This topic has been big among Christian teenagers since at least as far back as my own teens. I got very upset when my fiancé Phil told me he’d had oral sex with two previous girlfriends. I saw it as plainly sex (as a Christian, I always believed my future husband and I would save ourselves for each other).
But he and one or two friends told me they didn’t see it as sex. Phil–who made a big deal about going through a few years of sex education in high school and “knowing better” than I did–also believed that dry humping was not sex, either–even though it seemed a lot like it–because it didn’t involve “penetration” and the clothes stayed on.
Meanwhile, I did not realize that if what he did was “sex,” then I had engaged in “sex” as well–a different kind, but still sex–with my friend Shawn.
There are various activities Christian teens engage in to avoid “fornication” while also satisfying their lusts with each other. But are they right to call themselves virgins?
I don’t believe they are. Giving someone an orgasm is a basic element of sex. Just think about it: If a lesbian has had several lovers but never vaginal sex, can you honestly call her a virgin? Even Wikipedia, in its article on sexual intercourse (which I won’t link to because it has pictures), includes oral sex as “intercourse.”
I’m not here to judge what you ultimately decide to do with your body, but to help you make an informed decision based on your beliefs.
See these articles:
Can you get pregnant without having vaginal sex? (Answer: possibly!)
USA Today article on Teens and Technical Virginity
Losing It–What is Virginity?
Medical Definitions of Sex
Technical Virginity and the Definition of Sex
Magical Cups and Bloody Brides: Virginity in Context (The authors of this website have many viewpoints which are not Christian. But Christian young people still should see that even this website includes other forms of “stimulation” under the heading of “sex,” and would not call a lesbian a “virgin” if she’s only had female lovers.)
Can I Get Pregnant If….
State laws on legal ages of consent Note that, in Wisconsin, you don’t have to be over the age of majority to be charged with a sex crime. Even if you’re 15 and so is your girlfriend, and it’s completely consensual, you can be charged as a sex offender. I live in Wisconsin, and my source is the daily newspaper, where I’ve read many such stories of kids under 18 being charged as sex offenders for consensual sex.
USA Today article–Teens define sex in new ways
Christian article on technical virginity
Article (warning: explicit terms and pictures) from Wikipedia about activities which avoid intercourse, yet still are termed “safer sex”
Extremely helpful advice to an extremely naïve couple:
While what virginity is and is not is not something medical or actual, but an idea some people have that can differ from person to person, I think it’s very important that you acknowledge that you have been sexually active. You have had sex.
Most definitions of abstinence simply mean that a person is not having any kind of genital sex with another person: not manual, oral, vaginal or anal sex.
Today, casual dates and “hookups” are so prevalent amongst teens and young adults. “Hookups” are one night stands with strangers (someone never met before), or that are only acquaintances. Any relationship starting on the foundation of sexual activity will not last long. All that lasts is the broken heart….
The pressure today to develop only shallow friendships, or friendships that are all about “me”, is significant. In a world of one night stands, and how many partners can I bag this weekend, today’s relationships are not started to last.
Many relationships are over before they even really begin. With broken relationships come broken hearts. It takes an incredibly long time for a person’s heart to heal. —Friendship in the 21st Century
Be warned about legal definitions of sexual contact and intercourse, especially if you’re under 18. You may think you’re still a virgin when legally, you lost that a long time ago, and you (or your sexual partner) could be liable for prosecution. For example, Wisconsin state law says, for the purpose of assault:
(5) “Sexual contact” means any of the following:
(a) Any of the following types of intentional touching, whether direct or through clothing, if that intentional touching is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or sexually humiliating the complainant or sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant:
1. Intentional touching by the defendant or, upon the defendant’s instruction, by another person, by the use of any body part or object, of the complainant’s intimate parts.
2. Intentional touching by the complainant, by the use of any body part or object, of the defendant’s intimate parts or, if done upon the defendant’s instructions, the intimate parts of another person.
(b) Intentional penile ejaculation of ejaculate or intentional emission of urine or feces by the defendant or, upon the defendant’s instruction, by another person upon any part of the body clothed or unclothed of the complainant if that ejaculation or emission is either for the purpose of sexually degrading or sexually humiliating the complainant or for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant.
(c) For the purpose of sexually degrading or humiliating the complainant or sexually arousing or gratifying the defendant, intentionally causing the complainant to ejaculate or emit urine or feces on any part of the defendant’s body, whether clothed or unclothed.
(6) “Sexual intercourse” means vulvar penetration as well as cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal opening either by the defendant or upon the defendant’s instruction. The emission of semen is not required.
(7) “Sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated:
(a) Sexual intercourse, meaning vulvar penetration as well as cunnilingus, fellatio or anal intercourse between persons or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal opening either by a person or upon the person’s instruction. The emission of semen is not required;
(d) Sexual sadism or sexual masochistic abuse including, but not limited to, flagellation, torture or bondage; or
(e) Lewd exhibition of intimate parts. —State Statue 948
(Also, State Statute 940.225 uses this definition of intercourse.)
(19) “Intimate parts” means the breast, buttock, anus, groin, scrotum, penis, vagina or pubic mound of a human being. —State Statute 939.22
Go Ask Alice
The Center for Young Women’s Health
Index to my Life Opinion pages:
Topics on Page 1:
—Technical Virginity–i.e., how far should a Christian single go?
—Are Spiritual Marriages “real”?
—Am I supposed to spend all of my free time at home with my spouse/kids now that I’m married? Will that strengthen my marriage–or weaken it?
Topics on Page 2:
—Is it okay to be jealous of the opposite-sex friends of my spouse/boyfriend/girlfriend?
Topics on Page 3:
—Abuse in all its forms: Links to help
—My Personal Stories