..movies i was creating more desire within me for it but it would never be satiated…so i started a journey of surrender.
    at one time i tried out masturbation but the truth is that it doesnt satisfy at all..u keep wanting the real thing….God's way- Marriage.
    I have to confess one thing..we cant know any better than God…we can set rules for ourselves, we can take God's word as a law for us to live better but its more than that..Knowing that God loves me and delights in me as his creation and all these boundaries he set for me are to protect me….i chose to surrender each and every day and its an ongoing journey.. you dont stop surrendering with God….one day you are strong, another day you are weak but He's strong. knowing that i can run to him in weakness and tell him exactly what is going on inside of me..gave me access to His grace…and a hunger for purity and holiness before him. His word has been the only way each and every day…
    when i thought of masturbation as a way out…i remember a portion of scripture that constantly warned me…(Psa 24:3-4)…i cried out to God and offered myself to him and he does answer…
    the desires within us are our greatest challenge…and those are very naked before God..so if we go to God and allow ourselves to be naked…He's the only way and source of victory..today i rejoice that when i am weak..He's stronger and so i just have to run to Him and tell him hey daddy am feeling this way..i know you love me and you have wonderful plans for me, i trust you…and of recent i learnt one more truth..He cares for my body and he delights in it..and wants to live in it, dwell in it, walk in it..so it would be such an honor to allow Him do that in me with this wonderful and awesome body he has given me…i wont lie to you…with God all things are possible…..with His Spirit living in us….its possible and also knowing..he made us, we can trust him and we will be free…
    then purity becomes a delight cause you know someone that loves me completely pleasures in dwelling in it so i will gladly give it to him and i wouldnt want anything to defile me…your sex drive..awesome but its subject to you..most of all knowing God's love-its depth, width, length and width is key to victory…one day at a time…God never changes, the devil uses so many strategies to get to us…and God's ways are way above our own and we can trust him with all we are. hope that encourages you…you cant kill it…you can submit it to his Lordship and allow Him to lead us in his way -leading us to life…He's faithful. remember what you hunger for, you will seek after and feed and what you feed creates more hunger…and then you will feed…its a deeper issue…its innate and God's got the key to your innermost being….unveil yourself before Him and you will be amazed…its strange to realise with time that even when we may think we are not being sexually active physically…many of us are struggling with our desires…be blessed…

    March 28, 2012 at 7:57 am

  45. joanna

    Wow thank you for this! I'm 26, virgin, and no husband in sight yet! Lol.. sometimes I'm so "sexually frustrated" because you don't know where to put all these sexual desires! Whoo I said it! It's a challenge and sometimes have to be careful as there are so many unhealthy habits to indulge in including premarital sex, masturbation (WHY DOES NOT ANYONE WANT TO TALK ABOUT THIS in the CHURCH abt women), pornography, excessive romantic movie watching, listening 10,000 times to "when will I find a love to call my own" and the like.

    I have made some mistakes but by God's grace I've been able to stay a virgin so far but we need Christian women and men to step up that are older & wiser to teach us youngins how to deal with unexpressed sexual desire.

    Thanks SO MUCH for writing this

    April 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  46. bryanh0911

    I am a guy, virgin, 32 and watched all my other friends get married before me. Always looked at sex as a reward for waiting and got nothing but bitterness instead. Felt abandoned by God too. Realizing sex is not a reward when the church teaches it is better to get married than burn with lust is a hard pill to swallow. Tim to find new value in being single again…

    June 8, 2012 at 8:21 am

  47. Pingback: A good blog about sex and singleness… « Spiritual Slash

  48. Leslie

    Amen, sister! I just passed the 31.5 mark and felt alone in this, too.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm

  49. John Morgan

    Leigh – It can be done to any age. I’m fifty-one and still waiting. Churches? They don’t even know we exist. Most in my area won’t even hire a single preacher. Singles ministries? Nonexistence – besides the standard pizza parties and movie nights.

    September 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm

  50. John Morgan

    Leigh — I could tell you my perspective, but it would take a book. I'm a 51 year old straight guy in your situation. Why don't you find more older virtuous (virgin) single men in church? The answer is very simple – Churches idolize marriage and family and treat us with disrepect, at least those that are Southern Baptist. There are churches in my area who openly state that never married men over 21 are not welcome and place ads in the papers for pastors who "must be married and have children." No kidding. I see you feel uncomfortable being the odd woman out, since you are a Christian lady of virtue and waiting until marriage. But keep in mind that there are Christian singles who have traveled way beyond where you've been. Odd woman out? I guess the odds of running into me are . . . one in several million. Be strong and don't compromise your values. I hope the first time you "get laid" is on your marriage night.

    October 19, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    • Snailspace

      @ John Morgan. Same here, but I'm about ten years younger than you (early 40s) and a female. I was brought up in a Southern Baptist background too, waited for marriage to have sex, but marriage never happened. I've never had sex outside of marriage, I've never had kids.

      I was told repeatedly from the time I was a young girl, by one parent, by Baptist preachers, and preachers on television, that if I prayed to God for a spouse, trusted in God and His timing, and had faith (and I did all three for about 3 decades now), that God would send the right guy my way. It never happened. Of course, I tried the occasional singles service or class or dating site, and none of that worked.

      In the meantime, I feel unwanted in most churches. Even the televised church services emphasize marriage and parenting issues.

      When I attend a church in person, it's a painful ordeal. There are usually no (or not many) single guys my age. If I am greeted at the door at a new church (usually, people walking in alone are ignored), it's assumed I am divorced with a kid when I tell them, "I am new. I am single, where does your adult singles class meet?" I hate it when people assume because I am 40ish I must be divorced with a kid.

      I might leave a separate post here discussing my views and experiences as a 40+ never married, virgin Christian. In a nutshell, I'm fed up and have had it. There is no help or encouragement from the church – not just in regards to the sex / singleness issues, but other things I've gone through, such as a death in the family (got lectures, judgment, or unsolicited advice when I went to other Christians looking for comfort in my time of mourning).

      The church in America (including Southern Baptist denomination) severely lacks in showing inclusion to people, showing compassion, or meeting the needs of hurting people, or people who do not fit the mould of married by 25 years old with three kids by 30.

      Oh, and goodness forbid you admit to having needs in front of any Christian or church, because they immediately shame you for being human, having unmet needs, and they subject you to all the cliches like, "You should go to church to serve, not be served," all designed to shame you or make you feel guilty or horrible for being human.

      It's not just males who get treated disrespectfully by most churches – older, never married, Christian females are also made to feel like losers or freaks, and no place is made for us to serve. We females forever hear in sermons that a woman's highest calling in life and as a Christian is to be a wife and mother, even though the Bible does not teach that concept at all

      We never- married females with no kids (or any female, really) are not permitted to serve in areas that don't involve children (I don't particularly care for children, so no, I don't want to baby sit in the church nursery, or do similar kiddie activities).

      December 22, 2012 at 8:30 pm

  51. Snailspace – I understand what you’re saying. There are just so few of you. Please keep your light shining in this ever darkening world. On this topic, I highly recommend Julia Duin’s book “Quitting Church” from 2008. There’s a new E-version coming out very shortly. And you may be interested in reading an article I just had published in Ignitum Today and Catholic Lane: http://catholiclane.com/the-gift-of-celibacy-its-meaning-today/

    Stay strong.

    In Christ,

    John Morgan

    December 22, 2012 at 9:52 pm

  52. sprout

    I just turned 29. Still waiting. Still hoping. I didn't plan it either and often wonder should I have done things differently? Thank you for sharing.

    January 9, 2013 at 12:45 pm

  53. Julia

    You, my friend, should be a movement. If what you suggest became mainstream, we would see a revolution. And the church would be more appropachable…. even for me.

    June 25, 2013 at 12:14 am

  54. Anna

    33. Never been kissed. Still a virgin. At times tempted to find a man in the world who will love me. Yet constrained by the fact that that will not satisfy. I do satisfy myself at times though. What is a girl to do?
    I suffer from skin hunger – not enough touch when there is no husband or kids to welcome you home…
    Crave human touch – therefore I would add hugs and non-sexual touch to the list?

    November 7, 2013 at 1:04 pm

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