Let’s talk about sex: Sex and religion


Elizabeth Han

religionShe lost her virginity in a car, in the summer of 2014.

It was never planned, like any other first experience — but at that very moment, she felt ready, secure in the arms of her then boyfriend. So after some awkward minutes of him tugging on a condom, she was no longer a virgin. Yet she still held one identity close to her heart: Christian, a follower of God.

The MVHS senior, who asked that her name not be used to protect her privacy, was born into a family of devout Christians. Her friend senior Yanni Gan, states that her parents are firm believers and frequent churchgoers. The senior always knew the rule concerning sex in the Bible. No sex before marriage. Never, until you find a husband.
Freshman Juhee Yang, who describes herself as a devoted Christian, explains the belief.

“From our point of view, sex is considered like a gift and a blessing that God gave us to reproduce,” Yang said. “For us, it’s something that shouldn’t be taken lightly… [or as] mere momentary pleasure.”

Other religions often enforce a similar idea — sophomore Razi Mahmood, who practices Islam, remembers premarital sex as looked down upon according to religious books. Though neither Mahmood nor Yang denounce sexually active peers, they themselves hope to keep their virginity until marriage.

Yang owns a purity ring, a symbol of virginity until marriage. Many of her Christian friends have their own rings as well — others who have difficulty resisting the sexual temptation go as far as to send in prayer requests, in hopes of mitigating lust.

“I heard my friends [from church] saying, ‘I’ve been having thoughts of [sex] a lot recently,’” Yang said. “I hear prayer requests like that often. They’re hoping that they can overcome that temptation.”

Yet for the sexually active senior, the rule was one more restriction amongst many that she simply couldn’t follow. Looking back now, she wishes that her parents had taught her how to protect herself, rather than drilling a big “No” on sex itself.

Various factors accounted for her choice to be sexually active — for one, she only returned to church last April after a five-year absence due to her sports games overlapping with masses.

“I knew that she was always religious,” Gan said. “It’s just that she didn’t follow through with going to church every week. She wasn’t the stereotypical church person.”
The senior’s desire to be a sinless Christian lessened as her attendance at church drastically decreased. Fellow church members faded away into memories — new friends appeared in her life, who lived in ways far from Christian ideals.

“A lot of them liked to go to parties,” the senior said. “Being around that environment sort of made me think that having sex before marriage was okay.”

Occasionally, a Christian friend or two would remind her of her past belief. She recalls one girl — she dumped her boyfriend solely because he wanted sex. The senior was shocked by her friend’s extreme decision, but it was expected.

“She was like, ‘Oh my God, gross. Slut,’” the senior said. “I understand how she views other people. Not as sluts, but she sees them in a negative way.”

The senior admits that her life would differ if she had continued her visits to church. Perhaps she would still be a virgin, living by the Bible and owning a purity ring herself. But she doesn’t regret her past decisions. She believes that her time away from church allowed her to widen her views overall. She says she became more open-minded, rather than passively imbibing Christian beliefs her entire life.

Now, she has returned to church, upon strong request from her devout parents, who still have yet to find out about her sexual life. Her connection with God weakened over the years, and further regulations from the church frustrate her at times. She still strives to become a better Christian, embodying the Christian morality.
However, one principle remains unchanged: she will continue to be sexually active, in spite of remaining a Christian.

“The main part about being Christian is the belief in God… and I do,” the senior said. “[But having premarital sex] is just something I don’t see eye-to-eye with the church. I think it’s an important part of growing up.”