Can you be a Born Again Virgin?

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Window of St. Augustine...

Louis Comfort Tiffany, Window of St. Augustine, in the Lightner Museum, St. Augustine, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you can be a born again virgin. Although, there will be many scoffers who laugh at you. Some will be offended by the term. Some try to take the importance out of a definition by calling it a mere ‘label.’ Admiral? ‘That’s just a silly label for some guy who made a career out of being in the Navy.’

By Kevin Leland

Although they recognize the importance of repentance from sexual sin, and the lifestyle change that accompanies it; they will say things like:

You won’t be taken seriously about waiting until marriage especially after having had sexual experiences. I think you just use the label ‘born again virgin’ as a protective thing.

Repentance is nothing to be scoffed at. It’s the terminology that describes it that is silly…As if somebody can just ‘take a mulligan’ when it comes to sexual wrongdoing.

There is a fundamental change here that is being swept under the rug. Like using “secondary fidelity” as a phrase to describe someone who has repented of adultery.

How about “born-again innocent”? Stupid. Once you’ve eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil — innocence cannot be regained.

What about true virgins? Doesn’t this dilute the meaning of their appropriate label?

Some kind of positive term is appropriate for those of us like St. Augustine, who struggled with and overcame ungodly sexuality. But does the term ‘born again virgin’ sound like nothing more than a cheap marketing gimmick? In a fast paced world full of bumper-sticker theology and texting short messages, our twenty first century minds deal well with short terms and phrases that are full of meaning. We are also used to the ‘spin’ put on certain terms by those groups that oppose or agree with the idea that the term represents.

This term ‘born again virgin’, especially the “born again” part, is used more by Protestant Evangelicals, as opposed to Catholics. As a Christian who has spent a decade in the Protestant church, before returning to the Sacraments, I see too much discord over concepts that both Catholics and Protestants agree on. Both groups fully understand God’s rules of sexuality. Both grasp the concept of repentance —You are forgiven, go and sin no more. So in order to still have something trivial to bicker about, the terminology that describes these agreed upon concepts gets ripped apart. As if a Catholic who has reserved themselves sexually for marriage, after having premarital sex in the past, needs a different term to describe this new commitment than a Protestant Christian does. Can’t we all get along? Can’t we define together, and agree on, a good term that we can all use?

It seems the discussion always concerns ‘premarital’ sex. What about a believer who was a virgin until their honeymoon, and after a few years of marriage, and even a baby or two, discovered that their spouse was a serial adulterer and a fraud? Catholics have an ‘annulment’ process. If this marriage was annulled, it would leave this sexually virtuous Christian, a single person, who has been chaste their entire life, yet not a virgin. Also, the concept seems to concern itself with consensual sex outside of marriage. What about rape? Shouldn’t that ‘not count’ without it being considered a ‘mulligan’ or ‘sweeping (a physical fact) under the rug?’

Here is a comment I found online by someone who has suffered rape, as well as the regret stemming from the sin of having sex outside of marriage:

You make a valid point there about rape. I see virginity on two levels: biologically and spiritually. I see rape and abuse victims still as virgins even though biologically they are not. Your biological virginity can be taken away from you but your spiritual virginity can not! That you have to give away of your own free will. I know both, the taking away and the giving. The taking away when I was twelve has brought me suffering in this world but the giving away much later has brought me suffering in the next world. I regret that a lot more!

I think this was brilliantly stated. I want to build off this to make my case that a person should be able to define themselves as a ‘born again virgin’ –without being ridiculed or scoffed at. When a person is very young, we assume they do not have the reasoning abilities to consent to sexual activity. That’s why states set a minimum ‘age of consent.’ Why that age is, in most states, a few years under the age to legally enter a contract is beyond me…but that is another discussion. However, when a person comes of age, and has the ability to make decisions for themselves, backed by mature reasoning, do they never make regretful mistakes? Aren’t we somewhat like that poor twelve-year-old, who was likely tricked into having sex with an adult, sexual predator? Child rape usually occurs this way. It’s seldom violently forcible, which doesn’t excuse the crime, either way, it is still sexual abuse and rape.

Even as adults, especially considering our permissive society, it is still quite easy to be ‘tricked’ into having sex outside of marriage. Our culture, outside of religion…well, most religion, basically requires us to be sexualy active and available –if we are over the age of consent. In contemporary Western society, the idea of sex only within a marriage is a concept that is ridiculed, not just by the secular faction. Within religion, unfortunately, there isn’t much integrity. You will find many believers, who understand and believe in the rules, yet don’t apply them to their own lives. So in our churches, or on Christian dating sites, we are still surrounded by people who preach ‘no sex outside marriage’ to their children, and ours, yet don’t practice it themselves. As full grown adults, we may not be as vulnerable to bad ideas as a twelve-year-old can be, but we are not immune to being tricked, or convinced, or pressured by the overwhelming majority of our peers, into aligning our will with the will of the person who wants to boink us, instead of the will of God who desires our purity; body, soul and spirit.

When our wills eventually realign with God’s, in a permanent way, then I think we have a God-given right to declare ourselves a new creature. I think a title, a definition or even a label is warranted. I think when we repent of sexual sin, and are forgiven and absolved, and change our lifestyle accordingly, then we deserve to tote a new title that reflects that change of heart and mind -if not body.. An Admiral isn’t just a person who outranks another sailor who is an Ensign. She is a person who outranks the person she was when she graduated Officer Candidate School. It’s called human development. Candidate, Ensign and Admiral are the terms we use to describe and acknowledge that development.

I don’t think we should be able to crawl out of bed with a stranger, or two, repent, go to church, confess, and then walk out of church calling ourselves a ‘born again virgin’ before lunchtime. I think for the title to carry a bit more weight, there should be a period of time where a BOV candidate must preach and practice the chaste lifestyle. I think there should be some other caveats in addition to a length of time, that I hope this post opens up a dialectic regarding. I believe the period of time that one should practice chastity before stating that they have reclaimed their virginity, should be set at 3 ½ years. I can back this time period up scripturally, although, I would prefer to make that argument in another post, after some discussion here on this post. Please comment below, but refrain from scoffing at the term, especially if you agree with the concept of repentance and chastity that it attempts to describe. Contribute your ideas about what qualifies or disqualifies a person from defining themselves by this term.

Celibacy Stories 2014-02-24_2305

How can Christians be intimate in relationships without engaging in sexual activity?

Posted on November 8, 2011 by  | 3 Comments

By Sally Collins For: Karma Sutra of Celibacy Most mainstream Christian doctrines propose that people remain sexually pure until they are married, because God designed sex to be shared between a husband and wife.  You might argue that having sex … Continue reading →


6 responses to “Can you be a Born Again Virgin?

  1. Thanks Charlene. Our content on this topic is getting a lot of views. I want to start adding more. The site in general has been climbing the ranks, even though I’ve neglected it since I left for North Dakota. I’m back now, and back at it! Just wish I had a few buck to ‘grease the wheels’ lol. Oh well, me gots me elbow grease, huh?

  2. Thanks John. You respected my request not to get into a debate about the ‘term’ here. I read your post. It was well thought out, well written and in general, excellent –however, it was basically a rant about the term itself. I plan to comment tonight. So, what do you say we carry on a discussion there on your blog, regarding the term ‘born again virgin,’ and here on ours, we can discuss the ‘terms’ to be able to tote the title? You are an articulate guy, and your ideas would be welcomed. Just try to keep it in the spirit of a dialectic as opposed to a debate. From what I’ve read on your blog, I know we have very similar hopes, complaints and ideas. It would be a shame to split hairs, instead of plowing new ground, right?

  3. Hi Kevin, thanks for your post and for sharing this with all of us. I agree with you that there is such a think as a born again virgin or someone who chooses celibacy later in life even after marriage and children. In my studies of the Saints I have heard of examples of this where people have convinced their spouse to be celibate even though they remained together in historical times.

    As to the question about whether a woman who is raped is a virgin or not…I did my internship at a pregnancy resource center and during my time there we came upon such cases. Sex is more than just the physical aspect – it is also emotional, relational, and even spiritual (regardless of the spiritual tradition). It is a bonding process of one person getting to know the other person intimately. Rape is less about sex and more about violence. If the other partner does not consent than it is not true sex even though biologically it still might be. And this remains the case even in dating or marriage that if both partners do not agree than it is still considered rape.

    Thanks once again for your post and for sharing your insights with us.


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