One of Dalrock’s recent posts on the problem isn’t knowledge but attitude highlights a fairly important issue.
The first part of the post is about how attitude is the root of actions. This is true. I explored this in my post on Your attitude tells me everything I need to know.
- Heart -> attitude -> actions
Essentially, a person’s attitude basically doubles as how their heart thinks about a particular issue or person. It is the closest thing to a person’s heart that we can see. Hence, why examining someone’s intentions, even if it didn’t turn out the way they want or turned out for the worse, is extremely important. If their heart is in the right place and they are willing to walk in humility and be corrected then you can change what they do to be more effective.
This is the same thing that God does with our hearts as we read the Bible or are mentored or discipleship. We accept God’s gift and repent of our sins, and we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Then our heart is in the right place with the attitude and help of the Holy Spirit to do good, we can then walk in good. It might not come out as good at first, and that’s what Biblical correction, fellowship, and mentoring/discipleship is for to help us on the right path.
Discussing sex and virginity
The real question that has been raging in the comments is:
Should a young woman broadcast her virginity?
Yes and no. Let me discuss how I approach this topic first.
In general, as man who is going to be leading the relationship and how it progresses I typically do not go straight for the heart of the issue. When discussing matters about sex I usually start with what Scripture says about sex and have the discussion there. My usual “go to” question to start bringing it up is if she has a high or low libido then turn it specifically to 1 Corinthians 7 where it talks about the ONLY reason that Christians should marry in the New Testament:
1 Corinthians 7:9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corinthians 7 is probably the easiest passage to discuss because it has a lot on not just sex but reasons why and why not Christians should get married. Obviously, some of the others you can talk about are Genesis 1-3 and Song of Songs.
Timeline: The general timeline for when I start bringing up matters of what a Biblical marriage and sex looks like is 2-3 weeks.
1. The first few weeks are feeling each other out typically by electronic communication of some sort and a few dates. In those first few weeks I lead a discussion on Scripture and theology, the sociological interaction of the Church and culture, and the Church and feminism.
2. After I reach the 2-3 week mark then I start introducing the topic of sex leading into it from the example above. Since we are now comfortable discussing issues that relatively no man has talked with her before, there is a decent level of intimacy and trust. This is the importance of leading these discussions because very few if any men actually do this. You will stand out as someone exceptional.
3. From there although it may seem uncomfortable I start bringing up the issue of libido compatibility. For the numerous women I’ve talked with about this I don’t think I’ve had one bad encounter as long as I assert the importance of discussing these topics.
Reasoning: Generally speaking, even talking about “sex” is taboo in our culture. This should not be. The most common examples I give to women who I went out on dates with is the main reason of the importance of the discussion:
- Our culture AND the Church thinks discussing marriage and sex is taboo and uncomfortable
- God created sex to be good within marriage, and talking about something about which God created to be good is not evil.
- The early importance of discussing sex is clear: if we get a few months into a relationship and I find that my potential wife only wants sex once a week and I want it multiple times a day then this is a bad match up of libidos which will cause significant friction within the marriage.
- Likewise, if I find that my potential wife has particular issues about sex that she is bringing into the relationship that may hinder intimacy. This includes not just her past but also my past history as well. If there’s something you can’t get over in the other person’s history it’s better to know earlier so you two can know that this relationship is not for you and start your search anew.
- It is one of the only exclusive things in marriage that the two of you do that you wouldn’t do with other Christians.
Now, such things always gradually lead into a conversation about the importance of virginity and ultimately a disclosure of if the woman is a virgin or not. I find that this is a naturally transition, and it isn’t that uncomfortable although the initial discussions may be. I’ve personally *never* had a girl that I was talked to react negatively to a discussion on virginity after highlighting sex and marriage in these terms.
Should a woman bring it up first?
In general, I don’t think a woman should be proactive about announcing it as that typically comes off as crass, but it should be a topic of discussion when discussing intimacy and marriage because virginity is touted as important in the Scriptures for good reason.
From what I have seen from not just my own case but many others I think if a woman brings it up it should be related to the topic of hand. Otherwise, if she just blurts out that she is a virgin it comes off very poorly like she has some underlying motive.
However, if a woman does announce it then you have to look at her attitude when she speaks about it. If she speaks about it firmly like she has made the decision to wait to have sex ’til marriage that is good. However, if she speaks of it as a warning to her boyfriend or in a negative tone of voice then that’s a bad indicator that she may have some sort of sexual hangup potentially involving her virginity. Like we discussed in the beginning it is her attitude toward virginity and sex that matters in deciphering how she actually feels about it rather than what she is saying.
I lost my virginity on my wedding night, with my husband, just as I had promised that day when I was 10 years old. I stood in the hotel bathroom beforehand, wearing my white lingerie, thinking, “I made it. I’m a good Christian.” There was no chorus of angels, no shining light from Heaven. It was just me and my husband in a dark room, fumbling with a condom and a bottle of lube for the first time.
Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I didn’t yet comprehend. They didn’t tell me that I’d be on my honeymoon, crying again, because sex felt dirty and wrong and sinful even though I was married and it was supposed to be okay now.
When we got home, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Everyone knew my virginity was gone. My parents, my church, my friends, my co-workers. They all knew I was soiled and tarnished. I wasn’t special anymore. My virginity had become such an essential part of my personality that I didn’t know who I was without it.
It didn’t get better. I avoided undressing in front of my husband. I tried not to kiss him too often or too amorously so I wouldn’t lead him on. I dreaded bedtime. Maybe he’d want to have sex.
When he did, I obliged. I wanted nothing more than to make him happy because I loved him so much and because I’d been taught it was my duty to fulfill his needs. But I hated sex. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I wanted to like it, because it wasn’t fair. I had done everything right. I took the pledge and stayed true to it. Where was the blessed marriage I was promised?
No Christian husband wants to be a marriage like this. The woman above eventually walked away from Christianity too. Now, this is not the case with every woman but this allows us to see what we are looking for in particular.
Should a woman not discuss it at all?
Another thing addressed is the discussion of it where the woman doesn’t want to talk about it at all. Dalrock quoted Spacetraveller’s experience as well:
I don’t advocate that women disclose their ‘status’ to a prospective husband ESPECIALLY if she IS a virgin. I didn’t understand this at the time I was dating, but I think I understand things better now. It seems a bit ‘try hard’ if you are trying to convince someone you are a virgin. They will naturally, get suspicious about you.
I never disclosed. When my husband (then boyfriend) directly asked (because of ‘no action’ 3 months or so into our relationship), I actually didn’t answer. He says I blushed and looked away, which is probably true, because I am sensitive about this subject.
I never discussed virginity with anyone who I was interested in or who was interested in me because I thought it was too much of an intimate discussion to have with someone who is not yet ‘established’ as a husband-potential. Even having this discussion with a man was, in itself ‘slutty’, in my view.
In my view, the only reason why she viewed it as “slutty” is because sex and it’s associated topics are seen as taboo. These are notions that SHOULD be disabused by Christians.
Christians, just as much as non-Christians, like hiding uncomfortable and difficult topics. Parents often communicate the “birds and the bees” discussion as something that is shameful and shouldn’t be talked about. However, there is no reason why discussing something that God created to be good as something touted as shameful. This is Christians feeling shame or embarrassment for things they should not. Just as we are not to be ashamed of Jesus Christ or the gospel we should not be ashamed of things that God created to be good in marriage.
Because I am rooted in the truth and explain these things well to those I go on dates with it’s not a problem discussing sex, virginity, or other topics. These women do feel uncomfortable when starting to discuss these topics at first. They specifically tell me about it. However, as long as you don’t treat it as a big deal and discuss it seriously on how it applies to marriage, their impact of marriage, and how they can help the husband and wife to grow in intimacy it’s God honoring and important to building trust.
Personally, I would NEVER marry a woman who hasn’t disclosed her past sexual history to me.
If she had a promiscuous past and if she is ashamed about it then I would question her repentance solely because Jesus takes away our sins. I’m not afraid of admitting my past sin because that’s not who I am anymore. Christ changed me, and He should have changed her. Paul was not afraid of talking about what he did prior to Christ with humility: he actively helped murder the early Church. This is the power of fully received forgiveness. We should have no trouble talking about our past mistakes in light of His all consuming Grace and Mercy because if we have repented we know that is not who we are.
Of course, her past may lead me to not decide to pursue a relationship just like she may not decide to pursue a relationship when she hears of my past. This is fine. We can and should count the cost of being with someone based on their past as it does come up.
- I think that every Christian who wants to get married should be open to discussing marriage, sex, virginity, and other sexual topics prior to marriage. The earlier the better.
- The main reasons why people object to talking about sex and virginity is it’s uncomfortable or it’s shameful. However, in light of God’s creation and our salvation it should not be shameful or uncomfortable to talk about these things. In fact, it is extremely important to talk about things that are one of the lynchpins of the marriage relationship.
- Examine a potential spouses attitude about virginity, sexual behavior, and their past as this shows you their heart about sex. Obviously, they can improve in this area, but it should be a yellow flag if they have negative thoughts or attitudes toward sex in marriage.
- Personally, I would never a marry a woman who did not disclose her sexual past to me.
- Not talking about marriage, sex, virginity, and other intimate discussions is like playing with fire if you are intending to get married. You’re hoping a bomb is not buried in the heart of your spouse that is going to be opened up on wedding night.
I remember discussing how to vet potential women with discussions about sex before on this blog; however, I don’t remember the exact post. In general, I think most of the commenters were against it especially the [married] women. I dissented before and brought up some examples. This is my full opinion on this particular topic with my personal experience. I know it can go well, and it always has. As long as you present it correctly to Christian women in the light of Scripture and how God views marriage and sex.
Those who have hangups about discussing it after you discuss it in light of God’s truth I would say is a yellow flag. There’s something deeper that is impeding her from having a good attitude and heart towards sex in marriage and the importance of discussing it to look for compatibility. Essentially, the process of discussing sex in marriage, beyond a woman’s actual virginity or not, is a vetting tool that is a predictor of how it will be in marriage.