I Waited Until My Wedding Night To Lose My Virginity And I Wish I Hadn’t

By Samantha Pugsley

 

 

“Believing that true love waits, I make a commitment to God, myself, my family, my friends, my future mate and my future children to be sexually abstinent from this day until the day I enter a biblical marriage relationship. As well as abstaining from sexual thoughts, sexual touching, pornography, and actions that are known to lead to sexual arousal.”
At the age of 10, I took a pledge at my church alongside a group of other girls to remain a virgin until marriage. Yes, you read that right — I was 10 years old.

Let’s take a look at who I was as a 10-year-old: I was in fourth grade. I played with Barbie dolls and had tea parties with imaginary friends. I pretended I was a mermaid every time I took a bath. I still thought boys were icky and I had no idea I liked girls, too. I wouldn’t get my period for another four years. And most importantly, I didn’t have a clue about sex.

The church taught me that sex was for married people. Extramarital sex was sinful and dirty and I would go to Hell if I did it. I learned that as a girl, I had a responsibility to my future husband to remain pure for him. It was entirely possible that my future husband wouldn’t remain pure for me, because he didn’t have that same responsibility, according to the Bible. And of course, because I was a Christian, I would forgive him for his past transgressions and fully give myself to him, body and soul.

Once I got married, it would be my duty to fulfill my husband’s sexual needs. I was told over and over again, so many times I lost count, that if I remained pure, my marriage would be blessed by God and if I didn’t that it would fall apart and end in tragic divorce.

I believed it. Why wouldn’t I? I was young and these were people I trusted. Everyone knew I’d taken the virginity vow, of course. Gossip is the lifeblood of the Baptist Church. My parents were so proud of me for making such a spiritual decision. The church congregation applauded my righteousness.

For more than a decade, I wore my virginity like a badge of honor. My church encouraged me to do so, saying my testimony would inspire other young girls to follow suit. If the topic ever came up in conversation, I was happy to let people know that I had taken a pledge of purity.

It became my entire identity by the time I hit my teen years. When I met my then boyfriend-now husband, I told him right away that I was saving myself for marriage and he was fine with that because it was my body, my choice and he loved me.

We were together for six years before we got married. Any time we did anything remotely sexual, guilt overwhelmed me. I wondered where the line was because I was terrified to cross it. Was he allowed to touch my breasts? Could we look at each other naked? I didn’t know what was considered sexual enough to condemn my future marriage and send me straight to Hell.

An unhealthy mixture of pride, fear, and guilt helped me keep my pledge until we got married. In the weeks before our wedding, I often got congratulated on keeping my virginity for so long. The comments ranged from curious (how in the world did you manage?) to downright disgusting (I bet you’re going to have one busy wedding night!). I let them place me on the pedestal as their virginal, perfect-Christian-girl mascot.

I lost my virginity on my wedding night, with my husband, just as I had promised that day when I was 10 years old. I stood in the hotel bathroom beforehand, wearing my white lingerie, thinking, “I made it. I’m a good Christian.” There was no chorus of angels, no shining light from Heaven. It was just me and my husband in a dark room, fumbling with a condom and a bottle of lube for the first time.

Sex hurt. I knew it would. Everyone told me it would be uncomfortable the first time. What they didn’t tell me is that I would be back in the bathroom afterward, crying quietly for reasons I didn’t yet comprehend. They didn’t tell me that I’d be on my honeymoon, crying again, because sex felt dirty and wrong and sinful even though I was married and it was supposed to be okay now.

When we got home, I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Everyone knew my virginity was gone. My parents, my church, my friends, my co-workers. They all knew I was soiled and tarnished. I wasn’t special anymore. My virginity had become such an essential part of my personality that I didn’t know who I was without it.

It didn’t get better. I avoided undressing in front of my husband. I tried not to kiss him too often or too amorously so I wouldn’t lead him on. I dreaded bedtime. Maybe he’d want to have sex.

When he did, I obliged. I wanted nothing more than to make him happy because I loved him so much and because I’d been taught it was my duty to fulfill his needs. But I hated sex. Sometimes I cried myself to sleep because I wanted to like it, because it wasn’t fair. I had done everything right. I took the pledge and stayed true to it. Where was the blessed marriage I was promised?

I let it go on this way for almost two years before I broke down. I just couldn’t do it anymore. I told my husband everything. My feminist husband was horrified that I’d let him touch me when I didn’t want him to. He made me promise I’d never do anything I didn’t want to do ever again. We stopped having sex. He encouraged me to see a therapist and I did. It was the first step on a long journey to healing.

Ten-year-old girls want to believe in fairy tales. Take this pledge and God will love you so much and be so proud of you, they told me. If you wait to have sex until marriage, God will bring you a wonderful Christian husband and you’ll get married and live happily ever after, they said. Waiting didn’t give me a happily ever after. Instead, it controlled my identity for over a decade, landed me in therapy, and left me a stranger in my own skin. I was so completely ashamed of my body and my sexuality that it made having sex a demoralizing experience.

I don’t go to church anymore, nor am I religious. As I started to heal, I realized that I couldn’t figure out how to be both religious and sexual at the same time. I chose sex. Every single day is a battle to remember that my body belongs to me and not to the church of my childhood. I have to constantly remind myself that a pledge I took when I was only 10 doesn’t define who I am today. When I have sex with my husband, I make sure it’s because I have a sexual need and not because I feel I’m required to fulfill his desires.

I’m now thoroughly convinced that the entire concept of virginity is used to control female sexuality. If I could go back, I would not wait. I would have sex with my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I wouldn’t go to hell for it. We would have gotten married at a more appropriate age and I would have kept my sexuality to myself.

Unfortunately, I can’t go back but I can give you this message as a culmination of my experiences: If you want to wait to have sex until marriage make sure it’s because you want to. It’s your body; it belongs to you, not your church. Your sexuality is nobody’s business but yours. 

This article originally appeared on xoJane.

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8 thoughts on “I Waited Until My Wedding Night To Lose My Virginity And I Wish I Hadn’t

  1. As someone who can relate but didn’t wait, I read parts of this to my fiance and one of his responses was, why then is it always referred to as “losing your virginity”, if you wait until you’re married and do everything “right” then why aren’t you gaining something?

  2. I think your story is tragic. I would never want a woman to go through this misunderstanding. But, I’m a man. What do I know of women’s struggles? But as a man I was also encouraged to wait until marriage. Never was I told I would go to hell if I didn’t, and nor was my wife who went to the same church. I wouldn’t accept what people told me at church unless I had proof past the age of 15. Because people believe a lot of things that have no merit, but I don’t condemn an entire church because of it. I simply look for the truth. Perhaps you could point out the verses that condone men having sex willy nilly but women must wait? Or that women who don’t wait go to hell? You have a lot of bitterness towards your church, and that’s okay . But I think you know your article will cause pain to that church and that is mean spirited. In the end YOU are responsible for YOU. Nothing anyone tells you can change that.

  3. It’s sad that you thought about it this way. I am religious, but I view sex as something incredibly beautiful and special. I wanted to choose one special person to share it with, because sex binds you on a deep emotional level. Yes, I was a virgin before my wedding, so it hurt the first several times. I’m even glad my husband and I shared that part though, because he was so gentle and understanding. We got a chance to experience the beautiful awkwardness together. It did feel rather dirty the first few times, but I’m totally comfortable with it now and I’m usually the one who gets things started.

  4. Dear Sam, reading your post made me really sad, because of all the suffering that you endured. What made me sad the most, and also kind of angry, was the concept of “church” and “God” that your church gave. Let me start of by telling you that I feel that you have an aversion to Church because of the bad church you went to. I feel that you should not have made a pledge to remain pure, just because it was the righ thing. As you said, when you were 10 you had no idea what sex was. I also think that your church made that pledge more of a show off than a real comittment. Also, your church should not have bombarded you with “You’ll go straight to hell if you do that!”. Who are they to judge? They have all sinned. I am a virgin, and everyone knows that, but I do not find my identity in that. This is the problem with your church. It gave more focus to who you were because of what you did (or in this case what you didn’t do). I do not think that taking the pledge was wrong, but you shouldn’t have kept it just because you took the pledge, but out of love. This is the woderful thing about it. I have never taken a pledge to remain “pure” (it’s not true purity, because lust will always come to my mind, but I try to avoid it), nor do I intend to, because what I wanna do for God is between God and me. I don’t need the entire Church to know what I want to do for God. Your old church seems like a very superficial chruch. The reason why I remain “pure” is not even for my future wife (whom I assume I will deeply love). The reason why I remain pure is because of my love for God. I love God so, so, so much, that I don’t want him to feel sad. God does not hate you if you lose your virginity before marriage, it’s the opposite. He feels extremely sad, because he wants you to do the right thing. There is an amazing quote from a song I love (Everyone’s Someone by Newsboys just in case you wanna hear it) that says, “He [God] doesn’t love us ´cause of who we are, He only loves us ´cause of who he is”. God would not have cared if you lost your virginity outside of marriage, as long as you asked for forgiveness and truly loved him. I have a friend, who did drugs, slept with tons of women, and did far worse things than you could have done just by having sex outside of marriage. He became a Christian, and now he is a new man, do you think God cares at all about what he did? No, because he’s a new man. God chooses to forgive. He did not send his Son to send you to Hell, he sent his Son to give you the best thing ever: eternal life with him. As Paul says in the Bible, the law is not made to save you, it would have never made you a Christian or promised you a good life, the law is there to point out that we are sinners. I have sinned far more than what you could have sinned with sex outside of marriage, but I asked God for forgiveness, and I chose to accept his beautiful gift. God has his arms open right now, and he’s willing to take you back, don’t leave him waiting. Trust me, God loves you imensely, and he wants to be with you. God did not create you just to satisfy your husband’s desires. He created you to satisfy your own desires, and the best desire you can have is an eternity in paradise with the only thing that matters: God. You might read this and don’t care at all, or it might have a big impact on your life. I love you as a person, and I will pray that it impacts, not only your life, but also the life of those around. May God truly, truly bless you, and may he give you a soft heart so you can love him again, and forgive all of the people that hurt you in the past.

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