Something I've tried to emphasize in my blog is that virgins choose to wait for a variety of reasons. For example, Christians generally believe that premarital sex is a sin (although 80% of young, unmarried Christians are still engaging in it). Personally? I don't think it's a sin, but I've still chosen to abstain.
But abstain from what, exactly?
By choosing virginity for personal reasons and not for religious reasons, I also have the privilege of choosing how I define virginity. Since the majority of my experiences have been with men, and I have a boyfriend, not a girlfriend, I've taken a heteronormative view in defining what sex is—or rather, what sex will be—for me. Until I engage in sexual intercourse (with my husband, of course!), I will continue to call myself a virgin. However, I'm totally supportive of fellatio, cunnilingus, and masturbation,* solo or mutual. Just like I don't think premarital sexual intercourse is a sin, I don't think all the fun non-sex sex is a sin either.
That said, most of my virgin friends are saving themselves for religious reasons. They believe that premarital sex is a sin. And here is where the line becomes tricky.
If you're a devout Christian and proud to be a virgin, especially if you're currently in a relationship, then you might not like what I have to say.
Because if you think premarital sex is a sin, but you're having all the fun with non-sex sex like I am, you're not keeping yourself sexually pure.
There's a huge difference between virginity and sexual purity. If you're like me, then it doesn't really matter. I'm not "sexually pure," and I'm totally okay with that.
But if you're trying to keep yourself pure for your future spouse one day, because you only want him or her to know your body in an intimate manner, you need to rethink what you're doing.
It's not about drawing a line, saying “ABC is okay, but XYZ is not.” It's about making a sincere, genuine commitment to God and to your future spouse. I know there are Christians who are saving themselves because that's what they've been told to do their whole lives. They are going off a technical definition of virginity, not sexual purity. In all likelihood, they have not really thought about it themselves; they're just making a check mark on the list of “How to be a Good Christian.”
(Just FYI, following a list of Do's & Don't's is among the worst ways to be a good Christian).
Look at Matthew 5:27-29.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.
Here Jesus isn't just saying, “All right, y'all, no intercourse til marriage. But anything that won't result in babies, yeah, that's cool.”
He's straight up saying, “Keep your thoughts clean, or you're committing adultery. A hint on managing just that: no porn.”
If He's commanding us to keep our thoughts pure, it goes to follow that we're called to keep our bodies pure as well. So what exactly does this look like?
I'm not going to draw the line for you. If you are truly committed to keeping yourself pure for your future spouse, figuring out your boundaries is something only you can decide, preferably with thoughtful prayer and careful study of the Bible.**
I can tell you what sexual purity does not look like, however.
My relationship with the boyfriend. ;)
*Who else thinks this is just an awkward word? Fellatio and cunnilingus are sophisticated, sexy-sounding words. The word masturbation is not.
**For a much more insightful (and conservative) view on this topic, I recommend “Like, A Virgin?” by Russell D. Moore.