Several days ago I received an e-mail with this as the subject line: “Born-again virgin.” Now, I receive lots of e-mails about sex and sexuality, but this one subject line really impacted me. I even waited to read the e-mail until I felt I would be able to respond to the subject matter well.

For those not in the know, “Born Again Virgin” is a phrase that began the Silver Ring Thing movement. Here is what the Silver Ring Thing people say about themselves:

The Silver Ring Thing is a unique para-church youth ministry that promotes the message of abstinence until marriage using two avenues- an intense Live Event and the packaged SRT 434 Program.

Now, while I think that abstinence until marriage is not necessary for a happy, healthy sex life, I also think it’s a fine path for those who choose it. It does rankle me, though, when people suggest it is the only fine path, that it is a necessary path. The Silver Ring Thing people suggest this most strongly, and that’s the first problem I have with them. However, this debate is not new, and I’m sure most of my readers are relatively familiar with my side of the argument, even if they do not agree with it.

The more subtle, and less discussed, issue I have with the Silver Ring Thing program is this “Born Again Virgin” thing. There are a couple of issues here:

  1. I believe we must teach teenagers to honor sexuality. And denying that a sexual interaction existed, essentially annulling the experience is not honoring it. Even if the experience comes with regret, I think it is more important to teach teenagers to deal with that regret rather than deny the event’s existence.
  2. This rising of sexual intercourse to The Ultimate Act often has the unwanted side effect of okay-ing every other sexual act in the book. By promising not to have sex, far too many teenagers assume it is just fine to have manual, oral, and anal sexual interactions.

These are big, huge issues. And I’ll write in more depth on them both soon.

(Oh, ironically, the e-mail had nothing to do with the Silver Ring Thing or sexuality at all. It was about brand new, or “virgin,” stores. I also get a lot information about the newest, coolest things out that e-mail happened to fall into that category rather than the sex and sexuality category.)