By Memory Camero | firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2009, Tim Tebow stepped in the spotlight and announced to the public that he is in fact a virgin, saving himself for marriage.
Six years later his now ex-girlfriend, Olivia Culpo, was rumored to have dumped him because he would not sleep with her.
Eyes widen and jaws drop at the sound of a 22-year-old saying they are “still a virgin.”
In this generation of Millennials, we assume that the normal thing to do is have sex. Then there’s the alternative, the negative perception of virgins, which is usually that they are either unattractive or religious fanatics.
There are a few young women here at Flagler College who defy the stigma and have something significantly different to say about their sexuality. Each girl ranging from the ages of 18-22, have their own story to share about why they choose to be a virgin.
Carie Levy, 18
Levy is saving herself for marriage. She says the right guy will be willing to wait.
“I heard a really cool song sophomore year and I never forgot it,” she said. “It’s called ‘Hide Your Love Away’ by Anthem Lights … In the song he’s talking to his future wife who he knows he’s never met before and he says ‘Wherever you are right now, you’re already the love of my life.'”
These lyrics only amplified her desire to be devoted to her husband, and as she puts it is, “saving it as a gift for him.”
Levi also says she is doing this for herself.
“I’m not just gonna give myself to anybody.”
“For a while I was afraid to tell people because I thought they would judge me … And then I was like ‘Wait. Why am I afraid? It’s not a bad thing!'”
Levi says when people find out she is a virgin, they ask a lot of questions such as: “Are you doing this because your parents are making you?” or “Is that some sort of weird religious thing?” She describes each comment as “demeaning” as they poke holes in her story. “It almost makes you feel stupid,” she said.
“It’s not an easy thing to do, to wait for marriage. It’s also nice being around other girls that have the same opinion because it’s a lot easier … and then you realize ‘Wait! I’m not weird for wanting to do this.'”
Levi also hopes to save her first kiss for marriage.
Mariah-Joy (MJ) Jeremiah, 20
Jeremiah grew up in a “religious home” where she was taught that she had to wait until marriage to have sex. She and her family went through the process of buying her a promise ring and making a pact with God. However, she did not fully understand what it meant to make that promise at such a young age. As she got older, Jeremiah decided that she did not identify herself as a religious person. From there it was a matter of “I’ve made it this far. Why just throw it away now and sleep with whoever?”
“I think a lot of people make that promise at such a young age and it is a lie to make that promise because they don’t fully understand what they’re getting themselves into,” she said.
Jeremiah has never dated anyone before. “I just never found someone who particularly wanted to date me, as well as me wanting to date them,” she said.
She says she’s not sure, at this point, what she’s looking for. “It’s not like I have a checklist that once everything is checked off, my virginity goes out the window,” she said.
“Being a virgin isn’t a novelty,” she said. “At one point or another everybody on this earth is a virgin. So how long it takes to lose our virginity, or give our virginity, or however you look at it? I don’t think it should be such a taboo. You get these movies like ’40-Year-Old Virgin’ and it’s making fun of these people who are still virgins at such an old age.”
Her response to these shows?
“I don’t think that I have lived with any less experience or that my life is sad because I haven’t had sex. And people need to stop making it such a big deal”
“When people ask my why I’m still a virgin, I say, it’s because I have a close relationship with Jesus,” Holmes said. Growing up, Holmes was taught that she had to wait until marriage to have sex and she saw it as something that could not be compromised on. As an adult, Holmes said she grew in her faith and the decision to wait became her own, rather than someone’s decision for her.
The way she sees it is,
“Why would I do something to separate myself from Jesus?”
“I don’t think God wants you to feel condemned about that,” she said. “Sex is something that God created. It is beautiful and it is something that has a lot more significance than people give it credit for.”
Taylor Landwer, 20
Landwer is waiting for the right one.
“I’m doing this for myself. It’s kind of like a pride thing. It’s something I’m proud of, but also insecure about,” she said.
“I was with this guy and he asked me if I was a goody-two-shoes and I thought ‘You don’t have to put it like that!’ And I felt a little pressured by him … when you know they have and you haven’t, you feel like you have to live up to that to please them.”
Landwer is constantly reminded by her friends that waiting is something she should be proud of and hold onto.
“There’s still parts of me that wants to just get it over with … but I want to wait until I find the perfect one.”
Natalie Alford, 20
“I am waiting for marriage,” she said. “Obviously it can be hard to wait. I think it has to be hard, otherwise it’s not worth it.”
“I guess the broadest term I could use is religion, but I don’t like to use that word. For some reason that turns people off and makes people think that we think we’re better. So I guess being specific, I believe that my body is a temple.”
Alford says a lot of her friends who have had sex and are from the church have told her, “It’s OK. You’re not going to go to hell.” But that is not her concern. It’s not out of fear that she waits. Rather, it is merely a decision she has made to honor her faith and honor herself.
She has been in a long distance relationship with her English boyfriend for 3 years after meeting online. The last time her and her boyfriend saw each other was in May. There is a pressure, Alford said, to have sex because of the distance and because they have to wait so long in between.
Alford says her boyfriend’s reaction to her wish was positive. She made it a point to let him know before anything happened that sex was out of cards until marriage, and he was only to happy to abide. Alford said it is a challenge for both of them, but it is worth it.
“It’s a good tool to see who the good guys are,” she said. “If they’re gonna wait for you … that’s gonna help you find the right person.”
Natalie sees sex as a gift for two people who are bound to be together forever. For her, that it is a gift to be given, not taken.