Because Christianity is bigger than Biblical manhood or Biblical womanhood

This idea is commonly touted in evangelical culture:

Girls should stay sexually pure for their future husbands.

I propose that this is not a Christian idea. Can you spot why?

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Ps: I would like at least two guesses from two different participants on why this is not a Christian idea before I comment.

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Comments on: "What is wrong with girls staying virgins for their future spouses?" (19)

  1. I don’t like the way they word these quotes. Saving yourself for marriage should be a human deal, and not a ‘female’ deal. They over value this issues to the point if someone gets raped for example? They are seen as damaged goods. If they give themselves prior to marriage – they have given part of their heart away to someone else. Its the shamed based thinking, and the second class human aspect if you don’t follow the rules – or not allow yourself to be molested – that makes me upset. Some circles make it sound like only males should be given some sort of exception, because of how they are ‘wired’. What nonsense. Some seem to think the way you dress or present yourself according to their standards make you unpure as well. Its so crazy.

  2. Adele Hebert said:

    Although I am all for both people saving themselves for marriage, I do see many potential problems with the male mentality towards it, as the focus is almost always on the girl / woman. First of all, the woman’s sexual organ does not belong to her father or her husband. The original intent was to secure the offspring, so that the father knew without a doubt that the child was his. Second, a woman does not need to account to anyone for her past; men don’t. Third, a woman’s worth should never be based on her sexual history. Fourth, this mentality promotes child brides, a terrible tradition which forces girls into marriage at very young ages, before their menstration even begins, and before their bodies are ready for pregnancy and child birth, resulting in many young women dying in the process or needing surgeries. This is a Huge problem for millions of girls every year. Fifth, child prostitution is a rampant evil in every country and city. Children are kidnapped and enslaved to satisfy men’s desire for the elusive over-rated virgin. What form of beast can enjoy raping a young young girl (dare I say even babies)?

    Men are Insanely obsessed with female virginity.

    Fathers guard it as if it is their most priced possession. Husbands are unreasonably jealous because of it. Many won’t marry a woman unless she is a virgin. Surgeries are created to make girls virgins, because of fear of future husband, even if they never slept with a man, because some girls have no hymen. Some endure a lifetime of surgeries because the butcher sewed her up too much, creating other problems… I won’t even start about female genital mutilation, but there is a definite link.

    Men rape for it. Men kill for it.

  3. One- it gives a different spiritual standard for the female vs. male Christian
    Two- the motive for doing it (or not “doing it” lol) is to please man and not God
    Three- it assumes marriage is the natural/intended/proper state of all women (or all Christian women) which is not taught in the Bible.

    I’m sure there’s more…

  4. Adele Hebert said:

    Men have made a religion out of virginity. This is not part of Christianity. Our religion is based on faith in the resurrection of Jesus. What is in our heart is more important that our past. Other cultures revolve on outward appearance and performance and are based on fear. Our God is a God of love.

  5. Adele Hebert said:

    Not part of the ten commandments. Jesus never used that word.

  6. The context is all wrong. It’s assumed that every girl/woman will marry. The action is defined in terms of a man–”future husband”–who may not even exist. And obviously this is the wrong focus if it’s about being christian.

    I agree with what everyone else has been saying.

    The girls/women in question are being encouraged to behave in a certain way not because of their identity in Christ but as a commodity in the spouse-seeking market.

    Boys/men being left out of this expectation, or at least its being less emphasized, is also a clue, a wholeheartedly agree.

  7. This reminds me – my husband claims to not be patriarchal, but his actions and the things that come out of his mouth during heated arguments prove otherwise. I remember when my eldest daughter had started her period, he did not want her to wear tampons because he wanted her hymen intact for her husband. I was so upset at that comment. He wanted my daughter to have to refrain from swimming each month during her period just so her future husband could have the privilege of breaking the hymen on their wedding night (as if that is such an enjoyable experience for a woman, anyway). I never did buy her tampons and she never asked. She’s out of the home now and uses tampons.

    Why is there so much emphasis on young ladies and their purity and not guys?

  8. I knew it. My regular readers do not need me to teach on this – you know it already. But thank you for commenting. It is my prayer that those (men and women, boys and girls) who want to think about what God expect of them, or what God want them to teach, could ponder something like these comments.

    To recap what my regulars know already:

    Girls: God calls not only girls, but everyone to have nothing to do with sexual immorality.
    If purity was for girls (not women), it would imply that brides lose it when they marry, that husbands make them impure. There are actual stories of real Christian brides who felt that way and worried about marriage because of it.

    stay pure:
    If purity is for girls, it ties purity to the state of the hymen. Nothing in the New Testament ties purity to the hymen. It is a suitable attitude for all believers. Being washed clean by God is to be pure in God’s sight, regardless of your past.
    In those days it was very common for slaves both male and female to be sexually molested by owners, without it being in their power to stop it. But there is not one passage that teaches that slaves are lesser members of the congregation for being “impure.” Because being abused does not make anyone impure, and should not decrease the standing of the victim in the eyes of the church.
    Purity, in essence, is a heart quality that should find expression in the Christian (male or female)’s current behavior choices. You can be a lifelong celibate with an evil mind, and God would not regard you as pure. You can be pure in God’s eyes with a past that include prostitution.

    gift:
    That is probably a partial truth. In a sense, our bodies as Christians belong not to ourselves, but to Jesus. In another sense, the wife’s body belongs to the husband and the husband’s to the wife. (1 Cor 7:3-5) Some people may just find it hard to remember, if the female body is discussed as a gift, a possession, that it is as much true of the male body.
    But there is a down side to thinking of the body as a gift. When a woman grows up and talk to real men, and realize most men are really not all that concerned with the state of the hymens of the women in their lives, the motive for keeping “pure” become diminished.
    When we hear how sex is a need of males, and learn Christians should be generous and care about the needs of others, the not-in-the-Bible “this is a gift” idea actually makes it harder to not give the “gift.”

    future spouse: Some women who hear this message get older, is still single, and believe that they may not get a spouse. Nobody keeps a gift for someone who they believe not to exist. For example, a 5-year old may put out cookies for Santa Claus, but his teen brother may take them later. The teen feels no moral qualms about it, as Santa does not exist.
    What happens when you keep your virginity for a “future spouse”, and you come to the conclusion that he do not exist? You have no motive to keep it any more.

    The Bible, on the other hand, say you (male and female) should keep from fornication for God, and for the sake of your own body. (The latter in 1 Co 6:18) These motives remain, no matter if you are young or old, single or married.

  9. I’ve never thought this topic through to many of these conclusions, and I appreciate them here. I have, however, thought of how insisting that a woman’s virginity/sexuality is the property of a man, that is to say, controlled by a man (first, her father, in those groups, then, her husband) reduces women, once again, to sexual objects, and how it also feeds men’s pride. Neither of these situations being Christ-like, of course.

    In addition, it’s no wonder that some women in the groups may have a huge let down after their first encounter on the wedding night. Sex is waaaaaaaaaay too hyped in the patriarchy movement. Patriarchal men seem obsessed with it. And then, having heard recently of the “strange woman” idea held by some men in the movement who think that if a girl has somehow been damaged ( even by rape or molestation) she is now accessible to them as again, a sexual object, without the need to protect or preserve her idolized virginity. This is simply another “cold threat” aimed at girls in that cult to intimidate them into doing what daddy says (see my explanation of “cold threats” here:

    http://pnissila.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/on-cold-threats-against-women-in-extra-biblical-patriarchycomplementarianism-epc-groups/

    Keep up the good work and advocacy, sisters. I pray that girls and women preyed upon by the men in this cult will find freedom in Christ Jesus. What a horrible way to be forced to live.

    • It is terrible, Pniscilla. What a horrible thing, to be regarded as of less worth because of something that was not your fault. That is, IMO, why no New Testament writer actually discussed virginity much or recommended it. I think the New Testament only mention it in the context of Mary the mother of Jesus being one, and a mention in 1 Cor 7 on perhaps “doing right by your virgin” by marrying. (There is some variation in how the latter is translated.)

    • You mention something that I have also experienced outside patriarchy: If patriarchy over-hype sex, they are just like the secular world. Many experience it as a huge let down, as you say.

      On the other side of the coin, part of what keep me able to say no is women who told sex the first time is not remarkable, it is akward, and they were thankful their did not do that akward thing with someone who did not care, but with husbands who promised to stay for the long haul. Or that they wish their first sexual experience was with someone who really cared.

      • Good point, Retha. Sometimes I don’t examine all the aspects of an issue as closely as I should. :) I agree that the chances are a little better for couples to overcome initial awkwardness, disappointments, shyness, etc., if they are in it for the long haul and truly care for one another. I would hope this for both young women and young men, too.
        blessings,
        Phyllis
        P.S. I just posted a little “comic relief” story from my sister about one of her Alaskan adventures that my family and I have been enjoying for several years. If you need a smile and a breather just now in this busy season, see it here: pnissila.wordpress.com

  10. You really don’t have to examine everything that closely – it is just part of my personality to hyperfocus on a few things to the exclusion of others.
    I have to be careful and make lists, or even things like washing hair and scratching the dirt from under my nails may fall in the “others” category. :-D

  11. Helen Davis said:

    I have no problem with sex outside of marriage, but once you’re married PLEASE don’t cheat. ANd if you’re not happy in a relationship– don’t cheat, just leave.

    • Princess, don’t you think some people leave too quickly when they feel unhappy? That some not-so-happy relationships/ marriages can be saved?

  12. Whatever we do, we do for God’s glory…not for humanity’s.

    You honor God with your body, and He may never call you to marriage. Don’t wait on a spouse, work on honoring God with your life.

  13. People who happen to find this conversation and learn from it, here is more: http://deeperstory.com/i-am-damaged-goods/

  14. Is it because of I Cor. 7? The Christian ideal is to actually stay single, but for those who need sex, marriage is allowed?

  15. Cicely Duke said:

    The overemphasis on physical signs of virginity brings to my mind Romans 2:28-29:

    For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.

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