Q&A: How Do I Find Out If My Girlfriend Is A Virgin Like Me?

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QUESTION: I have been raised in a Christian household, and have certain views towards sex. One in particular is abstinence. I am a virgin, and plan to be when I marry. However, I also have no interest in marrying someone who isn't a virgin. What is the best way to learn about my girlfriend's past without being too confrontational?

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Photo: Cobalt123 (Flickr)

If dating or marrying a woman who has never had sex before is important to you, then you may find it helpful to date with this in mind.

People have different views and values about sexuality and it can be helpful for men and women to spend time thinking about the values that are important to them. You happen to place value on abstinence until marriage as do some other men and women.

Be Honest And Direct

As you may know, scientific research shows that – at least in the United States – the vast majority of men and women choose to have sexual intercourse before they get married, if indeed they ever get married.

This doesn’t mean that “everybody is doing it,” as the saying goes. Rather, I point that out simply so that you have realistic expectations.

If dating or marrying a woman who has never had sex before is important to you, then you may find it helpful to date with this in mind.

And while I wouldn’t recommend being confrontational, it may be helpful to you and to those you date to be honest and direct such as by saying early on while dating that you are a virgin and hope to date or marry a woman who is also a virgin and shares your values.

At the very least, this conversation might come up naturally as things begin to progress physically between you.

Finding Someone Who Shares Your Values

There are many ways to go about this. Some people who hold certain religious values find it helpful to meet other single men or women through their place or worship. Perhaps getting involved in your church would be one way to meet women who may be more likely to share your values and perhaps more likely to be virgins.

Of course, many Christian women and men have sex without being married so this is not a guarantee and still something you may want to discuss. Being clear about your values in online dating ads may also help to narrow your dating pool to those you are interested in dating.

When you do talk to women about this issue, try to frame this in terms of your needs and interests rather than making them feel bad, shameful or sinful if they have values or sexual interests other than yours.

Just as you probably don’t want to be made to feel different or embarrassed for your decision to abstain from sex, it would be kind to approach women and their choices in compassionate ways as well.

What Virginity Means To You

I would also like to suggest a few things for you to consider. I would encourage you to consider whether it is absolutely important to you that your future wife be a virgin and, if so, why that is important.

Some women have previously had sexual intercourse and then later decided that they didn’t want to have intercourse again until marriage – a sort of “born again virgin”. Other women have had vaginal intercourse against their will.

Scientific research has also demonstrated that people have different definitions about what it means to be a virgin. Some people say they are a virgin if they have had oral sex, but not vaginal sex. Others say they are a virgin if they have had anal sex, but not vaginal sex.

Still other people feel that a virgin is someone who has not had oral, vaginal or anal sex. This begs the question: to what standard of virginity do you hold yourself? And to what standard would you hold a woman? Also, are these the same standards? If not, why not?

Choosing someone to date and marry are important decisions and we certainly wish you the best.

Next Question: Pregnancy And “Dry Sex”

My boyfriend and I had dry sex. I had underwear on but he didn’t. What are the chances I could get pregnant?

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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