Virginity doesn’t mean what it used to mean.
Before the easy access of pornography, virginity often meant that someone was pure in their life. Not so much now. Pornography has so oversexualized our culture that you don’t even have to watch it to know what it looks like. You just have to watch the latest Nicki Minaj music video, which leaves very little to the imagination.
In the past, men would flip through Sears catalogs to the intimates section. That was the extent of the exposure. Now with online pornography, the most intense pornography is within the palm of your hands. You can watch it whenever and wherever. No imagination is needed for that.
I’ve been around sexual recovery for a while now. Since I started my journey, I have led in different ministries, had my own men’s group and counseled many men and women. I’ve seen a wide range of addictions to sex. From reading material, to pornography, to hooking up, to role-playing video games and everything in between.
However, most people have a way to minimize their issue. It sounds like this:
“Yeah, I watch a lot of porn, but man I used to hook up every week! I’m at a much better place now!”
“I mean, I watch porn, but I’m still a virgin!”
“I don’t watch porn, but one of my favorite shows is Game of Thrones.”‘
“Yeah, girls aren’t like guys. We don’t struggle with porn. I did read Fifty Shades of Grey, but it’s nothing like watching pornography.”
“The most I do is masturbate, that’s pretty much it. I don’t deal with all that other stuff. I don’t even watch TV.”
What’s the standard?
The standard that stands out the most to me is the virginity one. But if it’s done with hypocrisy, wearing that badge is no different than any other excuse. The reason it stands out is because at one time we’ve held this standard on a pedestal. If you’ve never had sex in your life, but you watch a lot of porn, how important is it then then? Someone may say, “Hey, I haven’t see porn all my life,” but their mind is full of lust. Is that freedom? How about that movie with that one sex scene that you watch over and over? No porn this week, right?
I went a year straight without masturbating. I was very proud of that year. I should have framed it. I deserve a medal or a holiday. But that year was very deceiving. For six months or so I had total victory. For the latter half I didn’t “finish,” which I’ve heard many men call “not masturbating.” I promise you that your mind is not on godly things when you’re doing that.
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. –Matthew 5:28
That is the standard.
Don’t lose sight of the goal.
Sobriety is not the goal. If you look at Matthew 5:28, though, it does sure seem like it.
The goal is becoming more like Christ and glorifying Him. As Christ becomes bigger in your life, everything else becomes smaller. All aspects of your life change. You start seeing where you fall short in many areas of your life. So any of those excuses I mentioned could be the start of your journey toward purity and freedom. But you shouldn’t be satisfied in whatever spot you currently live. Sobriety is good in that it shows growth, but it’s not ultimate. You need to always be looking for areas where you can honor Him more.
Your virginity is still important.
For those of you who fall into this category, it’s still important. Mainly because it’s a rare story. And if you can combine it with purity, then you have a very good thing to offer your future spouse, and great testimony of how God has kept you and sustained you. Plus it’s an encouragement to many people who are in the same boat.
We’re all in this together.
I know it’s much easier to make light of our shortcomings, because to some people it’s “not that bad.” I’m tempted do it all the time. I don’t want to trust God in that moment; I want to escape into my mind. But I can’t lose sight of what Christ has saved me from. So I will trust Him in that moment.
Whatever background you have, purity can start today. Honor God with your thoughts and actions. And rest assured in this:
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly. -Psalm 84:11