Category Archives: Virginity

What Happens To Men Who Stay Abstinent Until Marriage?

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by Sarah Diefendorf

Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend Ciara arrive at a White House State Dinner in April.

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his girlfriend, the singer Ciara, recently announced plans to remain sexually abstinent until marriage.

It was a vow that came as a surprise to many. After all, sexual purity is a commitment that is historically expected of, associated with – even demanded of – women. However, sexual abstinence is not something assumed of men, especially men like Russell Wilson.

Wilson, an accomplished, attractive athlete, embodies contemporary ideals of masculinity, which include style, wealth and, yes, sexual prowess.

So how does a man like Russell Wilson navigate a commitment to abstinence while upholding ideals of masculinity? Wilson’s status as an athlete and heartthrob is likely giving him what sociologist CJ Pascoe calls “jock insurance.” In other words, due to his celebrity status, he can make traditionally nonmasculine choices without having his masculinity questioned.

But what does it mean for a man who isn’t in the limelight, who makes a similar type of commitment to abstinence? And what does it mean for the women they date, and might eventually marry?

I’ve been researching men who pledge sexual abstinence since 2008, work that comes out of a larger scholarly interest in masculinities, religion and sex education.

While men make this commitment with the good intentions for a fulfilling marriage and sex life, my research indicates that the beliefs about sexuality and gender that come hand in hand with these pledges of abstinence do not necessarily make for an easy transition to a married sexual life.

Who’s Pledging “Purity?”

Comedian Joy Behar recently joked that abstinence is what you do after you’ve been married for a long time. Here, Behar makes two assumptions. One is that sexual activity declines both with age and the time spent in a relationship. This is true.

The second is that abstinence is not something you do before marriage. For the most part, this is true as well: by age 21, 85% of men and 81% of women in the United States have engaged in sexual intercourse.

purity ringIf we compare these numbers to the average age of first marriage in the United States – 27 for women, and 29 for men – we get the picture: most people are having sex before marriage.

Still, some in the United States are making “virginity pledges,” and commit to abstinence until marriage. Most of the data that exist on this practice show that those who make the pledges will do so in high school, often by either signing a pledge card or donning a purity ring.

Research on this population tells us a few things: that those who pledge are more likely to be young women, and that – regardless of gender – an abstinence pledge delays the onset of sexual activity by only 18 months. Furthermore, taking a virginity pledge will often encourage other types of sexual behavior.

Virgins In Guyland

But little is known about men who pledge and navigate this commitment to abstinence.

I was curious about how men maintain pledges in light of these statistics, and also balance them with expectations about masculinity. So in 2008, I began researching a support group of 15 men at an Evangelical church in the Southwest. All members were white, in their early to mid-20’s, single or casually dating – and supporting each other in their decisions to remain abstinent until marriage.

The group, called The River, met once a week, where, sitting on couches, eating pizza or talking about video games, they’d eventually gravitate toward the topic that brought them all together in the first place: sex.

On the surface, it would seem impossible for these men to participate in what sociologist Michael Kimmel calls “Guyland” – a developmental and social stage driven by a “guy code” that demands, among other things, sexual conquest and detached intimacy.

Rather, the men of The River approach sex as something sacred, a gift from God meant to be enjoyed in the confines of the marriage bed. At the same time, these men struggle with what they describe as the “beastly elements” – or temptations – of sexuality. And it is precisely because of these so-called beastly elements that these men find each other in the same space every week.

The men of The River grappled with pornography use, masturbation, lust and same-sex desire, all of which can potentially derail these men from their pledge.

It raises an interesting dilemma: to these men, sex is both sacred and beastly. Yet the way they navigate this seeming contradiction actually allows them to exert their masculinity in line with the demands of Guyland.

Group members had an elaborate network of accountability partners to help them resist temptations. For example, one had an accountability partner who viewed his weekly online browsing history to make sure he wasn’t looking at pornography. Another accountability partner texted him each night to make sure that he and his girlfriend were “behaving.”

While these behaviors may seem unusual, they work in ways that allow men to actually assert their masculinity. Through what sociologist Amy Wilkins calls “collective performances of temptation,” these men are able to discuss just how difficult it is to refrain from the beastly urges; in this way, they reinforce the norm that they are highly sexual men, even in the absence of sexual activity.

The River, as a support group, works largely in the same way. These men are able to confirm their sexual desires in a homosocial space – similar to Kimmel’s research in Guyland – from which Kimmel notes that the “actual experience of sex pales in comparison to the experience of talking about sex.”

A ‘Sacred Gift’ – With Mixed Returns

The men of The River believed that the time and work required to maintain these pledges would pay off in the form of a happy and healthy marriage.

Ciara, in discussing her commitment to abstinence with Russell Wilson, similarly added that she believes such a promise is important for creating a foundation of love and friendship. She stated that, “if we have that [base] that strong, we can conquer anything with our love.”

So what happened once after the men of The River got married? In 2011, I followed up with them.

All but one had gotten married. But while the transition to married life brought promises of enjoying their “sacred gift from God,” this gift was fraught.

Respondents reported that they still struggled with the beastly elements of sexuality. They also had the added concern of extramarital affairs. Furthermore – and perhaps most importantly – men no longer had the support to work through these temptations.

There were two reasons behind this development.

First, respondents had been told, since they were young, that women were nonsexual. At the same time, these men had also been taught that their wives would be available for their pleasure.

It’s a double standard that’s in line with longstanding cultural ideals of the relationship between femininity and purity. But it’s a contradiction that leaves men unwilling to open up to the very women they’re having sex with.

These married men and women were not talking to each other about sex. Rather than freely discussing sex or temptation with their wives (as they had done with their accountability partners), the men simply tried to suppress temptation by imagining the devastation any sexual deviations might cause their wives.

after marriage

After marriage, the men felt left to their own devices.

Second, these men could no longer reach out to their support networks due to their own ideals of masculinity. They had been promised a sacred gift: a sexually active, happy marriage. Yet many weren’t fully satisfied, as evidenced by the continued tension between the sacred and beastly. However, to open up about these continued struggles would be to admit failure as masculine, Christian man.

In the end, the research indicates that a pledge of sexual abstinence works to uphold an ideal of masculinity that disadvantages both men and women.

After 25 years of being told that sex is something dangerous that needs to be controlled, the transition to married (and sexual) life is difficult, at best, while leaving men without the support they need. Women, meanwhile, are often left out of the conversation entirely.

So when we urge abstinence in place of healthy conversations about sex and sexuality, we may be undermining the relationships that are the driving goal of these commitments in the first place.

Complete Article HERE!

The Virginity Myth

Name: Tia
Gender: Female
Age: 19
I have a problem. I’m still a virgin, but my bf thinks I’m not. It’s really my fault he thinks this, cuz I told him I was all experienced and everything. We’ve been going together for about 8 months already and I really want my first time to be with him, but how am I going to act all experienced when I don’t know what I’m doing.
HELP ME PLEASE!!!

That sure enough is a pickle you got yourself into darlin’. You’ve got some ‘splanin’ to do Lucy!

Funny, because I’m more likely to hear from young women who are not virgins, who want to know how they can fool a new partner into thinking, they are. I guess we can chalk up all this deception and confusion to the powerful associations every culture imposes on virginity…female virginity, that is.

virginityLike most things sexual there is a huge double standard between the cultural and personal importance of virginity between the sexes. The cultural expectations about virginity are also tied to age as well as gender. For example, our society expects its 16-year-old girls to be virgins. To be otherwise, at that tender age, would be a scandal in most communities. But a 35year old woman who is still a virgin is considered an old maid — or worse, a dyke — in our society.

Of course, things are more fluid when it comes to boys and men. On the one hand, a 16year old boy, who is not a virgin, may raise some eyebrows in most communities. But many others in those same communities would praise him for being a stud. On the other hand, a 35year old man who is still a virgin is not only the butt of jokes — or worse, a queer — but he’s also more of a disgrace to his gender than an old maid is to hers. Funny how that works, huh?

I hasten to add that there is a lot to argue with in terms of these arbitrary cultural norms, and I encourage ya’ll to argue away. God knows I do! And you don’t have to buy into them either. God knows I don’t! But till things change these norms are the norms, like it or lump it.

I’d love to know why you felt the need to deceive your BF in the first place? Do the people you hang with, prize sexual experience over sexual innocence for a woman of 19? And what are the expectations of your group regarding a 19year old guy? I’ll bet the expectation is that he not be a virgin. Right?

Well you can see why a lot of people, not just you Tia, find this whole thing just too damned complicated. And rather than adding to the confusion or the deception, I encourage you to come clean with the BF about your cherry.Sign-Virginville-VillageOf

Here’s why I think this is the best policy. First, if the BF is sexually experienced, it will be very difficult for you to hide the fact that you’re not. Besides, like you said in your message to me. “I really want my first time to be with him.” Tell him that, sweetheart! No man is gonna turn that down…ever. Simply put, that is the most sexually charged and treasured sentence in any language.

Begin the big talk with your man like this. “Baby, I got something real special to tell you. You know how I’ve been sayin that I’ve been with other guys and shit? Well that was just my way of keeping all the other guys from pestering me for my junk. Baby, the truth is that I haven’t had sex before now. And the best part of this is I’ve decided that I really want my first time to be with you. My cherry belongs to you, baby”

Like I said, Tia, no man is gonna turn that down. The BF will be so flattered you won’t have to pretend to be something you’re not. Clearing the air like this will also allow you to relax when the magic moment finally happens. And relaxation is the key to enjoying yourself. And you should enjoy yourself.

Good luck

First Time Fears

Name: Stephani
Gender: Female
Age: 19
Location: Texas
Does sex hurt the first time?

I assume you mean fucking — penis/vagina — sex, right? The reason I ask is that there are lots of other sexual behaviors that people can engage in that don’t involve intercourse. I’m gonna give you some credit and trust that you already know this. If you don’t you have a whole bunch of remedial work to do, darlin’.

Fucking, even first time fucking never needs to hurt. One thing for sure, lots of lube is essential — first time and every time.i lost my virginity

But there is so much more you can do to prepare yourself (and your partner) for your first fuck. Begin by knowing your body and your sexual response cycle. Is it safe to assume, even though you are a virgin to full-on fucking, that you are familiar with masturbation? If not, honey, that’s where you should start. If you enjoy pleasuring your body to orgasm, you will likely know the kind of stimulation you need to achieve full arousal. This is precisely the information you will want to pass on to your partner before the first fuck-fest begins as well as throughout the event.

The more you know about your body and the mysteries of your particular sexual response cycle the smoother things will go for you and your partner. Nowadays there is absolutely no need for anyone to come to their first partnered sexual encounter uninformed about sex in general and his or her sexuality in particular.

Most women experience pain during fucking (for the first time or anytime) because of one of three basic reasons: 1) She is inexperienced, 2) Her partner is inexperienced or unversed about mutual pleasuring, 3) She is not fully aroused. Right away you can see how a familiarity with your body in general and your pussy in particular will short-circuit at least two of the three basic reasons right away. And while you can’t account for the sexual prowess of your partner, you will be able to direct him/her on how to touch and make love to you. And that, my dear, takes care of the third basic reason.

One other thing, a lot of women don’t relax during sex…thus discomfort…because they worry about becoming pregnant. If you’re not well acquainted with all methods of contraception and actually practicing at least one of them, you’re not ready to have sex.

And one other thing, sexually transmitted infections ought to be a concern of both you and your partner. Don’t be a fuck-up; if your partner has a penis, he ought always use a condom.

Good luck

First Time, Every Time

Name: Julie
Gender: Female
Age: 26
Location: Kentucky
I am a virgin. I am also just asking. How do I keep my first time from hurting? Some say lubrication in excess, but I am very small.

Yep, lots of lube is important — first time and every time.

But there is so much more you can do to prepare yourself for your first fuck. Begin by knowing your body and your sexual response cycle.

Is it safe to assume, even though you are a virgin to full-on fucking, that you are familiar with masturbation? If not, darling, that’s where you should start. If you enjoy pleasuring your body to orgasm, you will likely know the kind of stimulation you need to achieve full arousal. This is precisely the information you will want to pass on to your partner before the first fuck-fest begins as well as throughout the event.

The more you know about your body and the mysteries of your particular sexual response cycle the smoother things will go for you and your partner. Nowadays there is absolutely no need for anyone to come to their first partnered sexual encounter uninformed about sex in general and his or her sexuality in particular.

There are three main reasons why a women might experience pain during fucking — for the first time or anytime: 1) She is inexperienced. 2) Her partner is inexperienced or doesn’t know the first thing about mutual pleasuring, 3) She is not fully aroused. Right away you can see how a familiarity with your body in general and your pussy in particular will short-circuit at least two of the three main reasons right away. And while you can’t account for the sexual prowess of your partner, you will be able to direct him/her on how to touch and make love to you. And that, my dear, takes care of the third main reason.

One other thing, a lot of women don’t relax during sex…thus discomfort…because they worry about becoming pregnant. If you’re not well versed on the main methods of contraception and actually using one of them, you’re not ready to have sex. And one other thing, sexually transmitted infections ought to be a concern for both you and your partner. Don’t be a fuck-up; make sure your partner always uses a condom.

Name: Rocket Man
Gender:
Age: 31
Location: Nashville
Big Dr. Dick, Between busy work schedules, traveling and such, I haven’t had much time for sex. It was actually about a 5-week span without sex or masturbation. When my wife and I finally got together I was built up big time. I knew my response would be quick and my load would likely triple its normal oozeage. Being that it had been so long, there was not much foreplay…we just wanted to get down to the hardcore humping.

I was sitting on a couch and she climbed on top. On her 3rd down stroke, I blew like a Friday afternoon work whistle. She shot off my cock back first into the coffee table, broke it in half and received a few splinters in her ass! Should we replace this piece of furniture, or should I just make her kneel on the floor and rest my legs on her when she’s done sucking me off in the future?

You Nashville folks have all the fun! You get extra points for making me laugh. Perhaps all ya need is sturdier furniture.

PS: don’t be surprised if I steal this: “I blew like a Friday afternoon work whistle.” That’s just downright hilarious.

Name: Colleen
Gender: Female
Age: 28
Location: California
I have noticed lately that I am way more horny than normal. It is like I can’t get enough and the slightest touch gets me going. Also my natural smell from my vagina seems to be extra strong lately and sometimes after my husband and I have sex I have a clear but chunky discharge. I regularly with use Summer’s Eve wash and I have never smelled so strong as I do now. I feel like I am a dog in heat. What is wrong with me?

WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU? Simply put, you’re 28 and you’re as randy as all get-out, darling. Sounds like you’re pert-near feral. If you were in the wild your super-strong odor would attract males from far and wide, each and every one wanting to satisfy your vixen lusts. Good for you!

And here’s a tip: quit with the over the counter douches, already, especially the ones with the fragrances. Despite the perceived benefits of douching, there is growing evidence that any potential health benefit may be outweighed by risks of douching with such products.

Douching upsets the vaginal environment in a number of ways. It shifts the pH, causes direct irritation and inflammation of the vaginal mucosa (the delicate lining of your pussy), and it washes away the good bacteria. So do not douche.

It can also drive bad bacteria up into the uterus and increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Women who douche, even infrequently are much more prone to the common vaginal infection, Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). All ‘feminine hygiene products’ (suppositories, sprays, cleansers, etc) are useless, potentially disruptive, totally unnecessary and a waste of your money. Also avoid any strong chemicals, such as deodorant soaps, anti-bacterial soaps, strongly perfumed soaps or body washes as they can all have negative effects on the beneficial flora and lead to infections and irritation.

And that “clear but chunky discharge” you’re having after the hubby bones you? If your pussy is healthy, Doll, I’d be willing to guess that’s his spooge drippin’ out of your cunt. Ahhh, youth! But if you think otherwise, why not have a physician take a look.

Good Luck, ya’ll!

The Purity Myth Trailer