Pursuing purity: why I’ve embraced abstinence

I’m a 30-year-old black woman who’s proudly a virgin. Living in America, in 2012, I might be seen as a triple-minority. Some think I’m missing out, depriving myself, allowing my personal and religious beliefs to stifle the passions of my soul. It’s no wonder people think that way. Our culture is sex-saturated.

When I was in high school, the MTV reality show “The Real World” was about people of different genders, races, and political and spiritual beliefs living together in hopes to challenge stereotypes and develop authentic friendships. Now the show’s more about how many attractive people can get drunk and sleep together in an episode.

Think I’m exaggerating? Look up “The Real World” on Wikipedia, and you’ll find that even they agree:

Overt sexual behavior was minimal during the show’s early seasons, relegated mostly to discussion. In subsequent seasons, the level of sexual activity greatly increased, beginning with the Miami season, which depicted or touched upon activities such as exhibitionism, frottage, voyeurism, and threesomes.

I’m thankful I stopped watching years ago. MTV’s target demographic is 18-25, but I bet there are quite of number of 9- to 12-year-olds who view the channel. What message are they giving a young generation? How will these kids learn about sex? If they visit Planned Parenthood’s Teen website page for answers, they’ll read that it’s normal to masturbate, have bisexual sex, experiment with porn, and have an abortion if they’re not ready to be a parent.

Thankfully, there is a better way. We can make choices with our sexuality that won’t involve one night stands, threesomes, porn, STDs, birth control, and abortion. I can testify that my life is a lot happier and healthier without any of the above.

Abstinence is powerful. It’s a strong choice I make to honor my body, resist temptation, and love myself. I’m a virgin not because I haven’t had any opportunities to have sex. Our TV shows and movies often depict virgins as geeky girls and socially awkward guys who are too nerdy to get any action. In reality, those who chose to abstain are beautiful people who are taking personal responsibility for their bodies and emotions.

I don’t feel I’ve “missed out” because I’ve abstained. I have a wonderful life full of rich friendships, global travel, writing, missions work, photography, dancing, and pursuing the dreams of my heart.

It’s been a battle fighting to abstain. My decision has cost me. I’ve left relationships with guys who don’t respect my boundaries and been overlooked by men because of my values. I’ve felt out of place in conversations with friends who glorify their sex lives. I’ve thrown away movies, refused to read books, and stopped attending events where the atmosphere is filled with lust. But though I have paid a price, I’ve received a much greater gain.

Choosing abstinence has led me to a healthier self-esteem, stronger will, higher level of assertiveness, and an ability to discern right from wrong. I’ve learned that I’m valuable and worth fighting for. Waiting has allowed me to search my heart and deal with the root issues of rejection, fear, and the drive for affirmation that stems from childhood wounds. In times of doubt, I remind myself that I’m a princess who deserves respect.

I’ve stood outside abortion clinics and watched men drag their girlfriends in. I’ve talked with women who suffered from STDs and others who wish they hadn’t taken the morning-after pill. I have friends who are virgins and others who are sexually active. Hearing their stories and seeing their perspectives makes me glad I’ve chosen abstinence.

African-American woman are 3 times more likely to abort than any other race. Eighty percent of African-American children grow up apart from their fathers. That’s a whole lot of little girls looking for love and a bunch of boys trying to figure out how to be men. Masculinity is gained not by the number of sexual conquests a guy has. Giving up their bodies won’t guarantee girls the safety and commitment they’re looking for. Just one episode of MTV’s “Teen Moms” can show you that.

In the past couple of years, I’ve witnessed three weddings where both the bride and the groom were virgins. All three brides were black and strongly pro-life. The issue of abortion is connected to the issue of sexual purity. We must teach abstinence as we work toward ending abortion. I’m tired of hearing the pathetic reasoning of “Kids are going to have sex anyway, so let’s just hand out condoms.” What poor expectations we have of our children.

Some kids will have sex no matter what a parent or authority figure tells them. Others will appreciate and heed teachings on abstinence. It’s easier to give birth control, but more rewarding to invest our time mentoring children and helping them make good decisions. Allowing public school health programs, TV shows, and Planned Parenthood affiliates to teach our children about sex is dangerous folly.

Dr. La Verne Tolbert is a African-American former member of the NYC Board of Directors for Planned Parenthood. After a change of heart, she left PP and wrote a book called Keeping You & Your Kids Sexually Pure. The book is based on her research on abortion mills in public schools and how condom availability encourages kids to become sexually active.

In a L.A Times editorial piece, Tolbert wrote, “Self-control, self-respect, delayed gratification, planning for the future, building healthy friendships and other values essential to abstinence education are necessary for every area of life, not just in the delay of sexual activity. In Washington, the abstinence program Best Friends has proved to be extremely successful among African-American females. In seven years, only one girl in 400 has become pregnant.”

The Best Friends program has a curriculum that focuses on reaching middle-school girls with the message of abstinence from sex, drugs, and violence. They have proven results with their Best Men group for boys as well.

There is a quotation on their website by Dr.Barbara Dafoe Whitehead:

To reduce unwed teenage childbearing, it may be necessary to foster relationships with adult women mentors who can exercise firm guidance and give direction as well as support.

The peer-reviewed scientific research has shown that junior high and middle school-aged girls in the Best Friends program compared to their peers in D.C. Public Schools were six and a half times less likely to have sex. About two times less likely to drink alcohol. Eight times less likely to use drugs, and more than two times less likely to smoke.

Their program gives me hope. I reject the belief that if we can’t reach everyone, than we shouldn’t try to reach anyone. We’re making a difference if we can change the life of even one child.

Many people desire to wait until marriage to have sex. Realistically, that doesn’t always happen, and some people are left with regret. There is no reason to live in shame over the past. It’s never too late to go forward. Sexual purity is possible. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. I pray that a whole generation turns away from a sex-driven, immoral culture and embraces purity, love, and physical/emotional wholeness.

  • noprisoners49

    Bravo!  You give me hope, Christina, that  people can still strive to stand on principal even in a self-absorbed world.  Thank you for writing this.

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Thanks! That is my desire, to bring hope and let others know it’s possible to live a life pursuing purity. I appreciate your encouragement :) 

  • Before I get to the other stuff I want to say about your post, I have one thing that might seem like a quibble but is actually pretty important: “bisexual” is a sexual orientation, not a synonym for threeways involving people of two different genders. I’m bisexual, and I have to deal with the stereotype/misconception that bisexual people are all into threeways or open relationships or are secretly cheating on their partners.

    I’ve never understood the attitude that it’s so impossible for teenagers and adults to not have sex. To begin with, not doing something is usually a lot easier than doing something, simply because it doesn’t require taking overt action. Second, we expect people to be able to resist/delay other urges that are natural but aren’t always appropriate to act on at a particular time – if somebody’s hungry in the grocery store, we expect them to find food, buy it, and eat it, not grab something off a shelf and eat it right there just because they’re hungry. There’s nothing wrong with being hungry or wanting to have sex, but sometimes you have to get in the right situation to satisfy that urge before you do so.

    I think it’s important for people to know that being a virgin as an adult isn’t weird or impossible, but I do have qualms about the whole “purity” description, simply because if you’re not “pure,” you’ve got to be “impure,” and I think that implies a lot of judgment.

    • Booishboos

      Well, the other side is impure. Trust me, I’ve been there.

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Hi Marauder, 
      Thanks for reading and responding. I’m glad you shared some of your story with me. I don’t like stereotypes either. I’ve dealt with many in my life and I can understand how you must feel. I actually did know that bisexual is classified as an orientation. I wasn’t referring to it as a synonym for threeways. I was saying that bisexual activity is something that Planned Parenthood addresses, even supports on their teen website, along with other things.. That is troubling to me because I believe sex should only take place in a marriage, and marriage should be between one man and one woman. My heart is not to judge people who have different believes than I do. Rather, I desire to stand for what I believe is true and right. When I talk about “pursuing purity” I am speaking about a lifestyle that choices to avoid sexual immorality. That lifestyle is one that obeys the commands found in the holy scriptures. God describes himself in the Bible as one who is Holy. He is different than man, without sin, pure, spotless, blameless, innocent. When I chose to pursue purity I do it to honor God and his word, and follow Jesus’ teachings out of love for Him. Jesus said ” Blessed are the pure in heart, for they see God”. Because I’ve asked Jesus into my heart, He’s forgiven my sins, and made me pure and holy. He’s washed away all my sins and made me a new creation. Yet I still make everyday choices to continue to walk in holiness. Choices like not having sex before marriage, not watching certain movies, or engaging in activities that would be hurtful to God. All of this is done out of love. Because God loves me I desire to obey his word and love him in return. Just like I would obey my mom if she asked me to refrain from something because I wasn’t ready for it yet. Hope that makes sense. I totally agree with your second paragraph. I think we need great expectations for others. Abstaining is not impossible, as you said. Thanks again for your comment! Bless u :) 

  • Oldmanbob

    This is the best and most uplifting post I’ve read ever. 

    Between my wife and I we have over 120 years of living and have never ever even once heard anyone say that they regreated waiting till marriage to have sex.

    I’m blessed to have you as my sister in the Faith.  My Jesus keep on blessing you.

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Thanks for your encouragement! May Jesus bless you as well! :)

  • Mica

    Excellent! Really encouraging!

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Great, I’m so happy it encouraged you. Your comment encouraged me :) 

  • “I’m tired of hearing the pathetic reasoning of “Kids are going to have
    sex anyway, so let’s just hand out condoms.” What poor expectations we
    have of our children.”

    My favorite part! I completely agree. It bothers me to no end when people insist that abstinence-only education does not work. It may not work for all, but why should that be a deterrent?

    In a perfect world, family would be the standard. Mothers and fathers who love each others would teach their children, in love, to respect themselves and others (through sexual purity among other things). Then, in turn, these children become the parents nurturing a loving family.

    Our “sex-saturated” culture has led to the dissolution of loving families and trusting relationships. If our relationships are built on purity, integrity, and honesty, what need would women have for abortion? If our relationships were built on honest, kind cornerstones, corruption would all-but disappear.

    • Oldmanbob

      Excellent post, thank you.   Abstinence-only ed does work and it works well which is why PP and others hate it.  It cuts into their money. 

    • Christina Marie Martin

      I feel the same way. Even if it just worked for a hundred kids, that would be a hundred kids who are saved from the heartache of teen pregnancy, stds, abortion..etc. Thankfully abstinence education is effective on a larger scale and can help lots of children. We do need families that are built on honest, kindness, and purity. I hope one day to have one of them :) 

  • Tmcguirk11.com

    As a 26 year old virgin waiting for marriage I completley relate to this post. Thank you for a beautifully written defense of purity!

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Your welcome! I’m glad you are waiting as well! I’m encouraged by your stand! :)

  • Shelly200

    A great and encouraging post!

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Thanks so much for reading and responding. God bless you! 

  • Lady in Waiting

    As a 22 year old virgin I can say that this sums it up PERFECTLY. You have put my reasons for waiting into words better than I can. Thank You!

    • Christina Marie Martin

      That’s awesome! You are going to give your future spouse a great gift. Proud of you for waiting :) 

  • Dmp32363

    You are an inspiration to many.
    May the love of our Lord Jesus continue to guide your actions.


    PS- I was a virgin until I was 24. It was really tough because I was a single guy in the military where sexual conquests are all anybody talked about.

    • Christina Marie Martin

      Thank you so much for your encouragement! Yes, it’s hard being in the military under those circumstances. May God continue to bless you as well! 

  • I love this woman!

  • Lulu

    Wow!  Thank you Christina!  I have a 16 year old son and twin daughters that will be 10 in August.  I have discussed this with my son (not quite there with my girls yet) and he has told me of his convictions to wait until he is married because he does not want kids, diseases, or any of the adult responsibility that comes with having sex.  I remind him of those convictions (that he came by on his own).  He has seen the difficulty I have with raising the 3 of them by myself and he doesn’t want that for his children and I definitely don’t want that for my grandchildren!  What a breath of fresh air! 

    I don’t understand why people say abstinence doesn’t work?  Only one person was ever born to a virgin mother!  If you aren’t having sex, then you can’t get pregnant or contract diseases that will kill you or that you will live with forever!

    • Christina Marie Martin


      That is great that you talked to your son about sex. I think we would be in a better place if more parent’s were willing to do the same. That’s amazing that your son wants to wait till marriage. I pray for him to have grace and strength. My mom was a single parent so I know it’s hard to raise kids on your own. From what it sounds like, you are doing an awesome job! Be encouraged :) Your making a difference. God bless

  • Jaime

    thanks for being real and not ashamed of your purity!

  • Elise77

    Christina, you rock!  Thanks again for another encouraging article. I hope many young women (and men) will see you as an example of living in such a way as to honor God and respect oneself.

    My hubby and I were talking just this morning about how entering into a sexual relationship too early is such a poor way to create a lasting and meaningful relationship. Love is not sex, and sex is not love. Love is a decision. Made by the heart, perhaps, but carried out by the will. Sex is about feelings, and if you let feelings dictate the terms of your relationship early on, what will stop you from letting them dictate the terms of the relationship later? Marriage is not about feelings, it’s about a decision “for better or worse.” It’s something you commit to and fight for. Marriage is supposed to create a new family, and you can’t just divorce your family. But if the relationship is based on nothing more than raw feelings, it’s too shallow to survive.

    My husband and I were both virgins on our wedding day and we will celebrate fifteen years of marriage next month. Our dating years taught us (albeit imperfectly) self control and mutual respect, which have helped us to stay together. Even though we have had our difficult times, divorce has never been an option. Infidelity has never been an issue.

    Anyway. It sounds like you are very strong in your convictions, and you don’t need me to tell you that you are on the right road, but everyone can use some encouragement from time to time, so I’ll just tell you: Way to go, girl! Don’t doubt for a SECOND that you’ve made the right choice. God will bring you so much blessing because of your faithfulness!

  • My husband and I have witnessed a couple marriages where they were both virgins as well. It was such a beautiful thing and filled us with joy. My husband and I were not virgins but so often wished we were. When we speak to our kids and other people we tell them we were not but we did regret it. We tell them how awesome and amazing it was to see people come together in marriage who were. Im filled with joy reading about you. Most people do think virgins are unhappy. Im happy to see someone putting it out there that they are happy! God bless you! and I agree with oldmanbob, Im am blessed to have you as a sister!

  • Chris

    I am a 30 year old white male, and a virgin also, however I made a vow to God that I will refrain from all sexual activity from now until I pass from this life until the next due to my own insecurities.

  • Chris

    I would just like to add, I made my decision because now a days sex is more of an art than it is an expression. It has to be done a certain way in the eyes of society in order for it to be pleasurable. I think to myself, “wow, this is what sex is really like? All based on performance? I don’t ever want to do that.” So here I vowed never to have any kind of sexual activity from now on. The main reason of all this was a ways back I tried a dating site and got burned really really bad, and this other person wounded my heart big time. I have tried to overcome it but have failed. I explained to this person I was waiting until marriage to have sex so she didn’t think I was some pervert. Well, a day later I got a message saying she wasn’t interested in talking to me anymore, and I quote, she didn’t “want to have to train me.” That hurt the worst. I have dealt with the pain of this wound for quite some time. So I prayed that God wouldn’t let me have sex AT ALL until I leave this Earth. And to be honest, that is sad. My friends and family will never see me get married. I was looking forward to everyone seeing me in a white tuxedo on my wedding day and my family being proud of me for waiting. But nope. That’s all gone. I even asked God to not let me burn with passion anymore. And so far, He answered my prayer. I don’t have this desire anymore. People are so cruel.