Guess what?! Your sexual experience doesn’t make you more or less valuable. Period.
Neither does your relationship status or the number of divorces under your belt or all the “obvious, repetitive, horrible disaster” relationships you’ve chosen to get into or stay in over the years.
They just don’t say a single thing about your worth.
They are part of your story and you have many parts to that story.
So, let’s not fixate, idolize, or obsess about how pure we can be or how tarnished we’ve become due to the pleasures we have or have NOT indulged in.
There is no formula we can insert ourselves in and come out the end as the MOST blessed or pure or beautiful. We are human. And that means we are made an entire world of other amazing things like:
And so much more. Let’s fixate on THOSE things. Because it’s in the choosing of those things, where we BECOME.
We become big thinkers and active doers–unafraid to stand alone, but recognizing the value of community. Let’s teach our children that they can BECOME whoever/whatever/whenever they want. It is the gift each of us gets just for existing.
Let’s learn for ourselves so we can teach our sons & daughters that we are more than the sum of our sexual activity.
We are powerful humans who get to choose how BIG we live in the ways we are–kind, capable, conscious, collaborative, and creative.
Let’s stop living small and teaching the next generation to stay small by supporting and repeating implicit (and explicit) messages like:
“Virgins are whole.” (aka Because once you cross “the” line, you can never have your purity back (aka be whole again). You’re broken if you explored your sexuality–before or between marriage(s)–or if you were violated by incest, rape or molesation. And if you forbid yourself from getting to know your own sexual blueprint before you sign a paper and have a ceremony, then you can achieve the ultimate purity prize which no one in particular is assigned to adorn you with, but rest assured, IT’S REAL and it’s totally worth it).
“Sexual acts tarnish you.” (aka You can never be as “clean”, “acceptable”, or “valuable” as you were BEFORE you engaged in a sexual act. But what “act” this specifically pertains to is up to whomever is currently surrounding you–for some it’ll be actual penetration, for others it’ll be any form of arousal before you’ve said vows in front of people who will never be a part of your sexual discovery process, and still for others it’ll be kissing before your wedding. So! Good luck figuring out how to not be tarnished and forever less desirable and even repulsive. Better be safe and never touch anyone you think is attractive… or even talk to them).
“Your virginity is a gift to your future spouse.” (aka You’re destined to marry someone who is ALSO just as unconcerned with your lack of connection to yourself as you are, and this most certainly translates to your sexuality and other areas too. So, be sure and DON’T live in the present moment and appreciate all you are and have today, because maybe one day some hypothetical person is really, really going to want the BEST GIFT EVER–your lack of sexual experience and ignorance about what you like and want in the bedroom–Oooo, fun! Hope you live long enough to experience your hypothetical gift exchange. Death is so uncertain, so I hope THAT day doesn’t come before you do. And for anyone who isn’t sure they want to get married or is certain they don’t want to be married? Well, that’s just silly! You either want to get married as soon as possible or you want to get married a little bit later. Those are your two options. This formula is for everyone, and that’s all there is to it).
“There’s no greater treasure than a virgin bride.” (aka Men can’t help themselves b/c they’re biologically wired for sex, so don’t expect them to be virgins, but women don’t like sex as much as men, so they’re “purity” is a testament to how asleep they are to their own biology, desire, and destiny–to explore and dive intimately into every part of who they are sexually, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. But shhhh, don’t tell! What women don’t know won’t hurt them. Keep them thinking small and living inside the box or else, because think of what might happen if they didn’t–men AND women alike might go on sexual explorations without shame! Yikes! That’s not in the formula).
Ok, I could go on and on, but there’s no sense in beating a dead horse. A lot of people are probably appalled at my insinuation that all people should have sex BEFORE they get married (what can I say? I’m a rebel). The truth is, I actually couldn’t care less if people have sex (however they define that term) before marriage. As with ALL THINGS, I simply frown upon perpetuating ridiculous subliminal, implicit, covert messages AROUND the topic of “sexual purity”. Americans especially have fine-tuned the idealization of abstinence. To me, it sounds more like a dismissive approach, “Hey, listen, as a collective (parents, educators, clergymen) we’re not entirely sure or wholly committed to knowing each of you as individuals to have the hard and brave conversations about sexuality that would require. It actually makes us feel a little squirmy and uncomfortable. So, we’ve decided to just have you all STOP wanting it or doing it until you have the social/emotional intelligence to figure that out for yourself. And we’ll of course back that up with some religious doctrine so you will feel the shame of any inkling toward rebellion and that will only help you make the “right” choice. This will allow us to remain ignorant and just let you deal with this whole conundrum when we’re no longer responsible for your well-being.”
Yeah. Am I wrong? I get it, nobody wants to admit to this or talk about it because then we actually have to acknowledge what’s happening.
So, here, let me get my point across with another elusive analogy. The American method for sex education is a lot like saying to a starving child, “Listen, I know you have an empty feeling in your stomach, that happens when you are biologically wired to eat and haven’t, but listen, you just can’t. If you choose NOT to eat, even though everything in you is made to do it, if you don’t, you’ll be more pure. Just trust me. There’s no actual scientific proof of this, of course, but it’s true. And, by the way, it will ALWAYS be harder for males to turn down food, so as a collective, we don’t really expect them to, but if one occasionally does, he’s a keeper no matter what other questionable behavior he may display. You can trust him if he has chosen not to eat until his wedding night. So, just don’t even play around with food. Just pretend you aren’t even curious about it. Oh, until your wedding feast of course! Then you should eat as much as you want! It won’t hurt and you’ll know exactly what you like, because you trusted the process and you dreamed about it your whole life. It’ll be the best experience of your life because you pretended you didn’t even want it or need it before, so that made you knowledgeable and ready to consume. You’ll be able to handle allllll the side effects of choosing to have your first meal at your wedding just fine– there will be no emotional, physical, or mental pain AT ALL.”
Ok, so maybe there are some holes in my analogy, but you get the point. Pretending the truth is a lie or somehow unnatural will never serve our race. Humans were wired to procreate. If there’s any question about this, just take a look at the male and female anatomy–it’s hard to argue with that. Regardless of what you think about my analogies, consider what you’ve been taught about sex, your sexuality, and all the “shoulds” that surround the topic. Did those teachings serve you well in adulthood? Did you feel free to live fully expressed? Were they confining or damaging in any way? If you could go back, how would you educate yourself about your sexuality and sex in general?
Now, if you have children of your own, consider what you are or will be teaching them (whether with or without words). I am raising my kids to be conscious, critical, and FREE thinkers, and that means I tell them the TRUTH about humans as a WHOLE. For instance:
- The masculine and feminine are equally valuable and uniquely designed–for a REASON. It’s our gift to get curious and discover how and why we are different and made to complement each other as masculine and feminine entities.
- We are more than the sum of our experiences. That means our sexual history, our trauma, our upbringing, our color/race/status/religion does not define WHO WE ARE. We are far more complex and sacred than those kinds of one-dimensional identifiers.
- Humans are constantly evolving, which means we will be in a continuous dance to get to know ourselves and choose who we want to be. You can choose to be aware of this. This is the life of consciousness. This is what it means to live outside the box and not follow the crowd just because that’s the way it’s always been done. Humans are not a system, we are an organism. Each of us is worth discovering every part of what makes us… us.
- Sex is a natural part of the human experience. Our bodies are designed for pleasure, productivity, power, and purpose. This is one of the most compelling and universal experiences we will have in life, so enjoy the process of discovering YOU.
- Truth does not lie. No matter the audience (young or old, religious or atheist, color or nation), culture, situation, job, goal, or perception, the truth is a super power. The truth has the power to pierce through every social, economical, cultural, physical, and spiritual barrier so it can be seen. Our only job as humans is to make space for it. We begin to do this by practicing identifying and speaking our truth.
Being human is a journey. There is no destination for our intellect, desires, or connections. Identifying who we are is much more complex than a number of partners, a score on a standardized test, or our ability to articulate what we know, what we’ve seen, or what we believe. Humans are sacred, evolving organisms. I think it’s about time we start treating ourselves that way.
We can only teach what we believe to be true ourselves. That’s why parenting is such a gift for those who desire it. It asks us to explain, process, and prove why we believe what we believe. We will always have the choice to deny the whole truth and play small, pretend reality is more picturesque than it is painfully human, or practice shame where we are being called to acceptance, but let us make our choices with care. For it is our choices of today that become our substance of tomorrow. There are little eyes, big systems, and potent beliefs that are forming all around what we choose. As we choose, may we forgive ourselves, deepen our truth, and free those who follow us.