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liberal and religious

V-Card Diaries: Chaser "When I came out, my definitions of virginity had to change. What counts if you don't have a penis involved?"

Today we’re highlighting Chaser in the US. Although she is religious and becoming a pastor, she felt never pressure from the church to abstain. If you want to tell your story, go to our submission form. You can find all our V-Card Diaries here. A little about myself:

I am a 27 year old bisexual female living in the US. I'm in graduate school to become a pastor and know several other virgins at school (although most people here are not). I am both liberal and religious but have never felt pressure from my parents or church to abstain.

How I define virginity:

I think of sexual activity as a spectrum, meaning there's a difference between being sexual and "having sex." While I do believe penetration of some kind (penis, fingers, tongue, strap-on) does count as the "having sex" end of the spectrum, I also believe in the importance of each person figuring out their own definition and having conversations with their partners about what sex is/means and what they feel comfortable doing. I think that sex is more complicated than PIV, even for straight people. I also don't think that EVERYTHING sexual is "sex." There are layers and levels.

Here's my story:

For a kid who had been going to Sunday School since she was 8, I never felt the Church pressuring me not to have sex. In fact, it's given me some of the best lessons on how how to have the safest (loving, connected, well communicated, protected from disease and pregnancy) sex. The choice not to have sex was mine and always has been. As a teenager, I decided that I didn't want to have sex until marriage because, at the time, marriage symbolized unwavering commitment and sex symbolized ultimate connection. As I've gotten older, I'm unsure if marriage is really the goal (or if it's even on the table), but the reasons for not having sex have shifted. It's been about trust issues, about having waited so long that I want it to be worth it, about not being able to find anyone. Now, it's about specialness: Sex has meaning to me that hasn't been broken, and I don't want to risk breaking it.

When I came out, my definitions of virginity had to change. What counts if you don't have a penis involved? What counts on men but not on women? Women but not on men? In the end, I looked at what I felt counted for one and for the other and decided that those are the things that should count for everyone I date. It shouldn't be about gender/sex or what sexual organs someone has; what counts counts.