It may seem like all college students are doing it, but it's okay if you're not (Image via Sarah Cervantes on Unsplash)
Thoughts x

You have nothing to be ashamed of, so show off that purity ring as proudly as you would an engagement ring.

Sexual freedom is officially a thing: one’s sexual orientation, gender and number of sexual partners is all up to them, which is an exonerating concept. Having sexual freedom, however, also means having the right to choose abstinence without being judged.

Whatever a person’s reason is to maintain a life of purity — whether it’s religious, personal or moral — they should never feel ashamed. Now, in today’s culture of hooking up, sex is so casually thought about that abstinence is an admirable choice. For college students, that journey is quite possibly the hardest one they’ll take.

The stereotype of college students having sex is not wholly off the mark. In fact, studies discovered that around 50 percent of students are sexually active. However, that means another 50 percent are not, and most of them are virgins. Whatever their choice, sexually active or not, no one should be ridiculed for it.

Only your doctor needs to know about your sexual activity. If you’ve found yourself in the position of being pressured into revealing your abstinence to friends or peers, and they give you a “What? You’re so lame,” look, it can be disheartening. Suddenly, you feel like a freak, outside of the crowd, excluded and isolated. Or say you happen to wear a purity ring on your left hand: someone points it out and you’re suddenly in the awkward position of explaining why.

You don’t owe an explanation.

Here’s the first thing to take away: you do not owe an explanation to anyone. They will probably ask why you’re abstaining and want to know the personal details. You don’t owe them any of that, though.

In fact, you don’t even need a reason. Simply say, “This is who I am; this is my choice. If you don’t like it, move on.” With this attitude, people will see you demand respect. It’s the same as showing respect for someone who is homosexual or transgender: nothing makes one better than the other.

If you do have a specific reason, such as a strong religious conviction, then share it proudly.

Sometimes people will understand and respect you better when they can comprehend the reasoning behind your decision. Don’t be ashamed of your reason. Having moral conviction is a wonderful character trait.

It demonstrates self-discipline, strong willpower, confidence and wisdom, all of which are characteristics that everyone agrees are praiseworthy. Focus on this when you feel worthless because you’re not having sex.

No one should feel ashamed of their religious or moral beliefs, so don’t be afraid to explain them to others (Image via Ben White on Unsplash)

Your worth as a person is not based on sex.

Being confident with abstinence will also drive away those who don’t deserve to be in your life, the people who won’t accept your choice and try to pressure you out of it. If others are pressuring you, then they’re not your friend. Always remember that being a virgin does not make you less of person. You know why? Because your worth is not defined by your sexual activity.

You’ll attract a worthy partner.

Being abstinent means you can be certain of finding a significant other who will be worth your time. They won’t be motivated to be with you solely for sex. Instead, they will want to date you for you.

When you’re abstinent, you more than likely want a genuine relationship that could eventually lead to marriage. The best part is that you can avoid any unnecessary candidates who are only seeking a temporary sexual partner and not a partner for life. You just bypassed all the crazy, painstaking drama!

No worries of pregnancy or STDs!

This is a good enough reason on its own! If you’re sexually abstinent, then there’s no need to fear accidentally getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease. There’s no chore of taking birth control or other medications.

You can focus on your studies without the anxiety of an unplanned pregnancy hanging in the back of your mind. In fact, it is the only 100 percent guaranteed method of prevention. Also, studies have shown that a break up with a partner you had sex with has greater psychological and mental repercussions, and there’s a higher chance of depression to occur. 

You have room to develop emotionally with your partner.

With the absence of sex, there’s room to develop your relationship deeper in the areas of emotions, opinions, character, goals and much more. The connection between you and your significant other is based on the abstract rather than on the physical. Everyone, sexually active and not, desires that, and you can be almost certain of getting it if you practice abstinence.

Abstinence can be a way to develop more emotionally with your partner (Image via Jenna Jacobs on Unsplash)

There is such a thing as asexuality.

Some might be abstinent because they found they are asexual. The dictionary definition of the term is simply that you don’t experience sexual attraction to anyone of either gender; you basically lack a sexual appetite. Or you might be demi-sexual, which means you only feel sexual attraction to people you’ve developed a close attachment to. Either orientation is perfectly normal. Lacking a sexual appetite is nothing to worry about medically or psychologically. Not wanting sex is just as natural as wanting sex.

Everyone develops at different paces.

Some people are open and ready but some are doubtful and disinclined. Sexual aptitude is a natural human thing, especially during the college years, but just as everyone has different sexual orientations and attractions, everyone has different sexual hungers and different times of when they awaken. If you don’t feel ready, then there’s no need to feel ashamed for not doing it.

After you’ve exhausted all the wondering about whether there’s “something wrong with you,” consider this: you have the right to not have sex just as much as the next person has the right to have sex. There is no shame in exercising a right, in demanding a right or in living out a life with that right fully expected.

Instead of thinking about how everyone else is doing it while you stand on the sideline, focus on how you are living a fulfilled, sufficient life because you are standing by something you believe in and feel proud of. In the end, you’ll be glad you stood by your personal morals. 

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Catherine Gregoire

University of Texas at Austin

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