SYBIL and Ramona are best friends and sisters in Christ, serving in the evangelical church for the past five and 12 years respectively, and waiting patiently for the right brothers to come along to engage them in courtship. When each became members of their church they signed the pledge to be godly and Christian-minded, and to forsake pleasures of the flesh, a pledge they took seriously.
Pure in heart, meek, and contrite, the only blemish on their records is that of having fornicated in their youth, indiscretions they can't pray away, but for which they have made an atonement of sorts — with the decision to both remain chaste until marriage, like good Christians should.
“For me, I have the chance to get back to a pure state of mind and body, and I truly believe that I have regained that purity that my husband will appreciate,” said Sybil, 32.
Added Ramona, 40: “I may have been a bit wild in my younger days, but after I became saved, with prayer and fasting I believe that I am truly a new creation in every sense of the word.”
Revirginisation, an act practised by women who have already been deflowered, became a hot topic in the USA a few years ago, when women attempted a sexual make-over by abstaining from further sexual engagements until marriage.
This move to rewrap the “priceless” gift of virginity went as far as women opting for surgical procedures to replace the hymen, which would give their partners the thrill of taking their “virginity” when they chose to next give it up, supposedly rewriting their past.
But even as the movement takes off overseas, Rev Dr Carla Dunbar, local marriage, family and sex therapist dismisses the phenomenon, declaring that “there is no such thing as a born-again virgin”.
“Once the hymen has been broken through intercourse, it cannot be regained, and it doesn't matter how long one abstains after the initial sex act. This decision should have really been the 'aforethought', as it would certainly have saved these women the hassle of trying to think virgin as opposed to really being one,” she said.
As to whether or not there is a benefit to people who've been sexually intimate abstaining from sex leading up to their marriage, Dr Dunbar said: “The benefits to these 'technical virgins' would be the same as we have been teaching — choose abstinence and protecting yourself from emotional, spiritual and physical hurt ranging from soul ties, STDs and STIs and feelings of rejection when sex is worn out.”
She added: “If it is so important to be known as a virgin, then why not remain one until marriage?”
Relationship, marriage and family therapist Wayne Powell also scoffed at the title of “born-again virgin”. He believes in calling a spade a spade. If you have engaged in penile-vaginal penetration, you have lost something you cannot regain.
“Whether it was 20 years ago when you were in high school or 10 years ago when you were in your last relationship, or it was for two minutes or 20 minutes, or a good or bad experience, the fact is that it happened, and there is nothing you can do to erase that moment,” he said.
But, he said, if you have reached a place in your life where you want to remain celibate until marriage, then that is a personal decision that must be respected.
Psychologically, Powell said, that individual will be at a better place and will feel a sense of purity in symbolically renewing their body and mind in anticipation of a life partner.
And while they cannot turn back the hands of time, they have the power to determine the way forward in terms of sexual behaviour.
“The benefits of taking such a stand cannot be overestimated. It demands a high degree of self-control, determination, and discipline to remain committed to a life of celibacy; qualities that would be helpful in other areas of life,” he explained.
The marriage and family therapist said that while someone who has been sexually active in the past and can recall memorable experiences and decides not to indulge any more must be commended for their fortitude, as with being a true Christian, you must be serious and strive to walk the straight and narrow path always, as it is impossible to be a born-again virgin many times over.
“Abstinence leading up to marriage is more of a psychological than a physical benefit in that the anticipation and restraint will deepen the emotional connection between the partners. They will recognise that intimacy does not necessarily have to begin and end with sexual intercourse,” he said.
Some All Woman readers have weighed in on the matter of revirginisation. Their comments are set out below:
Andre, non-Christian, 40:
I don't believe you can regain your virginity, no matter how spiritually grounded you become. But I respect a woman who decides to abstain, even after going that route. It tells me she understands and values herself. I can live with that.
Roxanne, Christian, 31:
I don't believe it, but I can see why someone would. The scripture in 2 Corinthians says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” While I really don't think it is speaking about one's virginity or it is a ticket to engage and then ask for forgiveness, if one was living a life of sin and comes to Christ, technically all their sins are forgiven, be it fornication or murder. If we are speaking about a Christian woman who was having sex before she became a Christian, who are we to condemn her based on her past acts when Christ has forgiven her? If she is now living a pure and holy life, love her just the same.
Tianna, non-Christian, 29:
You can definitely ask for forgiveness and become a Christian man or woman who is living a life of abstinence, but your virginity, which technically is just your hymen being intact, cannot be restored. You become spiritually whole and must now commit to a life of purity and walking the right way until you engage in a lawful act of sex, according to Christianity. But if you are truly converted and believe that God will bless you with a husband, while he may ask about your virginal status, he would know you for who you are and that should not be an overarching factor, because you are forgiven and living a life pleasing to God.
Matthew, non-Christian, 47:
You cannot regain your virginity, but you can choose to abstain from sex until marriage based on your own reasons which I will respect and not chastise, ridicule or mock a woman or man for. Sex is an important thing which I think is seen too loosely. It can create bonds and it can destroy people. If someone has had sex and says I will hold off until I find the right one instead of becoming a bed hopper, that's fine by me.