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V-Card Diaries: Mary "Some people think 'Well this is what I'm supposed to be doing, cause this is what normal people do.'"

Today we're highlighting 20-something Mary, who says her reasons for not having sex go way beyond her religious beliefs. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. Tell us about yourself: I'm a heterosexual female in my early twenties and I'm a virgin. I'm currently single, but have had a couple long term relationships. I grew up in farm country and have recently moved to the big city to pursue my career. I don't know if its more the cultural differences or just the fact that I'm older, but my virginity has never been as much a "topic of conversation" than it has in the last year that I've been here.

I was raised semi-religious and was taught the Christian rules but we didn't really do the church thing. We got the general "Sex is what two married people do" and "Don't get pregnant, use a condom" answers. My parents acknowledged that my sisters and I might have sex, but they hoped we wouldn't. Nonetheless, the "marriage" part stuck with me and I've yet to hear a good reason to believe it should be any different.

How do you define virginity? To each his own I suppose. Its an interesting debate and people who limit it to "this or that" are missing the bigger picture. I'd go with genital to genital or to anal, to be 100% not a virgin. But a lot of it is really more an emotional experience. If you feel you're still a virgin, then you're still a virgin. I plan on waiting until I'm married to do anything that would require either of us removing our pants.

Why did you decide to stay a virgin? I'm not a zealot, but I believe that ones spirituality and relationship with God is what makes us truly human. Maintaining my virginity is my own way of showing that I can be more than my sexual urges. Its same reason I haven't done drugs or smoked cigarettes. "Because it feels good" is not an answer that will make me a better person. (I probably shouldn't drink either... :-/ Nobody's perfect.) Not everyone will agree with my religious perspectives, but there are a lot of non-religious reasons as well.

Physical-ness is an important part of any relationship, but if I can't find a man who loves me for my heart and my head, he's not the kind of man I want having all of my body. For all you avid blog readers out there, my favorite postsecret of all time says "I fake it with you 50% of the time. But I wouldn't want to fake it with anyone else" To me, THAT, is love. Sex is a part of it, but just a part.

Plus, sex can complicate things. In my experience even making out can complicate things.

I have nothing against people who have responsible sex before marriage. I've even tossed the idea around myself. But I think too many people use sex as an emotional band-aid and having random, casual sex usually does more harm than good.

How have your dates/partners reacted? My first real relationship was over a year long and we never even talked about it, I just always stopped it at some point and he accepted it. My other long term boyfriend agreed that we should wait so that was that. I recently told a man I was interested in that I wanted to wait and I think it turned him off. We're still good friends but when we drink he'll often say things like "It sucks that this girl I really like wont have sex with me." But I figure it's his loss. I don't need anyone who thinks like that.

I'd like to start a relationship, and maybe even fall in love, before the conversation even comes up. A man in love with me would see that I'm worth waiting for (because I believe I am, and I wish more girls would see that they are too) than one who is simply in lust.

Any special plans or ideas for losing it? On my wedding night with my husband. And I very much intend for it to be hot, very hot.

Anything else you want to say about virginity? Virginity is just another label that people are asked to try and fit themselves into. I believe too many young girls think they become woman when they have sex and that it's the grown up thing to do. I think in the back of his or her mind is always the thought that "well this is what I'm supposed to be doing, cause this is what normal people do."

Our society (and our parents) put too much energy into teaching bout sex and not enough emphasis on love, emotions, and communication. (Don't get me wrong, I'm all for safe sex ed) But we need to talk more about self worth, girls need to know that sex doesn't define them, and that they are worth waiting for, at least beyond the first date, and on their own terms.

However, if I'm 40 and still not married, there probably is no God, no love, or good men left. I then intend to become the randiest cougar on the planet. Ha ha!