Why being a virgin is newsworthy
U.S. Olympic hurdler's announcement of remaining a virgin until marriage IS big news
By Nicole D. Hayes
ABOVE PHOTO: Lolo Jones.
(Photo: KDSanders at en.wikipedia)
“Put out or move on”- so say the men who aren’t allowed in her pants. During an interview on HBO’s Real Sports with Mary Carillo, U.S. Olympic track and field hurdler Lori “Lolo” Jones, 29, candidly publicized that she has chosen to remain a virgin until marriage. A portion of that interview aired May 23 on NBC’s Today Show. The topic surfaced when Jones tweeted she could not keep a boyfriend because she doesn’t ‘put out’ for guys, so they move on. She doesn’t like to discuss her virginity but was tired of answering questions about why she’s single. Jones’s announcement garnered close to 100 comments of mixed viewpoints on MSNBC.com. Some supported her decision while others consider her virginity a waste of prime youth. Others were annoyed with her publicized virgin status and asked, “Why did she expose herself on such a personal level to receive public ridicule? Why is this news?”
I’ll tell you why it’s news.
Our society has treated sex as a vehicle to fill voids-rather than as a gift shared between married couples. Media and technological advances have amplified society’s glamorization of sex with anyone, in any form and glorifies those who encourage it. Clean Cut Media, an online site that measures media’s influence on world behaviors, reported in 2009 that seven in 10 girls believe they don’t measure up in looks. The sexualization in advertisements equates physical attractiveness with “being sexy,” which many girls strive toward for acceptance. Seeking acceptance and love in this way has cost teens, parents, families and society too much.
Few discuss the brokenness that comes from sharing this gift too soon with the wrong people. Today’s youth are challenged daily by what’s ‘normal’ in relationships, and living as healthy, productive, sexual beings. Our society values adultery, pornography, swinging and everything in between-but a woman who wants to wait to have sex until she marries the right man, forsaking all fools, is considered abnormal. Jones’s news of remaining a virgin until marriage sparks hope along a pathway of collateral damage that sex outside of marriage has left in our midst-damage like those whose choice of virginity was stolen by someone seeking to satisfy a selfish need.
I’m taking a stand.
Like Jones, I don’t discuss it either; it makes me blush. That at 37, I am a virgin-by choice. This June I will be 38, unmarried, a virgin and possibly on track to filming my own version of 40 Year Old Virgin. If that’s God’s will for my life, then I will stay the course.
I am an attractive, intelligent, Christian Black woman who is a business owner, physically fit, no drama, who by all accounts should be engaging in the multiple offers and gestures for sex I have received from men. I’ve been tempted to “give it up.” While not an easy journey, I’ve turned over the treacherous navigation through temptations and slick pick up lines over to a man named Jesus. If not for Him, I would have already succumbed to the pressures.
Mom and dad (particularly mom) were also significant in framing my view about sex, and its intended purpose. Mom was the only parent of my sixth grade class to attend the school’s sex maturation film showed. I was mortified then but later, very proud. She cared about my understanding of sex and the information being fed.
Last, I’m not “down with O.P.P.” (You know the song-Other People’s Property). My body is private; not public. Psalm 139:13-14 says, “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I that full well.” (New International Version). My gift is not for sharing with multiple people. Like Jones, I desire to share my gift with my future husband and him only. I know God created sex for procreation and our enjoyment-within the confines of marriage.
Jones bravely sharing her message relieved me. I often fit like a square peg in a round hole in a world that says “It’s your thang-do what you wanna do.” Her stance is encouraging to virgins and to those previously sexually active now living celibate until marriage (or remarriage) like Shirley P. Auguste shares in her book, Bad Girl Gone Good (Crossbooks Publishing, 2009). Women and men who know their worth don’t question such choices.
Lolo, with nine more years than you on this journey, I can say it gets easier. The tricks aren’t worth the trade. As a seasoned and trained athlete, you know mental preparation is necessary to overcome all challenges. From there, the body will respond as the mind directs. Keep your mind rooted in God to succeed in this and all areas.
Lolo, thank you for sharing your message with us. As you compete for gold in the London Games this summer, Run on Lolo, run on! And stay the course!
Nicole D. Hayes desires that girls understand their worth and know their identity and leads programs that engage girls and women to become positive change agents regardless of societal pressure. Nicole is also the co-founder of Pieces of Life, LLC a Washington, D.C.-based media relations consultancy operating with a company and personal mantra of “making an investment in people.”
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