Ah the dreaded moment. When the attractive male co-worker you’ve been flirting with for weeks finds out you’re a virgin.
It’s kind of like being seen in your underwear, but the underwear is really frumpy.
“Hey, you want a beer?”
“No, I’m good.”
“Come on, when you stay at work past 10 PM it’s a rule. Beer must be drunk.”
“Oh, well…I don’t drink.”
“Really? Weird. Why not?”
“Well, I don’t really want to. And it’s part of my religion. (slow-motion) I’m Mooooorrmmmoonnnn.”
In his eyes you see it. The confusing realization that there is no hope of ever getting you in bed. After a long pause he finds a politically correct way to phrase the question.
“Does that mean you can’t date people who aren’t Mormon?”
I don’t remember exactly what I said to the handsome devil who asked me this question. But I do know that I ruined our office romance forever.
First off, let me make this clear: I am 100% happy to have “saved myself” for marriage. I don’t feel like any less of a person or woman because of it. But I won’t pretend that it doesn’t feel a little strange to be on the outside of a secret the rest of the world seems to be in on.
It’s not like we’re clueless. We all went to High School. But as some smart person once said, there is no teacher like experience.
“Waiting” is one of those things that has gone from being socially expected to socially rejected. The thing about our religion is that it doesn’t just change whenever society does–there are a few things we will never budge on. Thus, as time goes further and further, we become weirder and weirder. (see chart)
But making out can be fun too. Right guys? Right??
Seriously though, don’t feel bad for us. We don’t feel that bad for ourselves. I know when I tell you I’m glad to be a virgin it’s like when my friend tells me she is really enjoying her juice cleanse. But I mean it. It’s just a shift in perspective. We see sexuality a little differently than the rest of the world does.
I’ll give you the tiniest, most insufficient Cliff’s Notes* version of why we believe what we do about chastity:
We believe our bodies are sacred.
We define marriage as the union of man and wife, sealed together for eternity by God.
We believe sex is the ultimate expression of love and unity between man and wife. (It also gives them the ability to create humans, which is cool and not to be taken lightly.)
It’s pretty simple.
I find it interesting how much people want to focus on all the things we can’t do. How chastity is so inhibiting and how we’re forced into this celibate state. They see us as a sad group of dorks, sitting around…”waiting.” We’re not.
We believe in meaningful relationships. We believe in love. We believe in sex within marriage. We believe in families. (Have you seen how many kids there are in Utah?)
I could go on listing a million reasons why and yet you would still ask why. Trust me, there are days (nights) when we ask ourselves the same thing. I could try to explain why I’m happy to still have my v-card at age 24—how I’m glad as a teenager I never felt used by a guy. How I like building relationships on more than just the physical. How I never worried about getting pregnant, getting an STD, or getting more emotionally attached to someone than I was ready to. But I know that’s not really the full argument. I know there are unmarried couples who truly love each other and are having perfectly safe sex as I type.
So instead I will tell you that like anything else I believe, my decision to remain a virgin until I’m married, and stay committed to my husband for the rest of my life, is a choice to follow a commandment. I am grateful for it. I trust the God who gave it. Living it has brought happiness to my life.
I’m quite looking forward to being married.
*If you have a moment and want to fully understand the doctrine behind the belief, read this article. It’s a few years old, it’s pretty serious, but it changed the way I understand my belief. Given by one of the Apostles of our church at a Brigham Young University Devotional. It is amazing.